Disqualifications Shouldn’t Score Points

by Barry Revzin 13

October 14th, 2019 Opinion

One of the things I like to do when starting out analyzing data is to find something easy to check against to make sure I’m doing things correctly. With the ISL, I have a ready-made sanity check: the score of the meet. If I can get the same score as the league, clearly I did something right. If I’m off by a few points, time to go find the bug in my code. If I’m off by a lot of points, well…

When I went through the first day of Naples, I had a discrepancy. The ISL’s official score (that they tweeted) was:

  • Cali Condors: 237.5
  • Energy Standard: 230.0
  • Aqua Centurions: 174.0
  • DC Trident: 162.5

But that wasn’t quite what I had. I had come up with:

  • Cali Condors: 237.5
  • Energy Standard: 228.0
  • Aqua Centurions: 173.0
  • DC Trident: 162.5

That is, two fewer points for Energy and one fewer point for Aqua. At first, I just brushed it off as I obviously made a mistake. I make them all the time, let’s try to track down the bug.

But there’s another interesting sanity check in this case to look at: what’s the total score? Individual events score 37 points and relays score double that, so it’s easy to count that the total score before any deductions for Day 1 (16 individual events and 3 relays) should have been 814 points. Day 1 had 5 deductions. In three cases, the qualifying standard was not met (Kierra Smith in the 50 breast, Philip Heintz in the 400 IM, and Aqua’s women’s freestyle relay) and there were additionally two disqualifications (Margherita Panziera in the 200 back and Energy’s famous DQ in the men’s medley relay). So that should subtract 4 points for the deductions, 3 points for individual DQ (because we go from scoring 1 point for 8th to -2 points), and 6 points for the relay DQ (likewise going from scoring 2 points for 8th to -4 points). Put it all together, you get 814 – 4 – 9 = 801 points total.

My score does sum up to 801. But ISL’s sums up to 804.

My best understanding of the difference has to do with the disqualifications. The rules say:

“If a swimmer, in any given individual event, does not finish (DNF) the race or is disqualified, then the swimmer will receive -2 points (minus 2).”

The relay rule is the same, except -4.

I would interpret that as: Panziera scores -2 points for the 200 backstroke and Energy’s relay scores -4 points. Other folks at SwimSwam interpret this rule the same way – we ran a post about Energy’s DQ which described that relay as scoring -4 points instead of 14.

Note that this rule is worded notably differently than the rule around meeting the minimal standards:

“If a swimmer, in any given individual event, is slower than the respective times seen on the table below, then the swimmer will receive -1 point (minus 1) from the actual points his/her place refers to.”

Before we had “will receive -2 points” for DQs, but here we have “will receive -1 point […] from the actual points his/her place refers to.” This wording is notably different because the situation is different: one case is an absolute score of -2 points due to the DQ (or DNF) and the other case is a relative score of -1 points due to failing to meet the standard (but still legally finishing the race and placing).

But that’s not how the ISL apparently scored this event. I think they still awarded Panziera 1 point for 8th place and then deducted 2 for the DQ. And likewise still awarded Energy 2 points for 8th place and then deducted 4 for the DQ. That accounts for the 3 point difference. This does not make sense to me. If you got disqualified in an event, you did not finish 8th – you did not place at all! Disqualifications shouldn’t get awarded points, but in a way that’s what happened here. Even though the total amount that Panziera and Energy scored was negative, they still gained points on top of their deduction. That just seems like a mistake.

All in all, I believe the final score of Naples should actually be:

  • 491.0 – Energy Standard
  • 490.5 – Cali Condors
  • 322.0 – DC Trident
  • 320.5 – Aqua Centurions

Thankfully, no change in place. But very very nearly so!

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1 year ago

I totally agree! I hope ISL fixes this!

1 year ago

I think this is fair. Like NCAA, if someone gets dq in the a final, they get 0 points rather than the 11 points for 8th place (or 22 for relays).
On the plus side, ISL seems to really consider feedback and fix it depending on if it makes sense to them.

Reply to  DBSwims
1 year ago

I have always disliked that rule. I think that someone DQ’ed in the A final should get the same points as the 8th or 9th finisher.

Reply to  mcgillrocks
1 year ago

Why? I’d like to hear your rationale.

Reply to  Francine
1 year ago

I’m not them, but if you get DQ in the final you still had to swim the heat to make the final.

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Francine
1 year ago

Because they made the final wothout getting a DQ so the lowest they should rank is 8th.

Different for ISL as they don’t have heats

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

I agree because in a swim off if you get DQ’d, you place the lowest you possibly can which is last in that swimoff. Then the meet continues with your orginal swim (nonswimoff race) counting

Eddie Rowe
Reply to  mcgillrocks
1 year ago

Can I just scratch the A final and get my 8th place points since I “had to qualify for it already?” No? Exactly.

1 year ago

Thanks for this . Love this kind of thing. Hope they fix it very soon.