SEC Proposal Would Split Women’s & Men’s Meets For 2021, Shorten To NCAA Format

A proposal moving through the SEC would split that conference’s championship meet by gender to limit participant numbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The conference has weighed several options for this year’s SEC Swimming & Diving Championships, including splitting the meet up to multiple host sites and/or splitting the meet by gender.

The SEC typically holds its women’s and men’s conference meets together, unlike other Power-5 conferences. The Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 all swim their women’s meet first, followed by the men’s meet the next week. The Big 12 is the only other Power-5 conference to host women’s and men’s championships at the same time and place, but that conference’s 5 schools with swimming programs make it a much more manageable meet than the SEC, which has a dozen schools with swimming programs.

The current SEC proposal would have the University of Georgia host the women’s meet and the University of Missouri host the men’s meet in 2021. Much could still change, but the current proposal suggests the women’s meet would happen from February 17-20, with the men’s meet from February 23-26.

Diving for both men and women would happen at the Missouri facility, but during or before the dates of the women’s meet. That would put the overall timeline something like this:

  • Women’s & Men’s diving – at Missouri – Feb 17-20 (or earlier)
  • Women’s swimming – at Georgia – Feb. 17-20
  • Men’s swimming – at Missouri – Feb 23-26

The 2020 SEC Championships featured about 232 women’s swimmers and 195 men’s swimmers competing. There were about 57 divers, with women and men combined. That means the proposal would split a nearly-500-participant SEC meet into three separate competitions, all with 250 or fewer participants – not including coaches, officials and other staff.

Also of note: the proposal would shorten the SEC Championships from its traditional five-day format down to a three-and-a-half day meet. That would effectively mirror the NCAA format, which features a relay-only session on Wednesday night, followed by morning prelims and afternoon finals from Thursday to Saturday.

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10 months ago

What are they going to do about relays in these socially distanced COVID times?
32 athletes
2 officials (min required by rule)
14 timers (by rule and assumes the two officials will also serve as timers.)
48 total in close proximity-behind the blocks – 32 of them unmasked athletes – breathing hard after a race.

Reply to  Breaststroker
10 months ago

Would be interesting to watch the Art Admundson meet, the Georgia meet, etc this weekend to see what’s happening in regard to that. I watched the GA meet last night (and that’s a fairly thin bulkhead starting era) but I didn’t happen to notice how that was run, I do think there might have been only 1 timer per lane. They were seated way behind the blocks. Good question.

Reply to  Breaststroker
10 months ago

Fair questions – and I don’t know the exact answers — but multi-team meets with A/B relays are happening right now UGA meet. Auburn meet. Tennessee meet. TAMU meet. HS state meets have been happening all around the country for the last month. This can be done.

Reply to  Breaststroker
10 months ago

Swim relays only 4 teams per heat. either in all center lanes or every other lane.

Ol’ Longhorn
10 months ago

No combined sex?

Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
10 months ago

Yep – It also could be that teams will be required to limit their squad sizes to a more manageable number of athletes AND staff. Swimming “Championships” have been watered down with “C” and “D” swimmers, several managers and many barely necessary support staff…too many bodies on the deck and in the warm up/down facilities. These numbers of ancillary bodies place more strain on budgets as well. Maximum squad size = 14 women and 10 men. Keep these meets more about championship performance versus “everyone gets to participate status.” Diving can either take a hike or be run mid-week between the respective women’s and men’s meet. Then take the top 21 women swimming performers in each event and 14 men… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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