2021-2022 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 our comments section.

Braden Keith, Spencer Penland, Andrew Mering and Robert Gibbs contributed to this report.

Previous Ranks:

As we saw with our men’s rankings, the majority of the top teams for the women maintain their places from last month. With mid-season invites beginning this week, we’ll get our first glimpse into what these teams look like with some semblances of rest, though that will vary from school to school.

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: Akron Zips, Florida State Seminoles, Miami Hurricanes, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

#25: Auburn Tigers -1 (Previous Rank: 24)

Have been going up against stiff competition, but they’ve got to be encouraged by the early-season performances from freshman Ellie Waldrep-JS

#24: Arizona State Sun Devils -1 (Previous Rank: 23)

Intrigued at what Emma Nordin will drop at the Wolfpack Invite. -JS

#23: Arizona Wildcats + (Previous Rank: Unranked)

Delaney Schnell will be a key for the team come NCAAs. Nice rebound win over UCLA one day after falling to USC. -JS

#22: Purdue Boilermakers – (Previous Rank: 22)

Diving remains the driving force behind Purdue’s spot in the rankings. -JS

#21: Virginia Tech H2okies – (Previous Rank: 21)

Emma Atkinson ranking as one of the fastest in the NCAA with her 1:54.7 200 back at the end of October. -JS

#20: Texas A&M Aggies – (Previous Rank: 20)

Hold their spot after dominating TCU, as expected. -JS

#19: Northwestern Wildcats -1 (Previous Rank: 18)

Haven’t raced in almost a month, but Hannah Brunzell was a top performer in that meet against Illinois and Illinois-Chicago. -JS

#18: Missouri Tigers +1 (Previous Rank: 19)

Sarah Thompson is one of the fastest swimmers in the country this season across the 50 free, 100 back and 100 fly. -JS

#17: Wisconsin Badgers -1 (Previous Rank: 16)

You can never have too many sprint free pieces and Sophie Fiske looks like a useful addition. Wisconsin’s relays are marginal to score so a few small improvements can add up to large points gains there. -AM

#16: North Carolina Tar Heels -1 (Previous Rank: 15)

Grace Countie, Sophie Lindner, Heidi Lowe all performed well in the win over Georgia Tech in early November. -JS

#15: USC Trojans +2 (Previous Rank: 17)

USC always seems to rest for their early-season USC invite, so their #3 Swimulator ranking is a mirage. However, there is little doubt that this is a much-improved team from last year. -AM

#14: Indiana Hoosiers -1 (Previous Rank: 13)

Relays will be a critical spot for improvement for this team moving into the postseason. -JS

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

Talia Bates led the charge in that big win over Georgia at the end of October. -JS

#12: Kentucky Wildcats – (Previous Rank: 12)

Gave Tennessee a good challenge in their dual two weeks ago. Gaines, Brooks and Sorenson all look solid. -JS

#11: Louisville Cardinals -1 (Previous Rank: 10)

The Cards are a victim of circumstance a little bit, with their Notre Dame/Miami meet on November 5 getting cancelled, so we haven’t seen them in action since falling to Tennessee a month ago. -JS

#10: Ohio State Buckeyes +1 (Previous Rank: 11)

The Buckeyes cruised to big wins over Arkon and Denison last weekend, but the majority of last season’s NCAA team remains intact and has proven it can peak at the right time. -JS

#9: Georgia Bulldogs – (Previous Rank: 9)

Tough six-point loss to Florida at the end of October, but rebounded with a strong showing against Auburn. Zoie Hartman swimming well. -JS

#8: Alabama Crimson Tide – (Previous Rank: 8)

Avery Wiseman might be the answer to the breaststroke problem their medleys had last year. If so, they have to potential for multiple top 5 relay finishes. -AM

#7: Tennessee Volunteers – (Previous Rank: 7)

Mona McSharry hitting 59/2:09 breaststrokes early in the season is a great sign. Big win for the team against Kentucky. -JS

#6: Michigan Wolverines – (Previous Rank: 6)

I jumped Michigan ahead of Texas in my latest rankings. Both teams had really good meets lately, but the Michigan freshmen answered a lot of questions about their depth and relays for me. -BK

#5: Cal Golden Bears – Previous Rank: 5)

The Bears haven’t had to face a true challenge since UVA visited in mid-October, but Ivey and Stadden appear to be swimming well. -JS

#4: Texas Longhorns – (Previous Rank: 4)

The Texas women stepped up and performed very well despite facing an impossible challenge in UVA last week. -JS

#3: NC State Wolfpack – (Previous Rank: 3)

Katharine Berkoff and Sophie Hansson are showing no signs of slowing down after winning national titles last season. -JS

#2: Stanford Cardinal – (Previous Rank: 2)

Stanford has been far from sharp in their two meets so far, but this is still a team that can roll out a relay where every member has an Olympic medal. -AM

#1: Virginia Cavaliers – (Previous Rank: 1)

The reigning champs placed first in 15 of 19 races against Texas and are the clear favorites to repeat come March. -JS

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Circle swim
2 years ago

Any team where the head coach doesn’t take an active role in recruiting will be at a disadvantage in landing top recruits.

2 years ago

To be that bad it has to be intentional. maybe everyone is taking an extra year so the recruiting coordinator took a year long vacation? Out of money maybe? They should still get a few CA swimmers wanting to go there just because its a top notch UC school. UCLA gets a bunch like this every year and even UCSB signed like 10 girls last week so i’m thinking Cal is just not returning calls unless its a top tier recruit.

cynthia curran
Reply to  Taa
2 years ago

Well, two girls from Orange County picked University of Michigan and University of Virginia. In fact career wise you do just as good in North Virginia as the Bay Area plus housing is cheaper after you finished college. In fact University of Virginia also taking in the top New York swimmers since Kate Douglass is there. She was from Westchester, a well to do suburban county near New York City. So, a Long Island girl recently committed to University of Virginia.

2 years ago

They really shouldn’t have any issue with recruiting. They have been a perennial top 5 team, have a well respected coach (despite some opinions of McKeever), and they are arguably the best public school in the country.

If recruiting is an issue for them, either the staff is lazy or incompetent. There should be zero issue selling their school when they have an incredibly rare combination of a stellar swim program and top notch academics.

Reply to  Swimm
2 years ago

Except for the fact that Teri was telling people as far back as 2012, that she would retire after 2020, and has been heard many times over the years repeating that. And she’s sold her home in Berkeley. The recruits all know that.

Reply to  Swimm
2 years ago

They are neither lazy, nor incompetent. The recruits all think Teri will retire and are unwilling to gamble on who Cal might choose to replace her if she does.

Last edited 2 years ago by OldSwimmer
2 years ago

Still feel SC should be too 10. They have 3 legit point scorers in Dobler Transom and Sheridan along with enough pieces for strong relays.

Reply to  Taa
2 years ago

I totally agree but I’ve always found USC to be really hit or miss at NCAAs. They’ve had season where people put up amazing times in the fall or at their invite and come no where close at NCAAs. The new coaching might change this though. I see the core you mentioning probably putting up ~80 points and getting another ~70 points from others and relays feels reasonable.

Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
2 years ago

Stanford’s #2 spot may be in peril after this weekend

Reply to  Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
2 years ago

November rankings are irrelevant. However it’s not fun swimming slow all season so I hope they have some rest and fast swims at their meet.

Hoosier Daddy
2 years ago

Indiana at 14??? What a joke! Should be at one, miles ahead of Desorbo’s overrated squad.

caeleb’s leg sleeve tat
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 years ago


The Voice of Reason
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 years ago

Hoosier therapist?

Christopher DeBari
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 years ago

overrated? You’re a clown.

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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