The 2020 Pro Swim Series isn’t even half over, but the race for the women’s title might as well be. With Regan Smith‘s absurd speed in Knoxville, it’s going to take an otherworldly swim to knock her off the top of the current standings.
For the second season, the Pro Swim Series doesn’t give out its $10,000 series winner prizes based on cumulative points. This year, as it was last year, the winner will be determined by the single best swim (in FINA points) of the entire series. FINA points attempt to compare swims in different events by creating a points system in which the world record is worth 1000 points. Swims slower than the world record earn less than 1000, based on their relative distance from the world record, and new world records will earn more than 1000, depending on how much faster they are than the previous world record.
While that system has its critics, it is the one being used for this year’s Pro Swim Series title. And it’s relative simplicity means we can come up with ‘benchmark’ times that would be needed to beat Smith’s 58.27 100 backstroke from the Knoxville Pro Swim Series over the weekend.
Spoiler alert: they’re ridiculous.
The Pro Swim Series is using FINA’s 2019 Power Points table, which is based off of world records as of January 2019. (That means Smith’s backstrokes are scored based on the former world records, not her new world records set over the summer). Smith scored 986 points with her 100 back in Knoxville. Here’s a look at the slowest times that would earn 987 points and knock Smith off the top of the list:
While the series does award $10,000 to the winner, Smith is still maintaining her amateurism for NCAA eligibility. That’ll put some restrictions on how much (if any) of that award she can accept. But the PSS title also comes with plenty of prestige. And it looks like Smith is squarely in line for that honor.
Oh, and if there’s a tie, the tiebreaker is highest FINA points in a second event. Smith has already gone 2:05.94 in the 200 back for 955 FINA points. So even if another swimmer can muster up a 986-point swim, they’ll have to get a second event above 955. Good luck with that.