This morning, the official NCAA Selections for the 2014 DIII National Championships were released and Claire Collins and Karl Mering made the cut! It was bittersweet, however, seeing our Men's 400 medley relay in 17th place, just one position away from making the top-16 cutoff.
For Karl, it's a 1st and 2nd place seed in the 100 and 200 butterfly, respectively. Karl will also be competing in the 100 freestyle. For Claire, it's 11th and 24th seed in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, respectively. She will also be competing in the 50 freestyle. Why the 50 free? Why not! The air is very thin at the National Championships so why not have some fun?
At Nationals, once a swimmer is selected into the meet, he or she can swim up to 3 individual events, even without getting selected into the event or achieving an NCAA "B" time standard. So, for Claire's 50 freestyle and for Karl's 100 freestyle, each has no pressure. Each of them can cut loose and see what happens! Taking the pressure off and and allowing them to focus their efforts on their primary events.
What happens next?
We have been training since Conference ended in preparation for the official selections to come out. Now that we know that Claire and Karl are for sure going to the meet, we will keep training harder than ever! The rest of the team has been very supportive and ever-present at practice, keeping our two All-America contenders motivated and inspired. At the end of next week, we'll start backing off again, starting to rest up for the meet.
It is likely that Claire, Karl, Jenn and I will catch a flight to Indianapolis on Monday, March 17th. The Meet takes place at the IUPUI Natatorium and begins on Wednesday, March 19th and goes through Saturday, March 22nd. The NCAA covers our travel to and from the meet. Conveniently, the meet will take place during the first week of our spring break. At the conclusion of the meet, Claire and Karl will get to have a week to relax before coming back to Walla Walla for the second half of the semester. You can buy tickets to the meet here.
One final note, as much as we conjecture about the NCAA selections process, it's extremely difficult to predict accurately how many individuals in each event will be selected into the meet. Last year, only the top 13 or 14 individuals made it into the meet. This year, the top 18-20 made the cut. What will happen next year? Who knows. For all those people on the team who made "B" time cuts this year, all we can do is redouble our efforts and and see what happens with next year's selections!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
In case you missed all the Fcaebook updates, tweets, and general buzz from the NWC Championships last weekend, here are some final numbers and stats:
- 15 Whitman records broken
- 6 Northwest Conference Meet Records broken
- 10 swimmers achieved NCAA "B" cuts
- 11 First place finishes
- Tied for our highest overall team placings: 2nd for the Men, 3rd for the Women
Needless to say, it was an exciting weekend! You can read through all the write-ups here. Furthermore, you can watch the video of the each session of the meet again! Just click here and follow the links. The number of season bests and personal bests for our swimmers was off the charts. I couldn't be more proud of the way that our swimmers performed. The spirit and enthusiasm on the pool deck every session was unrivaled. There is always a little bit of nervousness at the opening session of the meet but we arrived at the pool on Friday morning with all the energy and optimism in the world. When we say that we're the best team in the pool, we really mean it.
Of course, we could not have had the success that we did last weekend if we didn't have the support of all the parents, families, friends and alumni who came to cheer us on all weekend. All the snacks for the team, all the smiles and laughter, everything that made the weekend one that none of us will forget. It seems like every year we set the bar impossibly high and yet, somehow, we always manage to do even better the next year. I'm already looking forward to the 2015 NWC Championships!
But our season isn't over! After spending an extra night in Federal Way due to bad weather in the mountains, we arrived home in Walla Walla on Monday afternoon after a long detour through south through Portland to avoid the snow. Today, we're back in the water! The 10 people who have achieved "B" time cuts either individually or on relays will be back in the pool this afternoon at 4pm, along with anyone else on the team who wants to join them. NCAA Selections will take place on Thursday, February 27th. At this point, all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that the times we swam last weekend put us in a position to be selected into Nationals.
Here's a little overview about how selections work: the NCAA places a cap on the number of swimmers that get into the National Championships. Each year, 146 women and 140 men get selected into the meet. First, the NCAA selects the top 16 relays in each of the relay events. Unfortunately, we already know that our Women's 200 medley relay is out of the running because they are currently 18th. On the other hand, our Men's 400 medley relay is currently 11th so they still have a shot at getting selected into the meet. Sunday, February 23rd is the last day that a Conference Championship meet can take place and there are still several conferences that will be having their Championship meets this weekend. We'll be watching the results from those meets closely, hoping things fall our way!
After the top 16 relays are selected into the meet, athletes from individual events are selected into the meet based on time. Last year, roughly the top 12 or 13 times in each individual event made it into the meet. This year we can speculate that it will be pretty similar, with the top 12-15 times in each individual event getting selected into the meet. However, once an athlete is selected into the meet for an individual event, he or she can swim up to 3 total individual events so the total number of entries in each event is usually over 30. If an athlete is selected into the meet on a relay, he or she can swim any and all relay events, as well as any individual events in which he or she has achieved a "B" cut.
For now, we wait and train. Next week, when the official NCAA selections are published, we'll know exactly who is going to make the trip to Indiana for the meet. Conveniently, the meet is during the first week of our spring break, March 18th-22nd at the IUPUI Natatorium in downtown Indianapolis.
Be sure to check our Facebook and Twitter for more fun news and updates about selections! Go Whitman!
Monday, February 10, 2014
Last weekend, as we continued to taper for this weekend's Championship meet, we all gathered at the pool on Saturday morning as usual--but wearing a few extra layers. Dating back to Jenn's time as a club coach, drag races have been a tradition during our taper since she arrived at Whitman in 2000. Of course, in their original permutation drag races were about swimming while wearing drag: t-shirts, leggings, board shorts, etc. But bring the term "drag" to a college team and, naturally, it becomes a double entendre. Years later, the tradition continues with our men and women dressing in drag and swimming in drag. We started things off with a skit before getting in the pool. Once again, it was the sophomore boys who impressed the judges the most and strutted away the winners for the second year in a row.
Energy is high this week! The excitement as everyone gets rested and ready for the meet has everyone buzzing and trying to contain themselves in preparation for the weekend. See you in a few days!