CLEVELAND, Ohio – The College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) announced Monday evening that it has selected Cleveland State University, and the Robert F. Busbey Natatorium, to host the 2019 National Invitational Championship.
The event will take place March 14-16, 2019 at CSU's on-campus natatorium.
The NIC was created because a growing number of student-athletes have been denied an opportunity to participate in a national-level championship. Since 2005, the number of men's and women's Division I swimmers and divers has increased by more than ten percent.
"As Division I has continued to grow," explained CSCAA Executive Director Joel Shinofield, "the number of postseason opportunities has not. The NIC remedies this."
Forty one programs have already declared their intention to compete with the meet still months away.
"The opportunity to hold the 2019 National Invitational Championship at Busbey Natatorium will add to an already rich history," Cleveland State head coach Paul Graham said. "This is the first time since 1984 that all of DI swimming will be able to come to Cleveland and compete in one of the fastest pools in the history of our sport. We are excited to share with the collegiate swimming & diving community all the history of this world-class facility."
All Division I conference champions, both relay and individual, will automatically qualify for the National Invitational Championship. Student-athletes are also able to qualify by meeting predetermined time standards, which were also announced by the CSCAA Monday.
Since its opening in 1973, Busbey Natatorium has been attracting attention. Many pools constructed since have taken notice of the design and have incorporated several aspects into their own construction. Water depth in the competition end of the pool ranges from 12-16 feet and wide flow-through gutters enable record-setting performances.
The natatorium has been the site of championships of all shapes and sizes during its history. These include sixteen national aquatic championships, four NCAA Division I Championships and dozens of college conference championships. The 1977 NCAA Championships saw 16 NCAA records shattered during the course of the meet.
Along with holding all traditional individual swimming events and relays, the NIC will also contest 50-yard events for backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, the 100 individual medley and the 1000 freestyle. As a result, the NIC will crown champions in more events than other collegiate championship.
The CSCAA is also seeking to enhance the championship experience for the participants and fans. In line with this objective, it plans on eliminating the use of prerecorded music before the meet and in between events in favor of a live DJ during the evening finals. Additionally, fans will be asked to help select Swimmers of the Meet via social media.
Ticketing information and details will be announced at a later date.
While it has an exciting meet at the end of the season to look forward to, Cleveland State will open its 2018-19 season this weekend as it hosts the Viking Relay Challenge Friday, Sept. 28.