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.
|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|