Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

  1. #1
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    A, A
    Posts
    2,162
    Blog Entries
    261

    Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    If you have a free moment, please check out an article/proposal of sorts that I wrote for the USMS website. You can find it here: http://www.usms.org/articles/article...y.php?aid=3407

    I realize it's a bit lengthy, but I think it's an idea that could really help motivate swimmers to keep at it over the lifespan.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Posts
    412

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    Hi Jim -

    Very interesting metric. It took me a long time to wade through it, so you might want to tighten it up by removing info that is interesting, but not essential.

    I will respond to the questions at the end when I spend more time thinking about it. When I was discussing my comments with Mary Beth, I realized that I did not fully understand how the metric works.

    I do think there has to be strong consideration for using the median time of the Top 10 or Top 50 in each event and each course. The reason is because, for the most part, the records are set by elite swimmers. Since I believe elite swimmers are genetically different than the rest of us, they will always have an advantage over the rest of us. Yes, there are exceptions. BUT, in general, it holds true.

    Maybe we have to create a Grand Masters category like Synchronized Swimming has.

    More to come.

    Paul Windrath

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Mulino,OR
    Posts
    4,586

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    From age 49-62 I had only a very slow decease in times. From 63 on I have been getting slower faster and faster.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  4. #4
    Very Active Member SwimDogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Polson, MT
    Posts
    383
    Blog Entries
    18

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    For fun this year, I played around with the age-grading factors from this article: http://www.usms.org/articles/articledisplay.php?aid=143 for my Postal Swimtathlon League.

    Our quarterly RESULTS show:

    1. Overall Results
    2. Results by Gender
    3. Results by Gender and Age Group
    4. "Age Graded" results

    It's been interesting, and I've gotten good feedback from the participants.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    A, A
    Posts
    2,162
    Blog Entries
    261

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by Windrath View Post
    I do think there has to be strong consideration for using the median time of the Top 10 or Top 50 in each event and each course. The reason is because, for the most part, the records are set by elite swimmers. Since I believe elite swimmers are genetically different than the rest of us, they will always have an advantage over the rest of us. Yes, there are exceptions. BUT, in general, it holds true.

    Paul Windrath
    As a swimmer in the age group dominated by the magnificent Rick Colella, I have no doubt you are correct about the nature of the elite!

    Nevertheless, Alan Rowson, the British fellow who does the age-rating for the British Decathalon, addressed this exact question regarding using WRs vs median Top 10 time:

    I started to look at age adjustment formulae as a result of feedback about the accuracy of the Finnish formulae. I explained it to a friend of mine who was a lecturer in Maths at Cambridge University. He said it would make a good maths challenge for the local schools to see who would come up with the best solution. Anyhow that failed to come to fruition. What he did say was it might be better to use median of top ten masters times rather than masters world records. I did derive formulae using both. The use of median was much more labour intensive to derive formulae and decisions as what to do in older age groups when there are not ten times recorded was an issue. The formulae produced by median and record only were not hugely different, so I took pragmatic view of using world records as easier in time effort to produce.

    As Alan says, the curves produced by WRs vs. median Top 10 times were not terribly different. Even when somebody like Rick smashes a WR (in the 400 SCM free, for instance, Rick's recent 4:27.91 destroyed Jim McConica's 4:45.88), such an "outlier point" is just one of many that the fitting function takes into account.

    Perhaps the best way to combine pragmatism with a nod to the fact that most of us aren't swimming gods would be to take the middle time each year in the FINA ALL Time Top 10 ranking. This hasn't yet been updated to reflect Rick's super swim, but if you check out this, http://archives.fina.org/H2O/docs/ma...abs_SC_all.pdf you will find that the 400 SCM free for 65-69 year old men is as follows:

    400 M. FREE
    4:45.88 JIM MC CONICA USA 2015
    4:52.89 RICK WALKER USA 2015
    4:53.03 DAN KIRKLAND USA 2015
    4:54.45 GLENN GRUBER USA 2014
    4:54.84 J.CHATARD FRA 2016
    4:55.56 TOM LANDIS USA 2007
    4:55.97 DAVID QUIGGIN USA 2009
    4:59.03 VITTORIO ERMIRIO ITA 2007
    4:59.42 JIM CLEMMONS USA 2015
    5:00.26 DON DAVIS USA 2009

    When this year's SCM times are added in, Don Davis will be bumped off the Top10 and conceivably one or two others depending on who else in the age group might swim faster. If you use the 5th place time for the fitting function, even with Rick smashing the old record by nearly 20 seconds, the data point would not change much (i.e., right now J. Chatard is in 5th; after Rick's time is posted, Glenn Gruber will be in 5th. The difference between Chatard and Gruber is only .39 seconds.)

    Anyhow, this could be one way to ensure a more moderate change over the years. By picking the person in the 5th place spot, you wouldn't have to do any tedious averaging, etc. And with the exception of the very oldest age groups, odds are that there will be at least five swimmers in every All Time Top 10 tabulation.

    What do you think?

  6. #6
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    A, A
    Posts
    2,162
    Blog Entries
    261

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    I apologize for my tendency to go on and on and on and on....

    However, the easiest way that individual swimmers can get an idea about how age grading works is to visit Ed Gendreau's very useful site that he does for the New England LMSC.

    Just click here: http://www.egswim.com/ne/RatingTimeOut.php

    To see how you are holding up as you age, just take two of your times from a favorite event swum at different ages. Enter the info as requested and it will crank out your respective ratings for both.

    Here, by way of example, is a comparison of my 100 LCM butterfly swum at age 65 vs. the same event at age 50. I am nearly 3 seconds slower than I used to be, but despite this, my rating has gotten a lot better. For me, at least, this is motivating to keep on trying my best--if not to get a lifetime PR, then maybe to get a lifetime high rating.


    EVENT: Men 100 Fly
    COURSE: LCM (long course meters)
    AGE: 50
    TIME: 1:07.68
    RATING: 84.99




    EVENT: Men 100 Fly
    COURSE: LCM (long course meters)
    AGE: 65
    TIME: 1:10.63
    RATING: 97.74

  7. #7
    Very Active Member gull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,635
    Blog Entries
    28

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    From age 49-62 I had only a very slow decease in times. From 63 on I have been getting slower faster and faster.
    We need a thread from Ande on getting slower slower.

  8. #8
    Very Active Member Gary P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Monticello, IL
    Posts
    310

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton View Post
    the easiest way that individual swimmers can get an idea about how age grading works is to visit Ed Gendreau's very useful site that he does for the New England LMSC.

    Just click here: http://www.egswim.com/ne/RatingTimeOut.php


    For me, at least, this is motivating to keep on trying my best--if not to get a lifetime PR, then maybe to get a lifetime high rating.
    Yes, I discovered the "eg swim rating" page link in a Total Immersion forum post, of all places. Love having another way to evaluate my performances, as, at some point, swimming personal bests becomes an unrealistic expectation. As the old sports saying goes, "Father Time is undefeated."

  9. #9
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    A, A
    Posts
    2,162
    Blog Entries
    261

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    The great breast stroking psychiatrist Allen Stark sent me a private message regarding age grading. He a'feared it sounded too lugubrious to post in the forum itself. I replied to him why I think age grading could eliminate a lot of his unnecessary misery about slowing down. He agreed to let me post our exchange given how serendipitously PERFECT his most recent 200 LCM breast at age 68 lines up to his "life time best swim" 200 LCM breast at age 62. Check it out!

    I will put Allen's words in underlined italics.


    This was not such a big deal for me in 60-64, but the piano has fallen in 65-69. In 2011, at 62, I broke the WR in the 200 BR in the best swim of my life in 2:50.44.I barely broke the WR and was ecstatic. It was my best time in 13 yr, but I had been mostly in the 2:52 during that 13 yr with very little slowdown. In 2014 I broke the 200 BR by over a second in 2:56.96 at age 65. I knew I could go faster, but the next year I went 3:00 and Rick Walker said to me after the race "I bet you never thought you'd be happy with a 3:00" and the damnable part was that I was happy with it. At 68 I went 3:03, really not happy with that, sure I can go faster, afraid soon I'll think that was fast. I am making his a PM as I feel I am kind of whining, but I am very frustrated with getting slower so fast.


    Hi, Allen,

    I actually tried to contact you when I was researching both this article and the piece on aging and performance I did for Swimmer. A post you made on your frustrations (which, by the way, I share, along with Rich Abrahams and many others) is what actually rekindled my interest in starting a new metric to supplement the times-only approach by which we swimmers (often overly harshly) judge ourselves!

    The switch from the relatively modest linear decline to a more severe quadratic drop-off does seem to happen somewhere between the late 60s to the mid 70s. David Guthrie actually suggested to me that by age 75 or at the very latest 80, they should have World Records every two years instead of every five, given how dramatic these declines can become.

    I was also a little surprised to learn that endurance goes faster than speed. To me the 200 breast is clearly an endurance event, the 200 LCM breast is (to my way of thinking!) practically unswimmable by mortal men!

    I just took the liberty of checking out your 50, 100, and 200 LCM breaststroke times dating back to 2009--i.e., during the years when you went from 60 to 68. Interestingly, in none of these 9 year periods has your average yearly decline exceeded 1 percent, though your 100 breast did come close.

    68 to 60

    37.14 (slowed down by 4.8 percent over 9 years = .52 percent per year) 36.16 35.99 35.78 36.26 35.10 35.28 35.37

    1:24.09 (slowed down by 8.6 percent over 9 years = .96 percent per year) 1:20.87 1:21.75 1:19.88 1:20.89 1:17.99 1:17.50 1:16.83

    3:03.39 (slowed down by 5.9 percent over 9 years = .66 percent per year) 3:00.01 3:00.21 2:56.96 2:59.47 2:50.44 2:52.74 2:52.54

    the 9 year average isn't the same as each year to year change. From this year compared to last year (i.e., 67 to 68), for instance:

    your 50 speed declined by 2.6 percent
    your 100 declined by 3.22 percent
    and your 200 declined by 1.8 percent

    Numbers are peculiar, and it's hard to know what to make of this. I encourage you to check out Ed Gendreau's age rating site.

    http://www.egswim.com/ne/RatingTimeOut.php

    EVENT: Men 200 Breast
    COURSE: LCM (long course meters)
    AGE: 68
    TIME: 3:03.39
    RATING: 96.53

    EVENT: Men 200 Breast
    COURSE: LCM (long course meters)
    AGE: 67
    TIME: 3:00.21
    RATING: 96.99

    EVENT: Men 200 Breast
    COURSE: LCM (long course meters)
    AGE: 66
    TIME: 3:00.21
    RATING: 95.78

    ....

    Your best time of your life:

    EVENT: Men 200 Breast
    COURSE: LCM (long course meters)
    AGE: 62
    TIME: 2:50.44
    RATING: 96.53


    Please note that the rating for your 2:50.44 at age 62 is IDENTICAL to your rating for a 3:03.39 at age 68. When I just ran these numbers, I had no idea what I would find. But it seems to me that this is very strong validation for why age-grading could help lots of swimmers better cope with their changing swim times. As a psychiatrist, you've no doubt encouraged more than a few of your patients over the years to "cognitively reframe" ideas that are unnecessarily making them miserable! I know it's hard to see your times getting slower, but I strongly urge you to take at least a little consolation from the fact that this past summer's 200 LCM breast -- on an age adjusted basis that takes into account the realities of human performance physiology -- is every bit as good as the swim you did at age 62.

    Moreover, you maintain that you know you can go faster. I have no doubt this is true. But wouldn't it be motivating to also tell yourself: Absolute time notwithstanding, I know I can improve my rating next year?

    PS I don't think your private message was at all whiney! I think you expressed something that many, many swimmers are feeling. If you agree, I would love to post your PM and my reply on the forum itself. I think people would find it illuminating.

    In any event, keep on the great swimming! Times notwithstanding, you are still swimming GREAT!


    Thank you so much.If you don't think my PM too whiny feel free to use it. Since my last meet I have been lifting weights more regularly in an attempt to turn back the clock.i know you are not pro-lifting, but i think I swim better when i lift regularly. I also gave up grains and have lost 8 lb while retaining muscle. The proof will be in the times. i had great hopes for my SCM meet, but hurt my shoulder( not swimming related injury) 3 wk ago which though off my training. We will see this weekend by how much.
    Thanks
    Allen

  10. #10
    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    4,622

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by gull View Post
    We need a thread from Ande on getting slower slower.
    Yeah, that's for sure. I'm only 55; however, I am feeling King Frog's pain already.

    Hey, King Frog, I hope Jim's messages make you feel A LOT better about slowing down. Relatively speaking, you haven't slowed down at all!
    Last edited by ElaineK; November 29th, 2017 at 05:48 PM.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  11. #11
    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Woodbury, New Jersey, United States
    Posts
    464
    Blog Entries
    522

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    I have a theory about those of us older/aging swimmers who aren't swimming top ten times, but use them for comparison, and as I understand it, USMS uses top 10 times to set NQTs.

    Here goes: as we age the number of swimmers in our age group is decreasing resulting in a smaller sample size and the top 10 become a bigger and bigger portion of the AG sample size.The swimmers who are still at it, tend to be the better/faster swimmers, as many of the slower swimmers have fallen by the wayside. So, reaching a NQT becomes tougher and tougher. At this point in my 65-69 AG there is a preponderance of really good swimmers still standing and competing.

    I'd have to look at the math behind age-grading more closely to understand the impact this winnowing has on computed age-grading, but it seems to me that the impact on NQTs is to make them harder and harder to achieve as you get older if you aren't a really good swimmer.

    Combined with the increased injuries and ailments, muscle loss, and life getting in the way that accompanies aging, I've really lost any thought of improving, but who knows. Think I started back at it to late too. At one point I had some goal times in my head, but now its just hang on and get slower, slower.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go raciní in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

  12. #12
    Active Member Rurrell85's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
    Posts
    35

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    Very interesting read with some good info. Thanks for posting this.

  13. #13
    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Latham, NY
    Posts
    346

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    I'll be 70 in January and still improving. I didn't start swimming seriously until 67 when arthritis put a stop to my running. Took a couple stroke clinics at 68, and joined a masters team practice at 69. My times are not competitive since I'm still relatively new to the whole thing. 50y in 51 sec, 100y in 2:07, 200y in 4:30 and a mile OWS in 48 min. I'm quite certain that those times will fall this winter if I can get to a meet or two. So even though with an age-graded system, I would still score fairly low, I'm pleased with the progress I've made.

  14. #14
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    tucson ,arizona
    Posts
    1,171

    Re: Age-Grading for Masters Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumorunner View Post
    I'll be 70 in January and still improving. I didn't start swimming seriously until 67 when arthritis put a stop to my running. Took a couple stroke clinics at 68, and joined a masters team practice at 69. My times are not competitive since I'm still relatively new to the whole thing. 50y in 51 sec, 100y in 2:07, 200y in 4:30 and a mile OWS in 48 min. I'm quite certain that those times will fall this winter if I can get to a meet or two. So even though with an age-graded system, I would still score fairly low, I'm pleased with the progress I've made.
    Well Jim and Allan are way ahead of you and me on swimming times. Sumorunner you are doing pretty good to have taken up the sport in your late 60's. The body changes when I came back for about 2 years and did a few masters meets when I was 45 and 46 I did a 1:34 100 yard breaststroke last year I did a senior Olympic event locally and swam 1:48.5. Women slow down usually at younger ages than men in masters or senior Olympic events.

Similar Threads

  1. Why are there very few Masters Swimmers under 40?
    By jmnchng in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: March 17th, 2018, 01:07 PM
  2. Converting lap swimmers to Masters swimmers?
    By au-girl98 in forum Coaches and Club Development
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: February 16th, 2016, 08:11 PM
  3. Any NYC Masters Swimmers Here?
    By Type1Racegirl in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: June 28th, 2012, 01:26 PM
  4. Masters swimmers and their pugs
    By jim thornton in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: January 24th, 2009, 12:41 AM
  5. Masters swimmers that don't compete
    By abc in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 74
    Last Post: March 3rd, 2008, 12:10 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •