IS MEN’S COLLEGE SWIMMING GETTING SLOWER?

IS MEN’S COLLEGE SWIMMING GETTING SLOWER?

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Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh has produced a fascinating analysis of what he calls the “NCAA Actual Qualifying Times”-the times of the last place person invited to the NCAAs each year-and summarized them in several charts.

The article and charts, published in the ASCA Newsletter (Volume 2004-10) are useful for coaches to predict what it will take to qualify for the collegiate championships. But, he says, they are also accurate indicators of the state of NCAA swimming at the national level.

Since 1992, precisely 235 swimmers and 35 divers have been invited to the men’s championship meet. During that time, a clear trend has developed in almost every event: at the entry point into NCAAs, college men are slowing down.

The number of women participants was the same as the men until 2002, when the cap was raised to 279 swimmers and 41 divers. In contrast to the men, in the past three years, the women’s competition has gotten both faster and deeper.

Welsh concludes: “It is hard for me to look at (the men’s) chart without sensing that men’s swimming is in trouble….If (one) were to remove international swimmers, I suspect the conclusions would be even more grim and disheartening.”

Coach Welsh’s article and analytic charts are posted on SwimInfo.com.

Copyright Sports Publications, Inc. Mar 2005

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