2018-2019 Men’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.

Mid-season invites begin this weekend, and so it’s time we followed last week’s women’s power rankings with the next update for the men. The battle for #1 is heating up, with at least three teams in contention, and our staff is split across the top of the NCAA.

SwimSwam’s Power Rankings are the average of ballots from a panel of our top college swimming reporters. 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. The write-ups aim to briefly highlight one specific aspect of a program – we won’t be naming every single impact swimmer on every single team in our write-ups.

(Also receiving votes: Missouri, Auburn, Virginia Tech)

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

Tough to decide which team to round out my top 20 with, but I have to go with FSU because they have a solid group of sprinters, which should translate into fast relays. They also have some backstroke and fly power, and a decent breast group. -SP

Their sprinters are on top of it, and they won both relays in their dual with Florida. -KO

#19: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Previous Rank: N/A)

Zach Yeadon is putting on a show this Fall, having swum a 4:13 500, 8:51 1000, and split 1:35 in 200 free in a relay. Freshman Marci Barta looks to be a force in the IMs. -SP

#18: Harvard Crimson (Previous Rank: #15)

Haven’t seen too much out of Harvard yet this season, they just had their first meets this past weekend. Dean Farris looked to be in good form in his first races, posting 47/1:44 backstroke times. -SP

We haven’t seen them in action yet. Obviously, Farris quietly lurks. -KO

#17: Ohio State Buckeyes (Previous Rank: N/A)

The Buckeyes should have no problem cracking the top 20. Their freshmen class is huge, and filled to the brim with sprinters. Some of them are bound to break out. Ohio State also has a great diving squad, with 3 of their returners having finished just outside of making finals at last year’s NCAAs. -SP

Freshman sprinter Ruslan Gaziev is proving to be hugely valuable. Plus diving and Paul DeLakiswho hasn’t really shown his full potential yet this season. -JA

#16: Purdue Boilermakers (Previous Rank: #16)

Still completely dependent on their divers. Luckily for the Boilermakers, that diving squad is as elite as they come. -SP

#15: Texas A&M Aggies (Previous Rank: #13)

The Aggies have some positive things going for them after taking some heavy losses to graduation. Relay times are looking good so far – their free relays are actually slightly faster than they were at this point last year, and the medley relays are just off what they were last year. Benjamin Walker and Shaine Casas look to be in a good place so far individually. -SP

#14: Virginia Cavaliers (Previous Rank: #12)

Some solid swims out of the ACC-Big Ten meet. He’s been overshadowed by some freshmen breaststrokers nationally, but Keefer Barnum is quietly 53.7/1:56.9 after going 55.1/2:01.5 at this time last year. -JA

#13: Minnesota Golden Gophers (Previous Rank: #14)

With Bowen Becker back in action, the bulk of the team’s NCAA potential won’t have to rest solely on the shoulders of freshman Max McHugh. -KO

Max McHugh‘s 23.0/51.1 breast splits (and 1:54 individual swim) are the big story. But quietly, flyer Tuomas Pokkinen is two tenths faster than he was in-season last fall. They’ll need to find a backstroker, but the Gopher medleys have potential to be scary. -JA

#12: Alabama Crimson Tide (Previous Rank: #17)

The fastest risers in our ranks, Alabama has been powered by Robert Howardwho is swimming out of his mind in the 50 free so far this year. The whole sprint group is on fire and the relays are currently in line to score 132 points in our Swimulator, with all four shorter relays ranked inside the top 4 nationally. -JA

#11: Tennessee Volunteers (Previous Rank: #10)

Kyle Decoursey missed a couple meets and hasn’t looked quite like himself. But the backstroke group looks pretty solid between Matthew Garcia (47.6 vs ‘Bama) and Joey Reilman (1:45.4 vs Purdue and Wisconsin). -JA

#10: Georgia Bulldogs (Previous Rank: #8)

Freshman Andrew Abruzzo was hard to rank as a recruit because of his long course focus; he’s already come within a second of his lifetime best in the 500, indicating that his short course times should come into line with his long course performances. -RG

Javier Acevedo was really all this team had going for it in the sprints, and he’s out with a broken foot. The relays are going to be hurting as long as Acevedo’s foot is. -JA

#9: Florida Gators (Previous Rank: #11)

Freshmen are looking great, and the returners are posting highly competitive times as well. Khader Baqlah has been 1:34 in the 200 free already, and 8 other Gators have been under 1:40. Grant Sanders and Kieran Smith are leading a very good IM group. -SP

Their freshman class is outperforming any other team’s rookies. Their in-season pure sprint freestyle power still leaves a bit to be desired, but what else would you expect post-Dressel? -KO

#8: USC Trojans (Previous Rank: #9)

I like the way the Trojans look. They have a group of freshmen freestylers that are looking like a force to be reckoned with, especially in the 200 and up. -SP

Inflated invite times aside, USC still has to prove itself with some more regular season consistency. The talent is there, but the fact they most have suited swims this year makes it harder to gauge how they’ll be in March. -KO

#7: Louisville Cardinals (Previous Rank: #7)

The men haven’t gotten the SMU Classic bump the women did, but the top-tier guys were very solid at the ACC – Big Ten Challenge. Nicolas Albiero continues to crush in the NCAA format. -JA

#6: Michigan Wolverines (Previous Rank: #6)

Ricardo Vargas going 8:46 in the 1000 in November is huge. Between Vargas and Felix Auboeck, the Wolverines should have distance free points rolling in. Patrick Callan and Will Chan are looking to be huge impact freshmen, each leading the team in an event currently. -SP

One of the standout teams of the Big Ten vs ACC Challenge. I think it’s still a dead heat with Stanford, but Michigan has shown a little more so far, while Stanford is playing its cards closer to the vest. -JA

The Wolverines have one of the best mid/distance free groups in the country, and they’re on pace to put up big points in those events, but the sprint free relays are looking a little suspect after losing Paul Powers and James Peek. -RG

#5: Stanford Cardinal (Previous Rank: #4)

The summer Jack LeVant hype is wearing off a little bit, and Stanford hasn’t really geared up for any meet the way the other top programs have. Only 2 Stanford swimmers are in scoring range in the Swimulator… but both are freshmen. Daniel Roy is the other. -JA

#4: NC State Wolfpack (Previous Rank: #5)

Between Jacob Molacek, Justin Ress and Coleman Stewart, NC State has 3 of the top 4 times in the nation this season in the 100 free. Think their relay is going to be OK? -JA

The Wolfpack still has a strong sprint group, with Nyls Korstanje looking to be a big impact freshman. Coleman Stewart and Andreas Vazaios have put up big times early in the season. -SP

#3: Indiana Hoosiers (Previous Rank: #3)

The Hoosiers beat Texas without even getting anything special from Zach Apple. Just how good are these medleys going to be? -JA

Indiana has been looking really good as well this fall, and it should be noted that they have one of the best diving squads too. Mohamed Samy and Bruno Blaskovic have put up great free times. Gabriel Fantoni has been stellar in backstroke as expected, but has also posted a 47.9 100 fly, which should provide depth in an event where Vini Lanza is in the title hunt. Michael Brinegar being 9:00 in the 1000 is encouraging. Matthew Jerden is swimming faster than last fall, providing quality breaststroke depth to Ian Finnerty. This team has what it takes to win the NCAAs, and, yes, that means they have what it takes to beat Texas and Cal. -SP

#2: Texas Longhorns (Previous Rank: #1)

I think the top 3 is so close right now, but the picture may become a little clearer coming out of the November invites. The Longhorns are swimming well right now, including their big-impact freshmen class. Charlie Scheinfeld could prove to be their most important freshman come March. Still, Texas has some relay hurdles to overcome. I’m really interested to see how they swim at their invite in a few weeks. -SP

Are we doing this again? The defending champs don’t lose their favorite status until we see something definitive. Cal and IU look good, but we just don’t know enough about Texas yet for me to make a change at #1. -JA

Drew Kibler and Townley Haas could both be on the 200 free relay, but can/will score in the 500. John Shebat didn’t mention the 200 free relay when he talked about swimming the 200 IM. Shebat appears to be the flier on the 400 medley relay, but he just broke 48 for the first time ever. All that to say, I’d like to see how those two relays look like they may pan out before I’d think about ranking Texas over Cal. -RG

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

Da Bears just keeping swimming fast in-season. The 200 breast is shaping up to be a battle between last year’s top two finishers (Ian Finnerty and Andrew Seliskar), and three freshmen, and Reece Whitley may just come out on top. -RG

Cal is looking really good right now. Trenton Julian has been fast in his usual events, and dropped a somewhat out of nowhere lifetime best 4:23.23 500 free in the Cal vs Pacific dual. Seliskar is on fire this Fall, as we expected he would be. Carson Sand is 2 seconds faster in the 100 breast and 5 seconds faster in the 200 breast than he was at this point last season. If Seliskar swims the 200 breast at NCAAs instead of the 200 fly, Cal will have an absolutely killer breaststroke group between Seliskar, Reece Whitley, and Sand. -SP

Cal looks like the suffocatingly deep team we thought they’d be: currently, 12 Golden Bears are in range to score individual in our Swimulator. -JA

Full Ranking Ballots

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

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Did you forget?
2 years ago

One word: divers

Reply to  Did you forget?
2 years ago

Is this website called DiveDove?

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  Isaac
2 years ago

How ‘bout changing the name to “SplishSplash,” your all-purpose aquatics site! Got your swammers and dovers covered!

Reply to  Did you forget?
2 years ago

They factored diving into Purdue’s standing. Maybe they did IU and Texas divers too

Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

Agreed. Diving should be factored in.

Reply to  Hookem
2 years ago

Hookem/Longhorn – please abide by SS commenting policies and stick to one username in a thread. Thanks.

Also – diving is factored in. Purdue wouldn’t be at #16 if diving weren’t factored in.

Reply to  Did you forget?
2 years ago

I agree with you. With diving being an integral part of the sport “Swimming and Diving,” It’s time for SwimSwam to cover diving in some capacity.

Reply to  Longhorn
2 years ago

We do cover diving in some capacity. We have an entire channel dedicated to it: https://swimswam.com/news/diving/

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Thank you that’s awesome.

2 years ago

Thank you for pointing out Purdue’s diving. Truly world class. But with arguably the best facility in B1G (picked for the B1G vs. ACC challenge), awesome school with fantastic programs (esp. engineering), in a great HS swimming state, they can’t field a men’s swim team that is better than 2/3 of B1G schools. They have finished 4th in B1G twice in the last 5 years and 13th at NCAA’s, but would have been 8th and outside the top 25 without diving. They never get top flight Indiana swimmers. Only NCAA swim scorers are foreign. Top 15 recruiting class in 2013 and not a single one had an NCAA individual swim. Uugh!

IU Swammer
Reply to  meeee
2 years ago

To be fair, you had an NCAA qualifier who passed to go to his country’s Olympic trials.

2 Cents
Reply to  meeee
2 years ago

Really sounds like you could replace Purdue with Georgia Tech, and B1G with ACC and say the exact same thing. Purdue does have better diving, GT better engineering, but the 2 seem pretty interchangeable in your comment.

2 Cents
Reply to  2 Cents
2 years ago

Just to elaborate, GT has the best facility in the ACC, Georgia is arguably the best state for HS swimming (VA might be, but too many of those DC area swimmers are technically MD) in the ACC, and yet they can’t really field a team to ever challenge for 4th in the ACC. And, most of their best swimmers ever have been foreign. (I guess that kind of comes with the territory of the nature of the school and location in a big city).

Reply to  2 Cents
2 years ago

Georgia isn’t even close to the top HS swimming state.

2 Cents
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
2 years ago

I meant for states that include ACC schools. I would say it is in better standing in the ACC than IN is in the B1G.

Samuel Huntington
2 years ago

Re: Shebat and 100 fly – his long course time this summer was very good and we know he is fantastic in short course so I am confident he will split 44 100 fly

Seliskar will be scary good but as always what events should he swim?

Samy looking good for Indiana.

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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