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

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:

Women

A B
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

Men

A B
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

 

Follow Jenny on Twitter @jennydwilson

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DutchWomen
9 years ago

Did they ever stop to think that instead of getting more mid-majors to the meet, and more teams overall, the 16-30 spots that will now come will simply be the 12th-18th best swimmers from the same old top 10 programs?

Also, it would be possible to get an “A” cut in a relay but not have an individual swimmer qualify. IF that school was willing to pay to take the relay, why not let them swim if they do not affect the NCAA’s bottom line or the meet cap?

Also, IF, in order to bring a relay, you need one individual qualifier, what if that person is/was not on the relay that did get an “A” cut? For… Read more »

Ole 99
Reply to  DutchWomen
9 years ago

A relay team with an “A” cut needs to have one of its four participants be an invited individual swimmer. The relay team with the qualifying time is what qualifies, not the overall school’s team.

Chris DeSantis
Reply to  DutchWomen
9 years ago

Dutchwomen,

I’ll take your questions one at a time

1. Actually, the coaches that proposed this change did take an in depth look at who would be added to the meet under this system, and found that in fact a significant amount of mid major programs, particularly on the men’s side, would be added to the meet. I have to dig up the specfic facts but if this had been implemented last year, there would have been at least six more schools that had no representation invited to the men’s meet.

2. The specific scenario you are talking about is highly unlikely. We looked at three years of data, and only once in the last three years would a… Read more »

RetiredOldLady
Reply to  Chris DeSantis
9 years ago

Brownie points to Chris for having real answers, not just random conjecture.

Josh
Reply to  Chris DeSantis
9 years ago

If there are no time standards for individual events, how will anyone get to decide who gets to swim events they weren’t invited for? There are no B times anymore.

Jon
Reply to  Josh
9 years ago

Seems like there would still be A and B individual cuts, see the end of the second paragraph. I’m presuming all A cut individuals (which there will be fewer than 30 people) will still make it automatically while B cut individuals (which there will definitely be more than 30 people) will still have to see how they rank up to make it in.

Joel Lin
9 years ago

I never liked the rule that said if you qualify for an event, then you can opt into swimming others. Then you get the drop dead 100 sprint butterfliers going 1:50 at NCAAs.

In the 1980s you made the cut in an event or you did not swim it, period.

I like the idea of the best 30 in each event by the times going to NCAAs. It permits room for some more to under taper for conference meets and then have more in the tank for the peak NCAA meet for the top programs.

The rich always get richer, and I hear the point that what this might do is make it so that the additional spots will… Read more »

Ole 99
9 years ago

The more I let this change sink in, the more I like it. Its kind of the reverse of what USA swimming has done with the olympic trials. You reserve the NCAA championships for just the best swimmers in the individual events. One could argue the relay events suffer, but I would wager the impact there will be fairly minimal given those events are dominated by the big boys where significant overlap on invited individual swimmers/relay swimmers will exist. Any chance the folks at SwimSwam could “do the math” based on last year’s times?

newswim
9 years ago

Does this mean elimination of the limit of individual swimmers by team?

Reid
9 years ago

So as I understand it, the number of swimmers per team stays at 18? This is not much of an issue, as generally only Cal, Stanford, and Texas overqualify swimmers. However it does mean that these teams might have to taper some swimmers a bit more at conference meets as they will not be able to make it on as relay only then save the taper for NCAAs. Of course, with the cutoff around 30, it won’t take that much.
It seems that the swimmers who will be missing out are those on midlevel relays, e.g. Iowa and Purdue, that don’t have four really fast guys but instead maybe one qualifier and three contributors that just manage to combine… Read more »

JG
9 years ago

I’m not a fan of speculation. I love facts. FACT IS (and yes I just went thru both the Final psychsheet (http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/ee95c664-5249-495a-94a5-f97a166523dd/DI%20Men%20-%20Psych%20Sheet%20Updated%203-13.pdf) and the Entry List before cuts (http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/d8dd94a7-41e9-43ab-b14f-6d9036b11d34/DI%20Men%20-%20Entry%20List.pdf) and came to the conclusion that 15 teams that were NOT invited, would have been under new rules.

They are the following:
USC Santa Barbra
Purdue
Loyola
West VA
Western Kentucky
Buffalo
TCU
Columbia
Pitt
Navy
Cal Bakersfield
Oakland
Denver
Georgia Tech
Cleveland State

Take it for what you will….

JG
9 years ago

The previous mentioned Stats are considering they take the top 30 now as the article suggested.

DutchWomen
9 years ago

Ok someone explain this to me….Chris help me out here –

So Individuals who qualify can swim their “B” cuts, but “relay only swimmers” cannot swim “B” cuts? What is the point of that? Why?

1. If they are NOT taking up 235 individual spots
2. And the NCAA is NOT paying for them
3. And they DO count towards the 18 person limit,

Why not let them swim “B” events? Are we worried about the meet lasting too long? What about only “B” events in 400 / under races, as in some USA Swimming club meets that do not allow “Bonus swims” in the 800/1500?

swimlong
Reply to  DutchWomen
9 years ago

Chris is being disingenuous. Go to his blog at http://www.swimbrief.net for May 29 to see the original discussion.

Chris DeSantis
Reply to  swimlong
9 years ago

What do you mean by disingenuous? Am I sayinlg something I didn’t say in the original conversation that you link to. Here is the link to the specific blog: http://www.swimbrief.net/2012/05/fixing-ncaa-qualification.html

swimlong
Reply to  Chris DeSantis
9 years ago

No, I just thought that I would credit you by linking to your discussion, as you had not mentioned it specifically. Forums are so touchy!

Chris DeSantis
Reply to  DutchWomen
9 years ago

I think the sentiment is that once you have selected for individuals only, theoretically going out to 30 places, you have a representative competitive field for the event. Letting someone who went, for instance, the 45th best time swim in the event when they didn’t actually qualify for it doesn’t make much sense. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and 30 people is a really reasonable number of people to let compete in an event that scores 16.

DutchWomen
Reply to  Chris DeSantis
9 years ago

But Chris, if that is the case, why let individual qualifiers swim their “B” cuts then? Theoretically you COULD have a qualifier who is slower than a relay only swimmer swimming an event the relay only swimmer wasn’t allowed to swim.

Example –

Person “A” qualifies in the 50 free and has a “B” cut in the 100 free. Person “A” swims the 50 free and the 100 free. Person “B” qualified as part of a 400 free relay and who has a “B” cut in the 100 free that is faster than Person “A”‘s 100 free. The relay only swimmer cannot swim that “B” cut 100 free.

It just seems silly to not let a kid… Read more »

Matt Tallman
Reply to  DutchWomen
9 years ago

These changes allow for the most complete field of individuals and relays within the framework of change that the NCAA was willing to allow. With these changes, at least the top 16 relay institutions should be represented in each event which has not happened in quite some time. Depending on the selection of athletes by the institution’s coaches the actual relays will likely be there. The mission of the proposal was to see that those two objectives (top individuals and top relays) get accomplished. We will see in March if in fact that is the case. There is always potential for some example of unfortunate circumstance. It happens in every selection of NCAA participation for all of the sports; team… Read more »