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Men’s College Swimming Recruiting Times

IMG male swimmer swimming freestyle

While many swimmers dream of swimming for a Division 1 school, there are many more opportunities at other division levels. The key to finding the right fit is evaluating a school based on athletic, academic, social and financial fit. This page gives you an idea of the times needed at the various levels of college swimming with the aim of helping you identify the right fit athletically.

Am I fast enough to swim in college?

“Am I good enough to compete in college swimming?” “How fast do college swimmers need to be?” Student-athletes ask these questions as they evaluate if they have what it takes to compete at the college level.

NCSA’s college swimming times show a men’s swimming recruit exactly what level of competition he’s best suited for based on the averages of what coaches at every collegiate level are looking for.

In addition to swimming times, student-athletes will need to make sure they maintain their athletic eligibility and NCAA GPA requirements. Are camps for swimming training expensive?

Tips for training without access to a pool

In an interview with For the Win about training while in quarantine, Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy said he’s focused on dryland workouts and is considering this time as a healthy break from the water. His words are an important reminder that it’s okay to take a break and to consider this unexpected time away from the pool as an opportunity to focus on cross training.

Like Ryan Murphy, athletes across the swimming community are focused on dryland workouts geared towards core, cardio and strength conditioning. Some coaches are even running Zoom dryland practices to help keep their athletes motivated. For training inspiration, check out what athletes at all levels are doing to stay in shape:

Swim Outlet is hosting virtual dryland workouts on Instagram Live.

College Swimming Times Needed: What times do I need to swim in college?


Tier 1 Standards (Elite Power 5 D1)

Tier 2 Standards (Elite D2-D3, Strong Mid-major D1, Power 5 D1)

Tier 3 Standards (Elite NAIA, Mid-strong D2/D3, Low to Mid-major D1)

Tier 4 Standards (Low-average D2/D3, Low-strong NAIA)

50 Free

19.9 and faster

20.5 – 20.9

21.1 – 21.4

21.7 – 23.9

100 Free

43.8 and faster

44.9 – 45.4

45.9 – 46.5

47.8 – 50.9

200 Free

1.36.3 and faster

1.38.5 – 1.39.8

1.40.9 – 1.41.8

1.43.8 – 1.51.9

500 Free

4.23.3 and faster

4.27.9 – 4.31.5

4.35.5 – 4.37.1

4.42.8 – 5.09.9

1650 Free

15.26.1 and faster

15.36.9 – 15.46.9

15.55.9 – 16.05.0

16.24.4 – 17.59.9

100 Fly

47.4 and faster

48.9 – 49.9

50.5 – 51.1

52.1 – 55.9

200 Fly

1.46.7 and faster

1.49.9 – 1.52.1

1.52.9 – 1.53.7

1.55.1 – 2.09.9

100 Back

47.7 and faster

49 – 50.8

51.5 – 52.1

53.4 – 56.9

200 Back

1.45.0 and faster

1.48.5 – 1.50.6

1.51.9 – 1.52.8

1.54.9 – 2.09.9

100 Breast

54.3 and faster

55.9 – 57.4

58.1 – 58.7

59.8 – 1.04.9

200 Breast

1.58.4 and faster

2.02.5 – 2.05.7

2.07.5 –1.53.5

2.09.7 – 2.19.9

200 IM

1.46.8 and faster

1.49.5 – 1.51.5

1.53.5 – 1.55.1

1.57.1 – 2.09.9

400 IM

3.51.5 and faster

3.55.9 – 4.00.2

4.04.9 – 4.07.6

4.11.2 – 4.29.9

As student-athletes evaluate their opportunities in the recruiting process, one of the most important steps is to set realistic expectations about what type of program is best suited for them.

Does the talent level mirror those of NCAA D1 college swimming scholarship recipients? Or, maybe the recruit’s talent would gain greater college swimming scholarship interest from a D2 or NAIA school.

This college swimming times chart gives recruits and their families a better understanding of what coaches expect for each event across all levels of competition.

College Swimming Times for Scholarships

The most important thing to remember when looking for a scholarship is that there is no minimum time that guarantees you will get a scholarship. Swimmers can increase their chances of being awarded a scholarship by looking for programs where they can contribute points to the team at the conference and national level. High school student-athletes who want to compete in college are understandably often focused on improving their individual best times, but it’s important to remember that when it comes to deciding scholarship money, coaches are more likely to give money to swimmers who can contribute the most points, which means being able to contribute in relays in addition to individual events is worth more than just individual events.

Men’s Division 1 Swimming Times

It’s no mistake that our tier 1 swimming times do not have a top limit for event times – coaches at the elite D1 programs, such as California, Texas and Indiana, are always looking for recruits who can push their team even further.

The NCAA publishes qualifying standards for the Division 1 National Championships. A Standards are very elite, while B Standards are still common marks for strong D1 programs.

Swimmers at the top end of D1 schools also typically meet the standards for the Futures Championships. Times for the majority of schools in the D1 level are comparable to the standards for the Futures Championships.

For any one particular school, student-athletes will need to be at or within a close scoring range for the conference’s championship meet.

Men’s Division 2 Swimming Times 

Competitive D2 and D3 programs recruit student-athletes whose swimming times match the Speedo Sectionals time standards, at the least. Top programs in D2 use the Futures Championships standards, as well. Many coaches will only reach out to a student-athlete once he has met those competitive times.

Men’s Division 3 Swimming Times

Similar to D2, competitive D3 coaches recruit swimmers whose times are at the level of the Speedo Sectionals time standards. The college swimming times chart on this page provides a breakdown of the differences across these division levels, including D3 swimming times.

At a less competitive D3 program, swimmers don’t necessarily need to reach the Speedo Sectionals time standards to earn a spot on a roster.

Men’s NAIA Swimming Times

As you can see in our swimming times chart, NAIA times are similar to D3 swimming times. Because of that, student-athletes within these event time ranges may choose to focus on finding the school where they’ll be the best fit both academically and socially, as well, as they research the 377 D3 and 44 NAIA schools with swimming programs.

The standards for major meets like the USA Swimming Futures Championships are less important in the overall recruiting process for student-athletes interested in competing at an NAIA school.

USA Swimming Futures Championships Time Standards 2023

USA Swimming’s Futures Championships times are an important gauge for swimming recruits, since coaches in D1 and D2 levels use the minimum swim times for these meets as a reference for evaluating their recruits.

View the USA Swimming Futures Championships Time Standards for 2023.