2023 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 (though they do have to qualify for them during the season).

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 D had four divers finish in the top 16 on 1-meter at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Championships. Therefore, the top nine divers (5+4) in that event at Zone D 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:


Zone A 5 6 6
Zone B 11 9 6
Zone C 10 9 11
Zone D 9 9 10
Zone E 6 8 8


Zone A 6 5 5
Zone B 7 8 9
Zone C 9 8 12
Zone D 7 9 5
Zone E 7 6 5

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.


The Zone meets will get underway on March 5 and run through March 11. Find the meet info for each Zone, along with a list of qualifiers, below.

Zone A

  • March 6-8, 2023
  • The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park – Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Host: West Virginia University
  • Qualifiers

Zone B

  • March 5-8, 2023
  • Allan Jones Aquatic Center – Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Host: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Qualifiers

Zone C

  • March 9-11, 2023
  • Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center – Bloomington, Indiana
  • Host: Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Qualifiers

Zone D

  • March 7-9, 2023
  • Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Host: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Qualifiers

Zone E

  • March 6-8, 2023
  • King County Aquatic Center – Federal Way, Washington
  • Host: University of Utah
  • Qualifiers

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8 months ago

What about online and/or TV coverage?

Reply to  Elmer
8 months ago

I think Zone A will be streamed on Youtube — search for Mylan Park
Zone B is streamed on watch ESPN (SEC+)
Not sure about Zone C, D, or E

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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