While at the College Challenge this weekend, SwimSwam caught up with College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Executive Director Joel Shinofield.
We covered two major topics: summer’s CSCAA Open Water Nationals, and 2018’s CSCAA National Invitational (check out the video for his full comments on the Invitational).
- Open Water Nationals: In its second year, the CSCAA Open Water National Champions saw a 20 percent increase in participants, almost reaching its 70 athletes per gender cap. The field included Division I, II, and III athletes, as well as some from the NAIA. “I think we’ll be at capacity next year,” Shinofield said. However, he noted that the race will happen in late- rather than mid-September in 2018 (they have to base the date on the University of Kansas’ home football schedule). When asked if the race will continue to go on at its current location, Shinofield said, “The University of Kansas has been a great partner. They’ve done an amazing job in setting it up … For right now, Kansas has invested so much in the experience is fantastic for the students and for the coaches that it would be hard to move it, but of course we’re always open to ideas to get better.” University of Kansas head coach Clark Campbell is the incoming CSCAA president, as well.
- CSCAA National Invitational Championship: Now that the NCAA has granted teams an exemption from total season days allowed to participate in the meet, Shinofield compared the newly-revived meet to a college football bowl game or the NIT in basketball. “Athletes can continue to train, using it as a stepping stone to get to the NCAA championship the next year,” he said. The meet has been on hiatus for the past couple of years, in part because teams needed to delay the start of their seasons in order to accommodate past editions of the meet. Shinofield explained: “[Teams] had to plan really far in advance without knowing if they would have qualifiers, and that made it very difficult for teams that were in contention for considerable NCAA qualifiers to make and allowance for that.”
In regards to future CSCAA plans, Shinofield added: “I’m on the road about 100 days a year, so I spent a lot of time meeting with athletic directors, with coaches, with different leaders across our sport and other sports to make sure that we can just strengthen and improve our sport for our students and that the experience is there for future students, which is really what we’re trying to protect, preserve, and expand.”