SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers
Question: Will NCAA invite times get faster or slower in 2021?
- Slower – 64.6%
- Faster – 35.4%
Almost two-thirds of voters accurately predicted that NCAA invite times would get slower amid the pandemic in the year 2021.
Our poll ran last week, before the official psych sheets and cut lines dropped for the women’s NCAA Championships. For that meet, all cutlines got slower, typically by a few tenths to a half-second per 50.
On one hand, the coronavirus pandemic impacted training (and in-season competition) enough that it was plenty logical to suggest that invite times could get slower. But the NCAA typically gets faster year to year, like clockwork. That the pandemic slowed that usually very-reliable progression shows the impact COVID-19 has had on high-level swimmer in the broader scope.
One big factor: redshirt seasons. The NCAA deals with redshirts (or sitting out a season to preserve eligibility) on a yearly basis, but the Olympic year typically ups that number significantly. And this year, we had entire programs (like Arizona State) and even conferences (like the Ivy League) bowing out of competition – that almost certainly thinned out the depth in the NCAA, leading to the dip in invite times.
The men’s psych sheets and cutlines will be released next week, where we’ll likely get the second part of the confirmation that SwimSwam voters accurately predicted this one.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters whether Olympians should get priority access to the coronavirus vaccine to ensure they are vaccinated before Tokyo:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner