SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to weigh in on who should be considered the skins winner:
Question: Who wins the skins?
- The swimmer who wins the final round – 70.7%
- The swimmer who scores the most points across all three rounds – 29.3%
An overwhelming majority of voters said that the swimmer who wins the third round of an ISL skin race is the skins winner – not necessarily the swimmer who scored the most points.
That’s a bit of a tricky distinction. If you’re confused, here’s a real-life scenario that brought this question to the forefront:
In the ISL, the skin races are the biggest point swings of the meet. The skin race is a three-round showdown – eight swimmers compete in the first round, the top four move on to the second round, and the top two from there move on to the final round. Swimmers score points for their finishing position in each round.
If the same swimmer wins all three rounds, there’s no controversy. But here’s what happened in the ISL’s match #7:
Energy Standard’s Ilya Shymanovich won the first round, which is worth 9 points. But he also beat the bottom four swimmers by the league’s jackpot margin, so he stole their combined 10 points to score 19 overall. Iron’s Emre Sakci was second for 7 points.
Sakci beat Shymanovich handily in the next two rounds, earning 9 and then 14 points for a total of 30. But Shymanovich won 7 in each round for taking second, so he ended up scoring 33 points, even though Sakci was the one who “won” the event based on the traditional definition.
That brought up questions among fans: who should be considered the skins winner in this case?
Nearly three-quarters of voters said that the swimmer who won the final round should be the winner. That certainly conforms more to what the skins were introduce as last season, when the first two rounds weren’t even scored and were only for elimination purposes.
That also conforms to swimming tradition, in which preliminaries are unscored and merely for qualifying purposes – the swimmer who takes first in prelims but fades to second in the final is not considered the winner or given a medal, even if their prelims time was better than anyone’s finals time.
On the other hand, some have argued that the end goal in the ISL is to score points – that determines both team victories and individual MVP standing. So Shymanovich ultimately did more to accomplish those goals that Sakci did.
At the end of the day, the two arguments aren’t mutually exclusive. Sakci can still be the skins “winner,” even as Shymanovich ultimately did more to help his team and his individual standing.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters to weigh in on the ISL’s new idea for an 800 free where swimmers earn points for their position at the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 800-meter marks.
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner