Swimulator Conference Projections: AAC

With more than half the season and all the mid season rest meets complete, it’s time to start looking ahead to conference meets. Today: the AAC (ACCBig 10Pac 12, SEC, Mountain West, and MAC).

To project the meets, I’ve used SwimSwam’s Swimulator (available on the front page). This tool creates scores out a meet using top times so far this season (it can also do average times), while respecting plausible event combinations and trying to maximize each team’s points. It does not include diving. To get an idea of how we can expect these projected scores to change at the real meet, I compared last year’s projection as of today’s date to the real conference score at last year’s championship meet. Times from this weekend’s meets aren’t in the system yet.

AAC Women

Defending champions Houston lead this year’s projections with 860 points. That total is well ahead of the 715 they had at this point last year. Last year they augmented their leading swimming points total of 630 with 142 diving points. None of their divers graduated, so that should be a strength this year again. The only team close to them in diving points last year, Connecticut, graduated 2 seniors who finaled on all three boards. Houston’s main rival last year was SMU. SMU’s projected score this season is only 352 points. Last year at this time they were projected to score 620 swimming points and actually scored 622. Unless their philosophy on in season meets has changed or they have several unreported meets, they appear out of the running this year.

The most plausible (but still pretty unlikely) challenger is Cincinnati who is second with 533 points. They picked up 78 points at conference last year and Houston dropped 85. If that were to be repeated this year, even before Houston’s diving advantage, Houston would still win by nearly 200 points. As of today, any result other than a Houston win would be a pretty big surprise.

The better races are the ones for 3rd and 4th. 4th-6th place teams East Carolina, SMU, and Connecticut are all currently within 31 points in the current projection. Current last place Connecticut was the biggest point gainer last year (aided in part by a missing relay in last year’s January projection. They have times in all 5 this year). All three teams return divers that finaled last year. Those divers combined with a strong performance in the pool could even push any or all of these teams ahead of current third place Tulane. Tulane returns only 4 diving points and dropped 53 swimming points vs their projection at the meet last year.

The projected individual scorers are led by Ksenia Yuskova of Houston with 60 points, Matea Samardzic of SMU with 57, Zarena Brown of Houston with 54 points, and Peyton Kondis of Houston with 53.

2018 Projection 2017 Real Conf Score 2017 Real Conf minus Diving 2017 Projection as of 1/16/17 Diff Projection vs Real
Houston 860 772 630 715 -85
Cincinnati 533 625 577 499 78
Tulane 499 395 391 444 -53
East Carolina 376 473 404 353 51
SMU 352 676 622 620 2
Connecticut 345 460 320 226 94

AAC Men

The AAC is a small conference for men’s swimming but it is very competitive. Last year only 4 points separated Cincinnati and SMU for 2nd and 3rd. Cincinnati leads this year’s projection with 781. That combined with their 133 returning diving points are enough to make them favorites. However, they are a pretty vulnerable favorite, unlike Houston in the women’s meet. Connecticut is similarly strong in diving and didn’t suffer the points drop off that Cincinnati did last year.

It’s worth noting here that USA Swimming’s database had some issues with Connecticut last year, so in the January projection last year they didn’t have any relays. That’s why they jumped so many points. This isn’t an issue this year as all 4 teams have times in all 5 relays. Discounting their relay gains they basically met their projection gaining 28.5 points in the individual swimming events. If Connecticut again remain about the same while Cincinnati drops off, they are in a position to win the meet.

Last year’s champions, East Carolina, are well behind where they were at this point last year. Last year they had 823 projected points and scored 802 swimming points and 99 diving points. This year they are projected at 667. If SMU has a similar points gain to the 143.5 they picked up last year and East Carolina drops a few points again, it’s possible for East Carolina to go from first last year to last this year. Alternatively, with a good performance East Carolina could plausibly defend their title. This is a fun conference.

The current individual points projections are led by Din Selmanovic of Cincinnati with 57, Will Kearsey of Connecticut with 57, Dom Polling of Cincinnati with 55, and Victor Martins Dos Santos of East Carolina with 53.

2018 Projection 2017 Real Conf Score 2017 Real Conf minus Diving 2017 Projection as of 1/16/17 Diff Projection vs Real
Cincinnati 781 760 627 804 -177
Connecticut 676 634.5 509.5 323 186.5
East Carolina 667 901 802 823 -21
SMU 520 764.5 707.5 564 143.5

If you want to look at the event by event projections or more detailed swimmer points projections, follow the links to the full Swimulator projections.  Articles on other D1 conferences are forthcoming (here’s the ACCBig 10Pac 12, SEC, Mountain West, and MAC, and some D3 conferences). In the meantime, if you want to know the projections for other conferences feel free to run your own custom projection here.

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3 Comments on "Swimulator Conference Projections: AAC"

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MIKE IN DALLAS

SMU — now with a wonderful new swimming facility (finally!) but their recruitment has just been lagging for so long – sad!

Green Ranger

Well, the cost of attendance has more than doubled in 10 years from 30s to mid 70s, hopefully the new pool will help…SMU and Tulane though are an odd fit in the AAC.

Projections mean nothing, just a number game. Hard work and attitude will determine the winner.