ISL Final Projections: London Roar Heavy Favorites

Now that we’re done with the inaugural regular season of the ISL, we can look ahead to the Vegas finals this coming week. The teams are set, and they are who we thought they were: London Roar, Energy Standard, Cali Condors, and LA Current. I last tried to project the final when we only had four of the six meets completed – but now we have more information. Two more meets worth of swims to get a sense of what kinds of times people can throw down, plus a few swimmers competed for the first time in their respective derbies (notably Duncan Scott). Daiya Seto still hasn’t swum a meet in the ISL for Energy Standard, so I’m continuing to make up times for him here.

So what can I say about what will happen this coming weekend? Let’s take a look at a bunch of things and find out.

The very simplest thing to do is:

– pick the best two swimmers in each event across the season for each team
– stack the relays for each team based on their top splits

For instance, the opening event of the program (the womens’ 100 fly) would come out as:

W 100 Butterfly
1. 55.39 – McKEON Emma, LON
2. 55.65 – SJOSTROM Sarah, ENS
3. 55.78 – DAHLIA Kelsi, CAC
4. 56.39 – WATTEL Marie, LON
5. 56.41 – STEWART Kendyl, LAC
6. 56.97 – OSMAN Farida, LAC
7. 57.37 – SHKURDAI Anastasia, ENS
8. 57.68 – HINDS Natalie, CAC

And the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay would end up with London swimming an “A” relay of Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon, Holly Barratt, and Bronte Campbell and a “B” relay of Marie Wattel, Minna Atherton, Jeanette Ottesen, and Sydney Pickrem. Those relays would go 1-5 (with the “A” relay, incidentally, destroyed the world record – the current record stands at 3:26.53 and assuming 0.5 gain on relay takeoffs for simplicity, I have those four going 50.88, 50.60, 51.45, 51.46 for a combined 3:24.39… and they’re all Australian so it would count).

The nice thing about this approach to lineups is that it’s easy to do and it’s deterministic. We end up with a final score of:

1. 485.0 – London Roar
2. 407.5 – Energy Standard
3. 379.0 – Cali Condors
4. 368.5 – LA Current

Pretty solid win by London Roar, fairly close race for 3rd between the two US teams.

Let’s do some more interesting things.

First, let’s just add more times to the mix. European SC Champs just happened, so I’m going to add in those swimmers’ times into the mix for what they can do. Also I’m going to extend some knowledge about splitting – instead of just using a swimmer’s real 100 fly medley relay split for simulated split, I’m also going to consider what they went in the actual 100 fly. Likewise, throw in swimmer’s 50 times for the first round of skins. Still perfectly deterministic:

1. 482.0 – London Roar
2. 423.0 – Energy Standard
3. 373.5 – Cali Condors
4. 361.5 – LA Current

No change in places, but Energy moving up a bit. One reason? In the original approach, Kliment Kolesnikov splits 50.53 on the relay (which finishes 3rd), gets 3rd in the 50 back (23.29) and 4th in the 100 back (50.16). But add in his Euros times and now he leads the relay off in 49.0 (which wins), gets 2nd in the 50 back (22.75) and wins the 100 back (the same 49.0).

Now, not every team will just stack every relay. I’d be surprised to see the London women’s freestyle lineup I suggested above – there is no advantage to winning a relay by that much (with adding these extra times, they win by a “mere” 1.4 seconds over Energy). Rather than trying to determine every team’s relay lineup, I’m just going to pick completely randomly. What happens if we randomize all relay selection (subject to legal relays) and just run it a few thousand times?

The average scores we get are:
1. 472.0 – London Roar
2. 442.2 – Energy Standard
3. 368.3 – Cali Condors
4. 357.4 – LA Current

But more interesting is the distribution of places. Now we have some non-determinism (the relay selection), so we have to look at the distribution of places:

1. LON (99.5%), ENS (0.5%)
2. ENS (99.5%), LON (0.5%)
3. CAC (87.7%), LAC (12.3%)
4. LAC (87.7%), CAC (12.3%)

On 5,000 iterations, London won 4,975 of them. And those 25 that Energy won? They were very, very close – Energy won by an average of 3.7 points (456.5 to 452.8). Every. Point. Counts.

Let’s add some more noise. Up until now, I’m using the best time for each swimmer across the season as the time that they will definitely go in each race. That’s not going to happen. I’ll add two layers of noise: for a given swimmer, I’ll pick some percentage to apply to them for all of their swims, and then fuzz each swim by a random number. For instance, I might [randomly] say Matt Grevers is 0.4% faster this meet (he did say he was tapering), but then randomly add some smaller amount of noise to each swim. For specific details, I’m using X% of noise to select an amount of improvement per swimmer from a normal distribution with mean 0 and standard deviation X% and then fuzzing each swim from a normal distribution with mean 0 and standard deviation (X/4)%. This is somewhat, but at least not entirely, arbitrary.

With 0.2% of noise (a 0.2% improvement is a tenth of a second in a 50 second race), and keeping with randomizing relays:

Place distribution
1. LON (98.2%), ENS (1.8%)
2. ENS (98.2%), LON (1.8%)
3. CAC (79.2%), LAC (20.8%)
4. LAC (79.2%), CAC (20.8%)

Energy creeping up a little bit there, and Cali having not as much of a stranglehold over 3rd place. This isn’t that much noise either. What if we turn the knob up slightly… let’s say 0.5% of noise?

1. LON (85.5%), ENS (14.5%)
2. ENS (85.3%), LON (14.5%), CAC (0.1%), LAC (0.0%)
3. CAC (66.6%), LAC (33.3%), ENS (0.1%)
4. LAC (66.7%), CAC (33.3%)

0.5% of noise isn’t outlandish (Caeleb Dressel might get 3rd in the 100 fly behind Chad Le Clos and Tom Shields, but he won’t get ever 8th), and we’re up to Energy winning about one time in 6. Although the US teams are still relegated to 3rd and 4th place in almost all runs.

What about… a full 1% of noise?

1. LON (70.6%), ENS (28.7%), LAC (0.4%), CAC (0.3%)
2. ENS (63.5%), LON (27.3%), LAC (4.9%), CAC (4.3%)
3. CAC (52.4%), LAC (39.2%), ENS (6.6%), LON (1.8%)
4. LAC (55.4%), CAC (43.0%), ENS (1.3%), LON (0.3%)

London still the heavy favorite. And if London doesn’t win, it’s almost certain that Energy wins (97.2%) and London gets second (92.3%) — in those situations Energy beats London by an average of 467 – 437. But neither Cali nor LA are completely out of it. If everyone steps up, if the US teams do their relays right while Energy continues to DQ theirs… they could take the title too.

All I know for sure is that I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

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2 years ago

Deiya Seto is a HUGE in for Energy Standard. He has been the top SC 2 & 4 IM’er in the last couple years. Not to mention he is the WR holder for 2Fly

I’m Predicting a big swing to Energy Standard just on the inclusion of Seto alone

2 years ago

This is beautiful and I love it.

2 years ago

LA Current just posted the prediction with them coming last on Instagram. 😂

Corn Pop
2 years ago

Of more importance & of course no one dares mention it is the security . This event is in a facility that hosted one of the worlds biggest mass murder. Dudes carrying multiple ( sub your definition of the weapons here ) & tripods . No not suspicious . Walk on by big spender.

There are no protections within the hotel obviously . Will any of the teams have their own security like all the celebs do ? What about the venue? Who is doing the security & what are the entry protocals ?

Yes they are all adults ( except Skurdai ) but some of us have not forgotten . That’s was an awful lot of ppl… Read more »

Reply to  Corn Pop
2 years ago

1. The united airlines chartered flight was diverted from Naples to Rome b/c of excessive turbulence. Every flight has an alternate airport. The system worked and most people have forgotten about this. Please share if you have any other details.

2. No protections in Mandalay Bay? This is an absurd statement. Vegas hotels obsess about security and are light years ahead of everyone when it comes to facial recognition. Just because you don’t see security personnel it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Don’t you watch movies?

3. Regarding the mass shooting during outdoor concert what do you still need to know? Yes, it was a tragedy and the shooter is dead. We’ll never all agree on Stephan Paddock’s motive because,… Read more »

PK Doesn’t Like His Long Name
2 years ago

My only quibble would be with the Caeleb Dressel 100 fly assertion. I would argue that his most likely place outside the top 3 would be (effectively) 8th, as a result of a DQ. I’d say he’s never getting 4th.

Reply to  PK Doesn’t Like His Long Name
2 years ago

Unless there are some breakout swims with PB (Conger, Lanza) or some surprise swimmers (Guy or Manadou?) I think the same

2 years ago

Interesting question here. Obviously, the roster limit is 14 men and 14 women and if we were to assume that every club filled their team completely then that means that some swimmers will be left off rosters. Who should those swimmers be?

Reply to  Jeff
2 years ago

My Bets
London Roar: Elijah Winnington and Hibbot
Energy Standard: Kregor Zirk
Cali Condors: Wasick
LA: they have the exact number

Reply to  Rafael
2 years ago

Have to disagree on Hibbott. Certainly a better option right now than Belmonte in the 200/400 free and even the 200 fly.
I’d also drop Ivan Girev from energy standard as he has not done much apart from DQ multiple relays.

Reply to  Rafael
2 years ago

London would be crazy to leave winnington off he’s come first in the 400 free twice, picked up decent points in the 200 free and he’s a strong boost for the free relays

Reply to  Tyson
2 years ago

Damn.. I thought he was injured.. so.. Knox or Kisil should be left home..

2 years ago

Has anyone been DQed in the ISL yet?

Reply to  Name
2 years ago

Yep. A few relays have been for early starts; also, Shane Ryan was DQ’ed in the 50 back at the US Derby meet. I seem to recall another individual event DQ, but can’t think of it off the top of my head.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

I think margherita panziera was DQ’d in the 200 back in one of the earlier meets

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Panziera in the 2 back in Naples.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

What were the backstroke DQs?

Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

We couldn’t get an answer. Doesn’t look like he’s past 15 off the start or the turn, though the camera angles aren’t the best:

2 years ago

Americans show up when it matters (yes I know there are international swimmers on American teams) this is going to be closer than it looks

Reply to  Dude
2 years ago

Yeah, I’m sure your American lost the other matches on purpose…