This article was originally posted in 2014, before the World Championships. In honor of the official beginning of “Olympic season,” we thought it would be good to revisit the projections and see which have changed. On a first glance, it seems unlikely that anybody is going 46.87 in the men’s 100 free, and perhaps not even 47.25. The women’s 100 back prediction, however, that once seemed impossible is now more-and-more likely with Emily Seebohm having gone under 59 seconds 10 times in 2015.
I bet you thought you were going to click on an inspirational, Olivier Poirier-Leroy article and learn how to be more awesome, or how to crush walls (literally and figuratively) with your brain.
You were wrong. This is a straight-up, Braden-Keith-style, swim-nerds, numbers post about a couple of guys named Joshua Neuloh and Thomas Kothe who have created a predictive model that they call “Swimnex“.
Among the touted success of this model at the 2012 Olympic Games included predicting the World Record race by Cameron can der Burgh within a difference of three-tenths of a second and forecasting the way through the stages of the women’s 50 free by an “average error of just .01%.”
For 2016, Neuloh, the mathematician behind the project, has ramped-up his prediction and used over 600,000 calculations to make predictions for the 2016 Olympics in the following headings:
For each event.
He has also predicted that 6 new World Records will be broken, all on the women’s side:
- 100 back (57.90)
- 100 fly (55.57)
- 400 IM (4:27.38)
- 800 free relay (7:40.20)
- 400 medley relay (3:50.30)
While Neuloh wouldn’t reveal his full methodology, he looked at thousands of race results and tried to find patterns and account for influencing factors, including advancements in suit technology and the new starting block (which they found to have no significance).
In total, the models predict 14 World Records between now and the end of the Rio Olympics. The test will be whether or not Neuloh’s assumptions will create a better predictive success rate than our subjective assumptions. In the next few weeks, we will put together our own predictions for the 2016 Olympics, and let those sit in a time capsule to see who came out better just under two years out.
See the full predictions from Swimnex below: