Take Home Message:
- It was carried out a descriptive analysis and comparison of the overall performances (FINA points) at Doha 2014 Swimming World Championships (25 m).
- The best Women´s performance was delivered by Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) at the 200 butterfly (FINA points = 1029). On the men´s side, the best performance is delivered by Florent Manaudou (FRA) at the 50 backstroke (FINA points = 1053).
- On average the women got more FINA points than the men (comparison of the gold medalists, podium, and finalists).
Considering only the medalists, the men´s butterfly events (FINA points = 966.44, 1 WR in 3 events) and women´s backstroke events (FINA points = 989.67, 3 WR in 3 events) were on average the best.
We reach the end of another amazing World Championship. Even though several top swimmers were absent, 23 World Records were broken (14 individual events, 9 relays) and several other great performances delivered. We do know the competitive value of the absent swimmers albeit that does not make these Championships less attractive for a swim fan. The 2013 Barcelona World Championships reached a cumulative TV audience of almost 4.5 bilion viewers worldwide according to Kantar Media and it’s expected the figures are much higher for Doha 2014.
In table 1 and 2 you can recap the finalists at the individual events. Swimmers that raced more than once are in color cells so that will be easier to spot them. Hopefully there are no typos, because this is a tedious task. In 51 podium slots, only 5 women and 7 men got one single medal. All the others step on the podium and took home two or more medals. Based on the color matrix I would say (by random assignment) that K Hosszu (HUN), M Belmonte Garcia (ESP), S Sjostrom (SWE), E Seebohm (AUS), C le Clos (RSA), F França Silva (BRA), F Manaudou (FRA) are the top-performers. I have to acknowledge this is very subjective so you might have a different opinion.
I am aware that some people have serious concerns on the FINA points. Even though it is not a perfect system, so far it is the best available. I did a basic descriptive analysis only for the individual events (table 3). Women broke 10 world records (10 in 17 events, i.e. 58.82%) and men 4 (23.53%). The best Women´s performance was delivered by Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) at the 200 fly (FINA points = 1029; you can recap the highlights of this race in a couple of posts published earlier: #1, #2). On the men´s side, the best performance is delivered by Florent Manaudou (FRA) at the 50 back (FINA points = 1053). With that being said, several other races were as impressive and exciting as these two. On average the ladies got better performances than the men (gold medalists, podium, and finalists).
In table 4, you have the breakdown of the FINA points by event. The W 100 Fr (SD=3.06) and M 200 Br (SD=10.50) were the events with tightest finish (i.e. smallest time difference between the winner and the other medalists). Considering the 8 swimmers racing, the best final was the W 50 Bk (FINA points = 955.50) and the M 100 IM (FINA points = 954.38). Considering only the medalists, the men´s butterfly events (FINA points = 966.44, 1 WR in 3 events) and women´s backstroke events (FINA points = 989.67, 3 WR in 3 events) were on average the best.
To wrap-up, we had 5 days of exciting races and awesome performances. I am looking forward for Kazan 2015 to see all these swimmers in action once again and what others will be up to. In the next posts, I will try to provide some insight on other races held in Doha. So please stay tuned.
By Tiago M. Barbosa PhD degree recipient in Sport Sciences and faculty at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore