The X Factor: 2009 Zone Diving

By Jason Marsteller

PHOENIX, Arizona, March 5. LAST year, Swimming World gave the run-down of how Zone Diving Qualifying works at the NCAA Division I level. We're reprinting the bulk of that article today, along with some changes based on updated information from the NCAA.

For those that might not understand the set-up, divers must qualify through a separate meet instead of just meeting a set standard like swimmers. Since diving is subjectively scored, these zone meets drastically reduce the impact that any given set of diving coaches scoring diving at dual meets can have on the NCAA meet by forcing zone-cut divers to compete against each other regionally.

Based on the NCAA Championship Handbook, the following zone spots have been allocated to advance divers to NCAAs

Northeast Region (A) – 5 men/4 women
March 13-15
Buffalo, New York
UB Alumni Arena
Host: University at Buffalo

South Region (B) – 11/10
March 13-15
Knoxville, Tennessee
Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center
Host: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Central Region (C) – 8/10
March 13-15
Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Minnesota Aquatic Center
Host: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Midwest Region (D) – 5/10
March 13-15
Columbia, Missouri
Mizzou Aquatic Center
Host: University of Missouri, Columbia

West Region (E) – 6/7
March 12-14
Austin, Texas
Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center
Host: U.S. Air Force Academy

One might ask how these spots are awarded.

They are based on a rich get richer and the poor get poorer scheme where zone divers earn more spots for their zone based on last year's success.

The following order of priority is used to determine who advances through zone qualifying to the NCAA Championships based on the allotted spots per zone:

1. Winner of Platform
2. Winner of Three-meter
3. Winner of One-meter
4. Second-place Three-meter
5. Second-place One-meter
6. Third-place Three-meter
7. Third-place One-meter
8. Second-place Platform
9. Fourth-place Three-meter
10. Fourth-place One-meter
11. Fifth-place Three-meter
12. Third-place Platform
13. Fifth-place One-meter
14. Sixth-place Three-meter
15. Sixth-place One-meter
16. Fourth-place Platform
17. Seventh-place Three-meter
18. Seventh-place One-meter
19. Eighth-place Three-meter
20. Fifth-place Platform
21. Eighth-place One-meter
22. Ninth-place Three-meter
23. Ninth-place One-meter
24. Sixth-place Platform
25. 10th-place Three-meter
26. 10th-place One-meter
27. 11th-place Three-meter
28. Seventh-place Platform
29. 11th-place One-meter
30. 12th-place Three-meter
31. 12th-place One-meter

Where things get a bit tricky is when someone doubles or triples up priority spots. Whenever a diver earns a priority spot, the rest of their performances from the weekend are skipped over to the next priority spot.

Simply put, if you have an allotment of eight divers in your zone, then you go down the priority listing until you have eight different divers.

For those chart junkies, here is a grid format of the above information that is presented in the NCAA Championship Handbook

Event Finish, One-Meter, Three-Meter, Platform
1, 3, 2, 1
2, 5, 4, 8
3, 7, 6, 12
4, 10, 9, 16
5, 13, 11, 20
6, 15, 14, 24
7, 18, 17, 28
8, 21, 19
9, 23, 22
10, 26, 25
11, 29, 27
12, 31, 30

Special thanks to Wayne Burrow formerly of the NCAA, Michele Mitchell of the University of Arizona and Mike Brown of the University of Hawaii for taking time out to help explain the selection process in the past few years.

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