The NCAA has made several adjustments to its 2021 Zone Diving meets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the most notable change being the reduction in the number of divers available to qualify for each competition.
In a memorandum sent out to coaches on Jan. 4, the NCAA informed schools that a total of 35 spots for female divers and 25 spots for male divers will be allotted for participation at each of the five regionally conducted zone diving meets.
Under normal circumstances, divers qualify for their respective zone meet by achieving a certain score during the season, and there is often over 100 divers at a given zone meet compared to the maximum of 60 this year. Last season there were 116 divers entered in Zone “A” and 101 in Zone “B”, for example.
The qualifying procedure for each zone meet will follow these guidelines:
- All divers who achieve the “A” zone diving qualifying score during a 2020-21 NCAA bonafide diving competition will be selected for entry.
- All divers who meet each of the three following criteria will be selected:
- Qualified as reimbursed or institutionally funded divers to the 2020 NCAA Division I Championships
- Are eligible as student-athletes to compete at the 2021 NCAA Championships
- Achieve at least a “C” zone diving qualifying score during a NCAA bonafide diving competition during the 2020-21 season
- All divers who win their 2021 conference championship meets and achieve at least a “C” zone diving qualifying score at an NCAA bonafide competition during the 2020-21 season.
- All divers who achieve at least a “B” or “C” zone diving qualifying score during the season will be considered for the remaining at-large entries to their assigned zone in order to maintain a full field at each location. The Division I Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Committee will consider quality of competition, head-to-head competition and the number of spots advancing to NCAAs when selecting the at-large positions.
It’s also important to note that any divers who qualified for the 2021 Zone meets in more than one event as of Dec. 31, 2020 under the original qualifying process will still qualify.
The qualifying scores considered for entry can be found below:
Additionally, in order to ensure the meets can be completed and NCAA staff can adequately prepare for COVID-19 health and safety measures, the number of host sites has been reduced from five to three.
However, all zone meets will remain separate competitions.
Zones “A” and “B” will both compete in Greensboro, N.C., at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, while zones “C” and “D” will take place at the University of Kentucky. “B” and “C” will run competition from March 7-9 in their respective locations, while A and D will be March 11-13.
Zone E will remain a singular zone site at Northern Arizona University, set for March 8-10.