Stanford Leads Women’s NCAA Relay Qualification As Only School With 5 ‘A’ Cuts


By Sophie Kaufman on SwimSwam

Midseason invites are over and the calendar has turned to 2023, which means that NCAAs are on the horizon. With that, it’s time to check in on how many schools have NCAA qualified relays.

First, a quick refresher on how relays qualify for NCAAs:

  • The simplest way to qualify relays for NCAAs is to hit the “A Cut,” formally known as the “Qualifying Standard” in a relay.
  • Once a team has an “A” standard relay, they can also enter all relays where they’ve earned the “B” standard, formally known as a “Provisional Standard.”
  • Teams with four individual swimmers qualified can swim relay events in which they have at least a “B” standard.
  • Relays are qualified “to the team”, not the individual swimmers so teams can take whichever swimmers they want to use on the relay.
  • Teams must have at least one individual invite to send relays. For purposes of this article, we’ve assumed that all of the teams below will get an individual invite.

Why do relay qualifications matter? Most importantly for teams hoping to finish high in the standings, relays are huge points. They’re weighted double individual events, so it’s important to have as many relays as possible qualified and in with a chance to score.

But more than that, the number of relay qualifications that a school has points to the depth of the program. Qualifying for all five relays at NCAAs means that the program isn’t relying on just one or two stars; they have at least four swimmers–and likely more than that–who are directly contributing to the success of the program.

We’ve already seen this season that getting a relay qualified for NCAAs marks a big turning point for a program.

Below is a list of schools that have at least one ‘A’ cut this season, which again guarantees them not only a lane for that relay, but also any relay where they’ve hit a ‘B’ cut.

Schools with 1+ 2023 NCAA ‘A’ Cut

School # of ‘A’ Cuts # of ‘B’ Cuts Total ‘A’ Cut Event(s) ‘B’ Cut Event(s)
Stanford 5 0 5 200 FR, 400 FR, 800 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR
Texas 4 1 5 400 FR, 800 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR 200 FR
Virginia 4 0 4 200 FR, 400 FR, 200 MR*, 400 MR 800 FR
NC State 4 1 5 200 FR, 400 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR 800 FR
Alabama 4 0 4 200 FR, 400 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR 800 FR
Indiana 4 0 4 200 FR, 400 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR 800 FR
Ohio State 3 1 4 200 FR, 400 MR, 400 MR 200 MR
Louisville 3 2 5 200 FR, 400 FR, 200 MR 800 FR, 400 MR
UNC 3 1 4 200 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR 400 FR
USC 3 1 4 200 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR 400 FR
Cal 2 3 5 200 MR, 400 MR 200 FR, 400 FR, 800 FR
Florida 2 0 2 200 FR, 400 FR
Georgia 1 3 4 400 MR 400 FR, 800 FR, 200 MR
LSU 1 2 3 200 FR 400 FR, 400 MR
Tennessee 1 1 2 400 MR 400 FR
TOTAL 44 16 60

Note: The asterisk on UVA’s 200 medley relay means that USA Swimming has not yet recognized the time because the swim was not within NCAA rules. SwimSwam believes that’s because of roster management, but not sure. USA Swimming thinks the NCAA will wind up approving these times. UVA has another relay that’s been 1:36.43, which was recognized by USA Swimming, earning them a ‘B’ cut.

Stanford is the only school that’s hit ‘A’ cuts for all five relays, though UVA doesn’t swim the 800 freestyle relay until season. Like UVA, the other schools vying for a spot in the top 5–Texas, NC State, Alabama, and Indiana–all have four ‘A’ cuts.

Not only are they the only school with five ‘A’ cuts, but they own the top time in the country in all three freestyle relays (1:25.90/3:09.82/6:56.45). Their 800 free relay time is particularly impressive, as it’s over three seconds faster than second-ranked Texas. Stanford and Texas are also the only two schools that have achieved an ‘A’ cut in the 800 free relay.

15 different schools have an ‘A’ cut at this point in the season–last year 27 qualified a relay for NCAAs, so look for the total number of schools to go up during conference championships. While that was a jump from the 22 schools in 2021, it’s still below the 30 that qualified for 2018, 2019, and 2020 NCAAs.

Last season, Auburn swam all five relays at NCAAs as they secured two ‘A’ cuts and three ‘B’ cuts. After midseason, they have no ‘A’ cuts and four ‘B’ cuts. It’s a similar story for Florida State, though they haven’t swum a ‘B’ cut yet. Those are two teams worth keeping an eye on, as 2022 NCAAs was a turning point for them–they didn’t have any relays qualify in 2021.

On the flip side, LSU swam an ‘A’ cut in the 200 free relay, which means the Tigers are sending a relay to NCAAs for the first time since 2016. They’re also eligible to swim the 400 free and medley relays. At the beginning of the season, we thought that Maggie MacNeil wouldn’t have to worry about relays which could possibly give her an edge over her competitors. Now though, her schedule is quickly filling up.

Another school to note is Wisconsin; last season they swam ‘A’ cuts in all five relays and after midseason, they’ve only swum a ‘B’ cut in the 800 freestyle relay.

Women’s Post-Invite NCAA Relay Qualification Status

Post-Invite NCAA Relay Qualification Status – Women (1)

SwimSwam: Stanford Leads Women’s NCAA Relay Qualification As Only School With 5 ‘A’ Cuts

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