Problem with NESCAC Meet

Forums Conferences New England Small College Athletic Conference Problem with NESCAC Meet

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    • #12446
      nescacalum
      Member

      I’ve always had a problem with the way the NESCAC Championship meet has been run. The Amherst women are clearly the top team in the conference (and almost the nation) as demonstrated by their performance so far at NCAA’s, yet they finished behind Williams in the NESCAC Championship meet.

      The NESCAC coaches should vote to limit the scoring roster size for championship teams to 18 spots. Teams can still bring 24 athletes (or more depending on how many divers they have) but six slots should be exhibition (meaning they can’t swim at night) as done in several division I conferences (such as the ACC). Also, while the bonus heat should still be swum, it should not be scored. It frustrates me that at the conference meet, we can’t even fill up the 400 IM to 24 spots. This means that everyone who swims the event scores some points. Is this Country Club swimming or a collegiate conference championship meet? The same goes for the 50’s. Swimmers at the college level should not be swimming 50’s at their conference championship. If we get rid of the 50’s then swimmers will have to swim events like the 400 I.M. This may be harder, but this is college swimming.

      Fewer points and smaller teams means that Williams isn’t going to win every year just because they have more middle teir swimmers than everyone else and things will be more competitive overall. How can a teams at the bottom of the conference challenge for top spots if they don’t have facilities like Williams and Middlebry that can accommodate larger rosters?

      The Williams men’s team will finish the highest among NESCAC teams at NCAA’s because they are the best team. They would have still won NESCAC’s if it we run in the way I outlined above. However, in years past teams like Tufts, Amherst, and Middlebury (even though they won in 2002) would have been a greater challenge for top spot at the meet if the conference meet wasn’t so watered down. This will make the meet exciting, help prepare teams for NCAA’s and make the NESCAC on par with other swimming conferences. It will also reward teams for having the best swimmers. At women’s NESCAC’s, Amherst won 10 events out of 24 compared to Williams winning 3 of 24, had the senior of the meet, and swimmer of the meet yet lost by 156.5 points. This just baffles me.

    • #36487
      E0M8S
      Member

      @nescacalum wrote:

      I’ve always had a problem with the way the NESCAC Championship meet has been run. The Amherst women are clearly the top team in the conference (and almost the nation) as demonstrated by their performance so far at NCAA’s, yet they finished behind Williams in the NESCAC Championship meet.

      The NESCAC coaches should vote to limit the scoring roster size for championship teams to 18 spots. Teams can still bring 24 athletes (or more depending on how many divers they have) but six slots should be exhibition (meaning they can’t swim at night) as done in several division I conferences (such as the ACC). Also, while the bonus heat should still be swum, it should not be scored. It frustrates me that at the conference meet, we can’t even fill up the 400 IM to 24 spots. This means that everyone who swims the event scores some points. Is this Country Club swimming or a collegiate conference championship meet? The same goes for the 50’s. Swimmers at the college level should not be swimming 50’s at their conference championship. If we get rid of the 50’s then swimmers will have to swim events like the 400 I.M. This may be harder, but this is college swimming.

      Fewer points and smaller teams means that Williams isn’t going to win every year just because they have more middle teir swimmers than everyone else and things will be more competitive overall. How can a teams at the bottom of the conference challenge for top spots if they don’t have facilities like Williams and Middlebry that can accommodate larger rosters?

      The Williams men’s team will finish the highest among NESCAC teams at NCAA’s because they are the best team. They would have still won NESCAC’s if it we run in the way I outlined above. However, in years past teams like Tufts, Amherst, and Middlebury (even though they won in 2002) would have been a greater challenge for top spot at the meet if the conference meet wasn’t so watered down. This will make the meet exciting, help prepare teams for NCAA’s and make the NESCAC on par with other swimming conferences. It will also reward teams for having the best swimmers. At women’s NESCAC’s, Amherst won 10 events out of 24 compared to Williams winning 3 of 24, had the senior of the meet, and swimmer of the meet yet lost by 156.5 points. This just baffles me.

      OK, you have a problem with:

      1) 24 swimmers scoring instead of 18
      2) scoring the preconsolation final
      3) 50’s of stroke

      Still, two of these three reasons are where many of the other NESCAC schools make a lot of their points. If you don’t score the bonus final, you’ll end up with teams like Trinity and Bates tallying a paltry 50 points on the weekend. So what if you can’t fill the 400 IM? The NESCAC has traditionally been an academically-minded conference. If some of the schools are less athletically-oriented or talented at swimming, who are you to tell them that their swimmers shouldn’t get a chance to score points at NESCACS. Williams swimmers rarely place in bonus finals anyways, so whose points are you taking there?

      Same with the 50’s of stroke. Kuster doesn’t put a lot of his swimmers in those events specifically because they aren’t swum at NCAA’s. Same with the 1000 free. Only the absolutely pure stroke swimmers on that team swim the 50’s of stroke, and only the absolutely pure distance swimmers do the 500-1000-1650 combination. Hate on Williams all you want, but I want to see if all that running your mouth would have made a difference if you take the Top 18 Williams points scorers and compare them to the Top 18 from Amherst or Middlebury.

      You said it yourself, Williams has more middle tier swimmers. Past Stern, Sasser, Marvel, Petterson, Kim, Pritchard, Ross, Chambers, Van der Veer, Soja, Cowie, Wang… the Williams girls will almost match their star power with girls like Nicholson, McCarthy, Metcalf, Asher, and Haley, and then their middle tier swimmers will amass points in consols that those other teams can’t. You named the reason why Williams continually wins. Instead of changing the rules but not the outcome, you should just keep hoping that the other teams find a way to match the Ephs’ depth.

    • #36488
      nescacdad
      Member

      NCAC, which has produced the men’s national champs for 27 straight years, runs their end of season conference championships with the same scoring scheme as NESCAC. They do not, however, have the 50 yard fly, breast and back. It did not appear at first glance, that those races swung the balance of that meet in the favor of Williams over Amherst. As for having pre-consolation finals, good luck with your quest. Certainly the premium points for winning races in duel meets is the only reason Amherst beat Williams this year. Perhaps this should be reviewed as well.

    • #36489
      griz
      Member

      i was interested in this topic, so i rescored the meet under the following conditions:

      1. without the preconsolation heat
      2. limiting roster size to the top 18 swimmers on each team
      3. without the b relay heat scored (as ncac does, i think…)

      i couldn’t rescore without the 50s and the 1000 because those swimmers who chose to swim these races could have possibly scored in other events.

      the percent differences between the adjusted scores and the actual scores were as follows (greatest to least):

      bowdoin (35.01%)
      wesleyan (34.91%)
      amherst (29.38%)
      hamilton (27.85%)
      tufts (26.55%)
      trinity (26.21%)
      bates (25.68%)
      williams (24.85%)
      colby (20.54%)
      middlebury (16.00%)
      connecticut (14.14%)

      this scoring also produced the following order of finish:

      1. williams (1617.5)
      2. tufts (1032)
      3. middlebury (1019)
      4. amherst (1011)
      5. connecticut (834.5)
      6. colby (745)
      7. wesleyan (593)
      8. hamilton (456)
      9. bowdoin (437)
      10. trinity (351)
      11. bates (296)

      if the ncaa meet were to become a combined meet in the future, this would definitely have an impact on the nescac meets. for one, nescac would have to combine men and women, so the roster size would have to be cut down to 18 and the 50s and 1000 would have to go as well.

    • #36490
      nescacdad
      Member

      I guess my point is that dual meets can easily produce different results than NESCACS and different results at Nationals. So what? Teams that are top heavy with stars, but without numbers, will score well at Nationals and dual meets with those scoring schemes. NESCACS and NCACs reward depth with points awarded to 24 swimmers. The NESCAC inclusion of 50s and the 1000 free opened up the 200 free for the men this year since Spinelli chose not to swim it despite winning it last year. But Williams still had two guys on the podium, including the winner. That’s depth. If coaches like Kuster and Solomon can continue to generate spirited, deep squads, why should the rules change because this particular year the Amherst women came in 2nd at NESCACs despite all of their star power.

      This year’s men’s championships will pit Kenyon’s 18 men against 13? from Emory and 9? from Denison and it might be pretty close. Kenyon beat Denison during their duel meet and during the NCAC championships. Do you think Kenyon will complain about the scoring scheme if they lose to Denison at Nationals this year? I doubt it.

    • #36491
      nescacalum
      Member

      I think its hard to compare the NCAC meet with the NESCAC meet. The NCAC seems to need the three scoring heats much more than the NESCAC because the talent is all located in the top teams. Between the men’s and women’s meet, there were 192 chances to be in a bonus heat (this doesn’t include the 1000, 1650, diving, or any relays). Only 4 times was there a Denison or Kenyon swimmer in those heats (both men and women). There were also 192 chances to be in the championship heat and only 23 times was a swimmer from a team that finished lower than third place in the championship heat.

      In the NESCAC, there were 240 chances to be in a bonus heat in the men’s and women’s meet. Amherst or Williams had a swimmer in this heat 36 times. There were also 240 chances to be in the Championship heat. 90 times a swimmer from a non-top 3 team was in this heat (including several NESCAC champions).

      The talent in the NESCAC is more spread out than the NCAC so we don’t need the same set up to give teams a chance to score more.

    • #36492
      griz
      Member

      i think that the preconsol heat is more important to the nescac meet than the ncac meet. there are some events that require insanely fast swims just to make it into this heat.

      for example, in the 500 free, it took a 4:57.94 to get 24th place in nescac. at the ncac meet, it took 5:10.74. so if you take away the preconsol heat, a swimmer in the nescac needs to go 4:51.45 to make it back to finals. obviously there are other events that are similar to this. this eliminates a lot of opportunities for swimmers to have a finals swim, especially for the smaller, weaker teams. for a team like bates this year, who only had a few kids get into finals, the preconsol heat is crucial for them to have anything at night.

      there are also events that have less competition (like the 200 im and 400 im). the issue here, i think, is more the fact that there are 50s in the meet that dilutes the events.

      the meet would definitely get a lot faster from 1st to 24th if 50s and the 1000 were to be eliminated from the meet.

      like i said before, the coaches in nescac will probably not make a change until the ncaa meet becomes co-ed.

    • #36493
      nescacdad
      Member

      At Men’s Nationals, Amherst finished 7th among NESCAC schools behind Wesleyan, Tufts, Conn College, Colby, Middlebury and Williams. They finished 2nd at NESCACs. What does this tell us about this team versus its NESCAC competitors? Not much. This is a meet where only National qualifiers compete. Amherst had many good swimmers who competed well at NESCACs who did not make National cuts.

      On that note, nescacalum said, “The Amherst women are clearly the top team in the conference (and almost the nation) as demonstrated by their performance so far at NCAA’s, yet they finished behind Williams in the NESCAC Championship meet.” Nescacalum goes to suggest that there is something wrong with the the NESCAC Championship meet and it needs to be fixed. I disagree with nescacalum. The dual meets test the teams one way. The conference championship tests the teams another way, and Nationals is an entirely different test. It is the nature of this sport.

      Changing the scoring of the events will not settle arguments. This year’s Amherst women’s team had a spectacular outcome at Nationals, but they only beat Williams in their dual meet on the last relay and came in second to Williams at NESCACs. A large subset of each team or the entire team competes at dual meets. A smaller percentage of the team qualifies for NESCACs and the smallest percentage of the team’s roster competes at Nationals. Amherst had more stars. Their National Team was better than Williams National Team. No question. But it is not “clear” that the Amherst roster was superior to the Williams roster. Their dual meet was very close and despite Amherst winning most of the NESCAC championship meet events, the depth of Williams team generated enough middle tier points to take that title.

      These arguments about which team is better is good for the sport. There is conflicting data for the NESCAC women this year. So be it. Changing the rules to help Amherst this year will undoubtedly hurt them some other year. Leave it alone. It’s working just fine.

    • #36494
      griz
      Member

      amherst did not do as well at ncaa’s this year because i think ethan treat was injured (shoulder). had he been healthy, that argument may not hold as well.

      team scoring at nationals is also drastically affected by whether or not you have a relay that is invited.

    • #36495
      nescacalum
      Member

      Just to clarify, I, in no way, want to change the rules so that just Amherst benefits. It is my opinion that if we restructure the NESCAC Championship meet, competition overall will be better and more teams, not just Amherst, will have a chance to climb the leader board.

      I base this opinion after experiencing the NESCAC meet as a swimmer and two other conference meets as a collegiate swim coach. After having been part of championship meets for three conferences, I believe that the format I mentioned above works the best for creating the most competitive environment.

    • #36496
      nescacdad
      Member

      Ethan Treat gamely tried to compete at Nationals and was reportedly suffering from a bad cold and could hardly breath. The 400IM is a grueling event and Ethan still competed. Tough kid. Undoubtedly his status hurt Amherst’s point total, but they would not have placed as high as Middlebury even if Ethan was 100%, so my main point stands. Williams and Middlebury had superior National teams compared to Amherst. But the National team is not the “team.”

      As for relays, that is the one true team event within swimming where athletes sometimes swim spectacular splits out of nowhere. Kevin O’Rourke of Middlebury swam a 47.97 100 free for NESCAC trials in the morning, a 48.15 at night and a 45.65 in a 400 free relay split a few minutes later. That’s a team swimmer and that’s was the difference between qualifying and missing the cut. If someone suggests that scoring at Nationals is heavily influenced by whether you have a relay or not, they are correct. But if you are trying to gauge who has the better team, relays are probably a better way to take that measure than a collection of individual swims.

      As for nescacalum’s preferred structure, I noticed that they swim 50s in all four strokes at FINA World Championships to crown the best team on the planet this year. I doubt those competing in Melbourne this week would consider the 50s to be “Country Club” swimming. But I haven’t participated in three collegiate conference championships, so maybe I’m wrong.

    • #36497
      jota
      Member

      “Just to clarify, I, in no way, want to change the rules so that just Amherst benefits. It is my opinion that if we restructure the NESCAC Championship meet, competition overall will be better and more teams, not just Amherst, will have a chance to climb the leader board. “

      Instead, you want to change the rules so that Amherst might actually win a NESCAC title at some point. No doubt that the Amherst women were superior to the Williams women at Nationals. Their top few swimmers this year were clearly better than Williams’ top few, thus they scored more points.

      I do not think that changing the structure of NESCACS would cause a different result in terms of who ultimately wins the meet. It may have a negligible effect on the places that teams finish 2-11. Williams does not put a lot of its swimmers into 50s of stroke or the 1000. Narrowing the scoring to 18 individuals would certainly lessen Williams score at the end of the meet – seeing as though every single member of Williams team that goes to NESCAC scores points in nearly all three of their events. By removing six members of Williams squad, slower swimmers would start making it back at night. Does this make competition better? Will more teams be able to climb the leader board?

      If by competition you mean fast swimming, then no, competition is not made better because faster swimmers will be restricted from attending the meet just because they are the 19th-24st best member of their team. Will more teams be able to climb the leader board? Yes, probably. But at the end of the day, the change order of finish will be minimal. I wish I had data to show this, but I don’t have the time to run all of the numbers.

      The Amherst women certainly should be commended for a very solid season, but I do not think that changing the structure of the NESCAC meet would have produced a different result. I am certainly open to someone proving otherwise.

    • #36498
      griz
      Member

      so let’s just leave it the way it is. good talk. see you out there.

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