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Swimosaur
April 16th, 2014, 09:41 PM
There being no objections, herewith the final versions:

8589
8590
8591

The notes below are now appended to each set of tables.

Bonus!

I also made these tables, which track the 10th place times for all events for the last seven years. This will give you some idea how the 10th place time varies from year to year in your favorite events.

8592
8593
8594

-------------------------------------

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 previous three year’s 10th place times.

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

(B) average of two 10th place times over the previous three 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-E is used, it’s indicated by a superscript.

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

AAAA = X + 5% A = X + 20%
AAA = X + 10% BB = X + 30%
AA = X + 15% 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,but are not guaranteed to be, exactly the NQTs for sprints and 200+ events respectively. However, there will be some small differences for methods C and D. For LCM, the MTs should be different from the NQTs in all cases. 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.”

trexleradam
April 17th, 2014, 02:00 PM
Thanks again for doing this! Very well thought out, and a great resource. Much appreciated.

mmlr38
April 17th, 2014, 03:24 PM
Thanks again for doing this! Very well thought out, and a great resource. Much appreciated.
+1 Very much appreciated :)

ElaineK
April 17th, 2014, 06:38 PM
There being no objections, herewith the final versions:

8589
8590
8591


You rock Swimosaur! :chug:

swimark
April 18th, 2014, 10:39 AM
Thank you very much.

Something interesting... In SCY I had an "A" time and in SCM I had an "AAA" time. Granted in the SCY I missed an "AA" time by less than a quarter second, but surprised by the different outcomes.

Mens 45-49
50 breast SCY :33.52
50 breast SCM :37.27

The above times are actual and not converted, however as a check I went to http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/results/conversions.asp and converted the actual times from SCY to SCM and vise versa... and the results came back within a tenth of a second.

Upon further investigation there was a difference of 4.5 seconds between 1st and 10th in SCM but less than 2 seconds in SCY for this past year. Hmm... note to self - if going for a top 10, swim more SCM meets (as well as dropping more than a few seconds on that 50 breast :p )

Thanks again, your work on this is greatly appreciated.

Chris Stevenson
April 18th, 2014, 01:40 PM
Mens 45-49
50 breast SCY :33.52
50 breast SCM :37.27

The above times are actual and not converted, however as a check I went to http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/results/conversions.asp and converted the actual times from SCY to SCM and vise versa... and the results came back within a tenth of a second.

I don't always trust the Swimming World converter, but the VA Calculator (http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi) also rates these as essentially equivalent times. I suppose it isn't surprising that the 10th-place times show some variability from course to course (and year to year, though the 3-year averaging period helps with that).

swimark
April 18th, 2014, 02:37 PM
I don't always trust the Swimming World converter, but the VA Calculator (http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi) also rates these as essentially equivalent times. I suppose it isn't surprising that the 10th-place times show some variability from course to course (and year to year, though the 3-year averaging period helps with that).

I've used your calculator in the past too. Thanks for that.

ElaineK
April 18th, 2014, 03:41 PM
Wow! I just compared my short course and long course times to the charts and found a huge disparity in one event- 200 butterfly. In all other events, my times (more or less) keep me at the same rating. The longer event, the higher I rate in long course compared to short course, so there is a greater disparity. In 400 IM, I'm an "A" in long course and a "BB" in short course.

200 butterfly is an entirely different story:
Short course time = 3:53.91 (March 2014 meet) equates to missing the chart entirely by more than 4 seconds. :badday:
Long course time (using converter) = 4:22.53 equates to almost an "AA" (4:21.76)! :bliss:
Even if I don't use the converter and take some previous long course times of around 4:31, I would still be an "A". :D



It amazes me that in short course, my time is humiliating :blush: when compared to the chart; however, in long course, it would be considered quite respectable. :wiggle:

Swimosaur
April 18th, 2014, 03:57 PM
... In SCY I had an "A" time and in SCM I had an "AAA" time. Granted in the SCY I missed an "AA" time by less than a quarter second, but surprised by the different outcomes.

You shouldn't be surprised: The columns in the motivational times are not at all quality metrics, in the same sense as Chris's VA calculator, and shouldn't be used for time conversions.

Motivational times could, in principle, be used for time conversion, but only if approximately the same top ten swimmers compete in each course, under approximately the same conditions. That your SCM time was "AAA" while your SCY time was "A" tells you that a different (somewhat slower) group of swimmers compete in SCM, under different conditions (no SCM national championships, for instance).

Swimosaur
April 18th, 2014, 04:03 PM
Another way to think about it might be, the Motivational Times are comparisons versus other swimmers who actually compete in that course. That is, there is one group of USMS swimmers who compete in SCY, another group in LCM, and still another group in SCM. Of course, the groups overlap, but they are different groups.

Unfortunately, I can't find the Venn diagram tool ...

swimark
April 18th, 2014, 04:32 PM
That your SCM time was "AAA" while your SCY time was "A" tells you that a different (somewhat slower) group of swimmers compete in SCM, under different conditions (no SCM national championships, for instance).


Another way to think about it might be, the Motivational Times are comparisons versus other swimmers who actually compete in that course. That is, there is one group of USMS swimmers who compete in SCY, another group in LCM, and still another group in SCM. Of course, the groups overlap, but they are different groups.

Yup, I came to that conclusion after viewing the top 10 times and noticed a larger gap between 1st and 10th in the SCM. Still find it interesting from a statistical point of view.

Chris Stevenson
April 18th, 2014, 05:08 PM
I'm curious if this holds true for the USA-S motivational standards too. Are they equally hard (or not) across courses?

Swimosaur
April 18th, 2014, 06:35 PM
I'm curious if this holds true for the USA-S motivational standards too. Are they equally hard (or not) across courses?

USA-S motivational standards are based on the all-time 16th fastest time. Explanation here (http://usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/4c0ec4f4-1516-4f57-b692-a967c856efb7/Setting%20Time%20Standards%202012.pdf) (h/t pmccoy). Presumably, at some point in the entire history of USA-S, 16 super-fast swimmers competed in each event in each age group in each course. So the standards should be about the same degree of difficulty in all courses.

Karl_S suggested that we should base the masters MTs on a similar, all-time 10th place time. I didn't want to do that this year since it's a more difficult calculation. The advantages would be that the times would be more stable, year over year, and they should be of similar difficulty from course to course. The disadvantage would be that a tiny number of super-fast swimmers who have been around for a long time (e.g. a Karlyn Pipes or a Chris Stevenson) would dominate all of the all-time top ten lists, and thus the MTs would be less representative of the current population in each age group.

Pick your poison. Basing the MTs on the average 10th place time over the past three years means they will be less stable, but more responsive to changes in the sport as she is swum.

It would be fun to make an all-time top ten list, don't you think?

Edit: Just noticed this: USA-S SCM standards are based on the all-time SCY 16th place time, with an adjustment.

Chris Stevenson
April 18th, 2014, 07:00 PM
USA-S motivational standards are based on the all-time 16th fastest time. Explanation here (http://usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/4c0ec4f4-1516-4f57-b692-a967c856efb7/Setting%20Time%20Standards%202012.pdf) (h/t pmmcoy). Presumably, at some point in the entire history of USA-S, 16 super-fast swimmers competed in each event in each age group in each course. So the standards should be about the same degree of difficulty in all courses.

Karl_S suggested that we should base the masters MTs on a similar, all-time 10th place time. I didn't want to do that this year since it's a more difficult calculation. The advantages would be that the times would be more stable, year over year, and they should be of similar difficulty from course to course. The disadvantage would be that a tiny number of super-fast swimmers who have been around for a long time (e.g. a Karlyn Pipes or a Chris Stevenson) would dominate all of the all-time top ten lists, and thus the MTs would be less representative of the current population in each age group.

Pick your poison. Basing the MTs on the average 10th place time over the past three years means they will be less stable, but more responsive to changes in the sport as she is swum.

It would be fun to make an all-time top ten list, don't you think?

Edit: Just noticed this: USA-S SCM standards are based on the all-time SCY 16th place time, with an adjustment.

I don't think that USMS can ever make an accurate list of the all-time 10 fastest times but they could make a list of the all-time ten fastest swimmers. (The reason is that, in any given year someone like Laura Val may do multiple swims that might make the all-time list. However all but the fastest of them gets thrown out in compiling the top 10 lists for the year.) In fact when I was chair of Records & Tabulations I believe that was one of the IT requests we made. But IT is swamped and this particular item would (and should) have a lot lower priority than other projects.

Basing motivational time standards on an all-time list is not really conceptually different than basing a rating system (like the VA calculator) on records and would confer a similar level of stability. But like you said it is more work.

At one point a few years ago I did have a list of all the top 10 swims in one (pretty large) spreadsheet but I have not been updating it. It might not take very long (a couple hours) to do so. If I do, I could quickly determine the time of the 10th best swimmer in each age-group/event/course/gender combination and then send you the results, if you are interested.

Karl_S
April 18th, 2014, 07:40 PM
...
Edit: Just noticed this: USA-S SCM standards are based on the all-time SCY 16th place time, with an adjustment.
Yes. If I recall correctly, Stuart selected 10th place because USMS is not as deep as USAS, and USMS tracks TT like USAS tracks top 16 (or used to).

Edit: Here is the post I was thinking of:
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?15722-Masters-Motivational-Times&p=202616&viewfull=1#post202616

__steve__
April 18th, 2014, 08:43 PM
I find these motivational times quite motivating, particularly LC:)

Swimosaur
April 19th, 2014, 01:19 AM
At one point a few years ago I did have a list of all the top 10 swims in one (pretty large) spreadsheet but I have not been updating it. It might not take very long (a couple hours) to do so. If I do, I could quickly determine the time of the 10th best swimmer in each age-group/event/course/gender combination and then send you the results, if you are interested.

I don't think that's necessary. I kinda like Column X the way it is, "an estimate of the time you need to hit to have about a 50/50 chance of making the Top 10". There's a certain virtue there.

The quality of the estimate could be improved by having a model for "what the 10th place time ought to be", like the model you use for WRs in the VA calculator. That might be worth thinking about for next year.

Karl_S
April 19th, 2014, 03:41 PM
I don't think that's necessary. I kinda like Column X the way it is, "an estimate of the time you need to hit to have about a 50/50 chance of making the Top 10". There's a certain virtue there.
IMO, unless USMS changes the way they determine NQTs, your current system is about optimum. NQTs are AA or AAA in most cases, which is nice because it makes these standards more meaningful - there is a very real benefit to achieving them. I also agree about column X. It's a very nice addition, again a standard with concrete benefit.

Now I still think that setting NQTs by the all-time 10th best swim (or swimmer) would make the NQTs more stable and therefore less capricious, but unless and until such a change is made, I think your current formula for motivational times is best. Thank you for your work on them - may there be many AAAAs and Xs in your future.

Swimosaur
April 30th, 2014, 10:04 AM
:bump:

Boomerang
May 1st, 2014, 04:16 PM
Just came across this - thank you VERY MUCH!!! Very awesome!

ElaineK
September 5th, 2014, 07:10 PM
This is strange: At LC Nationals, I swam a personal best time of 3:54.47 in 200 breaststroke. According to the 2014 LC Motivational Times Chart, that puts me right at AA. :D According to the rankings in my age group for this year, it puts me at #32 of 45 (about 71%). :bouncing:

It looks like the breaststroke competition was tough this year! :dunno: