2020 NCAA Invite Cut-Line: Mathematical Estimates Pre-Conference Meets

Kevin Hallman contributed to this report.

The coming weeks will shake up the NCAA swimming rankings significantly – but in-season swims do give us some level of data with which to project the times it will take to be invited to the 2020 NCAA Championships.

The NCAA swimming & diving invite system is a complex and confusing process. You can get a refresher on the process here, but the upshot is that the invite line usually falls between 37th and 40th in each event for women, and between 28th and 31st for the men.

Methodology

SwimSwam’s Kevin Hallman ran some numbers on in-season swims across the NCAA, comparing to last year. Here’s a high-level look at the methodology for projecting this year’s cuts:

  • Comparing the 30th-ranked swimmer in the NCAA in each event right now with the 30th-ranked swimmer in the NCAA as of this date one year ago.
  • Finding the percentage difference between the 30th-ranked time in 2019 vs 2020
  • Applying that percentage change to last year’s NCAA invite time

The data at this point actually shows that the 30th-ranked swimmer in 2019-2020 is slower than the 30th-ranked swimmer in 2018-2019 in 19 of 26 events. Maybe that’s a factor of teams taking less rest at mid-season invites; maybe it suggests the NCAA lost more talent than usual to graduation and redshirts, leaving the league thinner than it was last year. Either way, this particular mathematical model suggests NCAA invite times will actually be slower this year than they were last year in many events. That would be pretty surprising historically, but if you buy that the Olympic year has drained the NCAA of depth this season, there might be reason to believe it could happen.

For what it’s worth, in 2016, invite times did get slower in 8 of 13 men’s events, but only 2 of 13 women’s events.

Time Change (30th in NCAA) From Feb 2019 to Feb 2020

A negative in the ‘Change’ column means a time got faster. A negative in the ‘% difference’ column also implies a faster time in 2020. A positive number in either column means 30th in the event is actually slower compared to a year ago.

Women:

Women 2019 2020
Event Name 30th Place 2/12/2019 Name 30th Place Change % difference
 50 Free Goeders, Anya 22.33 Tucker, Miranda 22.26 -0.07 -0.31%
 100 Free Moseley, Stanzi 48.61 Leehy, Mykenzie 48.66 0.05 0.10%
 200 Free Brown, Zarena 1:45.51 Dupre, Cora 1:45.51 0 0.00%
 500 Free Peplowski, Noelle 4:42.10 Cattermole, Sophie 4:42.41 0.31 0.11%
 1650 Free Sanderson, Kate 16:17.76 Nguyen, Claire 16:18.98 1.22 0.12%
 100 Back Tetzloff, Alyssa 52.69 Moroney, Megan 52.77 0.08 0.15%
 200 Back Unicomb, Jess 1:54.27 Ivey, Isabel 1:54.11 -0.16 -0.14%
 100 Breast Kucheran, Nina 1:00.31 Gresser, Hanna 1:00.34 0.03 0.05%
 200 Breast Raab, Allie 2:10.53 Pavlopoulou, Nicole 2:10.86 0.33 0.25%
 100 Fly Kraus, Alena 52.52 Nogaj, Paulina 52.45 -0.07 -0.13%
 200 Fly Jensen, Christie 1:56.71 Thomas, Luciana 1:56.74 0.03 0.03%
 200 IM Kovac, Bailey 1:57.67 Pavlopoulou, Nicole 1:57.84 0.17 0.14%
 400 IM Kukurugya, Hannah 4:11.20 Sumida, Maria Eduarda 4:11.83 0.63 0.25%

Men:

Men 2019 2020
Event Name 30th Place 2/12/2019 Name 30th Place 30th place difference % difference
 50 Free Quah, Zheng 19.61 Miles, Corben 19.62 0.01 0.05%
 100 Free Barna, Andrej 42.93 Gwo, Albert 43.1 0.17 0.40%
 200 Free Yeadon, Zach 1:34.70 Quah, Zheng 1:34.91 0.21 0.22%
 500 Free Olszewski, Benjamin 4:18.61 Johansson, Victor 4:18.22 -0.39 -0.15%
 1650 Free Miller, Kevin 15:05.38 Dal Maso, Filippo 15:07.24 1.86 0.21%
 100 Back Jiang, Alvin 46.64 Harder, Ethan 46.83 0.19 0.41%
 200 Back Fantoni, Gabriel 1:42.32 Hein, Daniel 1:42.62 0.3 0.29%
 100 Breast Walker, Benjamin 53.29 Myhre, Will 53.32 0.03 0.06%
 200 Breast Tolman, Scott 1:56.34 Khosla, Raunak 1:56.00 -0.34 -0.29%
 100 Fly Mota, Kayky 46.65 Mefford, Bryce 46.51 0.03 0.06%
 200 Fly Lamastra, Connor 1:44.01 Johnson, Jake 1:44.24 0.24 0.23%
 200 IM Vines, Braden 1:45.06 Gonzalez, Hugo 1:45.54 0.48 0.46%
 400 IM Stump, Isaac 3:47.34 Apel, Aaron 3:48.40 1.06 0.47%

Historical Invite Times

Women:

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
50 Free 22.23 22.30 22.23 22.32 22.40 22.40 22.45
100 Free 48.56 48.53 48.62 48.77 48.89 48.82 49.00
200 Free 1:45.12 1:44.90 1:45.44 1:45.93 1:45.95 1:46.03 1:46.10
500 Free 4:40.96 4:40.57 4:41.84 4:42.52 4:43.01 4:42.79 4:42.90
1650 Free 16:14.21 16:12.90 16:16.41 16:17.89 16:17.36 16:20.32 16:19.32
100 Back 52.46 52.54 52.65 52.93 52.97 53.20 53.21
200 Back 1:54.01 1:53.64 1:54.00 1:54.47 1:54.66 1:55.19 1:54.79
100 Breast 59.93 1:00.11 1:00.34 1:00.66 1:00.74 1:00.78 1:00.72
200 Breast 2:09.77 2:10.14 2:10.55 2:10.89 2:11.23 2:11.22 2:11.44
100 Fly 52.34 52.41 52.52 52.77 52.79 52.92 52.99
200 Fly 1:56.18 1:55.99 1:56.60 1:57.02 1:56.97 1:56.79 1:57.59
200 IM 1:56.76 1:56.76 1:57.66 1:57.90 1:58.13 1:58.13 1:58.51
400 IM 4:10.00 4:09.75 4:10.86 4:11.05 4:12.31 4:12.63 4:11.92

Men:

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
50 Free 19.35 19.36 19.43 19.53 19.52 19.46 19.67
100 Free 42.53 42.71 42.76 43.05 42.94 42.98 43.14
200 Free 1:34.21 1:34.44 1:34.20 1:34.67 1:34.54 1:34.71 1:35.34
500 Free 4:16.04 4:16.08 4:16.67 4:17.73 4:17.15 4:18.31 4:18.70
1650 Free 14:54.05 14:53.34 14:56.84 15:00.11 14:59.20 15:03.42 15:03.07
100 Back 46.06 46.14 46.28 46.51 46.46 46.57 46.95
200 Back 1:41.31 1:41.18 1:41.74 1:41.92 1:42.04 1:42.41 1:43.03
100 Breast 52.52 52.75 52.62 52.92 52.97 53.23 53.37
200 Breast 1:54.04 1:54.49 1:54.54 1:55.31 1:55.04 1:55.64 1:55.97
100 Fly 45.90 45.89 46.10 46.46 46.38 46.56 46.74
200 Fly 1:42.35 1:42.52 1:43.09 1:43.65 1:43.74 1:43.81 1:44.74
200 IM 1:43.82 1:44.03 1:44.34 1:44.41 1:44.58 1:44.71 1:45.08
400 IM 3:43.42 3:43.89 3:44.92 3:45.33 3:45.34 3:45.64 3:46.72

2020 Projections

Women:

Event 2019 Invite Time % Change in 30th Rank Projected 2020 Invite Time
50 Free 22.23 -0.31% 22.16
100 Free 48.56 0.10% 48.61
200 Free 1:45.12 0.00% 1:45.12
500 Free 4:40.96 0.11% 4:41.27
1650 Free 16:14.21 0.12% 16:15.43
100 Back 52.46 0.15% 52.54
200 Back 1:54.01 -0.14% 1:53.85
100 Breast 59.93 0.05% 59.96
200 Breast 2:09.77 0.25% 2:10.10
100 Fly 52.34 -0.13% 52.27
200 Fly 1:56.18 0.03% 1:56.21
200 IM 1:56.76 0.14% 1:56.95
400 IM 4:10.00 0.25% 4:10.63

Men:

Event 2019 Invite Time % Change in 30th Rank Projected 2020 Invite Time
50 Free 19.35 0.05% 19.36
100 Free 42.53 0.40% 42.70
200 Free 1:34.21 0.22% 1:34.42
500 Free 4:16.04 -0.15% 4:15.65
1650 Free 14:54.05 0.21% 14:55.89
100 Back 46.06 0.41% 46.25
200 Back 1:41.31 0.29% 1:41.61
100 Breast 52.52 0.06% 52.55
200 Breast 1:54.04 -0.29% 1:53.71
100 Fly 45.90 0.06% 45.93
200 Fly 1:42.35 0.23% 1:42.59
200 IM 1:43.82 0.46% 1:44.29
400 IM 3:43.42 0.47% 3:44.46

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Confused

Mens 100 breast seems off, 2020 time is slower but % is negative

Too cool for the pool

Same with the men’s 100 fly

NM Coach

My kind of article!!! LOVE THIS!!!

Yozhik

Who could’ve thought that Patriots lose to Miami giving with that the “buy” to Chiefs?
Who could’ve thought that the strongest playoff team lose to the weakest one opening with that the door to the super bowl for Chiefs?
Who could’ve thought that 49’s having 95% probability of winning the championship just at 8 minutes to the end of the game lose it.
Who could’ve thought?

swimmerfromcali

I don’t see how this is important Yozhik. But if you want to explain i’ll listen.

Yozhik

It is not important at all. Numbers about sport live its own interesting life. A lot of people including me are fascinated with them. Sometimes studying and discussing them is even more interesting process than sport itself.
Why people do that? The Sport is of same unpredictability as stock market and studying historical price charts is a sure way to lose money.

John

DRSSL and LDKY must be hot commodities

SCCOACH

🤷‍♂️

Ol’ Longhorn

And so begins the insanity defense.

Yozhik

Buckle up! 😀

Coach John

oh look a butterfly *chases butterfly into the distance*

sven

I could’ve thought. My only concern was the Ravens. Once they lost, I figured it was in the bag.

In all seriousness, though, the Chiefs won because because the universe saw that I have a lot going on and wanted me (and probably the rest of KC) to get nothing done last week.

Big Boi

Big fan of things like this! Would it be possible to perform similar comparisons after each conference meet weekend to see how each conference’s impact compares to last year?

Hook 'em

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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