Lane Bias Persists at 2016 Olympic Swimming Competition

LaneBiasIIIAugust 18, 2016 - Since the illumination of a bias at the 2013 World Championships, the Counsilman Center's goal has been to bring about awareness of lanes biases in swimming in the hope that the problem would be addressed and ultimately eliminated. There is evidence that factions within the swimming community, in some cases national team coaches, are well aware of the problem. However, while high-ranking members of the swimming world seem to be taking note, our data suggest that the problem persists. Our analysis of the performance data from the 2016 Olympics suggest that performances were once again affected by the lane to which swimmers were assigned. (click here for a brief report)

Prevalence of Lane Bias in Elite-level Swimming Competition

Lane Bias, Part IIFebruary 15, 2015 - Performances at the 2013 World Swimming Championship competition were shown to be biased depending on the lane in which a swimmer swam (Cornett, Brammer & Stager, 2015). This ‘lane bias’ was likely the result of pool currents, but direct evidence of a current could not be acquired due to the temporary nature of the pool. Regardless, a number of pertinent questions followed in the aftermath of the 2013 Championships: Was this a unique occurrence, or did this kind of bias exist in previous elite-level swimming competition? Did the temporary nature of the pool have anything to do with the lane bias? In an attempt to answer these questions, we analyzed the results of 16 additional elite-level competitions (e.g., Olympic Games, World Championships, and US Olympic Trials). (read the peer-reviewed manuscript here)

Bias Found at the 2013 World Swimming Championships

2013 World Champs biasAugust 12, 2013 - Recent rumors originating from the pool deck of the 2013 FINA World Swimming Championships suggest a possible ‘current’ in the competition pool. The current was rumored to be such that lanes 7 and 8 were at a disadvantage when swimming away from the finishing end of the pool and at an advantage when swimming towards the finishing end. Lanes 1 and 2 were also rumored to be impacted by this current but in the exact opposite direction. These lanes on the opposing side of the pool were supposedly at an advantage when swimming away from the finishing end and at a disadvantage when swimming towards the finishing end. After being forwarded a request from an athlete participating in this competition, we decided that there were several approaches that could be initiated that might help verify or refute this rumor. (read the peer-reviewed manuscript here)