2017-2018 Women’s NCAA Power Rankings: November Edition

As in previous years, SwimSwam’s Power Rankings are somewhere between the CSCAA-style dual meet rankings and a pure prediction of NCAA finish order.  SwimSwam’s rankings take into account how a team looks at the moment, while keeping the end of the season in mind through things like a team’s previous trajectory and NCAA scoring potential.  These rankings are by nature subjective, and a jumping-off point for discussion.  If you disagree with any team’s ranking, feel free to make your case in a respectful way in our comments section.

NCAA mid-season invites begin in the next few weeks, so it’s time to publish our next round of NCAA Power Rankings. While the top 3 teams are remaining very stable, spots 4-8 are seeing a lot of flux based on a number of big swims and big team wins so far this fall.

We’re introducing a new format for our Power Rankings this fall: a committee system where we average out the top 20 ballots of multiple SwimSwam writers to come up with our official ranking order. While this should help readers glean which teams are consensus picks at their rank (say, this week’s #1 team) and where in the order things get fuzzy and more subjective, bear in mind that these rankings are not an opportunity to personally attack any specific writer.

With that said, onto our second rankings for the 2017-2018 season:

(Also receiving votes: Florida State, Purdue, Virginia Tech, Arizona State)

#20: Alabama Crimson Tide (Previous Rank: N/A)

The Tide have already hit the SEC schedule hard, besting Auburn but losing to Florida. Hungarian import Flora Molnar is looking like the real deal -JA

#19: Tennessee Volunteers (Previous Rank: #16)

The Vols were only ranked by one ranker (guess who?), but sophomores Tess Cieplucha and Erika Brown already have top-5 ranked times nationally in the 400 IM (4:11.22) and 100 fly (52.61), respectively. And while dual meets don’t necessarily mean everything, the Vols have beaten top-15 programs Louisville, Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin head to head. -JA

#18: UNC Tar Heels (Previous Rank: N/A)

Caroline Baldwin has already popped a 22.20 in the 50 free this season. That will go a long way toward giving the Tar Heels relay potential come March. Freshman Maddie Smith is the Tar Heels’ 2nd in the sprints. -BK

#17: Virginia Cavaliers (Previous Rank: #17)

We know what we’re getting from Jen Marrkand and Caitlin CooperIt’s the rest of the roster that’s still a mystery, though we should find out more when the Cavs host a tough Louisville team this weekend. Still no swims from 2016 NCAA scorer Megan Moroney, who missed almost all of last season as well. -JA

#16: Ohio State Buckeyes (Previous Rank: #15)

The Buckeyes are pretty one-dimensional, but when that one dimension is NCAA title-contending sprinter Liz Liyou’re not in too bad of shape. A concern, though: Li hasn’t competed yet this year, though she’s now expected back in January. -JA

#15: Wisconsin Badgers (Previous Rank: #14)

A third-straight team with a conspicuous absence: Olympian Cierra Runge. That hurts the team a little, though it’s hard to quantify the impact until we get some indication about what Runge’s status is going forward. The Badgers are still pretty tough, though, especially with blue-chip fly prospect Beata Nelson starting to swim well. -JA

#14: Auburn Tigers (Previous Rank: #18)

The relays are looking stout, with three of five ranked inside the top 8 nationally. Aly Tetzloff is tearing it up for a pretty deep Auburn sprint crew. -JA

#13: Missouri Tigers (Previous Rank: #12)

It’s been a rough start for Mizzou team-wise, with losses to South Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky. But Hannah Stevens and Annie Ochitwa haven’t swum their best yet, and Mizzou usually blows up at their fall invite. -JA

#12: Kentucky Wildcats (Previous Rank: #13)

The vaunted backstroke group has had a relatively quiet start, but Ali Galyer and Asia Seidt are already going 53s and 1:55s. -JA

#11: Minnesota Golden Gophers (Previous Rank: #11)

Lindsey Kozelsky (formerly Horejsi) has battled a slugger’s row of All-American breaststrokers so far with great success, tying FSU’s Natalie Pierce and beating Michigan’s Miranda Tucker. -JA

#10: NC State Wolfpack (Previous Rank: #9)

OK, so the trip out West was a little painful. But who would look good against Stanford and Cal? Hannah Moore is swimming very well, and freshman Julia Poole is looking like an early-impact pickup. -JA

#9: Indiana Hoosiers (Previous Rank: #10)

Common sense seemed to dictate that the graduation of star flyer Gia Dalesandro would leave a hole in the IU medleys, further exposing shaky free legs. But Christie Jensen is swimming out of her mind to replace Dalesandro from within, and freshman Grace Haskett is looking better than any anchor the team had last year. When you’ve got all-world talent Lilly King tearing up your breaststroke leg, that means big things for those medley relays. -JA

#8: Texas Longhorns (Previous Rank: #5)

Lost in the shuffle of the Texas A&M men beating Texas was the inverse upset on the women’s side, with the Longhorns beating our consensus #3 team on the road. The ‘Horns have the #1-ranked 400 free relay in the nation while backstrokers Claire Adams and Quinn Carrozza and flyer Remedy Rule are all excelling. Keep an eye on freshman Evie Pfeiferwho looks great, too. -JA

#7: Georgia Bulldogs (Previous Rank: #4)

#1 commit Courtney Harnish has proven that she’s ready for the NCAA challenge. The Bulldogs are still looking for the pieces to fall into place around her, though. -BK

#6: Louisville Cardinals (Previous Rank: #6)

Mallory Comerford is off to the start we expected of the defending NCAA Champion, and the depth continues to grow for the Cardinals. To crack the top 4, they’ll need a breaststroker. Freshman Mariia Astashkina ranks 9th in the NCAA so far in the 100 with a 1:01.25 – a good start, but not quite enough to get the Cardinals over that hump. Let’s see what she does at Winter Nationals in early December – sub-minute could bump the Cardinals back up. -BK

The Cards have the best 200 free relay in the nation by a full second, and tough young freestyle crew is only getting younger with the addition of likely NCAA scorer Arina Openysheva-JA

#5: USC Trojans (Previous Rank: #8)

USC has two of the only four sub-minute breaststrokers in the country, Riley Scott and Margaret Aroesty. Those two also sit 1-2 nationally in the 200 breast. USC as breaststroke U is back. -BK

The Trojans are swimming lights-out. Louise Hansson is ranked inside the top 3 in the NCAA in four different events (100 fly, 100 free, 200 back, 200 IM) and inside the top 10 in two more (4th in 200 free, 10th in 100 back). -JA

#4: Michigan Wolverines (Previous Rank: #7)

The latest DeLoof, Catie, is coming into her own as Michigan’s #2 sprinter. The Wolverines have the 3 fastest times in the Big Ten this season in the 100 free and lead the conference in most events. -BK

No G Ryan yet, but that’s expected to change next month. Siobhan Haughey is crushing. And top-tier transfer Miranda Tucker hasn’t even swum her best yet. -JA

#3: Texas A&M Aggies (Previous Rank: #3)

The loss to Texas speaks more to how the Aggies strengths (and absurd breaststroke/IM depth) don’t translate well to the dual meet format. The Aggies have 5 of the top 12 swimmers in the nation in the 200 breast. They’re also very well-rounded, with Lisa Bratton in the backstrokes, Beryl Gastaldello in sprints and 16-year-old freshman Jing Quah in the butterfly races. -JA

#2: California Golden Bears (Previous Rank: #2)

Abbey Weitzeil may finally be settling in at Cal. Her 21.63 in the 50 free is the fastest time in the country so far by four-tenths of a second, and most importantly already ensures her spot at NCAAs. -BK

#1: Stanford Cardinal (Previous Rank: #1)

No question about our #1 team, a bulldozer of a crew that’s historically good in the freestyles of all distances. Maybe the underreported story is how good Janet Hu was at the College Challenge: 51.6 back, 51.6 fly and 1:52.2 back. She’s also been 22.6 twice in the 50 free. -JA


Full Ranking Ballots

Rank Jared Braden Karl Torrey
1 Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
2 Cal Cal Cal Cal
3 Texas A&M Texas A&M Texas A&M Texas A&M
4 Texas Michigan Michigan Michigan
5 USC Louisville USC USC
6 Louisville Georgia Georgia Louisville
7 Michigan USC Louisville Georgia
8 Georgia Texas Texas Texas
9 NC State Indiana Indiana Indiana
10 Indiana NC State NC State NC State
11 Minnesota Minnesota Kentucky Minnesota
12 Auburn Missouri Minnesota Kentucky
13 Tennessee Auburn Wisconsin Missouri
14 Kentucky Kentucky Missouri Auburn
15 Missouri Ohio State Virginia Ohio State
16 Wisconsin Wisconsin Auburn Wisconsin
17 Ohio State Florida State UNC Virginia
18 Virginia UNC Alabama UNC
19 UNC Virginia Virginia Tech Alabama
20 Arizona State Purdue Purdue Purdue

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
K Stew
5 years ago

It will be fun to watch if Notre Dame can become a part of this discussion. Abbie Dolan, Alice Treuth and a couple of D-Free women could put ND into the top 20 this year. They are also showing some solid speed on relays. Granted dual meets don’t score points at NCAA’s they can create the momentum and confidence needed to break into the next level. Here come the Irish!

Irish fan
Reply to  K Stew
5 years ago

I couldn’t agree more!!! ???

5 years ago

Get real. I mean the Tennessee gals are fer real> I mean they have great swimmers and divers. If they hit their tapering stay healthy I really think they can finish in the Top 8 in the Country at NCAAs. I mean they have Small, Banic, and some swift foreigners. Great diving to.

Reply to  Bupwa
5 years ago

They don’t have Banic…at least she’s not on the roster, anyway. We’ve asked why, and haven’t gotten any info back yet.

5 years ago

Just pointing out that the amazing Auburn 400 Medley Relay is a timing error. Either that or they have an anchor leg who can come home in 17.48 Probably best to check those things out before you make them a part of your analysis. Since relays are huge at the NCAA’s that might temper your current appraisal of their potential ranking at the end of the year.

Swimming and Swamming
5 years ago

Lol so many flustered comments like chill it’s just swimming lmao

Reply to  Swimming and Swamming
5 years ago

I mean its a natural reaction to the discrepancy between duals and champs. What other sports have that where you cant accurately guage a midseason match to the placements at champs?

We need a scoring or formatting change. Probably on the dual meet side and I’m gonna say scoring.

Aggie Swim Fan
Reply to  Swimming and Swamming
5 years ago

Yep. In total agreement with that! Upsets occur in all sports. Why “so & so” school is ranked below/above “so & so” school at this point is just conjecture. Chill it out. As my Grandma use to say “it’ll all come out in the wash”!

5 years ago

What is the rationale behind Texas behind Louisville and Georgia? The way I see the Texas team is that they had a big loss of individual points with Cox graduating, but still maintain a majority of their core NCAA and relay squad. Plus for the medleys the have Anderson who can fill in for Cox and they added Pfeifer, who isn’t Cox but definitely could score some points come March. Meanwhile, Georgia lost their top 2 sprinters (smoliga and Chantal), who also score a lot of individual points, and their breaststroker on their medleys (Cameron), who also was apart of their 200 free relay and scored a lot of individual points. Louisville is similar in the fact they lost Coterell… Read more »

Reply to  Swimswamswum
5 years ago

Georgia brought in some good freshman Olivia Anderson and Courtney Harnish looking great and they have people like Stephanie Peters, Mig Finon, and Meryn Mccan who were not scores last yr due to poor NCAAs, but can bring in some points. In addition to Stewart, Rabb, Kingsley, Britt looking great. Lastly the Burchill sister should score as well. Top 5 maybe even top 3 is very dueable with these girls.

Go Dogs!!!

confused reader
5 years ago

Not sure how this makes any sense?????
“And while dual meets don’t necessarily mean everything, the Vols have beaten top-15 programs Louisville, Indiana, Kentucky, and Wisconsin head to head.”

Soooo you beat four teams ranked 6th, 9th, 12th, and 15th but you are only ranked 19th……..

What is the rationale for this? You ranked them at 13th so maybe this question is more for your colleagues (Braden and Karl, you really have Purdue over Tennessee???).

Reply to  confused reader
5 years ago

confused reader – at NCAAs, Purdue’s divers, with a swimming contribution, are still projected to score more points than Tennessee’s swimmers. That’s why we ranked Purdue higher.

confused reader
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 years ago

I didn’t realize that Purdue’s divers are projected that much higher than Tennessee’s swimmers. Which swimmers for Purdue are expected to contribute points?

Reply to  confused reader
5 years ago

The big one is Kaersten Meitz, a senior. She was 13th in the 500 free and 18th in the 1650 free at NCAAs last season. She’s had a good start to her season, and especially her 200 free has been improving. 9:39 in the 1000 ranks her 4th in the country right now. So I think you could project her as a 15-point NCAA scorer (she was 9th in prelims of the 500, but added time in the final), which can cause a huge swing in placement at that level.

They have 1 or 2 other potential scorers, but Meitz would be the focal point. Alexis Vincent and Emily Meaney should combine for 25-30 points on platform, Samm Reese and… Read more »

Less Confused Reader
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 years ago

Those are great points. I had seen that the Purdue Divers were ranked relatively low so far this year and didn’t realize the distance swimmers would score so many points. Even without Banic (not sure what happened), I just figured the Tennessee relays and swimmers like Meghan Small, Erika Brown, and Stanzi Mosley would score solid points. Rachel Rubadue has a shot to score on the boards as well. Tennessee has only finished outside of the top 15 once in the last 11 years (2017 to 2007: 22nd, 11th, 11th, 7th, 3rd, 7th, 12th, 13th, 13th, 8th, 10th). Didn’t mean to sound like I was attacking anyone. As you state these rankings are just predictions. It will be interesting to… Read more »

Reply to  Less Confused Reader
5 years ago

You might also want to consider new Tennessee diver Ana Maria Hernandez who has been won both or at least one event at their last two meets.

Reply to  Less Confused Reader
5 years ago

DIver rankings are very subjective because the scores themselves are subjective. If you look at the 1 meter and 3 meter rankings from last year, most of the top scores are from duel meets, which shows how hard it is to figure out diving rankings. I think Tennessee has a shot to do really well, but if Banic is out that hurts a lot. Tennessee was also projected to do better last year than they did, so that might be factored in here.

Reply to  confused reader
5 years ago

Kearsten Meitz is projected to score in the 500 and maybe the 200 free and 1650.

5 years ago

Jared, don’t quite understand why Florida isn’t listed in these rankings. Doesn’t quite make sense given the team’s performances thus far this Fall especially most recently versus Georgia and Alabama.

Wes Faunce
5 years ago

The Alabama women BEAT Auburn.

Reply to  Wes Faunce
5 years ago

Hi Wes – it sounds like as the parent of an Alabama swimmer, you might be more interested in the CSCAA rankings – which are designed to reflect some interpretation of “dual meet success.” Our rankings are focused more on year-end, NCAA Championship scoring.

Reply to  Braden Keith
5 years ago

Wes was referring to an error in reporting in article. Jared wrote that the Alabama women “suffered tough losses to Florida and Auburn” when, in fact, Alabama women beat Auburn.

Swim Swam wrote and article about the win.

Reply to  Letty
5 years ago

Ahh got it, my apologies. He must’ve updated it before I saw.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »