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.
Last edited by sjstuart; December 16th, 2009 at 09:27 AM. Reason: typo in quote
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?"
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.
Yes - absolutely - use any point measurement system, FINA or I think US swimming has one as well and compare times.What you are basically saying is that the masters freestyle records are harder than the others.
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 ???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.
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.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).
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...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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
p.s. I never get any sympathy from the DH about my age, as he's always 8.75 years older.
Last edited by swimmj; December 16th, 2009 at 05:24 PM. Reason: correcting usage issue
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The top post has been updated with LCM motivational times.