Following up our women’s rankings from earlier this week, here’s our latest NCAA men’s power rankings. Much of the top 10 remains the same, with the Georgia Bulldogs jumping into the top five. There’s only one new entrant into the list, but they were impressive enough at their invite to nearly crack the top 15.
The rankings, #20 through #1:
20. North Carolina Tarheels (previous rank: #15)
Only one individual swim currently ranked in the top 25 nationally, but no relays. They’re usually better the second half of the year, but they have to be dropped for now.
19. Duke Blue Devils (previous rank: #20)
Haven’t competed since our last rankings, but still have three relays in the top 10. Duke’s chances of cracking the top 20 in March rely on whether or not Peter Kropp makes it back after another impressive start to the year.
18. South Carolina Gamecocks (previous rank: #18)
We’ve talked a lot about their distance freestylers this year, but Nils Wich-Glasen deserves some props of his own; he’s ranked in the top 10 in both breaststrokes.
17. Arizona Wildcats (previous rank: #19)
The Wildcats were more rested than most at their invite, but, like the women, they’re way ahead of expectations. Chatham Dobbs and the combination of William Wihanto/Blair Bish/Gage Crosby give Arizona a quality medley front-half.
16. Florida State Seminoles (previous rank: n/a)
Three relays in the top 10, as well, and Jason McCormick (19.5/43.6) gives the Seminoles the anchor leg they’ll need to score in March.
15. Ohio State Buckeyes (previous rank: #16)
No competition since our last rankings. This is your standard Ohio State team: deep, solid relays, with a few potential mid-level scorers.
14. USC Trojans (previous rank: #14)
Expect a jump in our first January rankings if and when their second semester talent starts swimming. In the meantime, Reed Malone and Michael Domagala are the only returning NCAA scorers on the roster.
13. Indiana Hoosiers (previous rank: #12)
Bob Glover is in the running as the Big Ten’s most improved swimmer; the junior clocked a 46.0/1:42.0 in the 100/200 back, lifetime bests by more than a second.
12. Tennessee Volunteers (previous rank: #12)
No update here. They’ll be gearing up for a big dual with Alabama the weekend after New Years.
11. Louisville Cardinals (previous rank: #13)
Four relays currently in the top 8, including a 4th-place 800 free relay anchored by Trevor Carroll and Matthias Lindenbauer, both of whom are at or under 1:34.0.
10. Stanford Cardinal (previous rank: #6)
No news since our last ranking; the Cardinal have been off since early November. They’ll have to bring it at Pac 12’s; nobody on their team has safely earned an NCAA spot yet.
9. Alabama Crimson Tide (previous rank: #10)
Would almost certainly lose to deeper teams like Stanford in a dual meet, but their top names and relays are worth more at NCAA’s at this point.
8. Missouri Tigers (previous rank: #9)
Like Stanford, haven’t they competed since our last rankings. Unlike Stanford, their times are holding up through the rest of the invites. Michael Chadwick fit right in at the Duel in the Pool, and earned a new American record in the 4×100 free relay.
7. Auburn Tigers (previous rank: #7)
All five relays sit in the top 8 nationally. To be fair, we expected that. What we didn’t expect is to see Joe Patching make a transition from sprint backstroker to 3:43 400 IMer.
6. NC State Wolfpack (previous rank: #5)
Ryan Held is already showing he’s ready to take the reins as the #1 sprinter when Simonas Bilis graduates after this season. Even with that duo, how far the Wolfpack will depend on how many points guys like Hennessey Stuart (currently 3rd in the 200 back) and Christian McCurdy (5th in the 200 fly) score.
5. Georgia Bulldogs (previous rank: #8)
Plenty of others stepping up with Chase Kalisz out for the year. Pace Clark may join the sub-1:40 200 fly club by the time March rolls around.
4. Michigan Wolverines (previous rank: #4)
Their big guns (Dylan Bosch, Anders Nielsen) weren’t particularly noteworthy at AT&T Winter Nationals, but Paul Powers and freshmen Ian Rainey and Stephen Holmquist are off to a good start. The gap between them and Florida at #3 is growing wider, while Georgia and NC State are knocking on the door for a top four spot.
3. Florida Gators (previous rank: #3)
We already know how their invite went (very, very) well. One thing we didn’t mention: Jack Blyzinskyj starting off the year on fire, ranking 4th in the 100 backstroke. With Caeleb Dressel shoring up the team’s breaststroke leg, at least for relay purposes, the Gator medleys look much healthier than expected.
2. California Golden Bears (previous rank: #2)
The Bears have four swimmers not named Andrew Seliskar sitting 1st or 2nd nationally in at least one event (Ryan Murphy, Josh Prenot, Jacob Pebley, and Long Gutierrez). While Texas is still the favorites, that’s the kind of depth that still leaves some hope for Golden Bear fans in March
1. Texas Longhorns (previous rank: #1)
Rolled through the first half of the season. 16 swims in the top 5 nationally, and another 15 ranked between 6th and 16th. Reasonable chance that the Longhorns win eight individual events, and will be in the mix for all five relays, as well. And that butterfly group – 5 of the top 11 100 flys in the NCAA this season have come from Longhorns. Matt Ellis, who swam the event at Pan Pacs in 2014, is only fifth best on his own college team.