By Jake Renie, Swimming World College Summer Intern
As mid-July rolls around, many student-athletes are now thinking about the upcoming school year, whether that’s signing up for classes, buying accessories for their dorm, or training for the season to come. It’s been 122 days (as of July 11th) since the conclusion of the Swimming and Diving Division II NCAA Championships, and many incoming and veteran swimmers are itching to race for the top. The stats and results have been complied from the past season, and the 2016-2017 season’s time standards have been released. Starting with the women, we’ll look at the biggest drops compared to last season’s time standards, and also the biggest surprises.
Looking at these new standards, 17 out of the 19 events had time drops in either of the cuts. The only events that didn’t receive drops were the 50 and 500 Freestyle. Mainly, events drops ranged from 0.2 to 0.7 seconds.
One of the biggest drops was in the 200 IM, where not only did the B-cut drop 1.72 seconds, but the A-cut dropped 1.14 seconds. All three of the top finishers in the event will be returning for another season, including the winner, Patricia Castro Ortega, coming into her junior season for Queens.
Another significant drop is the 200 breaststroke, where the B-cut dropped 1.45 seconds, and the A-cut slide 1.00 second. One of the favorites to win this season is Daria Belova, an upcoming-junior out of Fresno Pacific University. Having placed fourth at the past NCAA Championships, she’s the returning leader with the top three finishers graduating. Looking towards the men’s side, many factors could disrupt the upcoming Championships that delve deeper than the standards.
Many people who are familiar with Division II swimming have heard of a legend’s leaving for this upcoming season. Former Queens’ superstar Matthew Josa has chosen to spend his final two years of eligibility at the University of California (yes, you read that correctly). Although Josa broke a handful of NCAA DII records and placed sixth at this summer’s Olympic Trials in the 100 Fly, he did not participate in this past season’s NCAA Championships due to an Olympic red-shirt year (Or else these times could be SCARY fast). Due to this, he does not affect these time standards.
Just like the women though, most standard drops range from 0.1 to 0.5 seconds. All 19 events had at least one standard dropped (the only event with one standard drop was the 200 IM’s A-cut). One of the greatest time-drops came in the 500 Freestyle, where the B-cut dropped 1.83 seconds and the A-cut slid 1.75 seconds. Upcoming sophomore Vitor Botana from the University of Indianapolis and Brazil looks for an individual title, after placing in the top eight while adding two seconds from his entry-time.
Similar to the women, the men’s 200 breaststroke received a significant drop, where the B-cut sliced 0.77 seconds, and the A-cut bumped down 0.73 seconds. Incoming junior Alexander Peach from Delta State looks to break the 1:54 barrier and carry himself into first, after Nova Southeastern’s Anton Lobanov dropped a dominating 3.08 seconds from prelims to finals, shooting himself onto the first place podium in the 2016 Championships.
As many NCAA athletes (including myself), are itching to get back into the water with their beloved teammates, take extremely long bus-rides to different universities, and adventure in a team training trip come December/January, all we can do now is sit, train, and wait. Even with the departure of Josa, the incoming freshman and returning veterans from both genders will bring an exciting 2016-2017 season.