|The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) is excited to announce that the United States Naval Academy has been awarded the bid to host the 2018 National Invitational Championship (NIC), Presented by Speedo.
The NIC will provide a culminating event for those Division I swimmers and divers who either won a individual/relay conference title and/or achieved NCAA ‘B’ and Zone standards but are not selected for the NCAA Division I Championships. The NIC will take place at the Naval Academy’s Lejeune Hall Pool March 8-10, 2018.
The NIC was created because of a growing number of students denied an opportunity to participate in a national-level championship. Since 2005 the number of men and women competing in Division I swimming and diving has grown by 10.8% and 12.2% respectively while the number of women’s teams is up nearly 4% over the past decade.
“As Division I has continued to grow,” explained CSCAA Executive Director Joel Shinofield, “the number of postseason opportunities has not. The NIC remedies this.”
The announcement comes less than two weeks before the association hosts its 2nd Annual Open Water Championship. That event, set for September 16th hosted by the University of Kansas, was broadcast by Time Warner Sports in 2016.
In April the NIC was given a shot in the arm when the NCAA approved legislation creating a season exemption for the competition and preparation for the event from institutions’ declared playing and practice seasons. The NCAA legislation further provided the event stability as the CSCAA moves forward securing facilities, broadcast partners, sponsorships and more. “We expect the National Invitational to become a great opportunity for the athletes and a signature event for the sport.”
One of many things making the meet unique is automatic qualification. All Division I conference champions, both relay and individual, will automatically qualify for the National Invitational Championship. This move, Shinofield explained, “resulted from feedback from athletic directors.”
“AD’s have told us, time and time again, the high value they place on the conference championships, so we constructed a qualification process that reflects this by rewarding the winners with automatic qualification.”
Originally constructed in 1982, the facility underwent a $11-million facelift in 2012 has been a regular host of the ECAC and Patriot League Championships.
“Bill [Roberts], John [Morrison] and the entire Navy staff are known for hosting major events,” explained Meet Director Greg Lockard, “Making this a championship-caliber experience was our first priority.”
For diving, the NIC will utilize scores from the NCAA Zone Meets. After each diver has scored in his/her individual events (1-meter springboard, 3-meter springboard and platform) at their respective Zone meet, the scores will be compiled and ranked. This decision was made for a couple of reasons – to expand access to the meet and eliminate missed class time.”
“The Zone meets provide divers with a national-level opportunity post conference,” Shinofield explained. “The timing with the zone meets, so soon after many conference championships and immediately before the NIC mean many divers would miss class over multiple weeks, we wanted their efforts to be reflected in the meet without further impacting their class schedules”. “We are looking for ways build more opportunities for divers- including an invitational in Orlando over the winter break designed specifically for divers and coaches to accommodate both training and competition.”