“Swimmer of the Ages” Handicapping

The Golden Mile is unique as this is the first open water swim to determine who is the best swimmer based on not only absolute speed but also who is also battling father time the best while giving a real gold medal for the effort.  The last place finisher’s mile time in the NCAA would be a Beamonesque performance for a 50-year-old. The greatest swimmer on the planet may be in the 70-74 age group, but who would ever know.  The “Swimmer of the Ages” handicapping is a means to compare younger swimmers to older swimmers. 

The handicapping is based on current world record times for masters swimming in the 1500m free.  Since there are no world records for age groups 18 and lower, there is no handicapping for these under 18 age groups.

Using the table below you can calculate your handicap by multiplying your finish time with the conversion factor. The “advantage” in the column after the conversion factor is the percent of handicap you would receive.

So let’s do a couple of examples:  Swimmer Joe (age 20) swims the fastest time overall time in the race with a 17:20.0.  Since he is age 20, his conversion factor would be 1 and his “swimmer of the ages” time would be 17:20.0 the same as his finish time.

Now Eric is 66 and his time is 22:04. Joe was several minutes faster than Eric.  So Joe is strutting around like he is the king (he just won the gold medal for the fastest overall swimmer, so he is entitled to strut some but is Joe, the greatest swimmer in the field?). So now let us convert Eric’s time. Eric’s conversion factor is .7423 multiplied by his finish time of 22:04 for a “swimmer of the ages time” of 16:36 seconds. Eric just kicked Joe’s ass!

You won’t have to calculate your swimmer of the ages time as the computer will calculate this for you when you finish. The rankings will change as the older swimmers finish so it may be 20 to 30 minutes after the first finisher crosses the finish line before we know who is the best “swimmer of the ages.”   The top three “swimmers of the ages” in men’s and women’s will receive a real gold, silver and bronze medal. So what happens if a 30-year-old takes second overall, but wins the swimmer of the ages bracket? Since you can’t win a medal in both the “overall” and “swimmer of the ages” divisions you will receive whatever is the highest award you are eligible, so in this case, he would win the gold for swimmer of the ages but the silver overall would go to the next overall fastest swimmer.

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