2011-12 qualifying times

What do you predict for nationals? Who is going to shine, who is not?

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nescac
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2011-12 qualifying times

Post by nescac » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:29 pm

I've been surprised that no one commented on the new qualifying times. I would argue, once again, that the B cuts are too fast. One purpose of the B cuts is to allow people to qualify as academic all-americans honorable mention if they don't qualify for nationals. I very much like that recognition of scholar-athletes. These cuts would certainly exclude some of this year's recipients. The only other purpose is for relay-only swimmers. There always are a fair number of relay-only swimmers who get to swim in individual events at nationals with B cuts. They are already at the meet so letting them swim doesn't seem to me to be a big deal. (NCAA has already paid for their hotel and airfare.) The addition of a heat, every so often, doesn't seem to be a serious problem either.

So, guys, what's the point of making B cuts so fast? Am I missing something? And don't tell me you have to "earn" B bragging rights. The 2010-11 cuts were already plenty fast enough to inspire some fast swimming!

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by babwik » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:24 am

nescac wrote:I've been surprised that no one commented on the new qualifying times. I would argue, once again, that the B cuts are too fast. One purpose of the B cuts is to allow people to qualify as academic all-americans honorable mention if they don't qualify for nationals. I very much like that recognition of scholar-athletes. These cuts would certainly exclude some of this year's recipients. The only other purpose is for relay-only swimmers. There always are a fair number of relay-only swimmers who get to swim in individual events at nationals with B cuts. They are already at the meet so letting them swim doesn't seem to me to be a big deal. (NCAA has already paid for their hotel and airfare.) The addition of a heat, every so often, doesn't seem to be a serious problem either.

So, guys, what's the point of making B cuts so fast? Am I missing something? And don't tell me you have to "earn" B bragging rights. The 2010-11 cuts were already plenty fast enough to inspire some fast swimming!
I've been of the same opinion as you for years, but now I'm not. I keep being proven wrong by results. However fast they've been made, the d3 field has more than risen to the challenge. We were worried when the cuts dropped post tech suits, and we had a full field. We were worried not enough relays would get the cut, and that was no problem. Look at all the A cuts in the women's backstrokes last year. Look at the rumors of recruits coming in, and extrapolate that across the country for the overall caliber of swimmer entering. Now I'm just going to trust the cuts and not complain until I'm proven wrong.

I also see your point about relay swimmers and HM scholar all american, but I think those are side effects of the actual purpose of the establishment of the cuts, which is to create an appropriate field for the NCAA championship meet.

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by N Dynamite » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:49 am

babwik wrote:I've been of the same opinion as you for years, but now I'm not. I keep being proven wrong by results. However fast they've been made, the d3 field has more than risen to the challenge. We were worried when the cuts dropped post tech suits, and we had a full field. We were worried not enough relays would get the cut, and that was no problem. Look at all the A cuts in the women's backstrokes last year. Look at the rumors of recruits coming in, and extrapolate that across the country for the overall caliber of swimmer entering. Now I'm just going to trust the cuts and not complain until I'm proven wrong.

I also see your point about relay swimmers and HM scholar all american, but I think those are side effects of the actual purpose of the establishment of the cuts, which is to create an appropriate field for the NCAA championship meet.
+1. Last year really did it for me. I was convinced that the times were too fast and was obviously proven wrong. Until they actually are I'm not going to get sucked into that way of thinking again.
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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by nescac » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:38 pm

I totally see your point. However, at some point, the rate of improvement is likely to slow down or even end. I'll be interested to see if NCAA overpredicted improvement this year. With Stern and Croix having graduated, will any women be able to get the new A cut in 100 free? Will be interesting to see. On the D I side, I know a lot of swimmers are training exceptionally hard to qualify for Olympic trials (and are going to mid-season long course meets to qualify). So I think D I may be particularly fast but I don't know if that dynamic will have much, if any, effect on D III.

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by screeeeeeeeech » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:04 pm

I've said this probably 10 other times, but I don't see a problem with the B cuts getting faster. Yes, the rate of improvement will eventually slow down. When that happens, the NCAA can respond accordingly. However, why would we, as a D3 community of interest, not want to put the best possible product on the table?

Making the cuts faster does a couple of things, as far as I can see. First of all, it makes d3 more attractive to borderline recruits (the kids choosing between a marginal d1 and a good d3). This happens because the kid will see that they won't be the cock of the walk as soon as they hit their first practice. Secondly, and more importantly, it improves the quality of the final product (the NCAA championships). Fewer relay swimmers get pulled in because they will find it harder to make a B cut. If someone sees this as a bad thing, I'd love to hear your argument.

Lastly, and I'm sure I'll get ripped for this, the NCAA championships are the pinnacle of our sport. Not one swimmer should be "given" a cut. A cut is a badge that needs to be earned through hard work. Just because a swimmer made the meet as a frosh should not guarantee them an invite back. Each season the slate is wiped clean and as such each swimmer needs to go out and "do it again." Speeding up the B cuts just adds incentive for those kids that made the meet the year before to get after it again.

Hopefully some of this made sense. I'm operating on a lot of coffee and very little sleep. Bottom line for me: swimmers worried about faster B cuts need to save their breath for those hypoxic sets instead of complaining that the cuts are too hard.
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swimlong
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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by swimlong » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:21 pm

On the other hand...a B cut doesn't get you more swims unless one of them is fast enough to make it within the 19-21 lines, or if you're a relay swimmer. So, they're either about recognition (HMAA) or in-season goal setting.

Since I had a moment or two tonight before the hurricane, and the USA database makes it easy, here are the season stats from last year for one event, women's 100 free:

DI
4 A cuts
147 B cuts
2874 swimmers

D2
11 A cuts
103 B cuts
888 swimmers

D3
15 A cuts
68 B cuts
3066 swimmers

So, do we really need to turn the 68 into 54?

nescac
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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by nescac » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:24 am

Actually, I think you have your facts a bit wrong. If you're on line 19-21 (or sometimes even higher these days with the relay rule), then you automatically get 2 more swims even if you don't have B cuts. You only need B cuts to swim an individual event if you are a relay-only swimmer. The B cut also gets you consideration for line 19-21 consideration but it never really matters for that purpose because there are always 40-70 swimmers (or more) with the B cut time in any event. As I've said many times, the primary use of B cuts is academic all-american honorable mention. With D III swimming, I consider that to be a big deal because our kids are truly scholar-athletes. Sure, you have to earn that privilege but the present cuts (which I believe are typically AAAA times in USA swimming) are plenty fast enough for that status.

I know this group always focuses on who goes to Nationals and scores there. But there are many schools in every conference who never send any swimmers to nationals. Many of those swimmers are outstanding students who work extremely hard in the pool and aren't even fortunate enough to have 3 other swimmers for a good relay. Apparently, only 68 of the women last season could swim fast enough to get the B cut in 100 free. Now, that cut is a few tenths faster. So, for academic all american purposes that concerns me.

I should note, though, that the cuts did not get faster by the same amount as the previous year in many events. For example, women's 200 free dropped about 1.5 seconds in 2010 but then dropped only about 0.6 seconds for 2011. For about half the men's events, I don't believe it dropped at all for 2011. So, the NCAA may be recognizing that drops are likely to be somewhat less in the future.

I don't think we're at any risk of not having enough relays or enough swimmers. But I would be disappointed to see the number of academic all-american honorable mention swimmers drop.

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by silentp » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:28 am

nescac wrote: So, the NCAA may be recognizing that drops are likely to be somewhat less in the future.
I believe, though someone correct me if I am wrong, the NCAA just uses a formula. That's how they operate. This organization used a formula to say the individual qualifiers issue wouldn't happen based on past results. Their formula didn't and couldn't take into account the fact that coaches would plan differently for new rules. Morons. Don't give the NCAA too much credit.

To the topic at hand, not surprisingly, I don't mind B cuts getting faster and applaud it. Being an Academic All-American IS a great honor, we agree. If we don't improve the B cuts, doesn't it become less of an honor though? As B cuts have gotten substantially faster, so have the level of recruits. I don't know if this is just a correlation or actual causation, but it's happening and we aren't short on national qualifiers.

68 women got a national time for which less than 20 were selected individually? And that's too few? Sounds like plenty. Nationals is already 4 days long, we don't need to make individual sessions longer too. We're there to decide champions and all americans, not hand out participation ribbons.

If we change the topic to getting rid of A cuts all together, I'll agree.
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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by plutus » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:23 pm

Shouldn't the purpose of 'B' cuts be to allow relay swimmers to round out events in which they are competitive? The expense of getting them to the meet has been paid for; the B cut ensures they are competent in the event. Sure, this benefits larger teams, but it is a team championship that's being determined.
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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by Swmr46 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:13 pm

silentp wrote:
As B cuts have gotten substantially faster, so have the level of recruits. I don't know if this is just a correlation or actual causation, but it's happening and we aren't short on national qualifiers.
This year recruits are amazing on the men's side. You have quite few Division 3 recruits that could swim at big name Division 1 program if they wanted too. Ten Years ago, you would be lucky if you see more than one a year in Division 3. You see more kids choosing Division 3 over Division 1.

If the level of recruits keep on getting better in the future. I don't see the cut times stopping anytime soon.

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by swimlong » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:48 pm

Thank you nescac for helping me get my facts straight. Now I can use some more assistance, if someone can help me out. You keep saying that slower B cuts make the meet longer. How? Unless every relay swimmer not otherwise in the meet has B cuts in the 4IM, how much difference can a couple more heats make?

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by babwik » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:08 pm

Something to consider: the A and B cuts are established to create an appropriate field for the NCAA meet. Now, what is deemed appropriate is subject to disagreement and occasional change (ie 16 relays.) This is done by the NCAA swimming and diving committees.

Scholar All-American, Team, individual, etc, is awarded by the CSCAA. They set the criteria. The committee that sets the cuts has nothing to do with that, and those awards should not be part of the consideration when they set down to work. The CSCAA is welcome to change their criteria for the awards if they feel it has become unfair.

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by nescac » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:23 pm

That's a good point. I guess the problem for CSCAA is that they want to have different times for Division I, II and III. USA Swimming times that are, for example, AAAA might work for D III but would be a joke for Division I.

The whole A and B cut distinction is fairly unimportant actually for NCAA, though. What really matters is the 18-20 line rule, as well as the relay rule. The A rule just caused problems this year when too many women got the 100 back cut. So having the A rule does very little. I guess it's mostly for swimmers who do an early taper meet in December and know they are locked in without a second taper. But they don't need the "A" rule to draw that conclusion because they can see their high national ranking. The B rule is what matters because I suspect that many relay-only swimmers don't have 3 B cuts. I don't know how much longer the meet would be if they each got 3 swims but, with 16 relays, I could imagine that would add quite a few swims to the meet. (I'd actually be in favor of ALL swimmers needing B cuts to swim individual events but that's another discussion.)

So I guess my beef is really with CSCAA. They let a rule created by NCAA to shorten its meet by keeping relay-only swimmers out of individual events determine who is a scholar-athlete.

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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by DonCheadle » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:47 pm

Goodness, this argument again? Faster B cuts make for a slower meet because a legitimate strategy (qualify on a relay in December, get B cuts, dont taper again until Nats) is more difficult because of the faster cuts. The integrity of the cuts is worth perserving; we dont want guys whose best time is 21.6 swimming the 50 at the meet (3rd events not withstanding). What is the right cut? Who knows, but I do think Brian Bazzel would have scored last year if he didn't have to come down in February. And based on the new cuts, it is likely that a potential top 16 will be on the wrong side again.
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Re: 2011-12 qualifying times

Post by nescac » Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:13 am

Could you clarify that comment? I just looked at conference results and Brian Bazzel's seed times (which I assume, but didn't check, were from his December early taper meet) were all under the B standard. Assuming, as you suggest, he had already swum on a fast relay in December (which I didn't bother to check), how was he hurt by the faster B times? I see he finished 17th in prelims in 50 free so I get your point he would have been better off not tapering twice. But I don't see how the B cuts affected him. Just wondering ...

I also looked and see that six of the men's B cuts went unchanged. And, of those that did change, the changes were quite modest (.06 in 50 free, .05 in 100 free, 0.3 in 200 free, .22 in 100 back, .05 in 200 back, .07 in 100 fly, and .29 in 200 IM). So it's hard to see how these changes will have any impact on the men's side of the meet.

The women's changes were more significant: (.13 in 50 free, .37 in 100 free, .62 in 200 free, 1.04 in 500 free, .34 in 100 back, .62 in 200 back, .29 in 100 breast, .47 in 200 breast, .36 in 100 fly, .74 in 200 IM). To put things in perspective -- for a female swimmer who is entering her senior year, the B cuts are now essentially as fast as the qualifying time for some events when she was a freshman. That's a big change in four years. But, of course, these faster B cuts have certainly not caused the women's meet to get slower!

I also have not noticed many coaches playing the game you suggest -- relying on a good relay time from December and not tapering swimmers who have a slow B time. On the women's side, Emory actually kept some of their A cut swimmers out of the conference meet to give other women a chance to swim. But Emory seemed to taper their relay swimmers who didn't yet have A cuts. Maybe you can demonstrate some counterexamples but that was certainly the pattern on the women's side with both Denison and Emory.

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