With the coming Olympic season, the NCAA added long course meter conversions into its NCAA invite process for 2016 – but the result had very little impact on the NCAA psych sheets in either gender.
The tweak in the rules was simple: a conversion process could take a long course swim and convert it to a comparable short course yards time. That time would slot into the NCAA rankings and could be used to garner an NCAA invite.
That process has always been used to convert short course meters times to short course yards for NCAA qualifying, and long course conversions were also a yearly feature until the NCAA changed its rules in 2010 over criticism that long course specialists were taking NCAA spots away from swimmers who were better in the NCAA’s short course format.
When we talked to NCAA swimming & diving Secretary-Rules Editor Brian Gordon about the change last fall, he made clear the rules committee was keeping that complain in mind when adding long course back in for the 2016 season.
As it turns out, there wasn’t much reason to fret: No swimmer earned an NCAA invite with a long course time that they wouldn’t have earned in short course as well.
Only 7 converted long course swims earned NCAA invites in 2016:
- Gillian Ryan, Michigan – 200 free – 1:58.50LCM–>1:44.75SCY
- Johanna Roas, Denver – 100 back – 1:00.77LCM–>52.44SCY
- Marina Garcia, California – 100 breast – 1:08.47LCM–>1:00.25SCY
- Matias Koski, Georgia – 400/500 free – 3:49.75LCM–>4:15.75SCY
- Christopher Reid, Alabama – 100 back – 54.47LCM–>46.02SCY
- Carlos Claverie, Louisville – 200 breast – 2:10.86LCM–>1:53.58SCY
- Luis Martinez, Auburn – 100 fly – 52.35LCM–>45.96SCY
Of those seven, five earned separate NCAA invites with short course times in different events. Ryan qualified in the 500 and 1650 frees, Garcia in the 200 breast, Koski in the 100 and 200 frees, Reid in the 200 back and Claverie in the 100 breast.
The final two, Roas and Martinez, both put up short course times that would have also qualified them for NCAA invites, though a little lower on the psych sheets than they are with converted long course times.
Roas would have just snuck in in line 39 of the 100 back with her 53.02 – she’s currently 25th with her conversion time. Martinez would have been 20th with his 46.22 instead of 12th with his converted time.
That means the only impact long course conversions has on the NCAA invite list is specific seedings, not actual individual invites. That’s at least a little surprising, considering we had at least ten women alone in line for long course converted NCAA invites at the beginning of February.
The biggest reason for the late shift is that most of those women bettered their converted times at their respective conference meets, allowing them to qualify with short course times instead of long course conversions.
You can find the full conversion formula and the NCAA invite rules here.