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  What is Swimming Proficiency (SP)?
Swimming proficiency (SP) is the average time it takes to swim your own body length (BL) for a given event.

SP = Your time in an event / Number of your BL's in the event

Number of your BL's in the event = Event Distance / Your Height

Example: Joe is 6 feet (2 yards) tall and swims the 100 Free in 50.0 seconds.

Therefore, Joe's BL's = 100 yards / 2 yards = 50.0 Joe has to swim his own body length 50 times in the 100 Free.

Joe's SP = 50.0 seconds / 50 BL's = 1.0 Joe swims his own BL on average of 1.0 seconds in the 100 Free.



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  What can I use Swimming Proficiency (SP) for?
Motivation, recognition, and reward! If you can measure it, you can move it. SP is an alternative performance metric to time standards.

Understanding proficiency can provide a renewed source of motivation to do better, have breakthrough swims, and reach your full potential. See the Swimming Proficiency Calculator of course to explore your SP ranking (All-Town, All-State, All-Region, All-American, National Team, Olympic Class, World Record Class) and YOUR height adjusted time standards to move up in the ranking.

Look at the world record class SP and ask yourself, WHY NOT?.



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  Why is SP Motivational?
The idea that a swimmer can be "as good as" Michael Phelps or Natalie Coughlin does not enter the mind of most swimmers who are only comparing times.

SP provides a much more reasonable basis for setting goal times focusing on "earned" performance versus performance gains from the "unearned" height advantage.

As time standards get faster, the swimmers meeting them get taller. In contrast, swimmers meeting higher SP standards come from all heights. Consider this example: The fastest 130 times in high school swimming are considered All-American, however, there are actually many more shorter swimmers with SP as good or better than the declared 130. How tall are the 130? We estimate at least 75% come from the tallest 5% (approx. 6'2" men, 5'8" women).

SP is motivational because it promotes the comparison of proficiency between swimmers, that is ALL swimmers even the fastest in the world. The idea that a swimmer can be "as good as" Michael Phelps or Natalie Coughlin does not enter the mind of most swimmers who are only comparing times.



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  How were the SP Standards derived?
SP Standards All-Town through National Team are based on data from swimmers in the United States. Qualifying time standards and individual time and height data were obtained from age group swimming 10 and Under up through NCAA D1,D2,D3, and beyond to National team, Olympic team and world competition. The Olympic Class and World Record Class SP standards are influenced by data from swimmers world-wide.

Each SP standard is based on the equivalent time standard. The eight SP Standards are as follows: Recreational, All-Town, All-State, All Region, All-American, National Team, Olympic Class, and World Record Class.

Example: If you have an SP at the All-American level, then you are swimming as well or better than All-Americans meeting the automatic time standard.



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  What do the SP Standards mean?
By achieving any one of the SP Standards (All-Town, All-State, All-Region, All-American, National Team, Olympic Class, World Record Class) your swimming proficiency (SP) is as good or better than those swimmers who have achieved the equivalent time standards.

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  What did the data tell you?
For NCAA Div I: The fastest 1% come from the tallest 5% of Americans. 65% of the population come from the tallest 25%, and 3% come from the shortest 25%. Taller swimming groups are on average faster than shorter swimming groups. SP parity exists across all height groups. For Age Groupers: Swimmers get faster and SP improves as swimmers age-up. SP parity exists for every age group regardless of speed. SP highley correlates with the Hy-Tek Point System. SP parity exists across all height groups.

There are strong correlations between height, wingspan, and reach.

In Summary: Age group swimming is an ongoing test ground and served well to isolate the effect height has on swimming times. What better test than to take individual swimmers, hold training constant, and track growth and times over years. Combine this data with existing databases of times and height, swimming standardized times, qualifiing times, and growth rates of Americans. Finally evolve a new tool for swimmers and swim coaches. This tool does not replace tools, but adds to the toolbox. Apply Swimming Proficiency knowledge.

The best measure of swimming proficiency is how fast you swim your own body length. Everyone knows that as swimmers are growing, thier times come down. Few know that as swimmers are growing, thier swimming proficiency generally stays the same. Thats right, age group swimmers get faster but they generally do not get better...unless they significantly improve training...which the large majority do not. In age group swimming where most swimmers do not significanlty alter training over many years, best times are largely attributed to growth! We can very accurately predict your best time next year if you grow 2 inches. What this all means is that swimming speed is scaleale to body length (height), all other speed factors held constant.

So if you are among the shorter 95%, you may not have All-American speed, but you may have All-American proficiency. Why can't you be as good as the fastest 1% that come from the tallest 5% of the population? Probability suggests that many better athletes will come from the other 95%!

Exploring your full potential begins with an understanding of how and why height is used to calculate swimming proficiency.



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