NCAA Championships to Have Timed Final Relays, Among Other Guidelines

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The NCAA Division I championships will have some major changes this season, including timed finals for all relays.

The NCAA announced the changes as part of its meet guidelines.

All relays will be timed finals with an open lane in between each team to keep the groups social distanced.

It was one of several changes:

ATTENDANCE: Due to the mass gathering restrictions in place in North Carolina, spectators will not be allowed to attend the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Swimming Championships. This includes parents or family members. Please communicate this to your parents as they will not be admitted to the GAC. NOTE: All sessions, including prelims and finals, will be streamed on ESPN3.

PARTICIPANT SEATING: There will be no participant seating on the pool deck. All teams and individuals will be assigned seating in the grandstand seating area. A team seating selection process will be conducted to allow the top 15 teams from the 2019 championship to select their seating in the grandstands. More details will be communicated at a later date.

NCAA ALTERNATES: In accordance with Competition Oversight Committee (COC) policies for 2020- 21 championships, if an individual must withdraw from the championship, the NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Committee shall follow its standard procedure for individual replacements from the alternate list as long as it is within 24 hours following the public selection announcement. There will be no replacements from the alternate list for any withdrawals after that point and individuals may not travel to the championship site.

UNINVITED RELAY PARTICIPANTS: All individuals identified as uninvited relay participants MUST swim in at least one relay during the championships. Further,these individuals MAY NOT fill an alternate slot should there be a scratch in any event. If, at the conclusion of the championships meet, an uninvited relay swimmer has not competed in at least one relay, the last relay the institution competed in will be disqualified. In the case of such disqualification(s), the points scored by other teams shall be altered.

RELAY LANES: All relays will be conducted with only four relay teams swimming per heat with a lane open between swimmers. This will allow for a reduction in the number of individuals at the start, mitigating close contact by swimmers and officials.

TIMERS: There will be no human back-up timers on the pool deck. The NCAA championships utilize the OMEGA Timing System with the High-Speed Video system serving as the backup timing system.

OFFICIALS: The relay exchange judges have been removed from the pool deck in an effort to limit the number of individuals in close contact with the student-athletes. The High-Speed Video system mentioned above will be used to review all potential relay exchange infractions.

BUILDING ACCESS: There will be assigned practice times for practice sessions. Only swimmers and divers competing in the current session will be allowed access to the building. The building will open at 6 a.m. each day.

There will be a designated practice time from 1:45-3:45 p.m. assigned for those individuals who are not participating in the session. No other practice times will be available in the GAC.

After an individual is finished competing and cooling down in that session, the individual will exit the building. When all individuals from a team are finished competing and cooling down in that session, all travel party members should exit the building.

NCAA DECK PASSES: Each institution will be provided TWO deck passes for its swimming coaches and ONE deck pass for its diving coach (if they have divers competing). Coaches will only be allowed on the pool deck when their swimmers are competing in the competition pool. Coaches must leave the pool deck as soon as their swimmer has completed their race. Deck passes may be exchanged between an institution’s coaches based on swimmers competing in the competition pool. ONE additional coach is permitted in the training pool during competition. Institutions should determine how these deck passes will be used throughout the championship. No additional passes will be issued. If a coach is not coaching a swimmer in the competition pool or in the training pool, they should not be in the building.

MASSAGE THERAPISTS: Each institution is allowed ONE massage therapist on the GAC campus. Socially distanced stations will be provided to the massage therapists in the Special Events Center, which is adjacent to the GAC. If an institution brings more than one massage therapist, they must work from the team hotel. No additional spaces will be provided.

ATHLETIC TRAINERS: Each institution is allowed ONE athletic trainer to be present at the Aquatic Center. Athletic trainers will be seated in the grandstands with their respective teams and will not be allowed on the pool deck. They will coordinate treatment with the host athletic trainer, Jessica Klerlein.

SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR. Each institution is allowed ONE SID OR Team Content Personnel on the GAC campus. That person will be provided a work-station in the Special Events Center, adjacent to the Aquatic Center. There will be no access to the competition venue or pool deck at any time. A television feed will be provided in the workroom.

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LOCKER ROOMS: In an effort to keep participants socially distanced and to comply with local capacity restrictions in locker rooms, we will be utilizing all available restrooms, locker rooms and other satellite locations for changing stations. Individuals should not shower, shave or linger in these spaces in order to accommodate all participants. Lockers may not be used.

NO HOT OR COLD TUBS: There will not be any hot or cold tubs provided at the GAC for the NCAA Championships. No stretching mats will be provided. Individuals may bring their own yoga mat.

LOCAL RESTRICTIONS: There is currently a 10 p.m. curfew in effect for Greensboro and Guilford County. This means all individuals must be in their hotels by 10 p.m. Teams will not be allowed to linger in the GAC after practice or competition and it is important that individuals leave as soon as they have concluded their competition for the day.

It is important to note that restaurants close by 10 p.m. (some earlier) in order to allow for guests to finish eating and get home prior to the 10 p.m. curfew. Please keep this in mind as you make your hotel arrangements and plan for meals each day.