ISL Indy: Analyzing Turnaround Time, Doubles & Skins Races

After last week’s introduction to the International Swimming League format, SwimSwam stats expert Barry Revzin took a look at a few different factors from the Indianapolis event:

Multiple Events

One of the interesting things about the ISL format as compared to the typical international meet is the team aspect of the competition. This isn’t the kind of meet where everyone just shows up, swims their best one event on a given day (or maybe their best one or two events on a given week) and goes home. People have to swim a lot of events. People have to swim off events. People have to swim one event and then get right back up and swim another. I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at who swam the most events, or stepped up to go well out of their comfort zone, or who had the shortest turnaround times.

In terms of sheer number, there were two swimmers that each swam seven events: Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom (50/100 Free, 50/100 Fly, 4×100 Free, 4×100 Medley, 50 Free Skins) and Cali Condors’ Olivia Smoliga (50/100 Free, 50/100 Back, 4×100 Free, 4×100 Medley, 50 Free Skins). And really, due to skins, those two had to swim 9 and 8 races, respectively, over the course of a pretty short weekend.

Not to far from there, quite a few swimmers competed in six events. In alphabetical order (when I say all three relays, I mean the Mixed 4×100 Free as well as the single-gender 4×100 Free and Medley relays):
Zach Apple, DCT (50/100 Free, all three relays, 50 Free Skins)
Chad le Clos, ENS (100 Free, 50/100/200 Fly, 4×100 Free, 4×100 Medley)
Mallory Comerford, CAC (100/200 Free, 100 Fly, all three relays)
Santo Condorelli, AQC (50/100 Free, 50/100 Fly, 4×100 Free, 50 Free Skins)
Bethany Galat, DCT (50/100/200 Breast, 100/200 Fly, 4×100 Medley)
Siobhan Haughey, DCT (100/200 Free, 200 IM, 4×100 Free, 4×100 Medley, 50 Free Skins)
Mitch Larkin, CAC (50/100/200 Back, 200 IM, 4×100 Free, 4×100 Medley)
Silvia di Pietro, AQC (50/100 Free, 50 Fly, 4×100 Free, Mixed 4×100 Free, 50 Free Skins)
Justin Ress, CAC (50 Free, 50 Back, 50 Fly, 4×100 Medley, 4×100 Free, 50 Free Skins)
Kregor Zirk, ENS (200/400 Free, 100 Back, 100/200 Fly, 4×100 Medley)

Kilometer Club: Distances Swum Cumulatively

As far as most distance raced, that obviously favors the distance swimmers more. Several swimmers raced at least a kilometer over the course of the meet, led by Energy Standard’s Mary-Sophie Harvey covering 1400m with the impressive program of the 400 IM, 200 Back the first day and the 400 Free, 200 IM, and 200 Fly the second day. Other members of the kilometer club:
Hali Flickinger, CAC: 1200m (400 Free, 200 Back, 200 Fly, 400 IM)
Katie Ledecky, DCT: 1200m (200/400 Free, 400 IM, 4×100 Free, Mixed 4×100 Free)
Hanna Miley, AQC: 1200m (200/400 Free, 200/400 IM)
Kregor Zirk, ENS: 1100m (200/400 Free, 100 Back, 100/200 Fly, 4×100 Medley)
Viktoriya Gunes, ENS: 1000m: (400 Free, 200 Breast, 400 IM)

Out-of-comfort-zone Swims

How about who stepped out of their comfort zone the most? This one is a little difficult to answer objectively. If someone had a relatively good swim in one event (relative to the world, not for themselves) and a relatively worse swim in another, is the bad swim just an indication that this is October and they are training heavily, or is the bad swim an indication that this is an event that they may never have swum before or at least not in many years? So these are just my best guesses:

Bethany Galat, DCT. Well known for being a great 200 breaststroker, swam the 100/200 fly
Anton Chupkov, ENS. Also a great 200 breaststroker, swam the 200 IM. This wouldn’t seem like as big a stretch, but he swam what I believe is his best time the 200 IM at 1:58.73 , which is not even 3 seconds faster than his best 200 Breaststroke time.
Jay Litherland, DCT. Led off a 4×100 freestyle relay.
Viktoriya Gunes, ENS. Yet another great 200 breaststroker, swam the 400 free.

Turnaround Times

One thing that is actually objectively measurable is turnaround time. Setting aside the 50 free skins, which are very much designed to have almost no recovery time, what is the quickest turnaround from event to event across the four teams? That rather painful distinction goes to DC Trident’s Bethany Galat, with a mere FIVE minutes between her 100 Fly and her 50 Breast.

There were a few other pairs of swims under 15 minutes apart from each other:

Zach Apple and Robert Howard (DCT) and Justin Ress (CAC): ~10:20 between the 50 Free and 4×100 Medley
Melanie Margalis (CAC): ~11:27 between her 400 IM and the 4×100 Free.
Mitch Larkin (CAC): ~12:07 between the 200 IM and the 100 Back.
Silvia di Pietro (AQC): ~12:10 between the 50 fly and mixed 4×100 free
Natalie Hinds (CAC): ~13:03 for the same double, but Hinds got an extra minute of rest by virtue of anchoring whereas Pietro went third.
Katie Ledecky (DCT): ~13:15 between the 400 IM and the 4×100 Free.
John Shebat (CAC): ~13:24 for also the same double, but the men’s 50 fly preceded the women’s 50 fly (so more rest) but then he went 2nd (so less rest).

Five of the 200 backstrokers also led off their respective 4×100 medley relays just over 15 minutes later (Apostolos Christou, Tristan Hollard, Radoslaw Kawecki, Mitch Larkin, and Evgeny Rylov). There were another dozen or so doubles within 20 minutes.

Skins Races

Of course, can’t talk about turnaround times without talking about the skins races. Just how much did only having 3 minutes between 50 freestyles affect the athletes? A lot. It affected them a lot. Here’s a look at their times from round to round:
As you can see, the time gain is pretty dramatic. Interestingly, the mens’ gains were almost all larger than all the womens’ gains. Here’s the list:
– 1.8% (Sjostrom and Smoliga from round 1 to 2)
– 2.5% (Heemskerk from 1-2)
– 3.2% (Sjostrom from 2-3)
– 3.4% (Heemskerk from 2-3)
– 3.6% (Manaudou from 1-2)
– 3.9% (Wasick from 1-2)
– 4.0% (Proud from 1-2)
– 4.4% (Manaudou from 2-3)
– 6.0% (Howard from 1-2)
– 6.2% (Condorelli from 1-2)
– 8.8% (Proud from 2-3)
A different way of looking at it might be to look at the FINA points. Conveniently, the world record holders in the 50 SCM freestyles both competed here – Manaudou has the mens mark at 20.26 and Sjostrom has the womens at 23.67. Sjostrom’s three swims would score 972, 921, and 837 points, respectively. Manaudou’s had a much bigger drop-off and score 867, 780, and 686 points respectively. Proud’s final swim was just 573. But the fun thing about this whole race is that the times really don’t matter. After all, technically speaking, the mens winning time was a 22.97. It is listed as such in the final results. There many be a lot of men that can go 22.97 in the 50 free – but vanishingly few of them can do it after just having swum two other 50s under 22 within the previous 6 minutes.

Breakdown by distances

The following lists points per team per distance, in that order:

101.0: Energy 50
79.5: Cali 50
58.5: Aqua 50
55.0: DC 50

94.0: Energy 100
76.5: Cali 100
65.0: Aqua 100
57.5: DC 100

132.0: Energy 4 x 100
104.0: Cali 4 x 100
70.0: Aqua 4 x 100
62.0: DC 4 x 100

121.0: Cali 200
90.0: DC 200
87.0: Energy 200
68.0: Aqua 200

47.0: Cali 400
47.0: DC 400
30.0: Energy 400
22.0: Aqua 400

DC Trident is certainly a distance-oriented team. The best performers at the 400 distance, the second best performers at the 200 distance, but not quite there at the shorter distance. On the other hand, Energy Standard is practically the polar opposite – dominating at all the short events. Unfortunately for DC, and good for Energy, there are a lot more shorter events, and they score a lot more points.

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1 year ago

very excited to see how mandrew does in skins

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1 year ago

I’m excited to see how Michael Andrew does in EVERYTHING.

1 year ago

The entire ISL endeavor is an exciting, innovative, and possibly liberating experience for both athletes and fans.

tea rex
1 year ago

One of the great things about this meet is the scoring. Any college dual meet, if you are in 6th place halfway through the race, it probably makes no difference how you finish. But ISL format, you still have a chance to make $300 if you can move up one extra spot, no matter what place you finish in.