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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

NCAA suit lessons

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
Prelimary Note: I have decided to establish the Thornton Cup for accuracy in modeling post-cheating suit time changes. It is open to any and all swimmers or non-swimming math aficionados. For more on this exhilarating new competition, please see the thread: [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=16432"]http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=16432[/ame]




I took most of the free style events and compared the top 3 performances in men this year (sans high tech racing suits) with last year (when suits were still legal.)

I have not started more than a cursory inspection, but what strikes me is that the longer the race, the more the lack of speed suits hurt performance. There was only one case where someone who got a second place this year beat the person who got second place last year. All other top 3 performances were slower this year than last within their matched pairs.


Here's the data. To make it easier to review, I am using red as a kind of skin tone of the heavily exercised swimmer, and since much of this ruddy skin tone is, indeed, revealed by jammers and skimpier suits, when you see red, think this year.


Blue is the color of many of the high tech suits, certainly not all, but enough so that for heuristic purposes when you see numbers in blue, it means the race was done last year in a speed suit.


Think of this as the rough data upon which new formulae can be calculated..


50 2010/
50 2009


1 Schneider, Josh CINC 18.93P
1 Adrian, Nathan California 18.71


2 Adrian, Nathan CAL 19.02

2 Feigen, James Texas 18.84


3 Brown, Adam AUB 19.03
3 Targett, Matt Auburn 18.87

_______________________________________

100 2010/
100 2009


1 Adrian, Nathan CAL 41.50

1 Adrian, Nathan California 41.08


2 Feigen, Jimmy TEX 41.91
2 Feigen, James Texas
41.3

3 Louw, Gideon AUB 42.06

3 Targett, Matt Auburn 41.64
_______________________________________

200 2010/
200 2009

1 Dwyer, Conor FLOR 1:32.31

1 Fraser, Shaune Florida 1:31.70


2 Fraser, Shaune FLOR 1:32.53

2 Walters, Dave Texas 1:32.59


3 Walters, Dave TEX 1:33.04
3 Berens, Ricky Texas 1:32.74

_______________________________________

400 relay 2010/
400 relay 2009

1 California 'A' 2:48.78

1 Auburn 2:46.67


2 Texas 'A' 2:49.90

2 Texas 2:47.02


3 Stanford 'A' 2:51.27

3 California 2:47.61


_______________________________________


500 2010/
500 2009

1 Dwyer, Conor FLOR 4:13.64P
1 Basson, Jean Arizona 4:08.92


2 Basson, Jean ARIZ 4:13.65P

2 Klueh, Michael Texas 4:09.32


3 Lefert, Clement USC 4:13.77
3 McLean, Matt Virginia 4:10.41

_______________________________________

800 relay 2010/
800 relay 2009

1 TEX 6:12.77

1 Texas 6:10.16


2 FLOR 6:14.72

2 Arizona 6:11.82


3 ARIZ 6:18.33

3 Stanford 6:16.71

_______________________________________
1650 2010/
1650 2009

1 La Tourette, Ch STAN
14:42.87
1 Prinsloo, Troy Georgia 14:30.91


2 Grodzki, Martin UGA
14:48.15
2 La Tourette, Chad Stanford 14:33.55

3 Wilcox, Jackson TEX
14:49.47
3 Spansail, Scott Washington 14:34.95

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Updated March 29th, 2010 at 12:11 PM by jim thornton (Adding notice of the Thornton Cup math challenge)

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  1. aquaFeisty's Avatar
    Interesting.

    Being the mega-dork that I am, I was wondering how much the data looked skewed simply because the longer events take more time... so I converted your numbers to percentages; i.e., the percentage increase from the 2009 'with suit' time to the 2010 'jammer' time. Really weird... the distance that was impacted the least by the loss of suits (both in the individual events and in the relays) was the 200.

    Percentages listed are the increase in each of the 3 places from 2009 to 2010. Now, it's been a looooooong time since I've had a statistics class so no clue if the differences in these results are statistically significant, but anyways... it was interesting.

    P.S. I was typing pretty fast; odds of an input error are pretty good.


    50 free
    1. 1.18%
    2. 0.96%
    3. 0.85%

    100 free
    1. 1.02%
    2. 1.48%
    3. 1.08%

    200 free
    1. 0.67%
    2. -0.06% (yes the 2010 2nd place time was faster than the 2009 2nd place time)
    3. 0.32%

    400 free relay
    1. 1.27%
    2. 1.72%
    3. 2.18%

    500 free
    1. 1.90%
    2. 1.74%
    3. 1.34%

    800 free relay
    1. 0.71%
    2. 0.78%
    3. 0.43%

    mile
    1. 1.37%
    2. 1.67%
    3. 1.66%
  2. jroddin's Avatar
    Here's another curveball for you, doctor: what about the fact that so many people were sick this year?

    Maybe a conference meet might be a better indicator of the suit effect?
  3. jim thornton's Avatar
    First of all, Carrie, thanks tremendously for your calculations.

    I was going to try to do this myself but the Ambien kicked in and I had to correct a rash of typos this morning just to make what posted semi-comprehensible.

    Jeff, I considered the sickness factor. There was also the fact that it was a different pool from last year--all sorts of confounding variables possible.

    But as I said, it is just a preliminary data set upon which I can begin building the future formulae with which I can begin salvaging my dignity once the suits are outlawed for us, too, and my times return to something usually seen in the 8 and unders swimming community.

    It would be interesting to see if the same general percentages would apply to the slower swimmers, too. I thought about looking at the #8-10 slots, but knew the Ambien was gaining too quickly on me to have any realistic chance of doing this.

    Plus there appeared to be some really slow swims that represented either deathly sick people making the best of their death march, or using the swim as a warmup for something else.

    I also didn't look at the other strokes to see if any of these are more or less affected by the suit change.

    Perhaps if more enterprising vlog readers like Carrie could undertake some analysis here, we would have more answers?

    Jeffry, you are a rocket scientist, are you not? A numbers man of sorts? A data hobbyist who likes nothing more than to spend his desultory days at NASA moving digits about?

    Final note: let us, for the sake of argument, stipulate that the suit makes about a 1.33 percent difference in the 100 freestyle.

    My best time this year so far in the 100 is a 53.35.

    Thus the prediction would have me swimming a 53.35 x 1.0133 in a regular jammer, or a 54.06.

    I suppose it is possible. But I think that the corsetting aspects of the body suits will ultimately prove to have been much, much more beneficial to us jiggling adipose-dappled agesters than they were to those elite youngsters whose own inner corsetting of abdominal muscles and the like kept their own bodies tight and streamlined in the water.

    In the 500, where the change is closer perhaps to 1.5 percent, my best time this year of a 5:27.62 (327.62 seconds) would become a 5:32.54.

    Again, it will be interesting to see.

    From the elite data, my preliminary prediction: almost, if not quite, 1 second per 100 slower in jammers for someone in the good-enough-not-but-not-great swimming camp.

    (Privately, I think a 2 second per 100 differential may well prove more likely for such as me.)

    Finally, it someone would like to compare this year's and last year's women's times, I would be happy to include them here on this particular vlog, which I am hoping will prove to be the ultimate one-stop source for all amateur suit comparison predictive formulae!
  4. quicksilver's Avatar
    (Privately, I think a 2 second per 100 differential may well prove more likely for such as me.)
    Jim,

    If there's any consolation, consider that all of your competitors will face the same ratio of slowage once the suit ban takes place.

    Some perhaps even more, considering that varying physiques of masters swimmers.
  5. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, Quick! Please note that I have added a little something to this vlog: official notification of the Thornton Cup mathematical challenge.

    So far, the dual entry of myself and my assistant, Carrie, are in first place. If this holds, we will have to share the bowling trophy on alternating weekends.

    It might be easier, in other words, if more people enter and someone else wins.
  6. quicksilver's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton

    It might be easier, in other words, if more people enter and someone else wins.
    1.0 % [on 50's & 100's]

    1.25 % [on 200's & 500's]

    1.45% [1,000 and over]

    My official entry.
  7. jim thornton's Avatar
    May I suggest rephrasing in the form of a formula? Please feel free to use no shortage of letters and symbols, including, but not limited to, <, >, or any from the following link:
    http://omega.albany.edu:8008/Symbols.html

    Sample:



    Note: the bowtie symbol might earn extra points.
  8. qbrain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    May I suggest rephrasing in the form of a formula? Please feel free to use no shortage of letters and symbols, including, but not limited to, <, >, or any from the following link:
    http://omega.albany.edu:8008/Symbols.html

    Sample:



    Note: the bowtie symbol might earn extra points.
    I have not seen that chart since I wrote my thesis, and I am not all that excited to see it again.
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    hahahaha!

    A walk down symbolic memory lane, eh?

    what was the thesis on? and how often did you end up using the perp symbol?
  10. EricOrca's Avatar
    Hi Jim, Im not into all that tech suit stuff, however I find your exhaustive, time consuming and computer addicting research interesting...I just wanted to share that I swam in Nathan Adrian's home pool yesterday at the Strawberry Canyon Meet at Cal Berkeley,even saw his plaque on the Olympians board.
  11. bsherm81's Avatar
    Late getting in on this...one of our locals has a son who just finished the NCAA D2 meet, where the average swim of the field was .43 seconds per 50 slower this year than last for the the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles. Pretty broad sample there!
  12. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by EricOrca
    Hi Jim, Im not into all that tech suit stuff, however I find your exhaustive, time consuming and computer addicting research interesting...I just wanted to share that I swam in Nathan Adrian's home pool yesterday at the Strawberry Canyon Meet at Cal Berkeley,even saw his plaque on the Olympians board.
    Hey, Eric, if you see Nathan, can you ask him what he thinks the loss of the suit means, time-wise, in his 50 and 100.

    Thanks!
  13. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by bsherm81
    Late getting in on this...one of our locals has a son who just finished the NCAA D2 meet, where the average swim of the field was .43 seconds per 50 slower this year than last for the the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles. Pretty broad sample there!
    Bill, congrats on you nice times at Harvard. The 200, in particular, was very impressive.

    These D2 swimmers are faster than most of us. So I would imagine we would see more deterioration if the % change is the same.

    I say: begin graphing the data points, then find what curves best fit the data, then do some mathematical whizardry that cranks out the formula. Test it for accuracy in different comparable meet situations. Make refinements.

    And perhaps, just perhaps, the Thornton Cup would be yours!
  14. bsherm81's Avatar
    So long as the Thornton Cup is filled with a tasty libation. Perhaps a Chilean Carmenere. I am hoping there is not a drop off in my times...instead of an expensive swim suit I plan to compete with less body. boston was at 208 compared to indy at 222, so I've already gotten to work on it. And yes, that 200 was a lot of fun. the 200 IM even more so.
  15. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by bsherm81
    So long as the Thornton Cup is filled with a tasty libation. Perhaps a Chilean Carmenere. I am hoping there is not a drop off in my times...instead of an expensive swim suit I plan to compete with less body. boston was at 208 compared to indy at 222, so I've already gotten to work on it. And yes, that 200 was a lot of fun. the 200 IM even more so.
    I've heard mixed things about the effect of weight loss on swimming performance. My friend Glenn has swum + and - about 10 lb. and says he doesn't see any difference.

    It would be an interesting poll question to ask...

    Maybe I shall do just that later on today!

    That .43 per 50--was it consistent across the 50, 100, and 200s? Or did it fluctuate according to the race distance?

    Those guys are going a lot faster that us, or at least me, so I suspect maybe .75 or even 1.0 per 50 may prove to be more accurate for the likes of me...
  16. bsherm81's Avatar
    The difference of .43 was consistent in the 50, 100, and 200! I expect the difference in masters to be much higher, as our skins have developed much more (how to be dainty) ...elasticity than the kids. On second thought, that's flabbidity. Watch the guy in the next lane push off in practice and notice all the rippling around their neck and torso and you can make your own projectile. Maybe a projection too.

    You may not realize that when I first got back in the water it was at a displacement of 250 lbs vs college at 178. You must believe leaving a 12 pack and 2 bowling balls on the deck will speed you up. I even had a 3 week gap in training in January touring Chile and heavily sampling the aforementioned Carmenere, so it wasn't a matter of hitting a meet perfect. That was Austin.
  17. jim thornton's Avatar
    I suppose 42 lb. would make a difference, now that you put it that way.

    But plus or minus 5-10 lb. doesn't seem to make much of a difference for me--though perhaps with the suit gone, it would.

    Water's buoyancy is pretty forgiving. There are some pretty beefy superstars amongst the masters ranks. You ever see William Specht?



    Add some antlers and a moose call.
  18. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Is there an easy way to post equations? I have an adorable one, but it resists cutting and pasting, and I can't find all the necessary symbols and such here.
  19. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimsuit addict
    Is there an easy way to post equations? I have an adorable one, but it resists cutting and pasting, and I can't find all the necessary symbols and such here.
    I can't wait to see your adorable equation!

    You could save it as a .jpg file on your computer and post it as a picture!

    Honestly, I can't wait!

    I have said I won't give extra credit for elegance. But perhaps I can be persuaded to give a little bit of a nod toward's an equation's adorableness factor.
  20. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Actually, I'm hoping to win points for number of math symbols used.

    This equation figures the number of percentage points you should multiply your tech-suit time by to predict your non-tech-suit time.

    Among other factors, it attempts to quantify the decline in performance caused by the pyschological trauma of being forbidden to wear a beloved suit.

    (I was having trouble converting to a pdf file--hope this works)

    Attachment 180
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