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.
The change in rankings from October to November was negligible with teams racing in the odd dual meet here and there, but after the mid-season invites in late November/early December, we have now have a much firmer grasp on the NCAA landscape heading into 2022.
On the women’s side, the top four spots remain the same, but we’ve seen some major shakeups in the middle. 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: Arizona Wildcats, Purdue Boilermakers, Virginia Tech H2okies, Florida State Seminoles
#25: Pennsylvania Quakers + (Previous Rank: Unranked)
As long as Lia Thomas competes at NCAAs, you can’t keep the Quakers off the rankings.
#24: Northwestern Wildcats -4 (Previous Rank: 19)
#23: Minnesota Golden Gophers + (Previous Rank: Unranked)
Diving is a big part of Minnesota’s move into the top 25, and they’ve also had some strong showings from underclasswomen in the pool recently.
#22: Auburn Tigers +3 (Previous Rank: 25)
#21: Texas A&M Aggies -1 (Previous Rank: 20)
#20: Arkansas Razorbacks + (Previous Rank: Unranked)
#19: North Carolina Tar Heels -3 (Previous Rank: 16)
#18: Florida Gators -5 (Previous Rank: 13)
Talia Bates is great and the Zavaros twins return from Canada. Do the Gators have the speed to compete in the all-important relays?
#17: Missouri Tigers +1 (Previous Rank: 18)
#16: Arizona State Sun Devils +8 (Previous Rank: 24)
#15: Indiana Hoosiers -1 (Previous Rank: 14)
#14: Wisconsin Badgers +3 (Previous Rank: 17)
Phoebe Bacon was sizzling at the Minnesota invite, while Iowa transfer Mallory Jump should give their medley relays a boost. Paige McKenna also is primed to score big points in the distance frees.
#13: Kentucky Wildcats -1 (Previous Rank: 12)
#12: Georgia Bulldogs -3 (Previous Rank: 9)
The Dawgs held their cards close to the vest at the GT invite, but Hartman and Fa’Amausili can show up in March. This team’s ceiling will be determined by its talented freshman class.
#11: Ohio State Buckeyes -1 (Previous Rank: 10)
#10: Louisville Cardinals +1 (Previous Rank: 11)
The Cardinals were hit hard with illness around invite season so it’s tough to get a read on where they are compared to the rest of the NCAA.
#9: USC Trojans +6 (Previous Rank: 15)
We know Dobler is great and Calypso Sheridan has scored major NCAA points in the past. Lea Maurer also has the chops to steer this team amid some turmoil with the head coach, while freshman Marlene Kahler is another huge factor in their success.
#8: Michigan Wolverines -2 (Previous Rank: 6)
MacNeil and Carter remain favorites for individual titles, but how the freshmen stack up against the country’s best is still TBD.
#7: Alabama Crimson Tide +1 (Previous Rank: 8)
Alabama impressed in Margo Geer’s first major meet as head coach and gets a big jump up the rankings, but I’m waiting until SECs to change my ‘Bama stock rating to “strong buy.”
#6: Tennessee Volunteers +1 (Previous Rank: 7)
This might be the deepest team that Kredich has had in Knoxville. They don’t have the Erika Brown-esque “ringer,” but there’s a slew of potential NCAA scorers all across this roster.
#5: Cal Golden Bears – (Previous Rank: 5)
Maybe haven’t performed up to the this ranking thus far, but the Bears have enough talent and experience (especially on relays) to keep them in the top five.
#4: Texas Longhorns – (Previous Rank: 4)
#3: NC State Wolfpack – (Previous Rank: 3)
#2: Stanford Cardinal – (Previous Rank: 2)
Meehan’s teams historically swim much faster in March than November, but a big question looms: Who swims breaststroke? With Bartel’s retirement and Raab barely racing mid-season, that’s the glaring hole in an otherwise strong roster.
#1: Virginia Cavaliers – (Previous Rank: 1)
Still the clear favorites at NCAAs against Stanford. In our Week 1 invite “mashup,” scoring out a hypothetical NCAA championship meet with all teams that were competing, the Cavs outscored the Cardinal despite the absence of Gretchen Walsh.