Saturday, July 19, 2008

Division Champions

During Relay All Stars, I'll be presenting enormous trophies to the teams that finish first, second, and third in each division. How do we decide who gets these awards? Rule 14 explains all, but in case you don't have your handbook handy, here's how it's done.

Teams get points for dual meet wins and for their placement in the two divisional meets (relay carnival and the division championship). The total of those points determines where they finish in their division.

Teams get 6 points for each dual meet win, and no points for losses. If the final dual meet score is a tie, the 6 points are split--each team gets 3 points. So a team that wins all 5 dual meets ends up with 30 points.

In a normal six team division, the team that wins the division relay carnival gets 10 points. Second place gets 8 points--and on down in 2 point steps to sixth place--zero points. The point scale for the division championship (divisionals) goes from 20 to zero in 4 point steps.

Are you still with me?

Sometimes there's one really strong team in a division. It wins all its dual meets (5 x 6 = 30 points), comes in first at relay carnival (10 points), and wins divisionals (20 points) for a season total of 60 points. No surprises there.

But sometimes calculating the division champion is more interesting. As an example, let's look at G division, since I have a swimmer there. If I did the math correctly--a big if--Old Georgetown and Tallyho both won four meets, so they each have 24 dual meet points. Old Georgetown won relays (10 points) and Tallyho placed second (8 points), so going into divisionals OG has 34 points and TH has 32. Very close.

Who will win Division G? If Old Georgetown wins divisionals, then it wins the division. But if OG comes in second at divisionals (16 points) and TH comes in first (20 points), Tallyho wins the division: TH (20 + 32 = 52) to OG (16 + 34 = 50).

And we can't rule out the come-from-behind possibilities. For example, if Robin Hood, the current third place team, has stellar swims and OG and TH don't--or if a few of key OG and TH swimmers are sick or out of town--and RH wins divisionals with TH third and OG fourth, then RH (24 + 20 = 44) and TH (32 + 12 = 44) tie for first in the division and OG ends up with third (34 + 8 = 42).

If you win your division, does that mean you'll be in a higher division next season? No--but that will be tomorrow's blog topic.


Anonymous said...

What happened to Merlands? Why did they drop out so early? What was their explanation and rationale?

Sally MacKenzie said...

I'm trying to see if I can find out more information, Anonymous. We have had a number of teams leave the league for various reasons. I'm pretty sure Merlands is long gone, turned into a housing development, but I don't know if they left the league because they were closing or if they left for other reasons and closed sometime later. If any readers know Merlands' history, please feel free to chime in.

jeff said...

Do the pools consult the league to get permission before making these kinds of decisions?

Sally MacKenzie said...

I'm not sure what decisions you're referring to, Jeff. The calculation of Division Champion is laid out in the rules. If you mean deciding to leave the league--unfortunately, usually that decision is driven by economics. You do raise an interesting point that I think sometimes people don't grasp. MCSL sets rules for competition--and those rules are adopted by the vote of each pool's representative--but we don't have any control over the pools themselves.

Anonymous said...

As an already graduated swimmer, I've stayed with the MCSL since my graduation and I am a huge swimming fan. I can't believe I didn't know about this blog until now! I never thought to look that far down on the page. I love the intriguing facts and unique information you and everyone else posts. Keep it up!

Reading this divisionals post has made me wonder if there are records of Division standings prior to 1998, the latest year shown on the website?

Sally MacKenzie said...

Thanks, anonymous. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! Its days are numbered, though--I'm posting my last entry on Sunday and then heading out of town in typical MCSL fashion.

As to your question--MCSL published its first handbook in 1971 and it included the 1970 meet results. Information from even earlier years may also be available--I haven't dug through those files yet.

As part of the Board's effort to mark our 40th anniversary in 1998, Bill Nolte and others combed through basements and attics and amassed a lot of old handbooks and league papers. The Montgomery County Historical Society in Rockville houses that collection--I'm planning to put up the link to information about the Society Saturday, but if you Google it, you'll find it.