It seems reasonable to assume that the NCAA Division 3 Championship should offer the highest level of competition in the division – serving as the ideal destination for all Division 3 swimmers . However, with such strict selection guidelines in place this is difficult to achieve.
Although each NCAA Championship meet tends to have swimmers that go slower than their qualifying time, it becomes a problem in Division 3 due to the fact that so few swimmers are selected in each event.
In a number of events at this year’s NCAA Division 3 Championships there are swimmers who did not qualify for the meet but whose best time would have made the B final. For example, in the men’s 400 IM it took 3:58.6 to qualify for the meet– but it took only 4:01.8 to make the B final and score points. Below is a table of other events where the same circumstance occurred.
|Event||Meet Qualify||B Final Qualify|
|Women’s 400 IM||4:28.50||4:29.91|
|Men’s 100 Butterfly||48.95||49.20|
It is also worth noting that in every other event the time to make B final was relatively close to the meet, and the times dropped off pretty quickly thereafter. Results in comparison to the meet qualifying times are displayed below.
|Event||Meet Qualify||B Final Qualify||Place where the time was slower than the time it took to qualify||Place|
|Women’s 500 free||4:59.02||4:58.27||4:59.08||20th|
|Men’s 500 Free||4:31.03||4:30.94||4:31.45||17th|
|Women’s 200 IM||2:05.78||2:05.45||2:05.83||19th|
|Men’s 200 IM||1:50.28||1:50.20||1:50.39||17th|
|Women’s 50 Free||23.59||23.53||23.62||19th|
|Women’s 100 Fly||56.25||56.16||56.28||19th|
|Women’s 200 Free||1:51.62||1:51.12||1:51.71||20th|
|Men’s 200 Free||1:39.64||1:39.26||1:39.43||17th|
The times tended to drop off pretty quickly after around 20th place, leaving a margin of swimmers that did not qualify for the meet but may have been able to get a second swim at NCAAs.
This is likely a result of how tight the selection process is, which you can read more about here. The majority of Division 3 swimmers have to fully taper at their conference meet to make nationals, leading to a slower championship meet.
All NCAA Championship meets should foster the highest level of competition that the division has to offer, and with the selection standards in place for Division 3 this is nearly impossible.
In most other championship meets of similar fashion the top swimmers are usually able to easily qualify for the meet without tapering. In addition, swimmers who have a shot at a second swim typically have no trouble making the meet.