In anticipation of the 2021 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, we’ve scored out the psych sheets. But exactly how much does that tell us?
In an effort to see how teams typically perform relative to their seeded points, we’ve gone back over the past several years to come up with team-by-team averages of points gained or lost from seed.
Our chart below averages the 2019, 2018 and 2017 seasons, with each team’s gain/loss from seeded points listed. Of course, the most recent season (2020) is missing one major data point, as the actual NCAA meet itself was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A few notes on these numbers:
- The numbers are swimming points only – we’ve factored out diving, where no good version of a psych sheet exists.
- Points gained from seed are listed in green, while points lost from seed are listed in red.
- Obviously, there are plenty of outside factors that play into each of these numbers, and they aren’t a hard and fast predictor of future seasons’ outcomes. But we can at least identify multi-year trends as we try to diagnose why those trends exist.
- The biggest caveat here is that we’re calculating by total points – in order to lose significant points from seed, you also have to have a lot of seeded points. Same goes for the teams at the top, because you can’t move up 50+ points from seed without qualifying lots of individuals and some relays. So you’ll mostly see big-name teams at both extremes, if only because those are the teams with bigger NCAA groups and more ability to move up or down at the meet itself.
- Where zeroes are listed, a team had athletes at the NCAA meet and finished right on their psych sheet projection, even if that projection was zero. A blank space typically means a team had no swimmers or relays at NCAAs that year, and we didn’t factor that into their average as a zero.
If our embedded chart with the colors isn’t loading, here’s a more basic version of the data: