A Maryland girls swim team has been forced to give back their county championship after it was discovered one of their swimmers broke a regulation that forced them to forfeit the title. What regulation you’re wondering? The regulation that states that no swimmer shall shave on site and compete just before a meet.
yahoo: As reported by a number of Maryland news outlets, the Baltimore Sun and Annapolis Capital among them, the Broadneck (Md.) High girls swimming squad lost its Anne Arundel County title after it was determined that one of the team’s swimmers shaved on-site just before the start of the event. National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rules for swimming, diving and water polo stipulate that athletes can not shave before, during or after a meet once a team is on-site.
The reason why the NFHS institutes a no shaving on-site policy is to protect the swimmers themselves from possible blood transmission or, in general, doing full body shaves in high school locker rooms, which would maximize the possibility of unsafe practices like sharing razors. Still, the rule can seem quite a bit over the top when one considers generally acceptable practices for other sports; after all, no one is telling football or basketball players that they can’t shave after a game or practice.
To be frank, when this author first heard about the story part of me was wondering, ‘well they must have broken some law about body drag advantage in the water?’ Then I thought to myself well how much body hair are we talking about when a swimmer shaves body hair before a meet? Furthermore does the dissecting of that hair really change a swimmer’s performance? Then I realized that it had nothing to do with body drag but about the purported safety of other swimmers should that swimmer experience a cut and then enter the water potentially contaminating the water for other swimmers, which could be disconcerting should that swimmer have an illness that another swimmer could potentially catch.
Then again, can’t we really the same about other sports? What about body contact sports like American football or basketball? Should we be now demanding that those players not shave before they enter the field to spare the other players potentially contracting something? What if they start bleeding then and there on the field, are we to now assume we are to drag those players off the field? And if they’re not dragging players off those fields when they do bleed why are we penalizing swimmers for shaving just before a meet for a potential infection that the odds are way off against?
But it gets worse. Not only were the swim team forced to give up the title, the swimming coach was also now suspended:
Meanwhile, the Annapolis Capital reported that Broadneck swimming coach Colleen Winans was suspended for the Class 4A-3A Regional Championships which were held on Saturday because of her swimmer’s violation. A release from the Anne Arundel School District cited the failure of Winans’ squad to abide by “the rules of the game and promote ethical relationships among coaches and players,” as the reason for the discipline taken against Winans, which included the one-meet ban.
The moral of the lesson? Some rules are damn stupid but then again as long as they are there they have to be obeyed, of course if I were the coach I’d be on the phone petitioning to change rules that seem at the end of the day are highly out of touch with the spirit of the sport. Which has me wondering how many other rules and regulations are there out there that you should all be collectively be petitioning against?