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sjstuart
December 12th, 2009, 05:45 PM
When I started swimming masters a few years ago, I soon found myself wanting some time standards to compare myself against. Sure, tracking my own PRs is motivating, but I also wanted some sort of objective mark to measure myself against.

There is the Top 10 list, of course, but I'm not close enough to those times for them to serve as realistic motivation. Nationals qualifying times provide a slightly lower bar, but these are still out of many masters' reach. It seems like there should be some sort of time standards that are more widely applicable -- like the A, AA, ... motivational times in kids' age group swimming.

I did use those USA Swimming motivational times for a while, but I got tired of comparing myself to 12-year-olds. Eventually I decided to create my own masters' motivational time standards, using the same method that is used for the kids.

I have really enjoyed using these motivational times over the past couple of years, and I'm guessing they might be useful to others as well. Especially for those, like me, who are competitive enough to be motivated by a quantitative benchmark, but not fast enough to aspire to the Top 10 list.

I have just updated the SCY list, and figured I would post it here for others to use.

Please enjoy. I'd also love to hear any feedback.

notsofast
December 12th, 2009, 06:48 PM
Kind of motivates me to take up another sport. I hate to be negative, but my personal lifetime goal would only make your table if you ran it out through about the letter 'G'.
Please don't take it personally, as it is not anything you have done, it is just my frustration. I find a lot of advice on this forum for people a whole lot faster than me and a whole lot of people at my pool who are slower than me. I had hoped your very meticulously constructed table would address that gap. Maybe next time.

Donna
December 12th, 2009, 08:58 PM
I like the fact you were able to come up with this. Since I swim in USA meets I have been using the 17-18 year old motivational times, but they are so hard for me at age 47, but I keep trying.

Hope to see you at some of the South Carolina meets.

chowmi
December 12th, 2009, 09:11 PM
SJStuart, this is the cutest thing I have seen in a long time!!! I think it is so awesome you took the time to create this list, even looks like the USA times list, tee hee hee! Now, get to work and make us one for SCM and LCM, then don't forget to update for the next quad plan in 2013!! Just kidding!

You will likely get responses across the board. I highly support what you have done and it is very interesting to see how people quantify their performance.

Excellent work!

Lump
December 12th, 2009, 09:28 PM
Great idea! This is actually a great idea on doing this sheet. Growing up we always had to have a AAA time (or was AA?) in order to be a Georgia All-Star and get the coveted "All-Star Towel" each year (of which I still have 3 from the 80's!). They would put what time standard you reached (could also be Senior Nats, Junior Nats, Olympic Trials) an had you name stitched on it.

Good to see that I'm somewhere between AA and AAA....I'm almost an All-Star again! :D:applaud:

sjstuart
December 12th, 2009, 10:50 PM
Kind of motivates me to take up another sport. I hate to be negative, but my personal lifetime goal would only make your table if you ran it out through about the letter 'G'.
Please don't take it personally, as it is not anything you have done, it is just my frustration. I find a lot of advice on this forum for people a whole lot faster than me and a whole lot of people at my pool who are slower than me. I had hoped your very meticulously constructed table would address that gap. Maybe next time.

I certainly don't take it personally, and am happy for the feedback. But it makes me feel awful if the chart had the opposite of its intended motivational effect.

I just used the same formula as is used for the USA Swimming times. It may be that the spread of times for meet-going masters swimmers is bigger than it is for kids. Maybe the formulas would have to be adjusted to do a better job of covering the gap.

sjstuart
December 12th, 2009, 10:56 PM
Now, get to work and make us one for SCM and LCM, then don't forget to update for the next quad plan in 2013!!

Never fear, I have SCM and LCM also. I'll attach SCM here. I'll wait to post LCM until after I update it when this year's top 10 list is finalized (sometime this month).

[edited 3/21/10: SCM times now appear in the first post]

gigi
December 12th, 2009, 11:06 PM
I think it's great, especially since it makes me feel a lot faster than I really am in some of my events. It's already motivated me to get some faster times. Thanks for putting this together!

jim thornton
December 12th, 2009, 11:24 PM
I too think it's a great idea. I am curious how you come up with the numbers, however. What is the methodology?

Would someone with a AAAA time have a shot at a Top 10 time?

It will be interesting to see what will happen when the tech suits are banned what kinds of adjustments will have to be made.

debaru
December 12th, 2009, 11:32 PM
I returned to swimming 6 weeks ago after a very long absence and have felt so syrupy slow, but after seeing your SCM times list, I now have something realistic to shoot for in my age group (55-59 women).
Thanks for taking the time to put together your "motivational" lists. :applaud:

Maui Mike
December 13th, 2009, 01:07 AM
Checking out the the 60-64 Mens division the 50 100 and 200 free times look about right, but there must be an error re the 500, 1000 and 1650????

smontanaro
December 13th, 2009, 08:10 AM
Yeah, there definitely seems to be a mistake somewhere. For example, the 55-59 men 500 free BB time is 7:07.09 while the corresponding 60-64 time is 5:18.79. I doubt I'll be swimming that fast in four years unless I stumble upon the forgotten set of Cocoon in some abandoned condo complex in Florida.

sjstuart
December 13th, 2009, 08:14 AM
I too think it's a great idea. I am curious how you come up with the numbers, however. What is the methodology?

Would someone with a AAAA time have a shot at a Top 10 time?

Yes, the next step above AAAA is Top 10.

Each category is some percentage slower than the bottom five times in the Top 10, averaged over 3 years. AAAA = 5%, AAA = 10%, ... BB = 40%.


It will be interesting to see what will happen when the tech suits are banned what kinds of adjustments will have to be made.

Yes, these times are based on 3 years when tech suits were becoming more and more common. As the tech suit times roll off the list and get replaced with non-tech suit times, the times should get a little slower.

sjstuart
December 13th, 2009, 08:20 AM
Checking out the the 60-64 Mens division the 50 100 and 200 free times look about right, but there must be an error re the 500, 1000 and 1650????


Yeah, there definitely seems to be a mistake somewhere. For example, the 55-59 men 500 free BB time is 7:07.09 while the corresponding 60-64 time is 5:18.79.

Yes, there was definitely a mistake in the M60-64 500/1000/1650. Sorry about that. I have revised the attachment in the original post.

If anyone spots more errors, please let me know.

Medicine Woman
December 13th, 2009, 08:55 AM
Wow - what fun. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

joel schmaltz
December 13th, 2009, 09:07 AM
I think it's great, especially since it makes me feel a lot faster than I really am in some of my events. It's already motivated me to get some faster times. Thanks for putting this together!
gigi said it all for me. All of my times proved to be a little better than I thought they would be. I love things like this!! Thanks for posting this. Looks like I have got some work to do.

qbrain
December 13th, 2009, 09:27 AM
Kind of motivates me to take up another sport. I hate to be negative, but my personal lifetime goal would only make your table if you ran it out through about the letter 'G'.
Please don't take it personally, as it is not anything you have done, it is just my frustration. I find a lot of advice on this forum for people a whole lot faster than me and a whole lot of people at my pool who are slower than me. I had hoped your very meticulously constructed table would address that gap. Maybe next time.

Hey notsofast,

The motivational times are percentage based, not percentile based, so your comment that you wouldn't show up until G is actually fine, going from G to F would be a very reasonable goal, and there is no reason that the table can't be built like the A table so there is F, GGG, GG and G times increasing the rate of progression.

Here are rough estimates of A - M for the 25-30 100 Free:
A: 58.16
B: 1:07.85
C: 1:17.55
D: 1:27.24
E: 1:36.93
F: 1:46.63
G: 1:56.32
H: 2:06.01
I: 2:15.71
J: 2:25.40
K: 2:35.09
L: 2:44.79
M: 2:54.48

Now if you have a H time, what does that tell you about how you rank compared to other swimmers? It doesn't, that isn't the point of the motivational times. The motivational times give you a ladder to climb if you want to, and the top of the ladder is a top 10 time, but each rung is arbitrary competition wise.

Hopefully the concept is not still demotivational.

SaltySwimmer
December 13th, 2009, 10:25 AM
Very cool! Thanks for sharing this!

funkyfish
December 13th, 2009, 12:47 PM
Yes, these times are based on 3 years when tech suits were becoming more and more common. As the tech suit times roll off the list and get replaced with non-tech suit times, the times should get a little slower.
Guess I'm doing better than I thought since I kinda drug my feet about getting a tech suit, and have just raced in legskins and jammers. I see that I need more endurance since I'm at or just below the AAAA times in my 50s, but am in the AAA times for 100s. Also noticed that I fair better in scm than in scy, which I suspected, although I'm not sure why that is. Neat tool, I appreciate the time put into doing this.
:bliss:

jeffsab
December 13th, 2009, 01:19 PM
I think these times look spot on (for M35-39, at least). They fall almost perfectly in line with my own personal goals.

cantwait4bike
December 13th, 2009, 01:47 PM
good job. looks like the 65-69 AG fall off the cliff compared to the 60-64 AG, which are only a little slower than 55-59. must be medicare and SS

Maui Mike
December 13th, 2009, 02:32 PM
good job. looks like the 65-69 AG fall off the cliff compared to the 60-64 AG, which are only a little slower than 55-59. must be medicare and SS

Sixty five laps around the sun takes a toll.

The good side is you get in the movies cheaper.

quicksilver
December 13th, 2009, 04:26 PM
Very cool! Thanks for sharing this!

Same here. It was very interesting.

Thanks!

want2beafish
December 13th, 2009, 05:34 PM
I've wondered about this as well -- thanks so much for putting this together! Like others, I was surprised to see that I fared much better than I thought. Nice to see that (age-adjusted) I AM faster than my 16 year old (at least in freestyle)! :)

rtodd
December 13th, 2009, 05:36 PM
Looks like the AA times are basically the national qualifying times.

One thing worth mentioning is that the national qualifying times have been steadily getting faster the past four years. For me it's been kinda like chasing the dangling bananna.

Track has All American Standards, so it would be cool to have the same for swimming. Here's the track standards. They are fairly tough.
http://www.nationalmastersnews.com/allamer/aa_tf_m.htm

knelson
December 13th, 2009, 09:27 PM
Great idea. I used to pore over these lists as an age grouper!

Bobinator
December 13th, 2009, 09:52 PM
I love this!
Charts/standards like this motivate me. This is exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks for doing this! :agree:

orca1946
December 13th, 2009, 10:54 PM
What a good job in putting these up for us. Thanx !

5out6aintbad
December 14th, 2009, 04:44 AM
Thanks, I have been looking for something like this for a long time. Much appreciated from across the pond.

Saw the SCY version, grabbed a calculator and then saw the SCM version.

Nice work!!!

aquageek
December 14th, 2009, 08:46 AM
I'm impressed with this, nicely done. I think it is probably as close to acccurate as you can get with us old folks. I swim with a few top 10 guys and the are all AAAA plus, so, to me, your calculations and designations are very accurate.

BR KnuckleDragger
December 14th, 2009, 11:32 AM
Wow, this was quite encouraging to see where i fall in on the list. It seems everyone is in agreement on how accurate this is.

Thank you for making these .pdf's.

clwinnc
December 14th, 2009, 12:17 PM
This is fantastic. I'm getting back in the pool after 15 yrs and the 35-39 yr old times are exactly what I was looking for.

There are some FAST people in this age group out there! I'm surprised the times don't come down more from 18-24. Guess thats a testament to a heck of a lot of hard work and dedication. I'll see where I am 6 months from now.

smontanaro
December 14th, 2009, 12:41 PM
Thanks for the chart (forgot to include that in my first reply). I wonder if this could form the basis for more-or-less objective handicaps for gridges?

S

hofffam
December 14th, 2009, 03:47 PM
Excellent work!

Looked at the USA-S lists for years with my kids so it's fun to have an equivalent for Masters.

USMS really should just take this over and maintain it. They should create a Hy-tek file for use by Hy-tek's Team Manager and Meet Manager software so meet results could tag the times in result listings.

Red60
December 14th, 2009, 10:51 PM
I agree, these are great to have! Helps to see sets of times that are relevant to a broad range of swimmers. National qualifying times are out of reach for now, but these tables provide a graduated set of goals. Between this and the masters rating calculator (http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi)(mentioned on a recent thread, developed by Chris Stevenson) I feel like I've been handed some pretty useful tools for self-assessment. Thanks so much for your effort, Steve.

sjstuart
December 15th, 2009, 08:59 AM
Also noticed that I fair better in scm than in scy, which I suspected, although I'm not sure why that is.

That should be true for most people. SCY is a lot more popular than SCM. If some of the fast people don't race SCM, that slows down the Top 10 times, and your swims look better in comparison.

sjstuart
December 15th, 2009, 09:13 AM
Looks like the AA times are basically the national qualifying times.

That's no accident. Both are based on Top 10 + 15%.

For 200s and longer, the NQTs are +10%, which corresponds to AAA times.

The motivational times should be a hair faster than NQTs, because they're based on the 6th-10th times, while NQTs are based on the 10th place time.

sjstuart
December 15th, 2009, 09:15 AM
I swim with a few top 10 guys and the are all AAAA plus

They should be -- it's their times that the chart is based on!

sjstuart
December 15th, 2009, 09:22 AM
USMS really should just take this over and maintain it. They should create a Hy-tek file for use by Hy-tek's Team Manager and Meet Manager software so meet results could tag the times in result listings.

That would be very cool, to have times tagged automatically in meet results. Too bad I know nothing about Hy-tek.

I'm not sure everyone would want their times "scored" in public, though.

sjstuart
December 15th, 2009, 09:25 AM
Between this and the masters rating calculator (http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi)(mentioned on a recent thread, developed by Chris Stevenson) I feel like I've been handed some pretty useful tools for self-assessment. Thanks so much for your effort, Steve.

Very cool, thanks for the link.

I think if I had known about that rating calculator earlier, that would have satisfied my need for an objective benchmark, and I wouldn't have bothered with these time standard charts.

Red60
December 15th, 2009, 10:00 AM
I think if I had known about that rating calculator earlier, that would have satisfied my need for an objective benchmark, and I wouldn't have bothered with these time standard charts.

Glad you didn't know: the chart provides an overview that has real value. Thanks again.

Chris Stevenson
December 15th, 2009, 10:15 AM
I think if I had known about that rating calculator earlier, that would have satisfied my need for an objective benchmark, and I wouldn't have bothered with these time standard charts.

I'm glad you did; not everyone is comfortable with (or wants to go thru the hassle of) using a computer to calculate their ratings.

Although the people who frequent the forums are not necessarily a representative slice of the USMS membership, I have been moderately surprised at the positive response to your table. I might have predicted the opposite, since some people might not want to be reminded of their age-group days or don't want to think of masters being as "serious" as age-group swimming.

drujenn
December 15th, 2009, 10:24 AM
Great idea! This is actually a great idea on doing this sheet. Growing up we always had to have a AAA time (or was AA?) in order to be a Georgia All-Star and get the coveted "All-Star Towel" each year (of which I still have 3 from the 80's!). They would put what time standard you reached (could also be Senior Nats, Junior Nats, Olympic Trials) an had you name stitched on it.

Good to see that I'm somewhere between AA and AAA....I'm almost an All-Star again! :D:applaud:

I have a couple of those Georgia All-Star towels from the 80s as well - my daughter uses them now and loves to answer questions about them!

Steve, thanks for doing this! Having the motivational times will help me and my swimmers.

aquageek
December 15th, 2009, 10:40 AM
Chris - can you explain your rating calculator like you would to a second grader please? Say, for instance you have an 85% rating on an event, what does that mean to those of us with liberal arts educations?

thewookiee
December 15th, 2009, 10:44 AM
Chris - can you explain your rating calculator like you would to a second grader please? Say, for instance you have an 85% rating on an event, what does that mean to those of us with liberal arts educations?

Where did you get your education? UNC? Geez, if you had gone to Duke, you wouldn't need to be talked too like you are stillwater or dolphin2.

Chris, please explain to slugapuss grad in 1st grader terms, so that there is no confusion on his part.

aquageek
December 15th, 2009, 11:03 AM
stillwater or dolphin2.

Tech suits bad
Dope the children

I've found my new niche.

Chris Stevenson
December 15th, 2009, 11:39 AM
Chris - can you explain your rating calculator like you would to a second grader please? Say, for instance you have an 85% rating on an event, what does that mean to those of us with liberal arts educations?

The rating is the "ideal record" of an event at your age, divided by your time in it, then multiplied by 100. So the significance of a rating of 85 is that a record-caliber time is about 85% of what your time was.

So the next question is, what is the "ideal" record? Ultimately it is a number (derived from WRs and ARs) that is supposed to describe the effect of age on performance in a given event.

If you plot each record time (in sec) against the median age of the age group of the record, you get data that trend upward. I then "fit" a function to those data to describe the trend. The fitted function, which averages out the effects of "soft" and "insanely fast" records, describe the "ideal" record for a given age. Here is a link to an example (http://www.vaswim.org/record_curves/100_Free_curve.gif); the line describes how the "ideal record" depends on age.

If you make the assumption that the records are, generally, equally hard across all events and across genders, then the rating allows you to compare performances in different events, courses, ages and genders. It can even allow you to do time conversions between courses with an age-related component to it (I have done this for myself; the conversions are pretty consistent with other converters I've seen out there).

So you can start trash-talking anyone you want, not just men in your own age group. Which ultimately is the point.

(Actually, mostly the point is for personal goal setting. As age sets in and we get slower, we can possibly take some comfort if our ratings remain the same or improve; it means we are beating the aging curve of record-holders.)

The ratings on the VA site use the 2007 (pre-LZR) records. At some point soon I would like to offer two versions: one using the most recent pre-LZR records, and one using the current records. So if we lose the suits -- or someone elects to swim without them, if they remain legal -- you can make comparison between the two types of swims.

jeffsab
December 15th, 2009, 02:19 PM
That should be true for most people. SCY is a lot more popular than SCM. If some of the fast people don't race SCM, that slows down the Top 10 times, and your swims look better in comparison.

I was looking at the state records here in Michigan the other day and noticed that we have some comparatively weak SCM records for this very reason. There were only 2 SCM meets in 2009 compared to 9 SCY meets.

jim thornton
December 15th, 2009, 05:59 PM
To Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Stuart,

What do you think the odds are that the two best and most active, mathematically proficient, swim-data curve fitters would both be from the south and have surnames beginning with St?

Let me quickly reference yet another swim-math motivator I have personally found useful, especially before discovering St. Chris's formula.

St. Chris, for his part, knows of this other formula, but it is possible that St. Steve does not. It's an age regression swimming time calculator that Phil Arcuni posted a number of years back on this forum, that is, in the pre-speed suit era. Phil included the ability to also check the "Finnish formula" option, which is basically the same thing as the American version, but invented by a race of people who live on reindeer milk and cell phone dividends much of the year, and thus arguably more accurate.

http://n3times.com/swimtimes/

One thing the Phil Arcuni and Chris Stevenson approaches have in common is that they are adjustable by each year of a swimmer's age, not just the 5 year age group. Hence, a fellow such as myself, in the dotage of his 57th year, can still "improve" over his 55 year old performances despite the absolute times getting worse.

I do think that the next major need for motivation, at least for me, will be coming to grips with what I suspect will be a relatively huge uptick in times in the coming post-speed-suit era.

Would either of your fellows care to turn your keen mathematical minds to the job of predicting "equivalent times" with and without such suits--and do so before we need to wait several years for new data to filter in upon which your new curves can be fitted and hung?

Or, barring that, what do you predict, generally speaking, will be an average time change before and after B70s go to jammers? Obviously, for St. Chris and his hairless ilk, the differences have not been too great. But for us lumpkin types, what seems reasonable? Would 2 seconds per 100 be too much of an expected increase in times--or too little?

At last year's Colony Zones championships, for instance, I swam a B70 aided 52.86 in the 100 free. At this year's meet, all other things being equal, should I be delighted if I can break 55--or should I lapse into catatonia?

swimmj
December 15th, 2009, 06:43 PM
I found both the motivational times chart and Chris's calculator to be interesting and helpful. In both I end up strongest in fly, breast and IM's,
100 to 200 best distance. I don't train the mega yardage I did in college (thank goodness!) and I am weaker now in the long free stuff compared to some of the women I swim against. And I'm not a drop dead sprinter - just not quite enough speed.

It's all food for thought and I appreciate the work that went into creating the charts and the calculator.

--mj

Chris Stevenson
December 15th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Would either of your fellows care to turn your keen mathematical minds to the job of predicting "equivalent times" with and without such suits--and do so before we need to wait several years for new data to filter in upon which your new curves can be fitted and hung?

Or, barring that, what do you predict, generally speaking, will be an average time change before and after B70s go to jammers? Obviously, for St. Chris and his hairless ilk, the differences have not been too great. But for us lumpkin types, what seems reasonable? Would 2 seconds per 100 be too much of an expected increase in times--or too little?

At last year's Colony Zones championships, for instance, I swam a B70 aided 52.86 in the 100 free. At this year's meet, all other things being equal, should I be delighted if I can break 55--or should I lapse into catatonia?

If you haven't already seen it, I recommend going here to get an idea of the suits effects on elite athletes:

http://www.floswimming.org/blogs/blogger/Clbrammer/6033-part-iii-predictive-modeling-of-swim-performances-at-the-us-olympic-trials

For the men's 100 free, for example, the actual time was 0.7 sec faster (with the suit) than predicted; for men's 100 fly it was 1.0 sec.

But keep in mind that this analysis lumps the effects of all the suits of that time (B70s, LZRs, etc). Also this is for elite athletes who, um, have a different body profile and stroke efficiency than the typical masters swimmer. It is also for LCM and the effects might be different on the shorter courses.

Any predictions that I or someone else can come up with will, at best, be good on the average. But I have heard too many stories of drastic time drops to dismiss them entirely, so the effects may also be spectacularly individual. One (skinny) woman I know had more or less hit a recent plateau in an event, donned a B70 and promptly dropped about 6 seconds in a 100, to set a new national record.

How to account for such a drastic difference? At the Boston meet, Mike Ross theorized that the suit could reposition the body in a way that greatly increased efficiency for some people (but maybe not have much effect on others). In that scenario, it is even possible that with proper training the improvement could be maintained even after the suits become less buoyant or less compressing. George Parks mentioned something similar in a recent post.

All this hand waving mostly means is that you're on your own. Right now the swim ratings are based on 2007 records (ie, pre-LZR). I'll add one based on the most recent records, so you can use them to get a ballpark estimate of the effect (eg, determine the post-LZR rating of 52.86 and then use it to calculate an equivalent time with the pre-LZR rating curves).

__steve__
December 15th, 2009, 07:37 PM
Out of curiosity, I once plotted a rough graph of 50SCM record times (from USMS rulebook) correlating to age. I just wanted to see the typical sprinting speed decline with age. Haven't compared it to a distance event yet but I assume the curve would shift right.

jim thornton
December 15th, 2009, 08:03 PM
If you haven't already seen it, I recommend going here to get an idea of the suits effects on elite athletes:

http://www.floswimming.org/blogs/blogger/Clbrammer/6033-part-iii-predictive-modeling-of-swim-performances-at-the-us-olympic-trials



Thanks for the reference, Chris. One question: is it correct to assume these predictions were based on improvements from earlier generation body suits--like the Fastskin Pro, FSII, etc.?

If so, then finding that the 100 LCM freestyle times improved by .7 seconds more than anticipated does not really tell the story of how these guys would have swum in jammers, right? It only says the top 8 improved, on average, by .7 seconds more than historical time drop norms would have predicted, with these historical norms based, at least in recent years, on swims done in all the textile body suits in wide use since the Aquablade made its debut in 1996. According to Speedo, this same year, at the Atlanta Olympics, 76% of all swimming medals were won in SPEEDO, most wearing SPEEDO Aquablade."

I guess my basic question is probably unanswerable for now--how much of a time increase is likely to occur when going from B70 to jammers, not going from B70 to something very much like a zipper-less Fastskin Pro (as the women are probably going to be allowed to use).

As far as it being very individualized, I agree with this supposition but only so far. I would think that for the outliers on either end, the suit change could make either drastic or negligible differences in individual performance. But I still maintain that for the bulk of swimmers, there has got to be a reasonably accurate conversion factor--even if this is not likely to be discovered till enough actual times start filtering in to fit curves to the new data.


PS my friend and swimming coach Bill White, who is 39, and I both swam the 400 SCY IM at a local Y meet a few weeks back. I just used your grading formula and found--to my delight--that Bill's 4:34.12 at age 39 scored exactly the same as my 5:06.45 at age 57. We both scored 89.3. I don't think this is necessarily very motivating for Bill, but it certainly is for me!

qbrain
December 15th, 2009, 08:19 PM
I do think that the next major need for motivation, at least for me, will be coming to grips with what I suspect will be a relatively huge uptick in times in the coming post-speed-suit era.


Jim Jim Jim, don't worry so much. Alzheimer's will take care of your comparison worries. Each new time will become a personal best time as far as you can remember. There is greatness in your future!

jim thornton
December 15th, 2009, 08:24 PM
Jim Jim Jim, don't worry so much. Alzheimer's will take care of your comparison worries. Each new time will become a personal best time as far as you can remember. There is greatness in your future!


Who are you, young whippersnapper? And where is my pill?

Chris Stevenson
December 15th, 2009, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the reference, Chris. One question: is it correct to assume these predictions were based on improvements from earlier generation body suits--like the Fastskin Pro, FSII, etc.?

If so, then finding that the 100 LCM freestyle times improved by .7 seconds more than anticipated does not really tell the story of how these guys would have swum in jammers, right? It only says the top 8 improved, on average, by .7 seconds more than historical time drop norms would have predicted, with these historical norms based, at least in recent years, on swims done in all the textile body suits in wide use since the Aquablade made its debut in 1996. According to Speedo, this same year, at the Atlanta Olympics, 76% of all swimming medals were won in SPEEDO, most wearing SPEEDO Aquablade."

Yes that is true. However I find it interesting that this year (2008) was the only year in which the times were faster than predicted. All those past advances did not result in such a mismatch.

This doesn't necessarily mean older technology wasn't at all effective. It might mean is that the advancement in suit technology was fairly steady -- and incorporated in the model -- until the latest jump (ie, invention of the LZR, B70, etc).


PS my friend and swimming coach Bill White, who is 39, and I both swam the 400 SCY IM at a local Y meet a few weeks back. I just used your grading formula and found--to my delight--that Bill's 4:34.12 at age 39 scored exactly the same as my 5:06.45 at age 57. We both scored 89.3. I don't think this is necessarily very motivating for Bill, but it certainly is for me!

For a modest fee, I can jigger the calculation to provide you with any desired outcome.

ehoch
December 15th, 2009, 09:21 PM
If you make the assumption that the records are, generally, equally hard across all events and across genders

That's where you lose me ....

Chris Stevenson
December 15th, 2009, 10:11 PM
That's where you lose me ....

In what sense: that you don't agree with the assumption, or that you don't understand the statement?

The assumption being incorrect basically affects the ability to use the rating as a basis to compare performances in different events or between genders. For example, I can pick two very impressive swims from the NEM swim meet.

Mike Ross, age 41, 50 back: 25.53, rated at 104.6
Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen, age 47, 200 fly: 2:23.18, rated at 104.2

Consider how difficult a comparison this is: different genders, different ages, different events. The rating system gives a slight nod to Mike's swim. But that assumes that the records for women's 200 SCM fly are -- as a whole -- equally as tough as the men's 50 SCM back records. If we wish to use the rating in this manner, you are basically forced to make that assumption. So the accuracy of the statement, "Mike's swim is a little more impressive than Karlyn's" is only as good as that assumption is true.

If you also compare across courses (eg, to Mike's 100 SCY back from last year was 48.49, rated at 106.9), you have to make a further assumption that SCM records are equally as hard as SCY records. This is a dubious assumption in my mind, though I think the SCM records have gotten much tougher over the last 5-10 years. But if you want to make comparisons across courses, you really are stuck with making an assumption of this type.

Finally, all of those ratings use 2007 (pre-LZR) records to evaluate swims done in LZR-era suits, which tends to inflate those ratings and make it difficult to compare to older swims.

But if you use the ratings in a more limited sense, such as personal goal-setting, fewer assumptions need to be made. If my rating in a given event improves over the years, it means that I am withstanding the rigors of aging better than the record-holders in that event. That's not a bad thing...

ehoch
December 16th, 2009, 01:07 AM
It's just my opinion - and I understand the math, but for the Men - all the strokes are valued way way too high compared to Freestyle. Have not looked at the women's records.

You mentioned Mike's swim from last year" " to Mike's 100 SCY back from last year was 48.49, rated at 106.9"

--- in order to get that same rating in Freestyle (same age group), one would have to swim a 42.60 in a 100 Free. Now, a 48.49 is silly fast, but it can't compare to a 42.6. There always exceptions, but for the most part the Free records are much closer to the Open world records than in the strokes.

Look at the 200s in my age group - Free record is about 7 seconds above the NCAA record -- Backstroke is 13 / Breast 12 sec / Fly 11 / IM 11

I set an IM record and almost a back record - I am not that good of an IMer.

sjstuart
December 16th, 2009, 08:04 AM
Although the people who frequent the forums are not necessarily a representative slice of the USMS membership, I have been moderately surprised at the positive response to your table. I might have predicted the opposite, since some people might not want to be reminded of their age-group days or don't want to think of masters being as "serious" as age-group swimming.

I'm surprised too, actually. This table probably appeals most to those who need more outlets for their competitive side.

Probably those with a merely healthy dose of competitiveness just skipped this thread, or are biting their tongue. Not that internet forum-dwellers are usually known for saying nothing when they have nothing nice to say. What a polite group this must be...

sjstuart
December 16th, 2009, 08:14 AM
I was looking at the state records here in Michigan the other day and noticed that we have some comparatively weak SCM records for this very reason. There were only 2 SCM meets in 2009 compared to 9 SCY meets.

I have actually used the motivational time standards (or could equally well use Chris' swim rating calculator) for this exact purpose. I'm a breaststroker and can't touch the AAAA state records in those events. But some of the SCM records were BB or A in less popular events.

sjstuart
December 16th, 2009, 08:26 AM
What do you think the odds are that the two best and most active, mathematically proficient, swim-data curve fitters would both be from the south and have surnames beginning with St?

Better than the odds that they'd also both have the same profession.

I'll point out, though, that my table only required addition and multiplication -- purely 4th grade arithmetic. Chris' nonlinear least squares curve-fitting with power laws requires at least high school algebra.


St. Chris, for his part, knows of this other formula, but it is possible that St. Steve does not. It's an age regression swimming time calculator that Phil Arcuni posted a number of years back on this forum, that is, in the pre-speed suit era.

You are correct in assuming my ignorance, so thanks for the link. The only age-based normalization formulas I knew of before this thread were specific to track & field, so it's great to have swimming-specific ones.


Would either of your fellows care to turn your keen mathematical minds to the job of predicting "equivalent times" with and without such suits--and do so before we need to wait several years for new data to filter in upon which your new curves can be fitted and hung?

Not a chance. I don't know a B70 from a B52, having never been inside either one. My table adopts an "ignorance is bliss" approach on the question of tech suits.

jim thornton
December 16th, 2009, 09:18 AM
Look at the 200s in my age group - Free record is about 7 seconds above the NCAA record -- Backstroke is 13 / Breast 12 sec / Fly 11 / IM 11


The two factors that might explain at least some of this apparent discrepancy:



freestyle is the fastest stroke, so in percentage terms, a 7 second change in a 200 free is not quite so far off from a 13 second change in the 200 breast as the number of seconds indicates
masters practices, at least in my experience, tend to focus more on freestyle than the other strokes. this is particularly true on "distance" day where almost everyone does freestyle. this might not be the case with top college swimmers, where I would image there would be more specialization in practice by non-freestyle swimmers

Chris, I wish there was a way that Hy-Tech could incorporate your ranking system instantaneously with timing results. It would not be much of a boon to the youngsters like Ehoch or Michael Ross or, for that matter, you.

But for those of us who have begun "rage, raging against the dying of the light," I suspect there could be some value in being able to approach a 20-something davatchka in the full flower of her youth and say, "Sorry I had to beat you so badly in that event. Is there anyway I might help console you?"

SwimStud
December 16th, 2009, 09:31 AM
But for those of us who have begun "rage, raging against the dying of the light,"

Wow who knew, Dylan Thomas was a masters swimmer??

Chris Stevenson
December 16th, 2009, 09:48 AM
It's just my opinion - and I understand the math, but for the Men - all the strokes are valued way way too high compared to Freestyle. Have not looked at the women's records.

What you are basically saying is that the masters freestyle records are harder than the others.

I think you may be underestimating Mike's 100 SCY backstroke swim a little. At age 41 he swam the fastest masters 100 backstroke ever -- at any age -- by over half a second (0.63 sec to be exact). In 100 freestyle, on the other hand, the fastest record is 42.91; 0.63 sec faster than that is 42.28.

It may well be that the sprint records are generally pretty hard: a lot of people train for them and swim them in meets.

There may be another factor too: in her book, Dara Torres also comments on the fact -- and cites research to support her statement -- that aging affects sprinting the least. Certainly her own achievements seem to support that (and I keep meaning to chase down her references).

So I don't know that it is a good idea to compare masters times to (say) college times. Aging -- and training volumes for typical masters swimmers -- will affect events differently.

In the freestyle events I swim (mid-D and occasionally distance), I don't find the ratings to be downgraded; perhaps the opposite. My freestyle times are often rated pretty comparably to my butterfly times, but at USA-S meets I almost always do significantly better in the fly events. I don't believe the records for the free events at distances of 200 on up are any tougher than in the non-free events.

Maybe the take-home message is pretty simple: take the road less traveled. Or, equivalently: it sucks to be a sprinter. But I didn't need any fancy statistics to tell me that. :)

swimmj
December 16th, 2009, 01:01 PM
Jim Jim Jim, don't worry so much. Alzheimer's will take care of your comparison worries. Each new time will become a personal best time as far as you can remember. There is greatness in your future!
A great idea I heard is to consider every new master's age group as a new baseline. So, Jim, you are only 2.x years away from aging up and doing all new PR's in your new age group. :applaud:

--mj

ehoch
December 16th, 2009, 01:18 PM
What you are basically saying is that the masters freestyle records are harder than the others.

Yes - absolutely - use any point measurement system, FINA or I think US swimming has one as well and compare times.


I think you may be underestimating Mike's 100 SCY backstroke swim a little. At age 41 he swam the fastest masters 100 backstroke ever -- at any age -- by over half a second (0.63 sec to be exact). In 100 freestyle, on the other hand, the fastest record is 42.91; 0.63 sec faster than that is 42.28.

Come on Chris - that is just nonsense. Of course it's a fast swim, but you can't just pick the fastest Masters times and start comparing. Just because Sabir Mohammad dropped into Masters for a meet and swam a 42 in Masters, does not mean you can just say that is the same as Mike's swim. You are comparing the old apples and oranges. So if Peirsol decided to swim a Masters meet - that would make Mike's swim less valuable ???


There may be another factor too: in her book, Dara Torres also comments on the fact -- and cites research to support her statement -- that aging affects sprinting the least. Certainly her own achievements seem to support that (and I keep meaning to chase down her references).

I thought it was always that endurance was easier to be maintained -- all the aging runners go towards the Marathon ... plus I did not say that the sprint records are harder - I said Freestyle.



So I don't know that it is a good idea to compare masters times to (say) college times. Aging -- and training volumes for typical masters swimmers -- will affect events differently.

Well - I compare swimming times - and I know the records in my age group pretty well. I will give you the LCM 200 records in seconds above the world record...

200 Free + 13 /// Back + 21 // Breast + 16 // Fly + 14 // IM + 18

In your theory they are all equally strong -- I just totally disagree. Here the Free / Fly and Breast are about the same - but Back is way off. Maybe we disagree because I am a Freestyler and you are a Backstroker :bump:

jim thornton
December 16th, 2009, 02:00 PM
Here the Free / Fly and Breast are about the same - but Back is way off. Maybe we disagree because I am a Freestyler and you are a Backstroker :bump:


Do you think that one of the factors here with backstroke could be that this stroke has changed more in recent years than the others? I am speaking specifically of turns and SDKS. Anyone in their 40s almost certainly did not learn these in the early part of their backstroke careers, back in the days when nobody SDK'd off the walls, and you had to touch each wall with your hand on every turn.

Maybe the reason the 200 backstroke masters records are so much further off the world records than other strokes is because most masters past a certain age had to learn these new techniques in later life. They might be very, very good at them--Chris and Mike Ross have superb SDKs. But perhaps the world record is held by somebody who learned these things when he was 4 or 5.

If this has any validity, then one might predict that breaststroke, too, would show some greater divergence in masters records since the wave stroke was also pioneered relatively recently. Watching guys swim this at Nationals, and you still see the flat style predominating in older age groups.

jim thornton
December 16th, 2009, 02:03 PM
A great idea I heard is to consider every new master's age group as a new baseline. So, Jim, you are only 2.x years away from aging up and doing all new PR's in your new age group. :applaud:

--mj


Thanks. I will talk to the undertaker about the hull speed of my future coffin.

Perhaps this will keep me afloat as I cross the river Styxx, joining Dylan Thomas on the far banks in the not too distant future.

Chris Stevenson
December 16th, 2009, 02:30 PM
Well - I compare swimming times - and I know the records in my age group pretty well. I will give you the LCM 200 records in seconds above the world record...

200 Free + 13 /// Back + 21 // Breast + 16 // Fly + 14 // IM + 18

In your theory they are all equally strong -- I just totally disagree. Here the Free / Fly and Breast are about the same - but Back is way off. Maybe we disagree because I am a Freestyler and you are a Backstroker :bump:

You chastise me for cherrypicking my data, and then you do the exact same thing? :) The rating system does not say those particular records are equally strong; in fact it more or less agrees with your analysis of the records in your age group.

200 free: 101.2
200 back: 99.3
200 breast: 102.6
200 fly: 102.4
200 IM: 100.6

What the system does is say that, across all age groups, the records in a given event (ie, combination of distance/stroke/gender/course) are equally strong. (I should point out that I use a "statistically robust" regression method that devalues records that seem abnormally strong or weak.)

I think that if you want to evaluate MASTERS times, using MASTERS records makes the most sense, rather than using elite WRs or other standards. There are several reasons:
-- using masters WRs/ARs allows one to model the effects of age, where elite WRs do not easily lend themselves to this
-- masters are not elites. Or, as you say, apples should be compared to apples.
-- there are already some age-independent rating systems out there based on things like WRs. You can use them if you don't think you get a fair shake from this one.

TRYM_Swimmer
December 16th, 2009, 02:31 PM
Guess I'm doing better than I thought since I kinda drug my feet about getting a tech suit, and have just raced in legskins and jammers. I see that I need more endurance since I'm at or just below the AAAA times in my 50s, but am in the AAA times for 100s. Also noticed that I fair better in scm than in scy, which I suspected, although I'm not sure why that is. Neat tool, I appreciate the time put into doing this.
:bliss:

This is probably because more US swimmers swim SCY than SCM, so the Top Ten is harder to reach. On various occasions, I have made TT in SCM or LCM, but never in SCY.

Great tool!

aquageek
December 16th, 2009, 02:50 PM
I only wish I understood this argument so I could decide which nerd is winning. I feel equally lost when wookie tries to convince me sheep are better kissers than goats.

swimmj
December 16th, 2009, 03:24 PM
Thanks. I will talk to the undertaker about the hull speed of my future coffin.

Perhaps this will keep me afloat as I cross the river Styxx, joining Dylan Thomas on the far banks in the not too distant future.

LOL. One of my best ever masters races was a 200 SCM free in a lane right next to Dave Radcliff, who was 74 at the time. I was 47. I had a modest lead at the first 50 and kept it until the final lap - he outkicked me and had a great finish. I was happy with my time (a 3 second PR) and really enjoyed the race. I shook his hand and offered congrats on a great race. A couple of weeks later he was in our area and worked out with us - a really fun guy to swim with and dangerous in any distance of free. He has a younger spirit than some of my 9 year old age group swimmers and calls me and my hubby, who is your age, "kids". It's all perspective.

I also just had a relay experience where I was down over a 1/2 lap of the pool on the fly leg of a 400 Medley Relay and chased down and caught a swimmer 12 years my junior. She knew I was coming fast and her swim was a PR of 4 seconds - again, great race. I think one of the very best things about masters is getting to race against anyone who is close to you in speed.

--mj

p.s. I never get any sympathy from the DH about my age, as he's always 8.75 years older.

Chris Stevenson
December 16th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Yes - absolutely - use any point measurement system, FINA or I think US swimming has one as well and compare times.

This is probably an ideological impasse since ultimately it is about a choice of what is the appropriate yardstick to evaluate masters times. (I prefer to use masters records, you prefer elite records or presumably other elite standards like US OT qualifying times.)

But it occurs to me that possibly one way to check your assertion that the VA rating system undervalues freestyle times would be to rate all the TT times in freestyle -- or maybe just the top times -- and compare them to the other strokes. If the freestyle times are systematically lower then that would lend credence to your argument. I will do this over the weekend (it wouldn't take long but I can't do it now) and report back.

jim thornton
December 16th, 2009, 04:59 PM
Chris, please don't forget to consider the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium:

p^2 + 2pq + q^2 = 1
p = recessive allele
q = dominant allele
p^2, q^2, and 2pq are percentages.

or the effect ofComplex (Imaginary) Numbers:

i = SQRT(-1)
i^2 = -1
1/i = -i
SQRT(i) = SQRT(1/2) + SQRT(1/2)i

or, for that matter, the occasionally bamboozling Frustum of Right Circular Cone

Volume = (1/3)PI(r^2 + rR + R^2)h
Lateral Surface Area = (PI)s(r + R)
Total Surface Area = PI[r(r+s)+R(R+s)]
r = small radius
R = large radius
h = height
s = slant height = SQRT[(R-r)2+h2]


I know that many of our current readers might find these possible cofounders unnecessarily complicated, but I think the only way to impress Mr. Ehoch and his fastidiously Germanic mathematical mindset is to be as detailed as possible.

Just so long as the bottom line conclusion here remains what we all know it to be: that given the various age, psychiatric, physical, and character weakness handicaps that I, Jim Thornton, personally suffer, math proves that I am clearly the best swimmer of all time when the proper mathematical adjustments have been factored in.

Thanks, Chris. And you, sir, are a very close No. 2!

As for you, Mr. Ehoch, you appear to be the best German now swimming in America in your age group with your knowledge of math.

SwimStud
December 16th, 2009, 11:16 PM
Posted these next to the age groupers national cuts times...I know some of the youngster are surprised that A) Old farts still race and 2) some of them are faster than they are!

chowmi
December 17th, 2009, 10:53 AM
No need to justify them, in my opinion. These are for motivation, not for validation. And so my special request is for no adjustment for fastsuits. I don't want a handicapped table or percentile calculator; I want one that will MOTIVATE me, regardless of suit type.

jim thornton
December 17th, 2009, 03:12 PM
No need to justify them, in my opinion. These are for motivation, not for validation. And so my special request is for no adjustment for fastsuits. I don't want a handicapped table or percentile calculator; I want one that will MOTIVATE me, regardless of suit type.


Michelle, as a former Pittsburgher, you of all people could benefit from the inclusion of the effect of Complex (Imaginary) Numbers:

i = SQRT(-1)
i^2 = -1
1/i = -i
SQRT(i) = SQRT(1/2) + SQRT(1/2)i

I have thusly incorporated this into my NFL rankings, and the Steelers have managed to win yet another Superbowl this year, despite not making the playoffs.

Talk about motivating!

SLOmmafan
December 17th, 2009, 06:50 PM
I think the B-A-AA etc. system probably means more to those of us who swam age group/USA swimming then someone new to masters, but it is nice to have some type of guideline to figure where you are swimming (in relation to top times). Especially nice for those of us who swim in somewhat isolated areas and don't see really fast competition on a regular basis.

sjstuart
December 30th, 2009, 12:10 PM
The top post has been updated with LCM motivational times.

funkyfish
December 30th, 2009, 11:53 PM
My times are better for lcm than either scy or scm. Is that because there's more competition in short course meets? Maybe it means my turns need more work?
:bouncing:

sjstuart
December 31st, 2009, 07:33 AM
LCM meets are definitely less popular than SCY. This makes the Top 10 times slightly less impressive, and the motivational times a little easier.

SCM is also less popular, though. I'm not sure that LCM times are much, if any, easier than SCM.

Allen Stark
December 31st, 2009, 11:14 AM
Generally LCM is harder to TT in than SCM.SCY is the hardest because it is the most swum course in the US.I still think LCM is the truer test of swimming(vs turning.)

GrayM
January 1st, 2010, 12:47 PM
I think this is great!

Leslie Scott
January 1st, 2010, 08:14 PM
How cool that you posted the motivational times in this forum. I hope the idea catches on and helps many swimmers!

redcliffe
January 2nd, 2010, 08:09 PM
Just wondering are those times based on world standards or USA standards? I'm from Australia and was wondering what the percentiles you're basing the grade off are. I'd like to create a similiar chart for Australian masters.

Also I've always found it odd comparing times at my age group, 25-29 because most of the great swimmers my age are in elite competition. Would it likely be that hard to make tables that incorporate the elite times in? Thanks,

David

sjstuart
January 2nd, 2010, 09:07 PM
Just wondering are those times based on world standards or USA standards? I'm from Australia and was wondering what the percentiles you're basing the grade off are. I'd like to create a similiar chart for Australian masters.

Also I've always found it odd comparing times at my age group, 25-29 because most of the great swimmers my age are in elite competition. Would it likely be that hard to make tables that incorporate the elite times in?

These are based on USMS Top 10 times. (USA, not world) I did this to mimic the USA Swimming (non-Masters) time standards, which are based on their list of Top 16 times.

All you need to generate a similar table is an Australian "Top N" list. I have no idea whether it exists -- either for masters or elites.

redcliffe
January 2nd, 2010, 09:16 PM
All you need to generate a similar table is an Australian "Top N" list. I have no idea whether it exists -- either for masters or elites.

Yep there is. So the ranks are just based on a spread across the top 10? Thanks,

David

jim thornton
January 2nd, 2010, 09:49 PM
Hi, David, not sure how much of this thread you have looked at, but I highly recommend checking out Chris Stevenson's formula for age-grading swims in the different courses. http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi

Chris (I think it was Chris, though it might have been another mathematically inclined US swimming god) also told me at one point that in England, it's not uncommon to use this sort of calculation at masters meets so that the oldsters can compete in a sense with the youngsters.

I just did a review of my own swimming times for the past 12 years and posted my amateur analysis of the effect of different suits and training volumes on a decidely less than swimming god-like shlub (Meditations on a Swimming Bubble) here http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=7196

Good luck with your efforts! It's nice to know that Australians visit this forum. Say hi to Ian Thorpe for us, and wish him good luck on his diet.

redcliffe
January 2nd, 2010, 10:08 PM
Hi, David, not sure how much of this thread you have looked at, but I highly recommend checking out Chris Stevenson's formula for age-grading swims in the different courses. http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi

Good luck with your efforts! It's nice to know that Australians visit this forum. Say hi to Ian Thorpe for us, and wish him good luck on his diet.

I did see that, thanks. I don't know Ian Thorpe personally, Australia is a largish place. I do swim at the same pool as much of the Australian olympic team though(Ken Wood's pool), so occasionally bump into some of our great swimmers.

I've been recently made Club Captain of our club and have been working since then to try and bring a bit more competitiveness to Australian masters swimming, it just doesn't seem quite as organised as you have it over there. Thanks,

David

jim thornton
January 2nd, 2010, 10:46 PM
David, I was just joking around. I know that Australia is a big place. Our regular poster here, Chicken of the Sea, is from the Sydney area, and she tells me that there is quite a bit of consternation in your country these days since Russia issued a ban on kangaroo meat importation.

You have my sympathy!

If you do happen to run into Ian Thorpe, could you run a money-making idea by him? I would like to license his feet, take molds of these, and then produce a line of latex Ian Thorpe replica feet-fins.

The average swimmer, such as myself, could order anywhere from a size 6 to a size 12 Ian Thorpe latex pair of feet fins, then see what it would be like to be able to race with such large feet. I suspect my times would definitely improve. Perhaps I could then license some Jason Lezak hand paddles.

Tell Ian I might be willing to pay up to 1 cent US for every pair of Ian Thorpedo Fins I can sell.

In the meantime, best of luck with the Australian masters movement!

redcliffe
January 3rd, 2010, 02:45 AM
David, I was just joking around. I know that Australia is a big place.

If you do happen to run into Ian Thorpe, could you run a money-making idea by him? I would like to license his feet, take molds of these, and then produce a line of latex Ian Thorpe replica feet-fins.

In the meantime, best of luck with the Australian masters movement!

LOL yep I figured, just playing along! :) Sounds like a good idea though!!

David

gull
January 3rd, 2010, 10:29 AM
There may be another factor too: in her book, Dara Torres also comments on the fact -- and cites research to support her statement -- that aging affects sprinting the least.

For men, but not for women (at least after the age of 40). Which makes her achievements all the more remarkable.

Great work with the motivational times! Very encouraging for those of us who were mediocre age group swimmers.

sjstuart
January 3rd, 2010, 10:58 AM
Yep there is. So the ranks are just based on a spread across the top 10?

Specifically: average times 6-10 in an age group, for the last 3 years. Then:

AAAA = 5% slower
AAA = 10% slower
AA = 15% slower
A = 20% slower
BB = 30% slower
B = 40% slower

There's nothing sacred in these details, of course. They were chosen to mirror the USAS time standards. You may want to change them.

redcliffe
January 3rd, 2010, 05:11 PM
There's nothing sacred in these details, of course. They were chosen to mirror the USAS time standards. You may want to change them.

Ah thanks, I'll have a play with that. Thanks

David

__steve__
January 4th, 2010, 08:02 AM
The records chart in the USMS rulebook shows no more decay of speed with age for the 50 than the 1500/1650 for men, in fact the curves are very close. Unless very old competitors prefer sprinting events, this reinforces the claim that you don't lose sprinting ability more than endurance with age.

I posted the chart in post #52 (from work computer) but it appears to be in the wrong format.

Allen Stark
January 4th, 2010, 04:03 PM
The records chart in the USMS rulebook shows no more decay of speed with age for the 50 than the 1500/1650 for men, in fact the curves are very close. Unless very old competitors prefer sprinting events, this reinforces the claim that you don't lose sprinting ability more than endurance with age.

I posted the chart in post #52 (from work computer) but it appears to be in the wrong format.

Interesting that the curve is flat 45-50 and nearly flat 45-60.

Rykno
March 2nd, 2010, 03:37 AM
I just looked at the SCM list for M35-39.

seems like they are on the slow side or maybe I missed something in the creation of the table.

are the AAAA times just outside the top 10 list, or does a 4A time put you in contention for getting a top 10 time.

I am by no means a freestyler or backstroker, but manage to be 3A on the spints, and 4A for 200 an longer in free and in back it was 2A, 3A, 4A from 50--> 200.

comparing my times to others in a little place like sweden I would have expected to have been in the 2A-3A in the Breat and IM events only.

but I will print this out and bring it to practice tonight.

qbrain
March 2nd, 2010, 09:16 AM
are the AAAA times just outside the top 10 list, or does a 4A time put you in

4A is 5% below top 10.

I think since conditioning is less of an issue, it is easier to do better in the sprints than the distance events, if there is a good number of competitors.

sjstuart
March 3rd, 2010, 09:59 AM
Yes, the AAAA times are just outside the Top 10. Technically, they're 5% off the average of the 6th through 10th times. For longer events, where the gap from the 6th best time to the 10th best time can be significant, a AAAA time could be relatively close to a Top 10 time.

As an example for your M35-39 age group, in SCM it would have taken 2:05 to 2:06 to get in the top 10 in the past few years. The AAAA time is 2:10.39. So yes, just outside top 10 range in this case.

Note that SCM times are much less competitive in the US than SCY times, because we have fewer SCM meets. That may be why the SCM times appear slow to a European.

But if you see anything that looks like an error, please let me know.

sjstuart
March 21st, 2010, 09:13 AM
The 2009 SCM Top Ten list has been finalized, so I have updated the SCM motivational times. The file is in the first post in this thread.

LindsayNB
March 21st, 2010, 02:54 PM
Is there a reason all the times seem to end in a 9?

sjstuart
March 22nd, 2010, 08:17 AM
Is there a reason all the times seem to end in a 9?

Sure: because the USA Swimming chart that I'm mimicking has its times all rounded to end in a 9.

I can't tell you why USA-S does it that way. My guess it's because everyone tends to round down. I.e. if I tell you I went a :30.5, that means :30.5x. All of which beat a time standard of :30.59.

sjstuart
March 22nd, 2010, 09:26 PM
If you compared the previous (2009) SCM times and the new (2010) SCM times, chances are you noticed that the times got a little faster in your age group.

The benchmark top-ten times are averaged over 3 years, so the 2006 times have rolled off the list, and been replaced with 2009 times. The 2009 times are faster than the 2006 times in most (but not all) age groups and events.

One obvious difference between 2006 and 2009 times is tech suits. But there are other differences, too, like increased participation. I'll leave it to others to discuss the reasons for the changes. But here are a few observations:

If you're a woman between 45 and 59, times are getting tougher. Benchmarks improved in all or all but one of the SCM events in your age group.

This competitive age range is even broader for men. For the five age groups from 45 through 69, times got faster in either 17 or 18 of the 18 SCM events.

The pace of progress is slowest in the oldest age groups, which have the least participation. Times got faster barely more than half of the events in W75-79, W80-84, M70-74 and M80-84. In these age groups, there are few enough swimmers that it probably makes a big difference who ages up, or swims which events.

The oddball age group is M35-39. That's the only age group where more times got slower than got faster. 8 of 18 times improved, but 9 of 18 got worse. (One stayed the same.)

What about events? In general, the sprinters improved most consistently. 25 of 26 age groups got faster in the 50 and 100 free, for example. All events got faster in at least half of the age groups, but the least popular events were also the most inconsistent. Only about 2/3 of the age groups improved in the 1500 free, 200 fly, and 400 IM.

krovetz
March 28th, 2010, 10:19 AM
Specifically: average times 6-10 in an age group, for the last 3 years. Then:

AAAA = 5% slower
AAA = 10% slower
AA = 15% slower
A = 20% slower
BB = 30% slower
B = 40% slower

There's nothing sacred in these details, of course. They were chosen to mirror the USAS time standards. You may want to change them.

Hi Steve,

I recently decided to undertake the development of a motivational times list too -- without knowing about your good work on it already. Since it's an awful lot of work, I'll stop my effort and use your charts instead.

I do have a few comments, if you're interested.

- Your percentages do correctly follow the USS calculations, but nut not your seeding methodology. USS uses the fastest ever 16th place annual ranking as their seed time.

http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?mid=4435&ItemId=3111

This has the benefit of making the updating of your tables easy. When each year's top list comes out, compare your current seeds with the new 16th places, and keep the faster of the two. No averaging, no rolling windows.

- USS has a huge number of kids, so using the 16th fastest time as a seed is a reasonable way of excluding the freakishly fast, but still getting a very fast and relatively stable time base. Masters, however, is much smaller, so going as deep as 16 might not have the same result. I found that using the fastest sixth (or eighth) place in the USMS top ten database as my seed time would work pretty well.

- Non-textile technical suits screw everything up. They've been banned. They had a big effect on 2008 and (more so on) 2009, and will continue to do so in 2010 until their ban takes hold. For example, in my age group, 13 out of a possible 18 seed times would come from 2009 if I didn't exclude that year. It looks to me like these suits result in a 1-2% speed increase. I was going to ignore 2008-2010 lists.

Again, thanks for the charts. You've done a nice job.

-Ted

sjstuart
March 29th, 2010, 08:44 AM
Excellent info, thanks.

I had looked for some description of what baseline (seed time) USA Swimming used, but didn't find the info you linked to.

Lacking that info, I had actually tried a few different options to see what combination of the top 16 times they were using. It turns out that averaging times 9-16 over the previous quad comes very, very close, but I knew I was missing something.

Using the best ever 16th place time makes sense -- it would make the list more stable and less susceptible to fluctuations from year to year. Especially in the less populated age groups. I guess I would use the best ever 10th place time, since USMS' Top 10 list is the equivalent of USA Swimming's Top 16 list. And it makes sense (to me) to view the Top 10 list as the next step above a AAAA ranking.

I agree that tech suits wreak havoc with the lists (under either method). Using the best ever Nth place time, the tech suit times would skew the motivational times semi-permanently (until the tech suit seed time gets beat). Using the rolling average, the effect is smaller, but takes 3 years to roll off the chart.

The next time I update the charts, I'll crunch some numbers to see if it makes sense to switch over to using an Nth best time as the baseline.

sjstuart
September 2nd, 2010, 10:37 AM
Since the 2010 SCY Top Ten list has been finalized, I have updated the SCY motivational times. I can no longer edit the first post in the thread to replace the link there, so the new chart is attached to this post.

Not surprisingly, the motivational times got faster because tech suits were still legal in the 2010 SCY season. Time cutoffs got faster by about 1%, on average, pretty much independent of gender & stroke & distance.

bzaks1424
September 2nd, 2010, 11:45 AM
Since the 2010 SCY Top Ten list has been finalized, I have updated the SCY motivational times.

Oh my goodness! I can actually make a B cut in the freestyle events!

MY MIND == BLOWN

TRYM_Swimmer
September 2nd, 2010, 12:25 PM
Thanks, Steve. It's a great way to set goals for all levels.

ElaineK
September 2nd, 2010, 02:07 PM
Thanks, Steve! I have a love-hate relationship with your chart, but I'm learning to make it all love... :D At least, I'm trying to have a good sense of humor about the fact that my non-specialty strokes are, uh, not even on the chart yet. But I LOVE the fact that I'm almost an "AA" in 50 breaststroke (unfortunately, the meet didn't count) and determined to work my way further up the chart.

As a newbie, your chart has been a great way for me to set goals and stay motivated, since I don't live close to a USMS team and workout on my own.

Keep up the great work! :applaud:

couldbebetterfly
September 2nd, 2010, 11:12 PM
Thanks - I was just thinking I needed to look this up and see how I did over the summer.

Now I know - B for 50 free, A for 100 free, AA for 200 free, maybe I should keep going, swim a 1650 and I'd be on track for a top 10 :)

SwimStud
September 3rd, 2010, 10:27 AM
These tables are great. I have gone from BB-A to A-AA the past year. Some of my BR events are bordering on AAA...it's great to see it and have something to strive for.

sjstuart
September 3rd, 2010, 11:51 AM
Stud, we should race. We're in the same AG, and I'm also A-AA in most and AAA in breaststroke (but B-BB in fly, unfortunately).

I guess we have raced, in one heat of the 200 BR at SCY Nationals, although we didn't realize it at the time.

ElaineK
September 3rd, 2010, 12:28 PM
maybe I should keep going, swim a 1650 and I'd be on track for a top 10 :)

You go girl!!! :cheerleader:
It looks like we are at almost at the same level in our specialties. Except, I go in reverse order! The longer I swim, the slower I get...

ElaineK
September 3rd, 2010, 12:38 PM
These tables are great. I have gone from BB-A to A-AA the past year. Some of my BR events are bordering on AAA...it's great to see it and have something to strive for.

Wooohooo! Way to go STUD! :cheerleader:

jim thornton
September 3rd, 2010, 12:49 PM
Steve, I just made reference to your great concept on another thread: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=225202#post225202 --this is on how USMS can grow its membership to 100,000 (and beyond.)

ElaineK
September 3rd, 2010, 01:55 PM
Steve, I just made reference to your great concept on another thread: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=225202#post225202 --this is on how USMS can grow its membership to 100,000 (and beyond.)

Great ideas, Jim! :applaud:

ElaineK
September 3rd, 2010, 03:25 PM
Hey, I have an idea on how we can use the Motivational Times Chart:
For those of you who have "grudge" races in mind with your fellow Forumites, use the chart for handicapping purposes. This would work for match-ups against a swimmer of another gender/ age group/ stroke specialty. And, it would work for those who may not meet up until National- or possibly never.

bzaks1424
September 3rd, 2010, 03:31 PM
Hey, I have an idea on how we can use the Motivational Times Chart:
For those of you who have "grudge" races in mind with your fellow Forumites, use the chart for handicapping purposes. This would work for match-ups against a swimmer of another gender/ age group/ stroke specialty. And, it would work for those who may not meet up until National- or possibly never.

Rub it in Elaine..... :D

You wouldn't happen to have C, D or F cuts would you? I could really use some of those.
(BTW Elaine - in the spirit of Wookiee I fixed that font/color problem for you ;))

ElaineK
September 3rd, 2010, 05:36 PM
(BTW Elaine - in the spirit of Wookiee I fixed that font/color problem for you ;))

:thhbbb:

couldbebetterfly
September 3rd, 2010, 09:53 PM
You go girl!!! :cheerleader:
It looks like we are at almost at the same level in our specialties. Except, I go in reverse order! The longer I swim, the slower I get...

I probably should have pointed out that I peak at 400m :bolt:

bzaks1424
September 3rd, 2010, 09:55 PM
I probably should have pointed out that I peak at 400m :bolt:

Wow! I peak at like 3-4' (assuming a push off the wall)

orca1946
September 4th, 2010, 12:28 AM
I turn 65 b 4 the next state meet, so I need to get a bit faster.

jroddin
September 6th, 2010, 09:05 AM
Steve,

I am impressed with the work you've done over the past few seasons on these motivational times. The USMS Championship Committee developed the NQTs strictly for the purpose of having time standards for our National Championship meets and weren't created to serve as any kind of motivational tool or yardstick (although it is inevitable they can be used as such). Your tables can indeed reach out to a larger audience and serve various levels of swimmers.

From what I have learned from your posts, you take the average 6-10 place times from Top Ten from each event/age group/sex and then average that time over the past 3 years and then apply a factor (+5%, +10%, +15, ..., +40% etc) to come up with times for each "grade." I personally like the idea of using the 3 year average instead of using only the fastest time from those three years (USS method). The 3 year average smooths the curves out better and you aren't as prone to have a "bump" when that fast time drops out the back (but the USS method tends to keep the times the same for a couple years, which some may like for consistency). Anyway, either method has its pros and cons. NQTs simply use the Top Ten 10th place average over the past 3 years and apply a scaling factor (can change meet to meet, but often it is 10% for events 200+ and 15% for 50s and 100s). For events that don't have 10 times in the Top Ten, we use the 5th place average and apply a larger scaling factor.


Since the 2010 SCY Top Ten list has been finalized, I have updated the SCY motivational times.

Not surprisingly, the motivational times got faster because tech suits were still legal in the 2010 SCY season. Time cutoffs got faster by about 1%, on average, pretty much independent of gender & stroke & distance.

That is interesting to see your observation about the times being 1% faster. How much of that do you think is the influence of 2010 times being added and how much is it the fact that 2007 times got dropped from the table? For SCY, our Top Ten is dominated by times done at Nationals (I've seen many instances where somebody got 10th place at Nationals and that time ended up being 10th in the Top Ten). 2007 (Federal Way) was a smaller meet than average and 2010 (Atlanta) blew away the average, so your tables saw a "double whammy."

For 2011 NQTs the Championship Committee will have to determine how to take into account the "tech suit" effect. But we can't really make any decisions until the HOD makes up its mind on which way we will go for SCY suit rules.

Jeff Roddin
USMS Championship Committee

PS. Steve - do you attend convention?

sjstuart
September 6th, 2010, 07:26 PM
From what I have learned from your posts, you take the average 6-10 place times from Top Ten from each event/age group/sex and then average that time over the past 3 years and then apply a factor (+5%, +10%, +15, ..., +40% etc) to come up with times for each "grade."


Correct.



I personally like the idea of using the 3 year average instead of using only the fastest time from those three years (USS method).


As I understand it, the USS times are determined by the fastest ever times, not the fastest times in the last quad. (As explained by krovetz in post #105, although his link is now dead.)

I've decided I like this rolling average method better, too. Using all-time best times would make the standards more stable, but in this post-tech suit era those high-water marks might be a little too far out of reach. I like the fact that the next step above AAAA on the chart is making the Top Ten list.



That is interesting to see your observation about the times being 1% faster. How much of that do you think is the influence of 2010 times being added and how much is it the fact that 2007 times got dropped from the table?


I can't say. When I get some time, I plan to look at the year-to-year trends in the Top Ten. Maybe then I'll be able to answer your question.



PS. Steve - do you attend convention?


Nope. I really don't know anything about it, but I assume I'd have to be a representative, or something.

jim thornton
September 6th, 2010, 08:38 PM
Nope. I really don't know anything about it, but I assume I'd have to be a representative, or something.

Not really. The main requirement is a superhuman tolerance for boredom.

fmracing
September 7th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Not sure why i just saw these now. I rate a whole lot better on these than on the usa-s charts i was previously comparing myself to.

...about 0.06sec away from a AAAA time :banana:

Frogman
January 26th, 2012, 11:38 AM
This is sooooo great! I am super motivated now after looking up my times from last year against this list. I make the B cut on a few swims...Wooo hooo...working up towards the top from here. This is great! Thank you soooo much! :applaud:

Manuel

Bobinator
March 19th, 2012, 12:16 AM
Oh drat here it is!

ElaineK
July 2nd, 2012, 04:30 PM
Does anybody have an updated Motivational Times Chart for any/all courses they can post here? I am still referring to old charts from 2010 and would like to see updated charts; especially now that I am competing in several new events.

Steve, I know I have asked you this before, but... Do you plan to update your charts? :banana: :cheerleader: Please??? :D

anodyl
October 12th, 2012, 01:21 PM
I second Elaine's request.

knelson
October 12th, 2012, 01:33 PM
What's wrong with the current charts? I think even USA Swimming only updates their charts every three years.

ElaineK
October 12th, 2012, 01:33 PM
I second Elaine's request.

Thanks! They would be much more helpful than the 2010 charts I am currently using. :agree:

tpost2
July 3rd, 2013, 07:47 PM
Anyone know if these charts have been updated since 2010? They are motivational for me :)

robertsrobson
July 4th, 2013, 04:51 AM
When I started swimming masters a few years ago, I soon found myself wanting some time standards to compare myself against. Sure, tracking my own PRs is motivating, but I also wanted some sort of objective mark to measure myself against.

There is the Top 10 list, of course, but I'm not close enough to those times for them to serve as realistic motivation. Nationals qualifying times provide a slightly lower bar, but these are still out of many masters' reach. It seems like there should be some sort of time standards that are more widely applicable -- like the A, AA, ... motivational times in kids' age group swimming.

I did use those USA Swimming motivational times for a while, but I got tired of comparing myself to 12-year-olds. Eventually I decided to create my own masters' motivational time standards, using the same method that is used for the kids.

I have really enjoyed using these motivational times over the past couple of years, and I'm guessing they might be useful to others as well. Especially for those, like me, who are competitive enough to be motivated by a quantitative benchmark, but not fast enough to aspire to the Top 10 list.

I have just updated the SCY list, and figured I would post it here for others to use.

Please enjoy. I'd also love to hear any feedback.

As a psychologist, I'd always recommend that the only comparison worth using for motivation is yourself. I'd also focus less on times per se, but on how you are training, preparing and executing your swims. I've never come across "motivational times" but it scares me that there might be an officially sanctioned version of this for younger swimmers, as it flies in the face of evidence about motivation and related emotional and behavioural impacts on the athlete.

arthur
July 4th, 2013, 12:03 PM
As a psychologist, I'd always recommend that the only comparison worth using for motivation is yourself. I'd also focus less on times per se, but on how you are training, preparing and executing your swims. I've never come across "motivational times" but it scares me that there might be an officially sanctioned version of this for younger swimmers, as it flies in the face of evidence about motivation and related emotional and behavioural impacts on the athlete.
I think the purpose of the age group swimmers "motivational times" list is for qualifying for meets.

robertsrobson
July 5th, 2013, 03:42 AM
I think the purpose of the age group swimmers "motivational times" list is for qualifying for meets.

Ah, fair enough. Just a strange name to use then...?

Chris Stevenson
July 5th, 2013, 09:13 AM
I've never come across "motivational times" but it scares me that there might be an officially sanctioned version of this for younger swimmers, as it flies in the face of evidence about motivation and related emotional and behavioural impacts on the athlete.

Since I remember these standards from my age-group days, they have been around in the US for at least 40 years though they haven't always been called "motivational" standards, I'm not exactly sure when that name started. I would say that they have always been used for both organization (so that meets wouldn't get too big, for example) and motivation. I still remember the patches and stars that kids in my area wore on their sweats to indicate A/AA times that they've achieved (five stars total, one for each stroke + IM, different color stars for A and AA times).

Despite your statement, I would say that my experience as a swimmer and swimmer parent has been positive about their value as motivation. My father probably still remembers fondly when I got my first A-time as a 7 year old, he would probably still say that it ranks as his fondest memory of my childhood swimming days simply because of my stunned (and joyful) reaction.

knelson
July 5th, 2013, 09:36 AM
Despite your statement, I would say that my experience as a swimmer and swimmer parent has been positive about their value as motivation. My father probably still remembers fondly when I got my first A-time as a 7 year old, he would probably still say that it ranks as his fondest memory of my childhood swimming days simply because of my stunned (and joyful) reaction.

I agree. As an age group swimmer these ARE your goal times. OK, a select few are aiming for NAG Top Ten (or top 16 when we were kids), an LSC record, etc. but the vast majority are looking to get that A time, or that AAA time or whatever. Swimming is a timed sport. To say you shouldn't be focusing on "times per se" seems completely counter to what competitive swimming is all about, in my opinion.

tpost2
February 23rd, 2014, 10:20 AM
Does anybody have an updated Motivational Times Chart for any/all courses they can post here? I am still referring to old charts from 2010 and would like to see updated charts; especially now that I am competing in several new events.

Steve, I know I have asked you this before, but... Do you plan to update your charts? :banana: :cheerleader: Please??? :D



Anyone know if this has been done? If so, please forward the link -

ElaineK
February 23rd, 2014, 02:04 PM
Anyone know if this has been done? If so, please forward the link -

:sad:

Chris Stevenson
February 23rd, 2014, 03:42 PM
Anyone know if this has been done? If so, please forward the link -

I brought it up last year in a Records and Tabulation meeting, raising the question of whether or not USMS should take this over. Response was decidedly mixed, some in favor and some definitely opposed (feeling that it would demean the efforts of beginning swimmers, if I recall correctly).

http://www.usms.org/admin/minutes/records-2013-3-10-1.pdf

I wouldn't count on it happening any time soon, if ever it does. It was never an official USMS project or anything so if the OP let it drop that's his choice to make. Someone else could take it up if s/he chooses. Or you can just use the standards as last updated.

sunruh
February 24th, 2014, 08:55 AM
I still remember the patches and stars that kids in my area wore on their sweats to indicate A/AA times that they've achieved (five stars total, one for each stroke + IM, different color stars for A and AA times).


my mom still has my warmup top that she sewed all of the AA, then AAA and then AAAA (quad A) patches on from when i was 10.
i think my top was as much patch as it was real material. oh the great memories.

we dont need any such thing in masters. heck if you dont like the workout you change it. if you dont like the intervaul, you change it.
heck if the water it too cold .... let's go to starbucks!

one of my biggest motivations is my HDL and triglycerides. maybe because i never stopped eating like i did when i was 18.
i'm on a seefood diet.
i see food
i eat it
what diet?

steve

Fresnoid
February 24th, 2014, 09:45 AM
one of my biggest motivations is my HDL and triglycerides. maybe because i never stopped eating like i did when i was 18.
i'm on a seefood diet.
i see food
i eat it
what diet?

steve

I approve of this message. One of the biggest benefits of vigorous exercise as an adult is being able to continue recreational eating.

Swimosaur
February 24th, 2014, 11:36 AM
Someone else could take it up if s/he chooses.

I think I can do this. I think I can automate it completely (using javascript, my weapon of choice).

I have a question. OP wrote,


... Eventually I decided to create my own masters' motivational time standards, using the same method that is used for the kids.

Does anyone know what that method is? I think it's something like, "AAAA = three year average of 10th place time plus 10% for each category", but that could be wrong. Before I start, I'd like to know that I'm calculating the right thing.

ElaineK
February 24th, 2014, 12:33 PM
we dont need any such thing in masters.


I may not need it; however, the chart comes in handy when I tackle a new event or one I don't often swim. The chart helps me compare how I am doing in that particular event compared to my core events, and it gives me goals to shoot for. It also helps me compare how I am doing in non-core events compared to each other, such as my 400 IM compared to my (extremely slow) 200 fly. Thanks to the chart, I have learned which events I was better in that I thought- and events that, well, never mind that negativity! :afraid:

ElaineK
February 24th, 2014, 12:39 PM
I think I can do this. :cheerleader:

Does anyone know what that method is? I think it's something like, "AAAA = three year average of 10th place time plus 10% for each category", but that could be wrong. Before I start, I'd like to know that I'm calculating the right thing.

Unfortunately, I think sjstuart has gone AWOL. I sent him a PM once about writing another chart; however, he never got around to doing it. I haven't seen him on the Forums in a long time.

knelson
February 24th, 2014, 01:50 PM
we dont need any such thing in masters.

This seems somewhat presumptuous. It sounds like you don't find much value in it, so you assume it has no value for others. We're all motivated in different ways. Many are in masters purely for fitness and health. Others are after TT times or world records. Different strokes for different folks and all that...

pmccoy
February 24th, 2014, 01:51 PM
Hey Swimosaur,

I thought about doing this as well but it kind of feels like a time sink to me. I work better with databases anyway and html scraping isn't something I do a lot. Best I can tell, he uses the USAS methodology (http://usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/4c0ec4f4-1516-4f57-b692-a967c856efb7/Setting%20Time%20Standards%202012.pdf) for computing times:

motivational time = Seed time * Time standard adjustment

USAS uses the 16th fastest swim for each age group/event. The Masters were done using the average time for all 6th place to 10th place times for the previous 3 years. Seems complicated to me... why not just use the seed time as the 10th fastest swim for a given year? The time standard adjustments would be as follows:

AAAA = 1.05
AAA = 1.10
AA = 1.15
A = 1.20
BB = 1.30
B = 1.40

If you put in the work, it becomes the Swimosaur motivational times so you can change it up however you want.

Karl_S
February 24th, 2014, 02:35 PM
I think I can do this. ...
Does anyone know what that method is? I think it's something like, "AAAA = three year average of 10th place time plus 10% for each category", but that could be wrong. Before I start, I'd like to know that I'm calculating the right thing.
The key information is in the earlier posts in this thread. Here are the key ones:
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?15722-Masters-Motivational-Times&p=201178&viewfull=1#post201178
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?15722-Masters-Motivational-Times&p=201361&viewfull=1#post201361
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?15722-Masters-Motivational-Times&p=202616&viewfull=1#post202616
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?15722-Masters-Motivational-Times&p=202639&viewfull=1#post202639
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?15722-Masters-Motivational-Times&p=210277&viewfull=1#post210277

Using the all-time 10th place time instead of a 3-year moving average of the 6-10th place times would produce a more stable table. It would be somewhat harder to extract the needed information, however, because there is no all-time top-10 list on the USMS web site (that I know of, correct me if I am wrong) so you would have to sort through the data for all the years.

On the other hand, using the exact same base time as the USMS NQTs would be desirable, because AA (or AAA) would then correspond exactly to NQT.

IMO, both NQT and the motivational times ought to be based on the all-time 10th place time so that they are more stable and just gradually tighten over the years instead of jumping around. I recognize, however, that the NQTs are official USMS standards and these motivational times are not so one "governing body" doesn't control both. That being the case, it's probably better that the motivational standards be set in a stable way, than to have them exactly match NQTs.

EDIT: Oh and one other thing; I hope everyone who is eagerly awaiting the updated motivational times is mentally prepared for the fact that they are almost certain to be a lot tougher.

Swimosaur
February 24th, 2014, 02:56 PM
... html scraping isn't something I do a lot ...

It's even more fun than that! Not just HTML on the input but rtf (or pdf) on the output! I am reminded of a quote, "Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." (George Bernard Shaw). I am indulging my inner pig.

I read the USAS methodology link. It does seem overly complicated. But I get the idea.

pmccoy
February 24th, 2014, 03:48 PM
Given some of Karl's info, I think it might be easiest to grab seed times from reverse engineering 2014 NQTs (http://www.usms.org/comp/scnats14/nqt.pdf). There's some funky things you would have to account for in some of the 70+ age divisions due to a lack of TT times but at least the data is all there and easy to grab.

sunruh
February 24th, 2014, 04:10 PM
This seems somewhat presumptuous. It sounds like you don't find much value in it, so you assume it has no value for others. We're all motivated in different ways. Many are in masters purely for fitness and health. Others are after TT times or world records. Different strokes for different folks and all that...

i think of it as a kids thing.

we arent kids any more...thats why its called masters. :D

mmlr38
February 24th, 2014, 04:54 PM
i think of it as a kids thing.

we arent kids any more...thats why its called masters. :D
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect yours, sunruh. But in this case I agree with Kirk that everyone is motivated in different ways. And I can certainly see value in giving people motivational times to strive for in order "To encourage and promote improved physical fitness and health in adults" which is the #1 objective listed for US Masters Swimming on page 5 in this document:
https://www.usms.org/admin/building.pdf

secondheart
February 24th, 2014, 06:06 PM
I may not need it; however, the chart comes in handy when I tackle a new event or one I don't often swim. The chart helps me compare how I am doing in that particular event compared to my core events, and it gives me goals to shoot for. It also helps me compare how I am doing in non-core events compared to each other, such as my 400 IM compared to my (extremely slow) 200 fly. Thanks to the chart, I have learned which events I was better in that I thought- and events that, well, never mind that negativity! :afraid:FYI - I believe Stevenson created this rating calculator http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi which is a little more user effort but is more detail (rating 2 decimal accuracy ) I find it useful in comparing events.

knelson
February 24th, 2014, 06:41 PM
i think of it as a kids thing.

we arent kids any more...thats why its called masters. :D

It's a kids thing for you because you achieved all those standards when you were a kid. Lots of people in masters did not. Heck, many never swam competitively when they were kids. For them it's not a "been there, done that" like it is to those of us who've been in the sport forever!

Chris Stevenson
February 25th, 2014, 04:41 AM
FYI - I believe Stevenson created this rating calculator http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi which is a little more user effort but is more detail (rating 2 decimal accuracy ) I find it useful in comparing events.

I also have this in spreadsheet form. It is slightly too large to upload to these forums (seriously, a 400K limit?) but here is a link that I think should work to download it to your computer (there are no macros in the file):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/23120589/RatingCalculator.xlsx

Also more user effort but there are some examples already loaded.

The 2nd sheet (Swim Converter) is a way to compare events directly. Or even to account for the effects of aging on a given event; for example if you haven't swum an event in four years and want a comparable time for a meet entry. Note that I added fitted curves from a more recent database of records (2012) as an option for conversions/ratings so if you use those fits you'll get different results from the web page.

More generally, responses on this page mostly match the reactions of the R&T committee towards the concept: some liked it, some indifferent. But some members thought it might discourage people if publicized anything like USA-S does with their standards.

robertsrobson
February 25th, 2014, 09:29 AM
Whether kids or adults, one thing that I'd always advocate, and the research supports, is the use of self-referenced goals. That is - whether I'm fast compared to others or not, what can I do to become faster?

That said, I also think the opposite of Sunruh - that kids should be actively discouraged from using this sort of thing as their athletic and other identities are still being formed, while as adults the horse has already bolted!

__steve__
February 25th, 2014, 11:19 AM
Motivational times provide me with motivation to try and swim faster. I don't know if it would provide the same motivation or not if I were 11.

secondheart
February 25th, 2014, 05:15 PM
I also have this in spreadsheet form. It is slightly too large to upload to these forums (seriously, a 400K limit?) but here is a link that I think should work to download it to your computer (there are no macros in the file):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/23120589/RatingCalculator.xlsx

Also more user effort but there are some examples already loaded.

The 2nd sheet (Swim Converter) is a way to compare events directly. Or even to account for the effects of aging on a given event; for example if you haven't swum an event in four years and want a comparable time for a meet entry. Note that I added fitted curves from a more recent database of records (2012) as an option for conversions/ratings so if you use those fits you'll get different results from the web page.

More generally, responses on this page mostly match the reactions of the R&T committee towards the concept: some liked it, some indifferent. But some members thought it might discourage people if publicized anything like USA-S does with their standards.

Thanks for the additional information. It's ashame that your system is not used for the NQTs, it would be more equitable than the current system. For example - Men 25-29 1500 23:56 (your rating 68.6), 50 br. 35.92 (rating 79.3), Men 60-64 1500 23:25 (rating 79.7), 50 br. 42.19 (rating 80.8). Even a history major would have to be oblivious to the fact that the men's 1500 25-29 is an obvious outlier. Your system reveals this error.

" But some members thought it might discourage people if publicized anything like USA-S does with their standards. " :laugh2::laugh2::laugh2::laugh2::laugh2:

tpost2
February 25th, 2014, 09:59 PM
[QUOTE=Swimosaur;294967]I think I can do this. I think I can automate it completely (using javascript, my weapon of choice).


Wow - that would be awesome! Who knew it was so complicated?

for what it's worth, I obviously agree with the folks that find these things useful. I've been using the original for a few years to measure my progress and it gives me concrete goals. Might sound silly, but every time I get a new best time, I can't wait to get home and see if I made it to another step. This also motivates me to work harder in practice (and I need all the motivation I can get because, as someone noted above, we're adults now and if we would prefer to sleep in or get out of the pool early or whatever, we can!). I haven't heard anyone here say it would demotivate them.. just some expressing vague concerns that it *might* demotivate someone. By that logic, we shouldn't be posting top 10 times or yearly rankings - or are there concerns about these things, too?

Swimosaur
April 8th, 2014, 10:08 PM
Draft 2014 Masters Motivational Times

Chris Stevenson wrote,


Someone else could take it up if s/he chooses.

Then Swimosaur (foolishly) wrote,


I think I can do this.

pmccoy insightfully and correctly wrote (including some other key points),


... it kind of feels like a time sink to me.

and Karl_S very usefully wrote (among other very useful points),


... using the exact same base time as the USMS NQTs would be desirable, because AA (or AAA) would then correspond exactly to NQT.

Here they are:

8575
8576
8577

I labelled these versions draft in case they need changes.

Notes:

Motivational times (MTs) are calculated from the base time given in Column X. The algorithm for calculating the base time is similar, but not identical to, the method USMS uses to calculate national qualifying times (NQTs) for the annual SCY national championships.

Most of the time, Column X is

(A) the average of the three previous year’s 10th place times.



However, if there are fewer than three 10th place times over the three previous years, we use, in order,

(B) average of two 10th place times over the three previous years. If there are fewer than two 10th place times,
(C) average of three 5th place times + 4.45%. If there are fewer than three,
(D) average of two 5th place times + 4.45%. If there are fewer than two,
(E) No Time (NT).

If one of the alternatives B-D is used, it’s indicated by a superscript.

The rest of the columns are proportional to Column X as follows,

AAAA = X + 5%
AAA = X + 10%
AA = X + 15%
A = X + 20%
BB = X + 30%
B = X + 40%

For MTs, the same algorithm is used for all three courses, SCY, LCM, and SCM.

Relationship to NQTs. For SCY, as long as Column X is calculated using method A, B, or E, Columns AA and AAA should be exactly the NQTs for sprints and 200+ events respectively. There will be some small differences for methods C and D. For LCM, the MTs should be different from the NQTs in all cases, albeit by a small amount. USMS does not publish NQTs for SCM or for age groups 85+.

Column X. I like to think of Column X as “the moral equivalent of a Top Ten time”. Of course, in any given year, the 10th place time will be faster or slower by some amount than the average of the three previous years, so of course, Column X is not an actual Top Ten time. Too bad, huh? You can also think of it as “the time I need to hit to have about a 50/50 chance.”

Discuss.

ElaineK
April 8th, 2014, 10:34 PM
Discuss.

:applaud: :bow: :cheerleader: :chug: :wine: :groovy: :angel:


:smooch:

Karl_S
April 8th, 2014, 10:58 PM
Draft 2014 Masters Motivational Times
...
Discuss.
Many thanks. These are a lot of fun and not nearly as discouraging as I had expected!

flystorms
April 9th, 2014, 08:47 AM
Swimosaur - you're the hero of the day! Thanks for doing this! Love it!

lv2swim
April 9th, 2014, 10:21 AM
Thank you Swimosaur...just what I needed something to motivate me!

mmlr38
April 9th, 2014, 11:23 AM
Very nice work Swimosaur! Thanks for working this up!

secondheart
April 9th, 2014, 12:36 PM
Great programming effort, from an old retired programmer. Liked the artistic superscript touch for the older age groups.:applaud: (javascript:void(0)):applaud: (javascript:void(0)):applaud: (javascript:void(0))

jpetyk
April 9th, 2014, 01:47 PM
Draft 2014 Masters Motivational Times

Column X. I like to think of Column X as “the moral equivalent of a Top Ten time”. Of course, in any given year, the 10th place time will be faster or slower by some amount than the average of the three previous years, so of course, Column X is not an actual Top Ten time. Too bad, huh? You can also think of it as “the time I need to hit to have about a 50/50 chance.”

Discuss.

I am looking for my 1st top ten time(s) this year, and Column X hits right where I thought I should be. Let's hope I can swim that fast. Thanks for putting this together. I think you did a great job! :chug:

Mike137
April 9th, 2014, 02:06 PM
I made the mistake of looking at the 2014 SCM times. I found that I can make the B time for 75-79 men in the 50 free as Iím 58 this make it clear that Iím a amazing inefficient swimmer.

trexleradam
April 9th, 2014, 05:53 PM
Thanks Swimosaur. I find these really useful and I appreciate your work. I've already told people about them, too.

Swimosaur
April 9th, 2014, 07:19 PM
So far, so good! Thanks very much! I appreciate it!

Gosh, nobody asked, ďWhere does 4.45% come from?Ē

In the National Qualifying Times FAQ (http://www.usms.org/comp/NQT-FAQ.pdf), USMS wrote,


SCY times are calculated as follows: 10th place + 15% for sprints and 10th place + 10% for events 200 yards and up Ö if there are no 10th place times in at least two of the previous three years, we use 5th + 20% for sprints and 5th + 15% for 200+ events.

So, in some sense, USMS is saying that for sprints, the 10th place time +15% is the same as the 5th place time +20%, and for 200+, the 10th place time +10% is the same as the 5th place time +15%. That is, for sprints,

1.15 * T10 = 1.20 * T05

T10 = (1.20/1.15) * T05

T10 = 1.0435 * T05

and for 200+,

1.10 * T10 = 1.15 * T05

T10 = (1.15/1.10) * T05

T10 = 1.0455 * T05

and 1.0445 (that is, 4.45%) is midway between 1.0435 and 1.0455.

Thatís why when methods C and D are used, Columns AA and AAA are a little off from the NQTs.

trexleradam
April 10th, 2014, 11:10 AM
So, in some sense, USMS is saying that for sprints, the 10th place time +15% is the same as the 5th place time +20%, and for 200+, the 10th place time +10% is the same as the 5th place time +15%.
I think this is an interesting assumption, though I recognize it's not yours. What seems odd about this, if I read your post correctly, is that I'd expect 200s to be more spread out, not less. Certainly more so for distance free. Have you run any numbers on this, or is it just a formulating convenience by USMS?