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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katie’s gators cap :)
1 month ago

that ASU jump 😧

1 month ago

The auburn disrespect is just ridiculous

former swim
Reply to  swimdaag
1 month ago

zero points last year. zero.

Respect has to be earned

Reply to  former swim
1 month ago

3 relays qualified plus a 1 breast title contender. Deserves to be at least in the 20-25 range

Reply to  swimdaag
1 month ago

To call Mikuta a contender is laughable. He’s great, and he has a great shot at making the A final, but he’s not touching McHugh

Scotty P
Reply to  Swimm
1 month ago

McHugh will go 49.7. I don’t think he has the NCAA record in him but he will be close.

Reply to  swimdaag
1 month ago

Agreed. Definitely should have at least been mentioned.

Reply to  swimdaag
1 month ago

Auburn has been irrelevant for many years…perhaps that will change, perhaps not. It will be nice to get the SEC back to a better level of excellence, so pulling for the WocoMAN to get it done. Fla is tough, UGA might be after which the SEC is tanking…a once proud conference is languishing in mediocrity.

Reply to  Fauci4pres
1 month ago

There are a lot of bad takes in this comment section, but this is one of the worst. Auburn has had a poor run by its standards the last few years, but before 2016 had finished in the top ten 24 years in a row with eight championships over that stretch. There are only three schools with a more recent NCAA championship. If Auburn is irrelevant, there are pretty much only two relevant schools at this level. And while this year’s group is not a championship contender, it is certainly not crazy to suggest that they will be pushing for the top 25.

1 month ago

disrespectful to not have arizona even ranked… brooks fail alone is 40 ish points

Reply to  $$$$
1 month ago

They also have a potential A finals 800 relay, but not much else.

SoCal Swammer
1 month ago

Looks like PAC-12’s is gonna be a good one to watch this year

war damn
1 month ago

swimswam just can’t bring themselves to write anything about auburn huh?

Braden Keith(@braden)
Reply to  war damn
1 month ago

There are literally 100 pages of articles about Auburn on SwimSwam: https://swimswam.com/?s=auburn&is_v=1

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Why are college swimmers so eager to take credit for things they haven’t yet accomplished?

Auburn didn’t score a single point at NCAAs last year, and now they wanna run in the comments thumping their chests like they’re the kings of the jungle.

To quote the great Snoop Dogg: errybody’s got their cup but they ain’t chipped in.

Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

To have beat Georgia Tech, Florida State, and UGA at mid seasons. They deserve at least top 20. And y’all tryna say Auburn irrelevant, but LSU is on the list.

Reply to  war damn
1 month ago


Reply to  war damn
1 month ago

Why write anything about AU — they have been irrelevant for years.

1 month ago

GT: Pumputis is still on their on their roster and he would be a huge key on their relays considering he has been an A finalist in years past. Is he still swimming? If so, they move up big time!
ASU: not sure how you call a high school kid who finaled in two olympic events a “revelation”?!? I picked them early to be a top 5 contender this year.
UGA: their invite performance kept them at 7th? They got 5th of 5 schools at meet. They were 4th at NCAAs. I know they were sick big time. With Sates, top 5. Without him, top 10.

Swim nerd
Reply to  Ghost
1 month ago

Marchand’s adjustment to SCY so quickly is what makes him so scary

Alex Wilson
Reply to  Swim nerd
1 month ago

Agree! I have had the privilege of watching him in two different competitions and his turns, which are often a weak area in LCM foreign swimmers, are excellent.

Reply to  Ghost
1 month ago

International LCM talent doesn’t always pan out how we American’s expect they will, so I think the Marchand comment is fair. Just as an example, Marina Garcia was a world finalist and 1:06 / 2:23 LCM breaststroker but struggled to really find her footing long course.

Reply to  swimswamswum
1 month ago

Most Olympic high school finalists pan out! It isn’t that difficult to figure out! Maybe that was a Marina thing and not the norm!

Reply to  Ghost
1 month ago

Yeah GT has the potential to move into the 10-15 range. Pumputis, Ferraro, Unlu, & their international freshmen are a crazy contingent.

Reply to  Ghost
1 month ago

Most signs point to Sates not joining UGA this year.

1 month ago

how’s arizona not even mentioned? fail scored 42 points last year

Reply to  daddie
1 month ago

Arizona is mentioned in the “daddie” post

1 month ago

I am actually in agreement with this list for the most part. Usually there are one or 2 things I am confused on and strongly disagree with, but this is a really solid ranking. If Sates arrives, dawgs could jump to 5 (though I would still be concerned about the medley relays due to not having a competent breaststroker)

My only big disagreement is about Georgia Tech. They will finish in the top 15

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimm
Reply to  Swimm
1 month ago

Big IF, but if Sates arrives, he might have to be the breastroker?

Reply to  Swimm
1 month ago

No way GaTech will finish in the top 16 – bank on it!

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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