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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FLOCO
3 years ago

How is it that Auburn didn’t even get a mention….can’t believe they are that low on the list.

2 Cents
Reply to  FLOCO
3 years ago

Did you see their results vs Virginia?? Let’s put it nicely… Virginia had MUCH better sprints than Auburn. Yes, you read that correctly and that is a true statement. To be fair, Virginia has improved their sprints greatly in the last few years, but still, that’s how bad Auburn is this year. They are not even trending up. Why do you think Sergio left for Virginia Tech?? and they are so bad to not even get a mention either, yet they are easily better than Auburn.

ACC Fanatic
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

You mean Sergio’s VT team that just knocked off Ohio State and Notre Dame while posting two top-6 NCAA Relay times for that timeframe?

2 Cents
Reply to  ACC Fanatic
3 years ago

Yes, that one. The same VT that is also not ranked and that is (as I mentioned earlier) much better than Auburn. Hence, why he left Auburn for a better team is an accurate statement.

RegionRat
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

Well they did just lose the majority of their points due to transfers (some leaving with Sergio). Auburn is going to have a tough couple years trying to rebuild, but don’t act like replacing the entire coaching staff has had no impact

SocratesLOVESolivesoil
Reply to  FLOCO
3 years ago

AU has gone from the penthouse to another house. They may not score at NCAAs this season or if they do will muster less than 25 points. Coach Taylor is a proven commodity and a great coach. He will turn the program around. Whether or not they reach close to or the top is to be determined. The SEC is not what is was a few years ago on the Men’s side. The women are a little ahead of the men. I suspect the conference will struggle (and I have significant insights from SEC coaches) for the next couple of years generally. AU is a great part of a wonderful conference. I say go all teams in the SEC, get… Read more »

Socrateshatesoliveoil
3 years ago

It is SWIMSWAM and yes divers are covered since they swim to the wall to exit the diving tank albeit it slowly and awkwardly!! Come on everyone lets get along and support swimmers, divers, men, women, officials and the AMAZING people who bring SWIMSWAM TO the WORLD! I believe Mel Stewart turns one half a century in a few days!

BreastStrokeBestStroke
3 years ago

Virginia tech? Two top 10 relays and they beat Notre Dame and Ohio state

Robert Gibbs
Reply to  BreastStrokeBestStroke
3 years ago

It was a toss-up for me between VT and Florida State. I gave the edge to the Hokies because of their relays, Lane Stone’s early season swimming, and the fact that they still have diver Ben Schiesel, who scored all nine of their NCAA points last year.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Robert Gibbs
3 years ago

Also, is Antani Ivanov coming in at midseason? His SCM times convert to 1:35 free and 46.7/1:43 fly (LCM conversions slightly better but they sometimes aren’t as trustworthy). Would be an important pickup for a team that could use a relay flyer and fourth 800 FR leg.

Crazy
3 years ago

Crazy that Purdue divers can get them there but believe it. All 5 of them could easily score at NCAAs, so should be interesting to see how many they can qualify in at the end of the year

Superfan
Reply to  Crazy
3 years ago

If similar to last year, the top 4-5 teams dominate a lot of the points so Purdue diving alone could score enough to be close to top 10. Or any team with a couple studs and a couple relays could be there too since it doesn’t take a whole lot to get there

MR O
3 years ago

Thoughts on Tennessee (men)? Will they finish top 10 this year and how good will they be in a couple of years? Does the coaches have great reputation in the US? I know that the sprint coach Lance Asti will be on the coaching staff at Worlds this winter, so I guess he’s a great coach. I will hopefully sign for them later this week.

Admin
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

A big unknown for Tennessee this year, and in the next several, is Michael Houlie from South Africa (YOG champion in the 50 breast). If he makes it to campus and swims to his potential (he’s committed but not on the roster yet), that’s a huge boost for them (though senior Matt Dunphy is a solid medley option who will probably score individually as well).

They’ve got an oustanding diver, one of the top 3 in the country in terms of total point value. That helps a lot!

Superfan
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Their relays should be solid and relays always help plus diving

MR O
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Okey, thank you 🙂
Any thoughts on why there aren’t more top recruits choosing Tennessee? They have amazing facilities and great coaches and team spirit.

Admin
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

That’s a complex question. There are lots of programs with great facilities and great coaches and team spirit. Hard to make broad sweeping statements about why top recruits choose certain programs over others.

Speed Racer
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

Great facility, horrible air quality.

Swimming Fan
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

It could be because they lost a couple of very good assistant coaches over the last couple of years, plus they were sporadic at best in responding to at least some recruits with interest in their program.

KDSwim
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

Tenn had a pretty good meet against Texas this weekend, losing in the final relay. Walsh in 200free was a big win and good time, Dunphy won 100/200 Breast with top 15 times and both backstrokes improved over this article’s quoted times. They did win 2medley relay and if they get the sprint breaststroker next semester should score high.

KDSwim
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

I just noticed your mentioning you might be a swimmer deciding where to go. You really should not focus on where a program will place, but on first is the school a good fit academically, socially and how you feel about the team members you will spend many years with. Next would be coaches and how they can help your career, if you are at a level that swim career matters. Coaches come and go, don’t base your decision just on a coach. If your few years after college are not likely to be swimming related go where you can get the best education and career prospects your current swimming talents can “buy”, balancing where you can enjoy life before… Read more »

MR O
Reply to  KDSwim
3 years ago

Okey KDSWIM, thank you, I appreciate it!
I will go pro after college, so I want to be in an environment that’s pushing me to reach my potential. The reason I want to swim at a top 10-15 program is because I want to help the team to fight for the NCAA title. I have a great feeling about Tennessee.

Horninco
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

MR. O

As was mentioned you should choose a school that fits all of your other needs besides swimming. Your plan is to go pro after you graduate but as with other sports there is no guarantee that that will happen. so it is best to also make sure that you’re at a place where you get a degree that you want that you can use in the event that swimming is not pan out the way that you hope.

If you’re goal is to win a national title is a swimmer than that would severely limits where you decide to go. If you look at the recent history of champions in runners up their only 3-4… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  Horninco
3 years ago

To be m ore specific: top 2 teams have been the same in 8 of the last 9 seasons (Cal and Texas). Only exception was 2013, where Michigan won and Cal was 2nd.

I wonder if there are any other college sports with less parity than men’s swimming at the D1 level…

SocratesLOVESolivesoil
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Abalama Footieball

2 Cents
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Currently? or in history? Clearly in history there has been the same kind of thing… see UCLA basketball. Or even expand it to a sport like MBB where you have to take into consideration the 200-300 schools who play D1 ball as opposed to the small number of schools who have swimming. 1-2 in swimming is like 1-10 in a sport like MBB, or 1-6 or 1-7 in a sport like baseball. Check out smaller sports like hockey, rifle or womens sports like basketball, rowing. You will find it. especially when you consider the number of programs involved.

SocratesLOVESolivesoil
Reply to  MR O
3 years ago

Mr O. Would that be O for ORANGE??? To try and offer you a seasoned perspective: If you find a school after doing due diligence and believe it is the one. Go for it. Only one Team wins the NCAA and while there are conference championships the distribution of schools which win even those are slim. It is a marriage of sorts where swimming is a huge part but just a part of the total experience. The friendships, experiences, life lessons and education you enjoy will carry great weight for all the days of your life. Regarding Coach Asti he is considered to be a very fine coach and very fine man by anyone who knows him. Best wishes to… Read more »

Samuel Huntington
3 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.

meeee
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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).

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

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

2 Cents
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
3 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.

Did you forget?
3 years ago

One word: divers

Isaac
Reply to  Did you forget?
3 years ago

Is this website called DiveDove?

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  Isaac
3 years ago

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

Superfan
Reply to  Did you forget?
3 years ago

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

Hookem
Reply to  Superfan
3 years ago

Agreed. Diving should be factored in.

Admin
Reply to  Hookem
3 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.

Longhorn
Reply to  Did you forget?
3 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.

Admin
Reply to  Longhorn
3 years ago

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

Longhorn
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Thank you that’s awesome.

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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