COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers swimming and diving team is scheduled on Thursday to begin the Mizzou Invite, an annual meet designed to help swimmers qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The meet runs from Thursday through Saturday, pitting Missouri against Utah, West Virginia, UC Davis, FIU, Saint Louis, Arkansas and Northern Colorado.
To qualify for NCAA Championships, swimmers must meet an A or a B qualifying time. These are set time standards the NCAA determines, allowing only a certain number of swimmers to compete in each event at the championships. An A time means the swimmer is guaranteed to compete, whereas a B time means the swimmer qualifies, but may not compete, depending on how fast other times within that bracket are.
At last year's Mizzou Invite, the Tigers' 200-yard medley relay team qualified for the NCAA Championships with an A qualifying time. Current Missouri junior Sam Tierney was a part of that team and swam an A time in the 100-yard breast stroke.
Tierney already has B times in both the 100 and 200-yard breast stroke this season, and he hopes to swim A times in this year's meet.
"As a junior, we've been through this, and we know the ropes," Tierney said. "It's a bit easier going into the meet as long as we're relaxed. We know how to swim fast."
This is not only an important weekend for experienced swimmers like Tierney, but also for many Missouri freshmen who are trying to qualify for championships for the first time.
"A lot of this week is going to be supporting the freshmen and supporting some people that haven't made NCAAs yet," Tierney said. "Of course, we're doing our part to make sure we get in as well."
Freshman Katharine Ross has already swam a B qualifying time for the 100-yard breaststroke in the team's meet against Texas A&M on Nov. 1. Now, she is looking to improve that time and others to make it to the NCAA Championships in the spring.
"I want to qualify for NCAAs to a point where it's definite that I'm in," Ross said. "When I get there, I've just got to get in and do my best."
The meet is scheduled to have preliminary event sessions starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The finals for each day are scheduled for 6 p.m. All events will be held at the MU Student Recreation Complex.
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.