Bona Fide Competition Rules May Impact Men’s NCAA Championship Invites

In order to maintain the integrity of athletic competition, the NCAA has established a set of rules that determine what is a “bona fide” competition that, among other things, allows a qualifying swim for an NCAA Championship meet to be raced. These “bona fide” rules are ostensibly designed to ensure transparency and integrity in meets, and keep teams, for example, from having a closed-door, one-team competition with friendly officials turning a blind eye to extra dolphin kicks or early relay exchanges.

The swims of 2 would-be qualifiers for the 2018 Men’s NCAA Championship meet that begins next week in Minneapolis have been called into question by multiple other coaches who reached out to SwimSwam on Tuesday. Specifically, the swims by East Carolina swimmers Gustavo Santos and Jacek Arentewicz, who were the last-invited swimmers in the 100 fly (Santos – 45.89) and 200 breaststroke (Arentewicz – 1:54.49). Both of those times, each swimmer’s only invited time, came at the Liberty University Last Chance meet.

While the Liberty Last Chance Meet seems to meet all of the criteria as a bona fide competition on the women’s side, there is a key provision that, on its face, will need further clarification from the NCAA in order to have been met:

  • Competition is between two or more teams of the same gender at the same time and site, from different collegiate institutions;

East Carolina was the only men’s team in attendance at the meet, while the rule specifies that to be bona fide, a meet must include two or more teams of the same gender.

We have reached out to NCAA secretary-rules editor Greg Lockard, who quickly acknowledged that he was aware of the questions being asked, but did not respond to a follow-up to clarify if the NCAA was still considering the matter or if they had made a decision.

We have also reached out to East Carolina to ask if they’ve interpreted the rules differently and the meet hosts Liberty, who are responsible for submitting results from last chance meets per the rules for “End of Season Competitions.” Neither has responded yet.

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Sneaky Pete

That’s a shame – at the end of the day they won’t get in. Rules are rules.


At least they are both freshman


BUT you can time trial at any conference championship by yourself with no one next to you (calm water, no waves but your own, no turbulence, no stress, no anxiety/nerves, no intimidation) and do a qualifying time! Go figure!


Agree. These time trials don’t seem to meet the spirit of bona fide rules, even if they meet the letter of the rule. Solo time trial not the same as racing.

Becky D

Would now be the time to insert a joke about swimming a fast time in the warmup pool?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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