Which Teams Get the Best Seats at the NCAA Championships?

At the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships every year, teams are fighting for a lot of things: team trophies, records, individual event victories, the attention of recruits, and the adoration of fans.

But there’s also some very real carry-over from one year to the next at NCAAs, and that’s the selection of team seating.

The top 12 men’s teams and top 12 women’s teams from the prior year’s NCAA Championship meet get to choose their seating during the coaches’ meeting, with the rest of the teams left to select from the leftovers after that meeting. While that may not sound super significant, with some coaches notorious for protecting their “rail space” along the side of the pool, being in the top 12 will ensure coaches both the best chance to a front-row seat to watch their athletes swim, and the best chance at staking a claim to “communicate” to coaches (aka, whistle, whoop, hoot, holler, and otherwise wave your arms like crazy). It also gives those top 12 teams the best access for teammates to cheer on their squad immediately before races, which can provide comfort and emotional stability to those athletes who need that sort of thing.

As the NCAA Championship meet gets more-and-more attention with live streams and televised recaps, this preferred seating can also provide programs better visibility to the television cameras, which could impact recruiting.

In any case, while these are minor things, there’s certainly no disadvantage to having a first-choice of seats. This brings some significance to the fact that the Arizona men finished just .5 points behind Indiana for 12th-place at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

Below are the 12 men’s and women’s teams that will get ‘dibs’ on deck space at this year’s NCAA Championship meets. The women’s event begins Wednesday, March 16th, while the men kick-off a week later on the 23rd. Both meets are being held in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Cal
  2. Georgia
  3. Stanford
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Virginia
  6. Louisville
  7. Texas
  8. USC
  9. Florida
  10. Indiana
  11. Tennessee
  12. Minnesota


  1. Texas
  2. Cal
  3. Michigan
  4. USC
  5. Florida
  6. Stanford
  7. Georgia
  8. NC State
  9. Auburn
  10. Alabama
  11. Missouri
  12. Indiana

Spectator seating blocks, which is sometimes examined with a more passionate intensity, is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis when ticketing requests are opened. Each team is allowed to request up to 40 spectator tickets per session for their team block.

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Kristaps Porzingis
4 years ago

Phil has given me access to the front row

Reply to  Kristaps Porzingis
4 years ago

Phil doesn’t even know how to swim

Christopher Devine
4 years ago

Not sure if this is appropriate forum for this but I have an extra ticket for the four days of the men’s championships next week, if anyone wants it, they can have it. Email me at [email protected].

Christopher Devine

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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