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5 Most Valuable Events in College Swimming

5 Most Valuable Events in College Swimming

Last summer we wrote quite a bit about the 50’s of stroke. Thanks to a debate on everyone’s favorite FB page for swim coaches, I’m inspired to continue the fight for the 50’s of stroke by diving a little deeper into college swimming and our swimnerd scoring system. 

If you’d like to brush up on the topic of the 50’s of stroke, here are the previous posts in chronological order. Honestly, I forgot how fun these were to write. Inside the first article you’ll find a testy exchange between Rowdy Gaines, David Plummer, and Tony Ervin about the 50 Free — don’t miss that. 

Big Mistake: IOC skips on 50’s of Stroke
50’s of Stroke: Part Deux
50’s of Stroke: Peaty & Parity
50’s of Stroke: Phelps & Rowdy Aren’t Fans 

College swimming scholarships (should) love sprinters. If you are a college coach giving all your scholarship dollars away to distance swimmers you might want to stop doing that (if your goal is to score the most points and win your conference).

The 5 most valuable events in college swimming are:

50 Free
100 Free
100 Fly

100 Back
100 Breast

According to our swimnerd scoring system, these five events are worth 40 points (20 individual + 20 relay). Currently we are using the 100’s of stroke to also account for the 4×50 Medley Relay points. Obviously the more accurate way to divvy out the relay points is to have the 50’s of stroke only correspond for the 200 MR and the 100’s of stroke only for the 400 MR — the exact same way you score the 50 and 100 Free. The 50’s of stroke would be worth 10 relay points and the 100’s of stroke would drop to 30 points. We’d do that if the data was available but it isn’t yet. But, I digress.

Current Swimnerd Scoring System:

Note: the D2 table looks slightly different thanks to the 1000 Free being a conference event. This certainly helps distance stars collect some more points.

The bottom line is that the 50’s of stroke aren’t individual events in college swimming. The sport of swimming continues to neglect a specific type of athlete: the one’s that swim the fastest. How stupid and absurd it is to say that, right?

For grins and giggles let’s just check out the current NCAA Top 8 in the 50 and 100 Free for both Men and Women across all 3 Divisions. I wanted to see how many swimmers ranked in the 50 were also ranked in the 100. I think you’ll find the same if you matched up everyone’s 50’s of strokes vs. 100’s of strokes. 

Division I
62.5% of women
25% of men

Division II
62.5% for women
37.5% for men

Division III
50.0% for women
50.0% for men

I imagine if sports gambling is legalized, the 50’s would be a big hit with the bookies.