Collegiate Swimming Scoring and Background

Breakdown of Swimming Scoring.


In Collegiate swimming there are two standards that are set to allow individuals to qualify for the National Championship Meet. There is the “A” Standard and the “B” Standard. The “A” standard, also called the “Hard Cut” guarantees an individual with that time into the event. It is based off of the previous years best times. The “B” Standard or the Soft Cut when earned gives an athlete the opportunity to be selected to the event but not a guarantee. About 50 athletes are selected in each event for the NCAA Championship.

In the prelims, which are in the mornings, all the athletes that have qualified swim. The Top 8 and Top 16 based solely on time are invited back in the afternoon to swim in Finals. The ninth thru 16th place finishers are in the Consolation Final. They cannot finish better than 9th place in the event. The Top 8 Prelim swimmers qualify for the Final (In the Olympics, this is the heat you see, also in Olympic competition they add another layer with a Semi Final).

The Top 8 swimmers, no matter the times will always finish ahead of anyone in the Consolation Final. Making 8th a great place to finish and 9th the worst place to finish after prelims.

The scoring is based off of the Finals and Consolation Finals finishes. Below is the chart of how the scoring is assigned.

1st place earns 20 points

2nd place earns 17 points

3rd place earns 16

4th place earns 15

5th place earns 14

6th place earns 13

7th place earns 12

8th place earns 11 points

9th place earns 9 points (without regard to their time in comparison with the Top 8 times)

10th place earns 7

11th place earns 6

12th place earns 5

13th place earns 4

14th place earns 3

15rd place earns 2

16th place earns 1


Relays are worth double the individual points. In other words there are 150 points an event and 300 points for each relay event.

Thus, scoring in relays is very important when it comes to team victories. Winning is given an advantage though getting as many people to score in an event as possible is also key.

In Collegiate swimming there are 18 individual events over 4 days.  There are 5 relays of 4 swimmers. The events broken down by day are as follows:

First Day (Relay Day)

800 Freestyle Relay (4×200 freestyle)

200 Medley Relay (4×50 Medley)

Second Day

500 Freestyle

200 Individual Medley

50 Freestyle

400 Medley Relay (4×100 Medley- each swimmer swims one of the 4 strokes in order backstroke, breastroke, butterfly and freestyle)

Third Day

400 Individual Medley

100 Butterfly

200 Freestyle

100 Breastroke

100 Backstroke

200 Freestyle Relay (4×50 freestyle)

Fourth Day

1650 Freestyle (Only swam once, Top 8 qualifying times are swum in the Final. But the scoring goes to the top 16 swims regardless of initial seeding)

200 Backstroke

100 Freestyle

200 Breastroke

200 Butterfly

400 Freestyle Relay (4×100 freestyle)

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