With the NCAA season officially beginning next week with the nation’s first dual meet, now seems a fitting time to review the updated qualifying time standards for the 2018 NCAA Championships.
At the Division I level, the B standards have been frozen for the past several years, and 2018 is no exception. The B times remain the same, though A times have continued to get faster across the board. In terms of real-world impact, the B standards don’t have much significance. Swimming an A time in any event qualifies an athlete to compete in that event at NCAAs. Once into the meet, that athlete can enter any events with a B cut, up to three total events individually.
Merely making a B cut doesn’t earn an NCAA bid, though the fastest B cuts do make the invite list.
If the A times make your eyes pop, you’re not alone. As the NCAA has surged in speed, the qualifying times have become extraordinarily fast. A couple key events have crossed big barriers: the men’s 200 IM is now sub-1:42 for the first time in history. The men’s 400 IM dropped below 3:40. The women’s 200 back is now under 1:51, and women’s 100 breast under 59.
Here’s a brief refresher on how NCAA qualifying works (read the full explanation here):
- Individual Events: In individual races, all swimmers with “A” standards automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. Thereafter, swimmers are chosen event-by-event, lined up to an equal number across all events, until the maximum number of individual swimmers have been selected (235 for men, 281 for women).
- Relay Events: All relays with the Qualifying Standard can swim at the NCAA Championships, provided they have 1 individual (swimmer or diver) invited to the meet as well. Once a team has a relay invited, they can swim any relay in which they have a provisional standard as well. Relays are qualified “to the team,” not to the individual swimmers, so teams can take whichever swimmers they want to participate in relays.
We’ve got the full standards below, or you can view them as a separate document here.
|A Standard||B Standard||Event||A Standard||B Standard|
|1:17.62||1:18.35||200 free relay||1:28.71||1:29.57|
|2:52.10||2:53.23||400 free relay||3:15.43||3:16.93|
|6:20.05||6:23.58||800 free relay||7:03.86||7:07.86|
|1:24.82||1:25.62||200 medley relay||1:36.89||1:37.51|
|3:07.46||3:08.95||400 medley relay||3:32.67||3:34.48|