Swimulator NCAA Program Rankings – Revised

by Kevin Hallman 21

May 02nd, 2018 College, News

A couple of weeks ago, I posted SwimSwam’s 2018 updated Swimulator program rankings. With the help of some insightful user feedback, we have added a couple of revisions to our formula. The revisions to the formula include:

  1. The rankings now encompass data from 2010 to 2018
  2. Recent seasons are more heavily weighted than older seasons
  3. A bug was corrected where some year’s times from nationals weren’t reflected in team strength

First off, we added three more years worth of data so that the new program rankings encompass the past nine NCAA seasons. We avoided going any further back as that would run into the tech suit era. While going through the data, we saw that team strength was a far more stable metric than either team attrition and team improvement. Many of the teams that improved their swimmers steadily for a long period of time regressed more towards the mean when looking at more data. We believe that a longer period of time should help counteract this. Nebraska’s women’s team, topping our last rankings, was a notable drop due to this change .

When taking more data, teams that have improved recently, but where not quite as fast or had higher attrition rates in the early 2010s, fell in the rankings after incorporating the new data. NC State comes to mind here. To counteract this, I put in a discount so that more recent seasons were weighted more heavily than older seasons. The discount metric used – an exponential discount of 9/10 per season – is admittedly arbitrary. However, we thought it struck a good balance. It ended up weighting the 2010 season about 1/3 as heavily as 2018 and the 2013 season 1/2 as much. Below are the updated top ten rankings for NCAA DI programs for women and men.

Top 10 NCAA DI Women’s Programs

Rank Team Combined Score Strength Rank Team Strength Attrition Rank Attrition Rate Improvement Rank Improvement %
1 Georgia 3.8 1 680.379 26 -0.131 96 0.189
2 Stanford 3.79 3 676.389 3 -0.1 129 0.067
3 Texas A&M 3.58 4 646.919 78 -0.173 41 0.365
4 UMBC (W) 3.44 74 322.0 1 -0.074 3 0.878
5 California 3.38 2 676.716 33 -0.135 139 0.037
6 NC State 3.13 22 482.302 30 -0.133 24 0.505
7 Virginia 3.08 6 608.827 32 -0.134 119 0.104
8 UNC 3.06 12 558.234 27 -0.132 79 0.239
9 LSU 3.05 24 461.24 9 -0.104 33 0.411
10 Missouri 3.02 21 499.27 19 -0.122 44 0.357

Top 10 NCAA DI Men’s Programs

Rank Team Combined Score Strength Rank Team Strength Attrition Rank Attrition Rate Improvement Rank Improvement %
1 California 4.1 1 658.244 17 -0.136 40 0.381
2 Texas 3.48 2 649.664 24 -0.146 86 0.17
3 Louisville 3.42 11 519.026 10 -0.127 24 0.479
4 Michigan 3.26 4 605.343 44 -0.168 62 0.293
5 NC State 3.13 13 515.319 38 -0.165 18 0.512
6 Florida 3.12 3 620.971 70 -0.195 63 0.291
7 Air Force (M) 2.9 32 401.727 46 -0.172 3 0.8
8 Missouri 2.77 18 472.197 58 -0.185 9 0.568
9 Georgia 2.75 9 549.955 9 -0.125 115 0.075
10 Ohio St 2.67 10 525.342 87 -0.224 19 0.511

The updated rankings adhere a bit more closely to traditional powerhouses. Georgia, Stanford, Texas A&M, and California all make the top five women’s programs and Texas, Cal, Michigan, and Florida all make the top six men’s programs. UBMC’s women’s team did manage to make the top 10 with only the 74th fastest team due to their impressive attrition and improvement scores. Strength is still weighted as heavily as the other two factors, but it ended up being by far the most important distinguishing factor. Between the other two factors, it looks like attrition rates were more of a distinguishing factor than improvement.

While the program rankings aren’t available on a year-by-year basis currently, individual team’s strengths and improvement data is on the Swimulator page. We plan on leaving the rankings until we have new data for next year!

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Intriguing

UMBC women and Air Force men, huh? Okay…

Swimmer

Only if diving shows up.

Right Dude Here

Of the top teams, is Texas really the one that needs to start hoping their diving performs?

Swimmer

No sour grapes just telling it like it is. Texas swimming was not up to Texas standards and had to rely on diving to win it. Texas fans don’t want to acknowledge that. Their little horns got bruised.

Bay City Tex

Yeah, it’s tough lifting four national championship
trophies in the air without bruising your Horns!
Congrats to Cal on winning the Swimlator Award!
Must be a nice trophy with lots of recognition attached!

Heyswim

I guess you keep adjusting until you get the results you want….

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