2019-2020 NCAA Women’s 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 are around the corner, and it’s time for our Power Ranks, updated after this fall’s run of dual meets. A couple sprint-heavy teams are rising into the top 10, though there’s been little change in our top 7.

Check out our Swimulator for some early NCAA scoring projections based on current national ranks.

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.

(Also receiving votes: Notre Dame, Duke, Minnesota)

#20: Ohio State Buckeyes (Previous Rank: #18)

Ohio State really hasn’t geared up for any meets this fall, but three relays already sit in scoring range in the Swimulator. Watch for a breakout meet at the Buckeyes’ home invite this month. Junior Katie Trace had only been 4:23 in the 400 IM at this point last year before going 4:12 at midseason and 4:07 at NCAAs. She’s already been 4:17.9 this fall in dual meet season. -JA

#19: Northwestern Wildcats (Previous Rank: N/A)

Maybe it’s a little bold to get Northwestern all the way into the top 20. But the addition of breaststroker Hannah Brunzell has their medley relays almost as fast as they were at the end of last year. The worry is that star IMer Calypso Sheridan won’t peak for NCAAs with a bigger focus on Australian Olympic Trials. But for now, Northwestern looks legit. -JA

Recruiting successes, especially one for 2025, have made NU look really good lately. Sheridan is a beast, though, and the time could be now for some big moves from this squad. -KO

#18: Missouri Tigers (Previous Rank: N/A)

Suited swims all season will make this team very hard to pin down, but Sarah Thompson has already shown some ridiculous sprint speed and the freshmen, underrated in my opinion, will be key in sprint free and breast. -KO

#17: Arizona State Sun Devils (Previous Rank: #14)

Cierra Runge‘s speed appears to be on the upswing – she split 49.5 to run down UCLA’s medley relay in a dual meet last weekend. She was 47-high on a relay at NCAAs last year, and improving her speed would bode well for her 200 free and her relay value to ASU. -JA

#16: Wisconsin Badgers (Previous Rank: #17)

Beata Nelson is fantastic already, but there needs to be some more sprint speed here, or the relays are going to poke a hole in this ship. – KO

Beata Nelson can be as fasta as she wants – she scored 60 last year and she can only score 60 again this year. The depth just doesn’t seem to be there yet. -JA

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

Texas A&M always has somebody come out of the woodwork to be a difference-maker in the post-season. A top candidate this year? Senior Raena EldridgeShe was 23.1/51.0 in free and 55.5 in back coming out of high school, and has steadily dropped to 22.4/48.8 and 53.0 last year as a redshirt junior. This year, she’s already been 22.9 and 50.5, compared to just 23.1/51.6 at this point last year. -JA

#14: Indiana Hoosiers (Previous Rank: #12)

Emily Weiss is definitely a taper swimmer. But I’m not sure she’s quite up to the task of filling Lilly King’s shoes – that is, taking medley relays with some major holes and dragging them kicking and screaming into the NCAA’s top 8. -JA

#13: Florida Gators (Previous Rank: #16)

Some of their sprinters (like Gabrielle Hillis) are turning a corner for the better, here. The freshmen are doing their part, too, and Sherridon Dressel is on fire. – KO

The Florida women feel like they have a ton of momentum. Sherridon Dressel is having a breakout season already, and everything feels full steam ahead right now for the Gators -BK

#12: Louisville Cardinals (Previous Rank: #13)

Their dual meet times aren’t giving me the excitement of a get-out swim on distance day, but I trust Albiero and his staff to make it all work in March despite losing Mallory Comerford to graduation. Their fast swimming at the SMU Classic was just a preview. — KO

Louisville rates very highly in the Swimulator right now (2nd nationally), but that’s mostly because they went so fast at the SMU Classic like they usually do. Some good news: Lainey Visscher is way faster than she was at this time last year (22.6/49.8 compared to 23.5/52.3), which suggests she may be returning to her 2018 form after a down 2019. -JA

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

I wasn’t banking on anything from Eva Merrell in our last rankings, but news that she’s out for the year with a torn ACL certainly doesn’t help. -JA

#10: Auburn Tigers (Previous Rank: #11)

AJ Kutsch is really impressing in her first season with Auburn. Abbey Webb is looking good, too; the sprint free relays are going to be scary good this March. – KO

Auburn probably gets a little more rankings bump than they should because of the SMU Classic, which is usually an early-season outlier in terms of nation-leading times. But look at this sprint corps (22.0/48.2 Julie Meynen, 22.1/48.4 Claire Fisch, and 1:46.3/50.2 Abbey Webb) and tell me they don’t look like a big relay scoring team. -JA

Gary Taylor has everything clicking at Auburn. This team is deeper than you might think based purely on name recognition. -BK

#9: Kentucky Wildcats (Previous Rank: #9)

Freshman Caitlin Brooks has already been within a second of her lifetime-best in the 100 back. Backstroke U strikes again. -JA

#8: USC Trojans (Previous Rank: #10)

The sprinters look great in the early goings, between Marta Ciesla (22.2/48.2), Jemma Schlicht (22.6/48.8), Laticia Transom (22.7/49.1/1:46.8) and Tatum Wade (49.4/1:48.2). Their season-best composite 400 free relay time – not even factoring in relay exchanges – is a half-second off what it took to score at NCAAs last year. -JA

The sprint free group is quietly very strong. – KO

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

We all knew how good Maggie MacNeil was, even before her 49.5 in the 100 fly at an intrasquad meet, while apparently swimming through vicious water-bugs that scared off all of Michigan’s competitors. My concern is still how they reload the relays with so many top freestylers graduating. The women’s team didn’t look very deep at that intrasquad. -JA

The Wolverines need to show some more sprint free speed to ensure that they can hang with the top 5, relays-wise. But MacNeil is spooky fast, indeed. – KO

No, the Michigan intrasquad times technically don’t count as official times…but they were still crazy fast. -BK

#6: Tennessee Volunteers (Previous Rank: #6)

Erika Brown is on an early tear. The difference-makers at this point are probably Bailey Grinter and Stanzi Moseley, who were not great at NCAAs last year, but have been fast so far this season. -JA

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

Freshman Kelly Pash already taken a full second off her lifetime-best 200 fly. That bodes extremely well for her 200 free, which already ranks 3rd nationally. Pash is also 3rd in the nation in the 400 IM, but a 400IM/200FR combo is probably not happening, so keep an eye on Pash’s potential NCAA day 2 events (500 free/200 IM/50 free) for drops from her bests (4:44.7/1:58.0/22.7) at a mid-season rest meet. -JA

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

It’s been an awfully quiet fall in Raleigh with only one official dual meet so far. (Recruiting has been plenty busy, though). Sprint star Ky-Lee Perry didn’t compete, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for her at this weekend’s Kentucky Quad Meet. Kylee Alons (49.3 free and 53.0 back) has already been great this year and doesn’t look at risk for a sophomore slump. -JA

#3: Virginia Cavaliers (Previous Rank: #3)

Kate Douglass is jumping stratospheres – in the last month, she’s gone from the clear-cut #1 recruit in her class to being in the conversation for top domestic NCAA recruit of the last four years. (For reference, that would put her in competition with names like Beata Nelson, Brooke Forde, or Taylor Ruck). The question remains: what exactly will she swim at NCAAs? 50FR/100FL/100FR? 200IM/100BR/200BR? Five relays? Has anyone tried her in a mile yet? -JA

Kate Douglass is impossible to ignore. I want to see her to a 200 free or something — her endurance is definitely there in the breaststroke. -KO

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

Abbey Weitzeil is such a weapon. Cal already has two freshmen (Rachel Klinker and Sarah Dimeco) projected to score in our Swimulator rankings, so keep an eye on a perhaps-underrated rookie crop. -JA

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

It’s interesting to see Amalie Fackenthal going a huge lifetime best in the 100 back in October. We haven’t seen this squad at full strength yet, but freshman Alexandra Crisera is already responding well to her new training environment based on her times so far. – KO


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

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3 years ago

Seems like y’all forgot the Tennessee UVA meet just 3 weeks ago. Ya know, the one where y’all said, “Even though we ranked both Virginia teams ahead of both Tennesee teams in our initial power rankings, the Volunteers came out on top in both the men’s and women’s competitions.” Good thing y’all haven’t learned your lesson yet!

3 years ago

If only we were ranking dual meets 🤷🤷🤷

3 years ago

Good thing TN did not rest to beat UVA.

3 years ago

There is a big difference between college dual meets and college championship meets. Dual meets can be won with a core of top swimmers because of the scoring system. Championships require a deeper team with 16-18 swimmers who can score in multiple events in most conferences. Predicting conference and NCAA Championship results with dual meets is very tough.

3 years ago

Ridiculous. Swimswam sleeping on the PACK again? A sixth place vote?! The bias is unreal.

3 years ago

Everyone else in the country thinks we have a pro-NC State bias. Try and keep up 😂😂.

BTW – last year, we picked them to finish 7th at NCAAs, and they finished exactly 7th.


ACC fan
3 years ago

I see the PACK listed as 4th, why do you say 6th?

3 years ago

Hi West Coast Swammer – I presume that the ASU-UCLA result will be more-heavily reflected in the CSCAA poll, which is a dual-meet poll. Our poll is more-focused on end-of-season, so while it does react to regular-season results, not as dramatically as the dual meet poll would.

Arizona State still returns all 45 individual scoring points from NCAA, while UCLA returns 0. Those 45 individual points for Arizona State come from only 3 swimmers – so that’s where the incongruence between a dual meet result and an NCAA Championship results from.

Lane 8
3 years ago

I’ve been waiting forever for this…and finally.

3 years ago

Tennessee girls WILL win SECS for the first time ever this year AND WILL finish top 4 at NCAAs. You can bank on that.

Reply to  Bambi
3 years ago

They definitely have the fire power to get it done!

Reply to  SEC
3 years ago

Tennessee beat Virginia a couple of weeks ago–and yet is 6th to UVA’s 3rd? Interesting logic, there!

Reply to  Armchair
3 years ago

Hi Armchair – this is not a dual meet poll. The CSCAA should be releasing its next dual meet poll this week – I think you’ll get the result you want there. This poll is focused on NCAA Championship placing.

6th year senior
3 years ago

Florida should be over Georgia. Side note, does Cierra Runge have the longest running NCAA swimming career?

3 years ago

Ohio State Women’s team looks majorly out of shape at the moment, this ranking seems completely fair. No impressive performances out of them through the first 3 meets, which doesn’t as a surprise.

Reply to  ClawedKirschner
3 years ago

It’s a long season. Let’s see how they do at their mid season meet and Big Tens before you write them off.

Reply to  ClawedKirschner
3 years ago

Think before posting degrading body image comments. Swimmers read SwimSwam amongst swim fans and it’s discouraging to read someone comment about the weight of a college female athlete.

3 years ago

Not sure I read this as a degrading body image comment?

3 years ago

Maybe I’m old and the meaning has changed, but I’ve never taken out of shape to mean fat. He’s just saying they’re not swimming well.

Reply to  Patrick
3 years ago

I agree with Patrick. I take out of shape to mean they are struggling to finish their races well.

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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