The swimming landscape looks a bit different in the Baton Rouge area this year after the River Cities Swim League merged with the Country Club Swim League to form the larger Greater Baton Rouge Swim League, league President Rob Dowie said.
The new venture’s first leaguewide meet will be Saturday and Sunday, and Dowie is looking forward to seeing how the new system will work .
So far this summer, some of the smaller teams have seen their rosters grow since the changes were made.
“Part of the problem was size,” Dowie said.
In meets where large, 100-plus-member teams were pitted against teams with 50 or fewer swimmers, “the smaller teams were getting crushed” in part because of the way meets are scored, he said. Each swimmer who participates has the potential to add points to the team’s overall meet score, and the smaller teams would almost inevitably be overwhelmed by numbers.
That, Dowie said, does not discount the hard work put in by winning teams over the summer, though the new league is big enough to allow for smaller divisions within those teams.
He thinks it will be beneficial to everyone involved, allowing both larger and smaller teams a more apples-to-apples competition to make everyone sharper.
Dowie, who is also the executive director and founder of SELA Aquatics, said the changes have already made a difference in recruitment.
“It can be hard to get people excited about joining a smaller swim team if they know going in they’re going to lose larger meets because of team size,” exacerbating the problem, Dowie said.