Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

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Tron Paul
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Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Tron Paul » Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:26 pm

D1 programs on the whole have faster swimmer, more resources, and in general are more committed both to in and offseason training.
The fastest Division 3 men's program would rank about 75th in the nation when compared to Division 1 teams.

I set out to try and measure this. What I found is that D1 programs are no better at improving their swimmers is untrue, at least for men.
Division I programs on the whole improve their swimmers no more than D2 or D3 ones do on the men's side. For the women, Division 1
programs are no better than division 2 programs, but both are better than D3 programs at improving their swimmers.

To show this, I found the top times for all NCAA swimmers done after February 1. I used this as a cutoff date to get as
many taper times as possible. I then found the percent improvement from season to season for each swimmer who tapered that
event two years in a row. Side note: percent drops is fairly comparable across events though there are some small differences.
This doesn't account for drops from high school to freshman year of college, but I don't think those would be significantly
different enough to sway this data.

Here are the average per-year drops for each division for the men:
D1: -0.54%
D2: -0.54%
D3: -0.56%

Oddly, there wasn't any significant difference between any of the divisions.

However, the results were quite different when it came to the women. There is no significant difference between D1 and D2
women's time drops (p-value = .6) but the difference between D1+D2 women and D3 women was significant (p-value = .00047):

D1: -.41
D2: -.39
D3: -.27

My hypothesis here is that men are more likely to drop time since they are more likely to continue growing in college.
For women, however a greater percentage of the drop is likely to come from technique and training improvements.
One possible factor that would skew results would be if faster swimmers are more likely to plateau than slower swimmers
since they are more likely to be near their best possible times based off of their physical abilities. However, I found that
this wasn't the case. The amount of time that you drop is not related to how fast you are at all.

silentp
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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by silentp » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:28 pm

D1 programs being even with D2 and D3 in terms of drops makes their success more impressive when considering that those drops are harder to achieve, even from a percentage standpoint, because they are faster times (on average).

Are you able to break it down between top tier programs and mid-major type programs within d1 (or d3)? That may also show interesting results. Or by conference/school.

While I do think senior year high school to freshman year college results may be interesting I do believe there would be too many variables in the data to make any results accurate.

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Tron Paul
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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Tron Paul » Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:09 pm

I'll have to re sift through the data to do that, but I'll try to put up drops by conference. There are a lot of D3 teams as I found out...

I thought that D1 teams would drops less because of what you said as well, they're already pretty fast. The weird thing is that faster swimmers actually drop about the same amount of time, percentage wise, as slower swimmers. This graph should show that. Red are D1 swimmers, green D2, and blue D3.

I'll also post up the raw data in case anyone else wants to have a go at it, but I still think its a sweet plug for D3 swimming.
Attachments
Percent difference from top time vs. percent time dropped
Percent difference from top time vs. percent time dropped
allEventsMen.png (105.26 KiB) Viewed 7835 times

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Schiller
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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Schiller » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:38 pm

What does that plot look like for the women? Given the differences between divisions, does the "faster people drop the same amount of time" principle hold even within division for the women?

(Should you be excluding drops above 10% as outliers?)

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Tron Paul
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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Tron Paul » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:26 pm

Yeah, its weird but it basically holds across all divisions and events (I just did some spot checking).

Here's 100 Free linear fits:
%drop = B + Mx
D1 Men: -0.0380632 + 0.0006805x
D3 Men: -0.0400428 + 0.0007046x
D1 Women: -0.048503 + 0.000869x
D3 Women: -0.0168008 + 0.0002469x

Here's the drops by conference. D1 it looks like the major conferences do a bit better, Big 10, SEC, and PAC 12/10. But anecdotally that doesn't look true for D3 teams since the NESCAC, UAA, and SCIAC are all pretty low.

Side note: I have no idea what the major D2 conferences are, especially since they make no sense. Why is Saint Cloud, which is in northern Minnesota in the NSISC conference with West Florida?

D1
1 ACC (Atlantic Coast) -0.0061216477
2 America East -0.0032011041
3 American Athletic Conf -0.0038305629
4 Atlantic 10 -0.0041174468
5 Big 12 -0.0027719891
6 Big East -0.0027370815
7 Big Ten -0.0051380353
8 Coastal College (CCSA) -0.0009036154
9 Colonial Athletic Assoc -0.0050547820
10 Conference USA -0.0040693258
11 Horizon League -0.0014732599
12 Ivy League -0.0009328528
13 Metro Atlantic Athl. Conf -0.0016621338
14 Missouri Valley -0.0033523973
15 Mountain Pacific Sports -0.0006219336
16 Mountain West -0.0060751502
18 Northeast Conf -0.0030157632
19 Pac 12 -0.0036373538
20 SEC -0.0036586458
21 The Patriot League -0.0016665537
22 The Summit League -0.0058616667
23 Western Athletic Conf -0.0043272772

D2
1 Great Lakes Intercoll -0.0038901584
2 Great Lakes Valley -0.0030006849
3 Metropolitan Swimming -0.0021713043
5 New England Intercoll. -0.0093043860
6 New South Intercollegiate -0.0046426154
7 Northeast Ten -0.0058737638
8 Pacific Collegiate -0.0015609677
9 Pennsylvania State (PSAC) -0.0052130357
10 Rocky Mountain Athletic -0.0065577889
11 Sunshine State -0.0033397546

D3
1 Allegheny Mountain -0.0124700000
2 Bluegrass Mountain -0.0048793023
3 Capital Athletic -0.0027486268
4 Centennial -0.0024003208
5 City Univ. of New York -0.0046117241
6 College of Illinois/Wisc -0.0039843158
9 Empire 8 -0.0043522051
10 Great Lakes Valley 0.0238685714
11 Great Northeast Athletic -0.0062768421
12 Heartland Collegiate 0.0032436364
13 Independent -0.0141731250
14 Iowa Intercollegiate -0.0022503125
15 Landmark -0.0024886350
16 Liberal Arts -0.0118150000
17 Liberty League -0.0038663467
18 Little East -0.0082130337
19 MIAC -0.0033134581
20 Michigan Intercollegiate -0.0040852713
21 Middle Atlantic -0.0061905556
22 Midwest -0.0025982143
23 NESCAC -0.0009707841
24 New England -0.0061583279
25 New England Intercoll. -0.0039802344
26 New Jersey Athletic -0.0016495397
27 North Coast Athletic -0.0043567784
28 Northeast Ten -0.0079266667
29 Northwest Conference -0.0040130670
30 Ohio Athletic -0.0042749359
31 Old Dominion Athletic -0.0061378421
32 Pennsylvania State (PSAC) 0.0092683333
33 Presidents -0.0036939941
34 Skyline -0.0168883333
35 Southern Athletic Associa -0.0021169915
36 Southern California -0.0005462783
37 Southern Collegiate -0.0036296316
38 State Univ of New York -0.0081090000
39 Sunshine State -0.0070900000
40 University Athletic -0.0026335430
Attachments
100FreeDrop.pdf
(180.46 KiB) Downloaded 376 times

Martha
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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Martha » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:22 am

Love this thread. I think its interesting that all three divisions appear to have the same effect as you move left, independent of eachother. Meaning, the fastest guys stay closer to their best times. Or it could be that there are simply less of them so that's not actually true.

Also, I am assuming you meant to multiply everthing on the LHS by 100 to show %. Not that I care. I guess I do.

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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Tron Paul » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:04 pm

Martha wrote: Also, I am assuming you meant to multiply everthing on the LHS by 100 to show %. Not that I care. I guess I do.
Yeah, though I also had another math error that set it off by like a factor of three. Here's a better plot that I made with another year's worth of data.
Attachments
Women: Blue=D1,Green=D2,Red=D3
Women: Blue=D1,Green=D2,Red=D3
DropsWomenGraph-page-001(1).jpg (196.86 KiB) Viewed 7346 times
Men: Blue=D1,Green=D2,Red=D3
Men: Blue=D1,Green=D2,Red=D3
MenDropsGraph-page-001.jpg (197.65 KiB) Viewed 7347 times

Borg
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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Borg » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:56 pm

Tron....I enjoyed your study and appreciate the amount of time and effort involved and I am not surprised by your conclusions regarding improvement. Given training restrictions placed on teams by the NCAA, I would expect minimal time variations for teams that practice the same way year after year regardless of division.
I would love to read a study that has measured the improvements achieved coming out of high school. The elite D1 programs fill their programs with proven stars and many of these swimmers achieved elite status by incorporating a collegiate training regimen during their high school years. The uncertainty going forward for this group of swimmers is the remaining upside. I spoke with a very hungry D3 coach recently who took his job very seriously....and I asked him his tactics for recruiting given the reality of the limitations for D3. "We're all about upside trying to identify fast swimmers that achieved their speed without land training." And in his program, his swimmers dropped 5% time in their races in year 1 after incorporating land training. I would be interested to read what the best coaches look for besides fast times. One story I heard, probably an urban legend, was that a former D1 head coach made his scholarship offers based on his hand shake with the recruit...measuring up the size of the kids hands. Gotta have big paddles.

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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Schiller » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:07 pm

Borg wrote: I would love to read a study that has measured the improvements achieved coming out of high school.
Here's a partial effort. This cross references times between collegeswimming and usaswimming's databases, so I had to manually correct name discrepancies (ex. Robert vs Bob, Bill vs William, ect.). This meant it wasn't possible to scale it up to the level of Tron's results. I may have a workaround for this soon.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=6808

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Re: Division 3 vs. Division 1 Swimming

Post by Borg » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:44 pm

Schiller wrote:
Borg wrote: I would love to read a study that has measured the improvements achieved coming out of high school.
Here's a partial effort. This cross references times between collegeswimming and usaswimming's databases, so I had to manually correct name discrepancies (ex. Robert vs Bob, Bill vs William, ect.). This meant it wasn't possible to scale it up to the level of Tron's results. I may have a workaround for this soon.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=6808
Thanks for the link....great work. No surprise that the girls' progression nearly flat lines from HS to college given their maturation age is so much earlier than boys. The 2% increase for boys seemed low at first but I suspect the added weight/muscle developed by males as their bodies mature in college partially offsets the benefits of added strength/endurance achieved from greater work loads. Then when you apply the law of diminishing marginal returns to the best swimmers, they have less room for improvement.

I looked at Ryan Murphy's (Cal junior) progression from senior year at Bolles School to his NCAA victories in 100/200 Back stroke and his progression was 3% in the 100 Back and 2% in the 200. I used him because he was the best in the country in HS and in college so his progression is purely based on maturation/training techniques of an athlete with Olympic aspirations. He's focused. Of course Bolles trains their swimmers harder than most college programs so maybe not the best comparison.
Anyway...thanks for the data

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