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NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships

How Does a Diver Qualify?


Purdue Diver David Boudia

NCAA 3M and Platform Champion David Boudia

Photo: Purdue University Athletics

So you want to become a NCAA champion! Here is the process, with a bit of background information included.

Collegiate divers compete for national championships in three divisions of the National College Athletic Administration (NCAA). Colleges are placed in each division based on a number of factors, including the size of the school, level of athletic commitment, factilities, etc.and whether scholarships are given to athletes.

Diving compromises three individual events within a swimming and diving program, and a diver’s placement in their event counts toward the overall success of the team. At the collegiate level, 1-meter and 3-meter springboard are championships event in Division II and III. The Division I championships also include platform diving.

2012 NCAA Division I Championships

Qualifying for the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships for a diver is a two-step process. A diver must first obtain a qualifying score at a bona fide competition. This score qualifies the diver to compete in one of five zone diving competitions. The zone that a diver competes in is based on location. For instance, divers in the Southeast will compete in Zone B, while divers from the west coast will compete in Zone E. From there, divers must compete for a specified number of NCAA qualifying spots at the zone competition.

Qualifying Scores for Zone Competition

Qualifying scores for men and women can come from a dual meet (two schools going head to head), a triangle meet (three schools competing against each other), or a championship meet (multiple schools competing against each other). A diver only has to achieve a qualifying score once in any of the three events; one-meter, three-meter, or platform.

A diver in a dual meet competition must perform six dives. These dives can either consist of six optional dives without a limit on the degree of difficulty (D.D.), or one voluntary dive with an assigned D.D. of 2.0, followed by five optional dives without limit on the D.D. Either of these formats is acceptable and is agreed on by the coaches prior to the meet.

In championship meets, the competition consists of six optional dives without limit on D.D. The exception for this is for women on platform, who only compete five optional dives.

2012 Men’s Division I Qualification Standards

  • One-Meter Diving Points: 300 *
  • Three-Meter Diving Points: 320 *
  • Platform Diving Points: 300 *

2011 Women’s Division I Qualification Standards

  • One-Meter Diving Points: 265 *
  • Three-Meter Diving Points: 280 *
  • Platform Diving Points: 225 #

* qualifying point total when using six dives
# qualifying point total when using five dives

Zone Competition

After making it to a zone championship, divers compete for a predetermined number of qualification spots allocated to each zone. Each zone receives four automatic qualifying spots for men, and four for women. The remainder of the spots for each zone is based on how divers from that zone finished in the prior years NCAA championships. For 2012, 35 spots are available for the men's championships, and 41 for the women.

Determining who qualifies at the zone gets a bit confusing. It is based on finishes in each of the three events. For instance, the winners of each of three events receives an automatic bid. If a diver wins both platform and three-meter, then the second place finishers on one- and three-meter receive a bid. It can be confusing to someone who hasn't gone through the process.

If a diver places in one of the qualifying spots, he or she is then qualified to compete at the championships in each event in which they participated at the zone championships. That means if "Bob" wins the 1-meter competition at zones, then he will compete in 1-meter at the NCAA championships. If Bob then competes at zones in 3-meter and finishes 21st and platform and finishes 14th, he will be able to compete on 1-meter, 3-meter and platform. Essentially - qualify on one level and that qualifies you on all levels.

2012 NCAA Zone Diving Championships

    Zone A – Northeast

  • Zone A
    Buffalo University
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    March 9-11, 2012
    Qualification Spots Available: 4 Men / 4 Women

  • Zone B
    Auburn University
    Auburn, Ala.
    March 5-7, 2012
    Qualification Spots Available: 8 Men / 10 Women

  • Zone C
    Indiana University
    Bloomington, Ind.
    March 8-10, 2012
    Qualification Spots Available: 7 Men / 7 Women

  • Zone D
    University of Iowa
    Iowa City, Iowa
    March 8-10, 2012
    Qualification Spots Available: 9 Men / 12 Women

  • Zone E
    United States Air Force Academy
    Colorado Springs, Colo.
    March 8-10, 2012
    Qualification Spots Available: 7 Men / 8 Women

  • Women's 2012 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships
    March 15-17, 2012
    James E. Martin Aquatic Center
    Auburn University
    Auburn, Ala.

  • Men's 2012 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships
    March 22-24, 2012
    Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center
    University of Minnesota
    Federal Way, Wash.

  • 2011 NCAA Division I Diving Champions

    Next >> NCAA Division II Championships

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