If the goal of the new NCAA qualifying procedures was to get more schools involved with the NCAA Championship meets (and that was one of the major stated goals), then at least in year one, it was mission accomplished.
There were a few teams that miscalculated the amount of rest they would need to qualify individual swimmers, perhaps, under the new rules. In the past, most top swimmers could take individual swims just by default of their relays qualifying; this year, swimmers had to be invited as individuals to get any individual swims.
As compared to last year, the number of teams qualifying swimmers to the NCAA Championship meets:
- Men’s 2012: 42, Men’s 2013: 51
- Women’s 2012: 64, Women’s 2013: 73
We have passed our rudimentary statistics course, so we know that one year does not a trend make, but the difference is pretty firm.
Our expectation is that this will level off in the short-term, and the number of teams may come back down somewhat as the bigger players adjust their tapering strategies. On the other hand, that could be counteracted in a longer-term time frame as more of these mid-major schools can use NCAA qualifiers and perhaps All-Americans in their recruiting pitches and spread the talent further.