The NCAA is in discussion to potentially shift the Division I Swimming & Diving Championships back a number of weeks, well into the month of April.
The NCAA Championships have traditionally been held in mid-to-late March, with the women’s championships beginning on the third Thursday in March (with competition beginning Wednesday night) and running through Saturday, with the men’s meet taking place one week later.
The Division I Swim & Dive Committee is now looking into holding the women’s championship on the Wednesday through Saturday after the first Sunday in April.
According to the committee’s meeting in early August, the reasoning behind looking into the change is that it would allow the meet to take place after the NCAA men’s basketball (March Madness) tournament.
If this change does come into effect, it would first come into play in 2027, with the NCAA having already announced the hosts of the 2024, 2025 and 2026 championships back in 2020.
The NCAA has thus asked those bidding to host the 2027 and 2028 championships to keep the April dates open.
Current Schedule – If No Change
- 2027 Women’s NCAA Championships: March 17-20, 2027
- 2027 Men’s NCAA Championships: March 24-27, 2027
- 2028 Women’s NCAA Championships: March 15-18, 2028
- 2028 Men’s NCAA Championships: March 22-25, 2028
- 2027 Women’s NCAA Championships: April 7-10, 2027
- 2027 Men’s NCAA Championships: April 14-17, 2027
- 2028 Women’s NCAA Championships: April 5-8, 2028
- 2028 Men’s NCAA Championships: April 12-15, 2028
If this were to occur, the new championship dates would bleed into the start of the international long course season, specifically impacting European swimmers who will often head overseas in April to compete in qualifying events for the big international championship of the summer.
In past years, Canadian swimmers have had an incredibly tight turnaround from the end of the NCAA Championships to the start of their national selection trials, including male swimmers such as Josh Liendo having just two days between the end of Men’s NCAAs (March 25) and the start of the Canadian Trials (March 28) this year.
Swimming Canada announced a revamped quad plan in May that will see all of its trials meets take place in either June or July through 2028, so this change won’t affect Canadian swimmers as it would have in past years.
If it does take place, the move into early to mid-April would introduce a new element to championship season for some of the top teams, who have typically held back at their conference championship meets to save a full taper for NCAAs. With this extended break, it could see a change of strategy for how teams attack conference meets.
The NCAA D1 Swim & Dive Committee noted that it would seek feedback from conferences before offering any recommendations on the change.