February 27, 2008

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Those lyrics from Tom Petty's "The Waiting" can pretty much sum up the experience of the NCAA Qualifying process. Basically 3,276 swimmers vie for 203 spots in the big meet.

Then, through a long multi-step process, the qualifiers are selected line-by-line until 140 "Individual Qualifiers" and 63 "Relay Only" qualifiers are chosen. Different variables come into play - the number of individual qualifiers on relays, the choice of events by multi-event qualifiers. The time of a 200 Medley Relay at M.I.T. could affect the position of a 800 Free Relay at UC-Santa Cruz. Ultimately, you can only feel sure if you're ranked in the top 16-17 of an individual event and top 9 for relays.

It's a fair, but excruciating process. If you have five relays place 11th at NCAA's in each relay you'll score 60 points - good enough to crack the top twenty with no individual swims. Yet if each of your relays sits 11th, you might not even qualify for the meet.

For us (and others) that means a lot of waiting - and waiting - and waiting. Going into the final weekend of qualifying our 200 and 400 Freestyle Relays are both ranked in the top ten. If either relay qualifies it will add Bax, Rip and Blake to our national team and make all of our reallys very, very good. If not, we'll take four guys to nationals. We'll have relays, but not as sharp as if we had those three guys.

Three years ago we went into the final qeekend of qualifying in the same position with our Medley Relays. That year M.I.T. swooped in to knock us out in both events leaving us with three qualifiers who sat and watched as a 3:40 medley relay made it back at night. By way of comparison, our 'C' relay that year went 3:41.

You can see how the processs leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth. Three years ago, we used MIT as motivation to become the next year's "Most Improved Team" and picked up our first top-25 finish.

So as we head into this weekend, we'll be hitting "F5" with crossed fingers. We'll be watching for one more card. We'll be taking it on faith, taking it to the heart. As TP sings, the waiting is the hardest part.



Total Pageviews

Powered by Blogger.

Blog Archive

Copyright © Red Tide Report | Powered by Blogger
Design by SimpleWpThemes | Blogger Theme by Lasantha - PremiumBloggerTemplates.com | NewBloggerThemes.com