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:
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