Feb 28, 2013, 5:03 PM EST
As the records keep falling at the BIG EAST Swimming and Diving Championships this week at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, a recent tweak to the qualifying process for the NCAA Championships has changed the means in which a relay may become eligible to participate in the pinnacle of collegiate competition.
Matt Tallman, Associate Head Coach of the men’s swimming team, was a key author in the new language, and he described the impact of the changes as “ensuring that the meet is at its highest quality. This will guarantee that the sixteen fastest relays will be at the meet and have an opportunity to score for their teams while also increasing the number of swimmers who will be qualified to swim based on their times alone.”
In previous years, teams could qualify for the NCAA Championships with just a relay. However, the new rule change in the selection procedure now states that even if a relay achieves a Qualifying (A-cut) time standard, the relay will not be invited unless there is one individual from the team who qualifies to swim in an individual event at the championships.
After at least one individual has qualified to swim an event, the team is then allowed to qualify its relay and can bring up to four more swimmers who are only allowed to swim on relays if they have not qualified individually themselves. In the past, these swimmers had been allowed to swim individual events if they had recorded Provisional (B-cut) times, but now they need to have their own individual A-cut in an event in order to participate in any other events they may have also achieved a B-cut time as well.
Once one relay has achieved a Qualifying time, and an individual swimmer has also been selected to swim in an individual event, the team can then swim any of their relays that have achieved the Provisional time.
This rule change is seen to be a positive change for the NCAA Championships because it will allow the best swimmers to populate the individual events, since provisional spots will not be awarded to relay-only swimmers who in the past would have filled an event and prevented the inclusion of swimmers that had faster provisional times.
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