2022 NCAA Zone Diving Preview & Qualification Procedure

With NCAA swimming invites locking in this week on the women’s side, and the men’s to follow next week, the final piece of the puzzle before the championships begin is the diving invites.

Unlike the swimmers, divers don’t qualify for NCAAs by virtue of their performances throughout the season, but rather, they compete at their respective Zone Diving Championship in order to earn a spot.

The invite process is a complex one on the diving side, so we’ll run through the process below, along with dates and locations for each of the NCAA’s five diving zones.


There are five zone meets spread across the country that allows divers to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The top five female and top four male divers from each event at their respective zone championship automatically qualify for NCAAs, and then each zone earns an additional number of qualifying spots in each event based on how that zone performed at last season’s NCAAs.

For example, Zone E had two divers finish in the top 16 on 1-meter at the 2021 NCAA Women’s Championships. Therefore, the top seven divers (5+2) in that event at Zone E will qualify for NCAAs.

There’s also a distinction between eligibility and reimbursement spots. The highest-priority divers qualify for NCAA reimbursement to cover their travel expenses for NCAAs. More divers earn NCAA eligibility but have to travel to the meet with their school footing the bill. While that could technically cause a school to decline to send an eligible diver, it hasn’t been a major factor in the past, so in the interest of keeping things simple, we’ll mainly just track divers with qualifying eligibility.

Check out the qualifying spots for each zone and each event below:


1m 3m Platform
Zone A 5 5 5
Zone B 10 10 9
Zone C 9 10 9
Zone D 10 11 9
Zone E 7 5 9


1m 3m Platform
Zone A 4 4 4
Zone B 8 11 7
Zone C 9 9 11
Zone D 10 8 8
Zone E 5 4 6

Any diver who finishes within one of those eligibility spots will qualify for the NCAA Championships. They can also enter additional diving events at nationals provided they finished in the top 12 in their zone in that given event (similar to an NCAA ‘B’ cut in swimming).

For the reimbursement spots, each zone receives a minimum of four spots for both men and women, with those guaranteed filling 20/41 slots allocated for women and 20/35 slots allocated for men, respectively.

There’s then a priority placement grid to determine who gets the remaining 21 spots for women and 15 for men.

For a full breakdown of the qualifying rules and the reimbursement spots at the NCAA’s pre-championship manual here.


Each Zone meet will take place March 7-9 this year (Monday-Wednesday of next week). Find the meet info for each Zone, along with a list of qualifiers, below.

Zone A

  • March 7-9, 2022
  • Lejeune Hall, Annapolis, Md.
  • Host: U.S. Naval Academy
  • Qualifiers

Zone B

  • March 7-9, 2022
  • Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Host: Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Qualifiers

Zone C

  • March 7-9, 2022
  • Canham Natatorium, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Host: University of Michigan
  • Qualifiers

Zone D

  • March 7-9, 2022
  • Soderholm Aquatic Center, Madison, Wisc.
  • Host: University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Qualifiers

Zone E

  • March 7-9, 2022
  • Wall Aquatic Center, Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Host: Northern Arizona University
  • Qualifiers

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6 months ago

Texas has 6 male divers qualified, including Jordon Windle who still listed. Wonder if he will still participate?

Tina Gaines
6 months ago

Is there a live stream for Zone competitions?

6 months ago

Updating the current system for deciding the at large bids is in bad need of an upgrade. How many NCAA sports use the previous years results to decide what happens in the following season? Any??

COVID has only exacerbated the situation. The majority of schools that could truly train and compete last year were not on the east or west coasts.

As a results, zones A + E really had minimal numbers to compete and it shows in this year’s allocations. It will impact future years a result as well.

Before you say it, I understand that some zones are not perennially as strong as others. However, when a zone has an up year, it should collect the… Read more »

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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