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.
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)
#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)
#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)
#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)
#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)
#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.