2017-2018 Women’s NCAA Power Rankings: Post- Invite 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.

Winter invites have wrapped, and it’s time to count down our top 20 women’s swimming & diving teams in the NCAA, with an eye on the ultimate NCAA finish order.

See also:

We’re introducing a new format for our Power Rankings this season: 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 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 third rankings for the 2017-2018 season:

(Also receiving votes: Ohio State, Arizona)

#20: Florida State Seminoles (Previous Rank: N/A)

This rank has a lot to do with star breaststroker Natalie Piercebut even more to do with FSU’s medley relays, which both sit in NCAA scoring range. -JA

#19: Purdue Boilermakers (Previous Rank: N/A)

Know who Kaersten Meitz is? You should. She’s been 4:36 in the 500 and 15:54 in the mile, good for 6th and 3rd in the nation, respectively. Plus Purdue should rack up the diving points. -JA

#18: UNC Tar Heels (Previous Rank: 18th)

These Tar Heels can sprint! Caroline Baldwin is four one-hundredths of a second out of leading the nation in the 50 free (21.48) and the depth is good enough to rank 6th nationwide in the 200 free relay and 11th in the 400. -JA

#17: Wisconsin Badgers (Previous Rank: 15th)

Tip your hat off to Beata Nelson, who after stumbling freshman year, has become a potential triple A-finalist at NCAAs. Her 50.79 in the 100 back was the highlight of her meet, and ranks her 2nd in the country behind only Kathleen Baker. -KO

Cierra Runge is officially done in Madison, and that’s a big hit. Still, its softened by home-state product Beata Nelson coming into her own, particularly in the backstrokes, where she was 50.7/1:51.2 at the Texas Invite. -JA

#16: Auburn Tigers (Previous Rank: 14th)

They’re not the most well-rounded team, but the Tigers are excellent in the sprints, thanks to a deep corps led by Aly Tetzloff (22.2/48.0), Julie Meynan (22.5/47.6) and Ashton Ellzey (22.3/49.4). -JA

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

Freshman Mackenzie Padington is already breaking school records (1:44.1 in the 200 free). Breaststroker Lindsey Kozelsky didn’t look her best, but she also dropped about two seconds each in her 100 and 200 breaststrokes between mid-season invites and NCAAs last year, so there’s not too much reason for concern. -JA

Mackenzie Padington pulls it all together. Lindsey Kozelsky may not have been rested for the Minnesota Invite, but the medleys could be in trouble if she’s having an off season. -KO

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

Todd Desorbo has these Cavaliers headed in the right direction. Caitlin Cooper threw down lifetime-bests in the 50 and 100 frees (21.8/48.2) at the Georgia Invite and the 200 and 400 free relays rank 3rd nationwide. Hmm, an ACC team rocketing to national significance on the backs of relays and sprint types… sounds like something another coaching staff has done in recent memory. If only we could remember who. -JA

Good things are happening under Todd DeSorbo and his sprinters– their 400 free relay is 3rd in the NCAA right now. Megan Moroney is back, and while she was well off her bests, she’s a potential scorer should she get back to where she was in 2016. -KO

#13: NC State Wolfpack (Previous Rank: 10th)

Key players are still missing, and the sprint group is looking thin without those swimmers. -KO

Where’s Courtney CaldwellKy-Lee Perry is lonely in a once-deep sprint crew. Still, the relays are in decent shape even without Caldwell, and Hannah Moore is currently ruling the mile within the ACC. -JA

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

Annie Ochitwa threw down a 47.5 at the Mizzou Invite. Sharli Brady looked strong, too, and Hannah Stevens is a big reason why Mizzou is knocking on the door of the top 10. -KO

How about Sharli Brady going lifetime-bests in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 fly at Mizzou’s home invite? The Tigers have an outside shot to score all five relays at NCAAs, which would be a huge points boost. -JA

#11: Kentucky Wildcats (Previous Rank: 12th)

Backstroke U has been complemented nicely by freshman breaststroker Bailey Bonnett, who has been shaving off time like crazy and doesn’t seem done yet. -KO

Asia Seidt‘s 200 IM at the Ohio State Invite (1:53.84) might’ve been the swim of invite season. She cut 1.2 seconds and went from a borderline A finalist to potentially competing for a top-3 finish, at least based on last year’s NCAA times. -JA

#10: Tennessee Volunteers (Previous Rank: 19th)

Erika Brown is absolutely on fire, leading the country in the 100 fly (50.33) and also throwing down a 21.50 last weekend in the 50. Stanzi Moseley looks more at home after transferring from USC, and the team should have some great relays this spring. -KO

Erika Brown is a machine. She’s got top-5 NCAA ranks in the 100 fly (1st), 50 free (3rd), 100 free (5th) and could carry the Volunteer relays come March. The Vols were the true breakout team of invite season, surging up 9 spots in our ranks for the biggest gain of any program. -JA

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

The Hoosiers are the only team in the nation under 1:35 in the 200 medley relay after nearly breaking the NCAA record at the Purdue Invite. The team is performing well as a whole– it’s not JUST the King show. Freshman Grace Haskett is quickly developing into the sprinter that IU has desperately needed. -KO

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

Breaststroke isn’t an issue and Louise Hansson is killing it in her multitude of events, but the freestyle group has been quiet and the team feels… small. -KO

Most of USC’s studs had gone so fast already this fall, there wasn’t much room for improvement at the Texas Invite. Still, breaststroker/IMer Riley Scott had three great races and freshman Marta Ciesla continued a nice rookie season. -JA

#7: Texas Longhorns (Previous Rank: 8th)

I’m high on Texas. Their free relays in particular are going to score a lot of points, and they’ve got the firepower in fly and back to not be too one-dimensional. -JA

Quinn Carrozza really performed at the Texas Invite, and the sprints looked strong. Medley relays still need to come around, though. -KO

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

Louisville’s got young free relays with some of the highest ceilings in the nation. Did you know that none of the Cardinals’ five relays ranks lower than 7th in the NCAA, and that there’s not a single senior among all 20 of those legs? -JA

Arina Openysheva is coming around, and Grace Oglesby hammered down bests in the 100 and 200 fly at Winter Nationals. Comerford is doing Comerford things and looks great. -KO

#5: Georgia Bulldogs (Previous Rank: 7th)

Sprint depth and relays will hurt Georgia come NCAAs, but the Bulldogs are fast almost everywhere else. Courtney Harnish‘s freestyle has never looked better, even if her fly and back were off at the Georgia Invite. -JA

Though UGA had some big swims at their own invite (like Courtney Harnish‘s 4:35 in the 500 free), Michigan was stronger in sprints, which makes all the difference come March. -KO

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

Getting G Ryan back healthy is a big boost to a roster that was already flying high. Siobhan Haughey looks like a world-beater and that 6:55 800 free relay will be a tough opponent for anyone. -JA

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

Though it was without Simone Manuel in the mix, the Aggies actually outperformed Stanford at the Art Adamson Invite. With about half of the top 10 carrying a big breaststroke problem, A&M looks poised to capitalize: they’ve currently got 5 swimmers in scoring range in the 200 and 3 in the 100, including #1 Sydney Pickrem and #2 Bethany Galat in the 200. -JA

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

The best 200 and 400 free relays in the NCAA by half a second apiece. Medleys ranked within a second of the national lead. Sarah Darcel is already putting it together in yards. It’s a good time to be a Golden Bear. -JA

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

Simone Manuel‘s absence gets more concerning with every passing meet. The Cardinal are still fine behind Katie Ledecky and Ella Eastinbut the relay hit from Manuel’s absence is clearly evident. -JA



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 Michigan Michigan Michigan Michigan
5 Georgia Louisville Georgia Georgia
6 Texas Georgia Louisville Texas
7 USC USC Texas Louisville
8 Louisville Texas USC USC
9 Indiana Indiana Indiana Tennessee
10 Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee Indiana
11 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky
12 NC State NC State Missouri Missouri
13 Minnesota Missouri Virginia Virginia
14 Virginia Auburn Wisconsin Minnesota
15 Missouri Ohio St. Minnesota NC State
16 Auburn UNC NC State Auburn
17 UNC Purdue UNC Wisconsin
18 Wisconsin Minnesota Florida State UNC
19 Florida State Wisconsin Purdue Florida State
20 Purdue Virginia Arizona Purdue

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3 years ago

Told you the Lady Vols are coming on very quickly. Look for them to finish in the top 8 at NCAAs!

tea rex
Reply to  Bupwa
3 years ago

IMO, Erika Brown had the breakout performance of December 2017. As a freshman, she was a relay-only qualifier for NCAAs. 9 months later, she is a serious title contender in the fly, and potential A finalist in the other sprints.

Reply to  tea rex
3 years ago

Yep Lady Vols for the NCAA Team Title in 2020!

Aggie Swim Fan
Reply to  Bupwa
3 years ago

Ya gonna have to come through College Station, Texas first! Good luck in driving down that road! Ask Stanford about the “pot holes” they encountered on the way out of town! Not many pot holes comin down but plenty driving back home?

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 …

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