NCAA Considers Going to a Regional Qualifying Format

INDIANAPOLIS, October 24. SIMILAR to track and field, collegiate swimming may adopt a regional qualifying format in the not too distant future.

Starting with the 2003 season, track will have regional qualifying meets designed to serve as athletes' entrees to the NCAA CHampionships and as a
supplement to the conference championship.

At a meeting of the NCAA Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Committee in San Francisco 22-24, discussions relating to rules, division championships
and the future of NCAA swimming were conducted.
During the full-committee portion of the meeting, the group heard several presentations from other swimming organizations. The committee noted that the USA Swimming Nationals have been moved back one week from the Division I men's championships, thus allowing some of the swimmers to attend both meets.

In other issues, the Division I committee discussed the possibility of instituting regional qualifying meets as a way to increase access to the championships. The committee is researching ways to develop regional qualification meets that swimmers would attend to gain entry to the national championships. The committee remains committed to guaranteeing entry to those competitors who have achieved an "A" qualifying standard in bona fide
competition during the qualifying period.

One possible format would guarantee winners in individual swimming events at each regional a slot in the national championships. Slots remaining after
"A" qualifiers and regional champions have been selected would be filled on times achieved at the various regional competitions. A smaller percentage of
slots would be filled on an at-large basis using times achieved during the qualifying period. The committee will seek input from the CSCAA and other constituencies.

* * * * *

On the Division II front, in keeping with its knack for innovation in score reporting, the Division II committee discussed ways to expand its online
score-reporting system. To ensure the integrity of the data, the committee will research ways to make the entire process electronic and allow coaches to download the top-times list each week to review for accuracy. [Division 1 has yet to implement an "official" Best Times list; however, swiminfo.com
publishes such a list weekly during the collegiate season and has become the arbiter of the division's national rankings.]

Regarding championships format, the committee switched the order of heats swum in the 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle events. Instead of letting women swim all heats first, from the slowest heat to the fastest with the men following in the same format, the new order will have both women and men alternating heats with the faster heats swum first in descending order. The
fastest heat still will be swum during the night session. The committee hopes the new format will reduce the delay that the top swimmers had under
the old format.

In other actions, the Division II committee:

Solicited bids for the 2004 and 2005 championships.

Considered an increase in officials' fees.

Studied the ratio of divers to swimmers that gain entry to the championships to evaluate consistency in the representation of both.

* * * * *

Most of the discussion in Division III focused on the proposed legislation to modify the playing and practice seasons. Proposal No. 2-48 calls for a
four-week reduction to the current practice/playing seasons. The committee expressed concerns with the proposal and will forward them to the Division III Management Council.

In other actions, the committee:

Discussed cap and field sizes related to future championships.

Examined the process for online submission of results for the 2002-03 season and how to implement funds allocated for that purpose.

Noted that entry forms for the 2003 championships are online at www.ncaa.org.

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