The 2017-2018 NCAA National Championship meet qualifying standards for Division I (the biggest schools) and Division III (non-scholarship) swimming were released weeks ago. The cuts to qualify for the Division II meet, however were mysteriously absent from the NCAA’s reference page until late this week, when they were finally released.
While a request for comment to the NCAA for the cause of the delay hasn’t been answered, speculation on decks around the country is that there was disagreement over the relay qualifying times. The initially-proposed B cuts were so fast that in some instances, only 7 teams would’ve hit them last season, for example.
In either regard, the standards have been released. While they did, overall, get faster from last year (as they almost always do), those drops were in most cases fairly modest. The men’s 50 free, for example, saw both the “A” and “B” cut times get only .02 seconds faster. Some events were more significant, even on scale, like the 100 free where the times dropped about 3-tenths of a second for both the A and B on the men’s side, but overall not a huge increase in challenge.
Several times, especially on the women’s side, remained unchanged or by very, very small amounts.
The biggest change is that automatic qualifying times for relays were eliminated. The NCAA hasn’t put out any documentation on why this happened, but this could support the above-mentioned disagreement, and points to a “compromise” solution. The “Provisional” relay standards are much faster than last year’s provisional standards, but still slower than last year’s automatic standards – they’re a midway point, of sorts.
Without any announcement of a change in selection procedure, we must presume that “Provisional Standards” mean what they did last year – which is that teams who hit those standards and have one-or-more selected student athletes selected as an individual (swimmer or diver) can bring up to 4 non-invited student-athletes to swim any relay where they’ve hit the Provisional mark.
Last year, no relay teams hit the automatic Qualifying Standard, though many hit the Provisional Standard. The chart below shows the number of teams in each event that hit the 2017 Provisional Standard, and the number who would’ve still hit the 2018 Provisional Standard before NCAAs.
|Eligible 2017||Under 2018 Standard||Eligible 2017||Under 2018 Standard|
|200 free relay||27||16||35||19|
|400 free relay||29||17||35||20|
|800 free relay||29||17||32||21|
|200 medley relay||24||14||31||22|
|400 medley relay||23||22||29||22|
- See the 2016-2017 standards here.
- Full 2017-2018 standards (men) here.
- Full 2017-2018 standards (women) here.