2021 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships Cancelled

The 2021 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships have been cancelled, the NCAA announced on Wednesday after a meeting of hte Division III Administration Committee.

The committee also announced the cancelation of post-season competition in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men’s and women’s wrestling.

In making the decision, the Committee did not point to an inability to host a championship event safely; rather, they pointed to the lack of participation in winter season sports by D3 membership as the key factor in their decision.

The NCAA established thresholds of minimum teams competing at 60% of teams competing in basketball, swimming and diving, and track and field to host championship events, with a 70% threshold in hockey and wrestling.

Among the impacted sports, men’s and women’s swimming had the lowest percentage of programs committing to compete this season. Wrestling had the highest at 61.8%.

60% Threshold 70% Threshold
Sponsorship 416 430 238 265 291 297 84 67 109
Yes 48.6% 46.2% 43.1% 42.0% 48.8% 49.3% 52.3% 51.4% 61.8%
No 51.4% 53.8% 56.9% 58.0% 51.2% 50.7% 47.7% 48.6% 38.2%

“Today, we made the difficult decision to cancel our Division III winter championships. While some institutions have been able to safely return to sport, the recent declaration form data show that more than half of our division has not returned to winter sport practice and competition to be in a position for NCAA national championship participation,” said Fayneese Miller, chair of the Presidents Council and president at Hamline. “This was a very difficult decision to make, and we are saddened to do so. However, none of our winter sports meet the Championships Committee’s established thresholds of participation to hold a championship. We are committed to ensuring that our student-athletes have the best possible experience, and, for us, this means having a meaningful number of competitions. We hope this is possible for our spring championship.”

Earlier in the day, the NAIA also announced that they were canceling their swimming & diving championship meets this season. NCAA Division II and Division I have not made any announcements about the future of their championship meets.

This marks the second straight season that the meet won’t take place after the 2020 edition was called off less than a week out from the competition when the coronavirus pandemic first hit the United States.

The competition was scheduled to take place March 17-20 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash., hosted by Pacific Lutheran University, in what was going to be the first time that the championships took place on the West Coast since its inception in 1975.

The Division III Committee had confirmed multiple format changes to the meet back in October in light of the pandemic, including reducing the meet capacity down to 75% of its usual numbers (allowing 239 women and 195 men to compete) and pushing back the selection announcement date to March 10.  In August, the committee cancelled all championships for fall sports.

In what has been a very trying 10 months for collegiate programs around the country, several top-tier D3 swimming & diving teams opted out of competing during the 2020-21 season, though at least one, Denison, recently announced a competition schedule.

The 2021 Pac-12 Swimming & Diving Championships were also scheduled to take place in Federal Way, but have since been moved to Houston.

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7 months ago

I’ve got a bad feeling for D1 and D2

Rick Vice: D3 Football's Finest Coach
Reply to  Bfunk
7 months ago

anyone have the numbers on percent of D1 and D2 schools competing? @Brayden lol


CSCAA posted in mid-Jan:
D1 Women: 50%
D1 Men: 44%
D2 Women: 47%
D2 Men: 45%

(note: this wasn’t in Earhart’s note that SwimSwam copied/pasted when he quoted “less than 25% of all teams….”)

Many teams have started since that posting, for what it’s worth.

Rick Vice: D3 Football's Finest Coach
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
7 months ago

This article you pulled from also had D3 at 8% and 9%, not remotely close to the 42/43% listed above. Either a poop ton started in 2 weeks or “committed to compete” is different than BF competition. Either way, doesn’t seem like it’s possible for those values in the CSCAA article to be remotely accurate given the time and amounts of change seen at D3 level. I’m just asking for more accurate info for the current time


Agreed. Our dIII swimmer has JUST started competition… with a remote meet this weekend scheduled and a couple of in-person meets on the docket as well. Her conference cancelled conference champs way back in Oct, but allowed teams to decide if they wanted to cobble together some sort of season. They had already cut back the number of invitees they were going to have for NCAAs, so canceling it seems just silly.


Right, it is my understanding that those 8 and 9 % numbers were who had competed so far (and those numbers came the day before a bunch of schools had their first meet). Based on other information, the 42-43% numbers cited in this article are the percentage of institutions with intentions to conduct winter championships, whose participation would therefore make them eligible for an NCAA Championship…still far below the threshold. And, consider that some with those intentions may end up unable to follow through

Reply to  Bfunk
7 months ago

I give it until end of the week before D2 is cancelled and end of next before D1 is cancelled.

7 months ago

D2 has entered the chat

7 months ago

at least they’re consistent..and no basketball!

Sun Yangs Hammer
7 months ago

Press F to pay respects

Denison Swimmer
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
7 months ago


7 months ago


7 months ago

Definitely hard to see one of the top swimming and diving meets in the country be canceled but one that is justified through it all. .

Stinks for the athletes who have trained found places to train through thick and thin, staying safe, this past fall and now winter with the hope of competing there or hopefully making their mark with a standard. Tough for sure.
Wish them the best in their future years or wherever their future endeavors take them.

I had a bad feeling once Pac 12 moved their meet to Houston combined with lots of major DIII conferences (which include lots of teams) canceling seasons.

Onward and upward.

Reply to  Anonymous
7 months ago

Organized sports have been going on for months all over the country- reference the big success of TYR PSS in January. Amazing to me that they couldn’t find a way to make this happen for these athletes.

Makes sense
Reply to  Gator
7 months ago

They only had 200 athletes at the TYR PSS, very different from holding even a conference champs or national champs

Reply to  Makes sense
7 months ago

And they were only planning to have 239 at the larger of the two D3 meets. Surely it could have been managed.

Reply to  Gator
7 months ago

Where? My team hasn’t been able to practice since the beginning of November due to Covid policy in Boston and is looking to get back in the pool sometime in March…

Reply to  Gator
7 months ago

They said it was because of lack of participation, not safety reasons. They had a way to make it work but they just didn’t want to do it because not enough teams competing.

Reply to  Anonymous
7 months ago

Gutless. No will to make it work

Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
7 months ago

I feel very bad for the DIII swimmers out there. I feel like if there were less teams able to compete, then those teams would be saddened at a championships without them, but surely they would want them to continue even if they couldn’t participate, right? I understand that the costs to run the meet are high, especially this year, but having less teams would probably cut back on testing costs, right?

Reply to  Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
7 months ago

D3 swimmer here, right on the nationals bubble. It’s a huge bummer for sure but we’ve kinda seen the writing on the wall for a while. We’ve been competing and we’ll finish our season but we all absolutely wanted a national championship to finish off the season strong, especially since conference was cancelled.

Reply to  Koi
7 months ago

On the bubble this year or in a normal year? In 2019 it took 20.2 to make it in the 50 free. This year 21.2 is in the same position — without diminishing all your hard work, it wasn’t going to be the same meet this year. No NESCAC (Amherst, Williams, Tufts, Bowdoin, Conn, Bates, and I believe Midd all sent relays last year), no NEWMAC (MIT, WPI), no UAA (Emory, CMU), Kenyon has limited times (no David Fitch, etc) just off the top of my head.

Reply to  DIIIer
7 months ago

Why would you take the time to write this comment and talk down to someone about their times, especially when you don’t know anything about them? I’m sure Koi is well aware of their times, so they know exactly where they stand. Negativity doesn’t make anyone faster.

7 months ago

A very bad and short sighted decision. Now we will lose even more programs stop the madness

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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