NCAA Lowers 15 Individual “A” Standards for 2022-23 DI Championships

by Riley Overend 5

August 01st, 2022 College, News

The NCAA has released qualifying standards for the 2022-23 Division I Swimming & Diving Championships, and there are significantly more time drops than last year. 

The NCAA chose to leave the standards the same for 2021 after the 2020 NCAA Championships were canceled due to COVID-19. Then last year, they lowered six individual “A” standards ahead of the 2022 NCAA Championships. The NCAA is more than doubling that mark next year, setting new “A” standards in 15 individual events along with new qualifying standards for eight relays. 

Here are the standards that have changed:

  • Men’s 50 Free “A” standard (.08 faster)
  • Men’s 50 Free “B” standard (.14 faster)
  • Women’s 50 Free “B” standard (.05 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Free “A” standard (.07 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Free “B” standard (.21 faster)
  • Women’s 100 Free “B” standard (.07 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Free “A” standard (.07 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Free “B” standard (.44 faster)
  • Women’s 200 Free “A” standard (.14 faster)
  • Men’s 500 Free “A” standard (.22 faster)
  • Men’s 500 Free “B” standard (.99 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Fly “A” standard (.14 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Fly “B” standard (.2 faster)
  • Women’s 100 Fly “B” standard (.07 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Fly “A” standard (.24 faster)
  • Women’s 200 Fly “A” standard (.34 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Fly “B” standard (.38 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Back “A” standard (.15 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Back “B” standard (.18 faster)
  • Women’s 100 Back “A” standard (.04 faster)
  • Women’s 100 Back “B” standard (.03 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Back “B” standard (.22 faster)
  • Women’s 200 Back “B” standard (.04 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Breast “A” standard (.19 faster)
  • Men’s 100 Breast “B” standard (.4 faster)
  • Women’s 100 Breast “A” standard (.36 faster)
  • Women’s 100 Breast “B” standard (.28 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Breast “A” standard (.74 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Breast “B” standard (.48 faster)
  • Women’s 200 Breast “A” standard (.4 faster)
  • Women’s 200 Breast “B” standard (.08 faster)
  • Men’s 200 IM “A” standard (.12 faster)
  • Men’s 200 IM “B” standard (.25 faster)
  • Women’s 200 IM “B” standard (.38 faster)
  • Men’s 400 IM “B” standard (.15 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Free Relay qualifying standard (.27 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Free Relay provisional standard (.22 faster)
  • Men’s 400 Free Relay qualifying standard (.47 faster)
  • Men’s 400 Free Relay provisional standard (.02 faster)
  • Women’s 400 Free Relay qualifying standard (.4 faster)
  • Women’s 400 Free Relay provisional standard (.03 faster)
  • Men’s 800 Free Relay qualifying standard (.78 faster)
  • Men’s 800 Free Relay provisional standard (.91 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Medley Relay qualifying standard (.46 faster)
  • Men’s 200 Medley Relay provisional standard (.41 faster)
  • Women’s 200 Medley Relay qualifying standard (.16 faster)
  • Women’s 200 Medley Relay provisional standard (.03 faster)
  • Men’s 400 Medley Relay qualifying standard (.51 faster)
  • Men’s 400 Medley Relay provisional standard (.69 faster)
  • Women’s 400 Medley Relay qualifying standard (.28 faster)
  • Women’s 400 Medley Relay provisional standard (.24 faster)

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.

In practice, we know that the qualifying times for the individual events are largely symbolic. Because swimmers are ranked based on individual event order, and because it’s rare for the “A” cut limits to come into play, or for a scoring athlete to be anywhere near a “B” cut even in a 3rd event, the change in standards don’t matter much in a practical sense.

Many teams use them as a benchmark, though, to evaluate in-season performances.

More significant is the change in the relay standard, because teams can’t qualify for NCAAs without those standards, and we often see relays that might score at NCAAs be left home because they miss the standard by very slim margins.

2023 NCAA MEN’S AND WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING STANDARDS

Swimming

Men’s B Standard Men’s A Standard Swimming Women’s A Standard Women’s B Standard
19.82 18.88 50 free 21.66 22.71
43.59 41.64 100 free 47.18 49.44
1:35.88 1:31.98 200 free 1:42.84 1:47.12
4:22.35 4:11.40 500 free 4:35.76 4:47.20
15:26.19 14:37.31 1650 free 15:52.41 16:30.59
47.23 44.82 100 fly 50.92 53.69
1:46.31 1:40.20 200 fly 1:52.86 1:59.23
47.59 44.79 100 back 50.89 53.91
1:44.82 1:39.13 200 back 1:50.50 1:57.07
53.87 51.4 100 breast 58.1 1:01.56
1:57.95 1:51.54 200 breast 2:06.18 2:13.89
1:46.52 1:41.22 200 IM 1:53.66 1:59.56
3:51.31 3:39.16 400 IM 4:03.62 4:17.30
1:17.58 1:16.80 200 free relay 1:28.43 1:29.21
2:52.44 2:50.52 400 free relay 3:14.10 3:16.32
6:20.41 6:16.02 800 free relay 7:00.86 7:05.88
1:24.42 1:23.76 200 medley relay 1:36.24 1:37.02
3:06.84 3:04.96 400 medley relay 3:31.38 3:33.54

Diving

Men’s Zones Diving Women’s Zones
300 1-Meter 265/220*
320 3-Meter 280/235*
300 Platform 225

*Denotes 6/5 dive qualifying standards

Below is a complete analysis of the standards’ time drops from 2022 NCAA Championships.

Men’s Qualifying Standards Change

Event A Standard B Standard A Standard Change B Standard Change
50 free 18.88 19.82 -.08 -.14
100 free 41.64 43.59 -.07 -.21
200 free  1:31.98 1:35.88 -.07 -.44
500 free 4:11.40 4:22.35 -.22 -.99
1650 free 14:37.31 15:26.19
100 fly 44.82 47.23 -.14 -.2
200 fly 1:40.20 1:46.31 -.24 -.38
100 back 44.79 47.59 -.15 -.18
200 back 1:39.13 1:44.82 -.22
100 breast 51.4 53.87 -.19 -.4
200 breast 1:51.54 1:57.95 -.74 -.48
200 IM 1:41.22 1:46.52 -.12 -.25
400 IM 3:39.16 3:51.31 -.15
RELAYS QUALIFYING PROVISIONAL
200 free relay 1:16.80 1:17.58 -.27 -.22
400 free relay 2:50.52 2:52.44 -.47 -.02
800 free relay 6:16.02 6:20.41 -.78 -.91
200 medley relay 1:23.76 1:24.42 -.46 -.41
400 medley relay 3:06.84 3:04.96 -.51 -.69
DIVING ZONES ZONE QUALIFYING
1-meter 300 Unchanged
3-meter 320 Unchanged
Platform 300 Unchanged

Women’s Qualifying Standards Change

Event A Standard B Standard A Standard Change B Standard Change
50 free 21.66 22.71 -.05
100 free 47.18 49.44 -.07
200 free 1:42.84 1:47.12 -.14
500 free 4:35.76 4:47.20
1650 free 15:52.41 16:30.59
100 fly 50.92 53.69 -.07
200 fly 1:52.86 1:59.23 -.34
100 back 50.89 53.91 -.04 -.03
200 back 1:50.50 1:57.07 -.04
100 breast 58.1 1:01.56 -.36 -.28
200 breast 2:06.18 2:13.89 -.4 -.08
200 IM 1:53.66 1:59.56 -.38
400 IM 4:03.62 4:17.30
200 free relay 1:28.43 1:29.21
400 free relay 3:14.10 3:16.32 -.4 -.03
800 free relay 7:00.86 7:05.88
200 medley relay 1:36.24 1:37.02 -.16 -.03
400 medley relay 3:31.38 3:33.54 -.28 -.24
DIVING ZONES ZONE QUALIFYING
1-meter 265 Unchanged
3-meter 280 Unchanged
Platform 225 Unchanged

On the men’s side, the biggest changes are in the 100 breast, 100 back, 100 fly, 200 fly, and 200 breast, which saw .74 seconds shaved off the “A” standard. On the women’s side, the biggest movement comes in the 100 breast and 200 fly.

How the Standards are Created

  • The “A Standard” for individual events is calculated by using the three-year average of the eighth best time on the performance list unless the current “A Standard” is faster than the three-year average.
  • The “B Standard” for individual events is calculated by using the three-year average of the 125th best time on the performance list unless the current “B Standard” is faster than the three-year average.
  • The “Qualifying Standard” for relay events is calculated using the three-year average of the 16th-best time on the championship finals performance list unless the current “Qualifying Standard” is faster than the three-year average.
  • The “Provisional Standard” for relay events is calculated using the three-year average of the 24th-best time on the championship finals performance list unless the current “Provisional Standard” is faster than the three-year average.

The 2023 NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships for women will be hosted in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee for the first time, running from March 15-18. The men’s meet will be hosted at the University of Minnesota from March 22-25.

The Virginia women are the two-time defending champions, while Cal won last year’s men’s title.

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West Coast Swammer
10 days ago

Maybe I’ve got this wrong, but this relay rule change seems huge! So many teams likely had qualified relays but only had 3 individuals, so the relays couldn’t race. This won’t change anything for the Top 15 programs, but could be a game changer for the rest.

MCH
10 days ago

Individual A standards are meaningless. It’s really just the cut line that matters.

Lpman
10 days ago

18.8 and 41.6 for 50 and 100 are absurd. Granted it is a few hundredths faster, but that is astronomical at this level. If the time keeps getting shaved little by little, it will be 18.6 before we know it

Snarky
Reply to  Lpman
10 days ago

Actually I think 41.6 is pretty soft compared to the 100/200 backs and flies.

James Beam
10 days ago

Will be interesting to see if the standards go up a bit next year since there won’t be as much impact with 5th years this upcoming season…

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor in the …

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