New NCAA Selection Process Will Make For “Better Meet With Better Swimmers”

  25 Jenny Wilson | September 13th, 2012 | AAC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, College, Ivy League, NCAA Division I Mid-Major, News, Pac-12, SEC

The NCAA has approved new selection criteria for the 2013 championships, the details of which will be released later this week. SwimSwam spoke with CSCAA consultant Bob Groseth, who described the changes as ones that would, “make the meet better, bring in more teams, and get more people in the meet.”

Instead of inviting individuals and relays as they have done in the past, the NCAA only will select from individual events. This means that they’ll be able to increase the number of people they invite in each event, from around 17 /18 to 30/31 in the men’s events and from just over 30 to more like 38 on the women’s side. As in the past, individuals invited to the meet may swim other events if they have B cuts.

In order for a team to qualify a relay, that relay must have an A cut and the team needs at least one individual swimmer invited to the meet in order to bring three additional swimmers to field the relay. Relay swimmers can only swim relays, which according to Groseth is something they’ve been “trying to work out with the NCAA for probably 20 years.”

Because the NCAA’s expanding the individual field, the burden will fall on the individual institution to pay for the relay-only swimmers it brings to the meet. The new rules also mean that teams cannot qualify for NCAAs with a relay alone. Once teams have one relay there, they can swim their B cut relays as well. Teams with four individuals invited but no A cut relays can also enter relays with B cuts.

Groseth, who worked heavily on the proposal with Notre Dame’s Matt Tallman, said they were searching for the best way to have the best meet at NCAAs. “The best way to have the best meet is to have the best swimmers there,” he explained. “And the best way to have the best swimmers there is to select from individual events.”

In the past, capping the individual events to leave room for relays meant that some swimmers were left out of the meet while others who may not have been as fast qualified on relays and got to compete in the individual events. Expanding the individual event field will pull in some from each category.

Groseth says the changes were spurred in part by the men’s meet going down to 17 individuals in 2012. “Last year there were four individuals that were ranked 15th going into last chance meets that didn’t get to go,” he said. “That’s still going to happen but instead of 15th place it’s going to be 30th or 31st, which makes a big difference.”

So what sort of changes can we expect to see this year? “It will be more competitive, especially in the relays,” Groseth says. “Probably the most important change is more teams will be represented. Especially on the men’s side–you’re going to bring in at least five or six and up to 10 teams.”

The automatic and provisional cuts will be based on the times that qualified 16th and 24th for the meet the past three years. That means that the time standards for 2013 NCAA Championships will be a bit softer than in recent years. According to our calculations, they’ll look something like this:


200 Free 1:29.93 1:31.06
400 Free 3:17.40 3:19.85
800 Free 7:07.89 7:13.57
200 Medley 1:38.57 1:39.87
400 Medley 3:35.57 3:37.83


200 Free 1:18.60 1:19.29
400 Free 2:54.09 2:55.97
800 Free 6:25.92 6:29.19
200 Medley 1:26.38 1:27.48
400 Medley 3:11.25 3:12.90


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25 Comments on "New NCAA Selection Process Will Make For “Better Meet With Better Swimmers”"

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I am new to the college swiiming seen so please correct me when I inevitably make an errant comment and I will not take it personally. The official psych list came out and I have some questions. They show top 39 who I am assuming are definetly swimming that event. But then there is a serrated line w “invited” underneath. Are these swimmers below the top 39 definetly swimming the event? And how do they determine the invitees.. I understand that Giving all the relay swimmers automatic spots if they have a b cut was problematic, and should be eliminated. But, why do they get penalized? Why don’t the fastest swimmers in each event (that are at the meet either… Read more »

Todd – try reading this and see if it answers your first few questions:

I’ve finally digested the new rules and find them much simpler and more importantly much fairer than the recent past! Finally the NCAA has come up with a logical, lucid thought process and made the correct changes. More individuals, representing more teams will be invited. 30-32 for men up from the horrid 17 in 2012. The relays will still be fine based on the number of invited individuuals with the addtion of “relay only” swimmers invited. No more teams that can field a qualifying relay but have no individual qualified swimmers, like Purdue men in 2012! And no more relay swimmers clogging up individual events, who were not faster in pre-NCAA meet qualifying than individuals left out of the meet.

As mentioned in an above reply, my interpretation was that there would still be A and B cuts. A cuts would still guarantee automatic entry; it’s just that the selection process for those with B cuts would change and be much less tenuous.