Tips & Training

NCAA Women's Progressions

11/25/2013

BY KATIE ARNOLD//HIGH PERFORMANCE CONSULTANT

During my travels the past few months, I’ve had a number of conversations about NCAA qualifying procedures, and whether or not it has become more difficult to qualify as an individual for the championship at the end of season. With the recent change to the selection procedures, I wanted to look at the progression of qualifying times in individual events from before and after the implementation of these new procedures. Because the men’s and women’s championships are separate events, I looked at them separately and will present my findings separately as well.

 

For this week I looked at the women’s individual events over the past three years (2011, 2012, and 2013) to see how the qualifying times have progressed during that time. I based this research on the slowest invited time in each individual event according to the psych sheet. For the years 2011 and 2012, this ended up being somewhere between 29th and 31st place, while in 2013 it was 38th. 
 

Women  2011  2012  2013 

50 Free

200 IM

50 Free 

4:42.69

1:58.67

22.52 

4:42.23

1:58.64

22.46 

4:42.90

1:58.51

22.45 

400 IM

100 Fly

200 Free

100 Breast

100 Back 

4:11.56

52.95

1:46.19

1:00.72

53.20 

4:11.67

53.04

1:46.38

1:00.78

52.96 

4:11.92

52.99

1:46.10

1:00.72

53.21 

1650 Free

200 Back

100 Free

200 Breast

200 Fly 

16:15.53

1:55.19

48.95

2:11.27

1:57.49 

16:20.02

1:55.56

48.95

2:11.32

1:57.26 

16:19.32

1:54.79

49.00

2:11.44

1:57.59 

 
Important Notes:

  1. If we define a significant change as more than .1 seconds per 50, the only events that demonstrated any significant change were the 100 back, 1650 free and 200 back. Of those events, only the 200 back became faster over the defined period.
  2. Three events became slower over the defined period: 400 IM, 100 free and 200 breast.
  3. Almost half (6 of 13) of the events were actually slower from 2012 to 2013.

In general, my findings do not support either side of the argument. Based on the times required to qualify in individual events, there is no evidence to show that it has become either easier or harder to qualify for women’s NCAA’s. While more women are swimming at or under the qualifying times now (38 compared to 29-31), it still requires about the same time to be invited to the meet. My belief is that the perceived increase in difficulty results from the fact that fewer athletes are assured of their spot before the end of the season selection.