NCAAs 2011

Basically, the world is insane. If there is one thing we learned this past week in Knoxville, it is that streaks and records are meant to be broken. I’m sure there will be infinite analysis on this site about how fast the meet has become, how the new rules on the selection of relays affected the meet (especially the Men’s meet), and the effect of diving on the score. It will be argued ad nauseum that the new rules decided the outcome, and some will probably argue that diving, which is really a whole separate sport and not a swimming event, also had a decided effect on the winner of the meet. And you can argue that all you want, but diving has always been a scoring part of D3 NCAAs, and the rules have been in effect all season. What happened, happened and it can’t be undone. Really, what we should do rather than argue and complain, is appreciate what the meet WAS and not what anyone thinks the meet should have been.

And what the meet was, was CRAZY – Kendra Stern’s domination of mid distance free, Craig Flemming winning the 100 free and going under 44, Rory Buck’s crushing of Josh Boss’ impressive record, and yes, Kenyon losing by one itty bitty point. People did things this year that no one thought possible. Records fell that once were thought untouchable. And something happened that hasn’t happened in 31 years. I for one loved the insanity of it all. D3 swimming is sometimes thought of as the red-headed stepchild in the college swimming world, and this year NCAAs made news all over the place this year, and the level of competition has been so elevated that it really can’t be looked at that way anymore. D3 swimmers don’t get paid to swim, but that doesn’t mean that we’re slouches either, and the elevation of qualification standards of the meet, and the improvement in quality both at the top end and in depth, has proven that. Making the meet will keep getting harder, as will winning the meet much less a single event. D3 swimming NCAAs is elite swimming, period.

Awesome; bring it. I am all for the crazy competitive insanity that has become D3 NCAAs. And yes, it could be depressing if you think about it. You think you’re getting fast, just to be shut out of the meet by 16 relays or 15 individuals that say, “hey, guess what? You’re not as fast as you thought.” Another team could step up and shut down your greatness. It could also be a bummer if you’re a fan of “everyone swims, everyone wins.” You have to get over it, and start getting after it. Denison, Kendra, Craig and Rory did it this year, to name just a few. I’m sure Kenyon is doing it right now. That’s what made this year awesome: people who made a choice to work harder than before and did things that no one thought possible. That is what has elevated D3 NCAAs to the elite level it is at. NCAAs this year blew people’s minds, and I for one am looking forward to seeing more of the impossible be achieved next year in Indy.

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