As the women’s swimming team looks to defend their Big Ten title in Iowa City this week, the men will stay home and race against the clock.
When the Hoosiers enter the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center on Saturday, it won’t be for points or for a trophy.
This week's First Chance meets across the country serve two purposes: to prepare teams for their respective conference championship meets and to allow swimmers to post their best possible times to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the end of the season.
Who qualifies for the NCAA Championships?
To qualify for the NCAA Championships, individual swimmers or relay teams must post a predetermined time set by the NCAA at the beginning of the season. Any time quicker than the posted time is called an A-cut time and is automatically qualified to participate in the national championships. A-cuts are purposefully fast to separate the elite from the great.
IU currently has one A-cut — its 400 freestyle relay team of sophomores Jack Franzman and Van Mathias, junior Bruno Blaskovic and senior Mohamed Samy.
Along with A-cut times, the NCAA sets a second, slower time known as a B-cut, which makes swimmers eligible for the NCAAs but not automatically qualified.
The Hoosiers have 47 B-cuts, which includes every event they have competed in this season. Samy has six B-cut times on his own this season, but no individual A-cuts.
How do the swimmers match up against their future opponents?
IU will hold the men’s swimming Big Ten Championships on Feb. 26-29. The Hoosiers will look for their fourth straight conference crown.
However, it looks like Michigan in particular will challenge IU’s streak. The Wolverines beat the Hoosiers 160-140 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Jan. 11. IU has not been in the pool since its meet against the University of Louisville on Jan. 31. The well-rested Hoosiers could post their best times this weekend and compare them to the Wolverines and the rest of the Big Ten going into championship week.
What can the team expect from the divers?
Sophomore Cole VanDevender and juniors Mory Gould and Seamus Scotty have already qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, so they can work on more difficult dives for the championships without the pressure of earning a certain score for the team. The Zone Championships take place on March 12 in Lexington, Kentucky, and determine who travels to Indianapolis for the full-team National Championships.