2021-2022 NCAA Men’s Power Rankings: December 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 our comments section.

Michael Hamann contributed to this report.

Previous Ranks:

Mid-season invites gave us a lot of clarity on the NCAA landscape as we move into the new year, with conference championship meets less than two months away.

The Arizona State Sun Devils are the biggest movers by a longshot, coming off a phenomenal performance at the NC State Invite that was spearheaded by freshman Leon Marchand. Check out our December Power Rankings below.

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.

Honorable Mentions: Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers, North Carolina Tar Heels

#25: Northwestern Wildcats + (Previous Rank: Unranked)

Federico Burdisso hasn’t quite mastered the transition to SCY yet, but if he can by March this will be a team that could make some noise with him and breaststroker Kevin Houseman.

#24: Pennsylvania Quakers + (Previous Rank: Unranked)

Freshman Matt Fallon has the top time in the country in the 200 breast, 9th in 100 breast and 17th in the 200 IM—worth 29 “psych sheet points” at this point mid-season. That point total has been top 25 at NCAAs every year since 2015.

#23: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -2 (Previous Rank: 21)

Batur Unlu, Mert Kilavuz and Christian Ferraro all bring scoring-range times to the table for the Ramblin’ Wreck.

#22: Minnesota Golden Gophers +1 (Previous Rank: 23)

This team is all about senior breaststroker Max McHugh. Can some others take a step up to score a medley relay with his blazing breaststroke splits?

#21: LSU Tigers +3 (Previous Rank: 24)

Does Brooks Curry have enough speed to carry a Tiger relay or two to NCAA scoring? He’ll certainly be a title challenger individually.

#20: USC Trojans +2 (Previous Rank: 22)

#19: Florida State Seminoles – (Previous Rank: 19)

#18: Texas A&M Aggies -2 (Previous Rank: 16)

The Aggies always have a strong diving program, which will help complement some of their projected swimming points.

#17: Virginia Tech H2okies -6 (Previous Rank: 11)

If the NCAA team title revolved around butterfly points, the Hokies would be in great shape. Unfortunately, VT’s depth in the other strokes hasn’t caught up to their stout butterfly group.

#16: Harvard Crimson +1 (Previous Rank: 17)

Dean Farris is the headliner, but Umitcan Gures holds the #3 100 fly time in the nation and they stack up well to put up big relay points.

#15: Tennessee Volunteers +3 (Previous Rank: 18)

Led by a strong senior class of Epitropov, Houlie and Mota, the Vols have the experience to handle March. Can they develop enough sprint freestylers to make noise in the relays?

#14: Missouri Tigers -1 (Previous Rank: 13)

Danny Kovac may be one of the most underrated swimmers in the NCAA and the Tigers have a sneaky high number of potential scorers. Don’t be shocked if this team challenges for a Top 10 finish.

#13: Stanford Cardinal -1 (Previous Rank: 12)

Andrei Minakov could be a one-man wrecking crew for the Card come March and should be able to raise their relays to ‘A’ final scoring range.

#12: Alabama Crimson Tide +2 (Previous Rank: 14)

#11: Ohio State Buckeyes -3 (Previous Rank: 8)

#10: Virginia Cavaliers -1 (Previous Rank: 9)

Virginia is perhaps saving a big taper for ACCs (rather than mid-season invite), and by then Matt King and Jack Aikins should be in range for big individual points.

#9: Michigan Wolverines +1 (Previous Rank: 10)

#8: Indiana Hoosiers -3 (Previous Rank: 5)

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

The biggest question mark about the Dawgs? The Omicron variant. WJR holder Matt Sates is potentially stuck in South Africa due to worldwide travel restrictions placed on the country. If he arrives in Athens in time to swim at NCAA’s UGA will challenge for a trophy.

#6: Louisville Cardinals -2 (Previous Rank: 4)

Were missing a lot of key swimmers at the Purdue Invite, so it’s hard to put much stock into the team’s showing there. The potential of adding breaststroker Denis Petrashov next month could be big for them, but like Sates, who knows if that will pan out this season.

#5: Arizona State Sun Devils +10 (Previous Rank: 15)

Leon Marchand has been a revelation and could feasibly win three individual titles. Add in some relay depth, plus Grant House, David Schlicht and Jack Dolan, this is a team that will be in the fight for a top-five showing.

#4: NC State Wolfpack +2 (Previous Rank: 6)

Relays remain among the country’s best across the board, and I don’t think they showed all of their cards at their home invite. Kacper Stokowski is flying.

#3: Florida Gators – (Previous Rank: 3)

The Gators maintain their spot as a top three teams due to the strong senior class that’s led by Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke.

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

The Cal relays miss Ryan Hoffer, but they’ve got enough talent to be fighting for victories come NCAAs. The Bears are strong everywhere and had freshman Gabriel Jett show some massive improvements in Minnesota.

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

Texas holds strong at #1 after an impressive showing in Minnesota. Everyone from freshman Luke Hobson to grad senior Cameron Auchinachie was lights out. Jordan Windle potentially being out of NCAAs would knock their diving points down a ton, however.

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2 years ago

I suppose qualifying these rankings as subjective is fair game, and it certainly generates a lot of traffic to the site. And maybe even at the end of the day, individual swimmers like Brooks Curry alone are good enough to score more points than some teams in NCAAs, but if you are going to include LSU in this, you should include Arizona and Brooks Fail along the same lines. And if ‘where they are at the moment’ factors at all, its pretty clear that Arizona/Fail is far ahead of Curry/LSU.

If the criteria for these ‘team rankings’ is just hocus pocus and crystal balls, then heck I suppose you can stick anyone in there.

2 years ago

I’ve said it from the first pre-season ranking, I think UVA finishes top 5. That being said, I think their ranking here is correct in being lower (not that my opinion on it matters, just saying I think its accurate right now).

Fighting Irish
2 years ago

Notre Dame getting snubbed again in the rankings after a good OSU Invite.

Reply to  Fighting Irish
2 years ago

At present, Notre Dame has one individual swimmer (and no relays) in an NCAA scoring position. Josh Bottleberghe is having a great season, but unless Jack Hoagland comes back full-strength in the spring semester, it’s hard to see where they’re going to pick up another 20-25 points at NCAAs.

Antani Ivanov
2 years ago

Putting us 17th is just laughable but oookay 🤣

Reply to  Antani Ivanov
2 years ago

I am surprised to see them knock VT down so many spots. Did they lose any points from graduation? I know some swimmers were missing at the invite. I think VT will score well in the BR, sprint free, mid distance free, and IM. I don’t see VT finishing outside of the top 12.

Reply to  Brian
2 years ago

They lost one relay swimmer to graduation everyone else returned

2 years ago

When are the SwimSwam DIII power rankings coming out for December? 😉

Reply to  YourLocalD3Swimmer
2 years ago

Think of all the Kenyon / Denison fans losing it in the comments!! Click bait magic!

Say's Phoebe
Reply to  YourLocalD3Swimmer
2 years ago

I don’t know if SwimSwam has a power ranking article, but the college coaches poll article for DIII was posted the other day.

2 years ago

The Vols are adding three more international team members- two swimmers and a diver. Don’t forget they also gave a pretty strong dive team, providing additional points!

Reply to  Notavfl
2 years ago

Three big swimmers IIRC.

Tarasenko: 19.6, 42.8, 1:35.0
Kammann: 43.5 free, 46.9 back, 45.9 fly
Vargas: 1:35.2, 4:15

Watch out for Vols at SECs baby!

Reply to  VFL
2 years ago

Yes the boyVOLForeign Legion will show up for sure

James Beam
2 years ago

Not sure why Indiana lost a few spots, especially they swam and dove at the OSU meet.

2 years ago

Best part about all the whining here is that it doesn’t matter !!!

Maybe Braden hates Auburn, or can’t stand LSU, but his opinion and the article have no relevance on the outcome of NCAA’s (unless he bribes off the officials or creates a current in only the Auburn lanes….)

So everyone chill out and remember, nobody cares who got 16th place anyway…..

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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