STOCKTON –Kenna Ramey of University of the Pacific swam an NCAA-qualifying time in the 100-meter butterfly and will compete in the national collegiate meet.

The Tigers’ 200 freestyle men’s relay team also qualified, and it wasn’t even close. But due an NCAA rule, the quartet will not receive an invitation to the NCAA Meet.

“It’s disappointing that there isn’t an invitation, but the rule is clear,” Pacific head coach Peter Richardson said.

The rule in question requires that any NCAA-qualifying relay team must have one member also qualify in an individual event. The Pacific team of Yahav Shahaf, Dylan Toy, Mason Miller and Miles MacKenzie swam a time of 1:17.29 at the Ohio State Winter Invite on Feb. 11. The mark set a new school record and was the 14th-best time in the country this season, making what is referred to as the “A cut.”

But Richardson and his athletes knew instantly they had an issue. None of the swimmers had qualified as an individual at that point.

Richardson said the rule was put in place to help expand fields in individual events and have as many available invites go to relay-only competitors. And although the rule cost his team a spot in the NCAAs, he did not advocate changing it.

“Actually, this rule would usually help a school like us, creating more room for individuals who might qualifier in the lower spots,” Richardson said. “But this time it hurt us. And it’s so unusual, because usually when you have a time that good, at least one of the swimmers has also qualified as an individual.

“I truly believe our guys should be there, and I don’t think not getting the invite diminishes what they accomplished.”

The Tigers best shot was Shahaf’s time in the 100 breaststroke (52.89 seconds). The cutoff ended up at 52.75.

“Obviously, we wanted to compete,” said Toy, a St. Mary’s High product. “We were hoping. But this is still a great accomplishment. We made the A cut and set a school record. It’s special.”

Only MacKenzie is graduating after the season. The other three will be back.

“It kind of re-sparked my passion for swimming,” Toy said. “There are highs and lows. This is going to be the motivation for my senior year."

Ramey’s path to the NCAAs was simple and impressive. The senior from Federal Way, Washington made the meet as a sophomore, but did not qualify last year. She made it again in Los Angeles on Feb. 14, again with a 52.00 in the 100 butterfly which is tied for the 21st best time in the nation. The event averages between 35-40 entrants.

“It was a pretty amazing feeling when I hit the wall,” Ramey said. “I looked up saw the time and my coaches with their fists in the air. I knew I had made it."

Richard said when he saw the time, he knew she was heading for the NCAA event beginning Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio.

“I saw that 52.00, and I knew that would do it,” Richardson said. “We’re so happy for her. She’s battled injuries over the years, and kept going. I think she’ll come out and swim very fast at the NCAAs.”

Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8282 or slinesburgh@recordnet.com. Follow him on Twitter@ScottLinesburgh.