2021-22 NCAA Men’s Power Rankings: Final Edition

Throughout the season, SwimSwam’s Power Rankings have ranged somewhere between the CSCAA-style dual meet rankings and a pure prediction of NCAA finish order. However, as these are the final rankings for the 2021-22 campaign prior to the NCAA Championships, the predictions are our final selections for how the team race will shake out this week in Atlanta.

Braden Keith, Robert Gibbs, Andrew Mering and Michael Hamann contributed to this report.

Previous Ranks:

Our final edition of the men’s power rankings this season brought out the most wide-ranging opinions from our top NCAA experts, including a split vote for who is going to win the championship title.

A total of 32 different teams earned at least one vote to crack the top 25, and after Texas had held the #1 spot unanimously all season long, Cal has entered the fray, garnering enough first-place picks to take over the top ranking and earn our official selection to win the NCAA title.

To get a full grasp of where everyone’s picks lie, you can find the top 25 selections from our five college swimming experts under the rankings.

Honorable Mentions: Arizona Wildcats, North Carolina Tar Heels, Auburn Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats, Texas A&M Aggies, Purdue Boilermakers, Pennsylvania Quakers

#25: NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS – (PREVIOUS RANK: 25)

A lot of upside with this team. Relays on the border of scoring and an Olympic medalist in Federico Burdisso seeded outside the points. -AM

#24: Miami (FL) Hurricanes + (PREVIOUS RANK: UNRANKED)

#23: MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS +1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 24)

We know Max McHugh will be ready for this meet, the Golden Gophers just need somebody else to step up. -SP

Max McHugh is pretty good. -AM

#22: FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES -3 (PREVIOUS RANK: 19)

They’re seeded to score in both of the sprint free relays, events in which they’ve excelled over the last few years. They may not score in much more than those two, but the way the scores are projected to fall, they may not need to score much more to finish in the top 25. -RG

#21: USC TROJANS -4 (PREVIOUS RANK: 17)

#20: GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS +2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 22)

Really this comes to down Caio Pumputis. The veteran isn’t seeded higher than 15th in any event, but he’s been a three-event A-finalist before, which alone could be enough to move the Yellow Jackets into the top 20. -RG

Some home cooking for the Ramblin’ Wreck should help give this squad a little extra boost for a top 25 finish at NCAAs. -MH

#19: WISCONSIN BADGERS + (PREVIOUS RANK: UNRANKED)

A lot of Wisconsin’s success will hinge on the performances of Jake Newmark, who had a massive breakout showing at Big Tens. -JS

#18: MISSOURI TIGERS -2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 16)

Missouri was very quiet at SECs – too quiet for a roster with some solid talent and experience. My bet is they’ll way outswim their seeds. -MH

#17: HARVARD CRIMSON -2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 15)

Assuming Dean Farris is in better form than he was at Ivies, Harvard will move up from their projected psych sheet scoring. Umitcan Gures is a threat to make the ‘A’ final in the 100 fly, and they have a pair of swimmers in the 1650. -SP

If Farris can be anywhere near his 2019 form he should be good for a minimum of 40 individual points. Add in potential scorers individual scorers in Gures and Marcoux and some relay potential and Harvard is poised for a strong finish. -MH

#16: LSU TIGERS +2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 18)

LSU has two of the best athletes in the country in their speciality: Curry should contend for the sprint titles and carry some relays while Juan Hernandez is among the top handful of divers in the NCAA. That is a dangerous combination for first year head coach Rick Bishop. -MH

#15: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS +6 (PREVIOUS RANK: 21)

#14: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE – (PREVIOUS RANK: 14)

Relays will be a significant part of Alabama’s success at this meet, but they do have individual swims to back it up as well. -SP

#13: MICHIGAN WOLVERINES -4 (PREVIOUS RANK: 9)

Trending downwards, though Patrick Callan and Jake Mitchell are capable of outswimming their seeds no doubt. -JS

#12: VIRGINIA CAVALIERS -1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 11)

It was easy to look at UVA’s stable of young sprinters and assume they would go sub-1:15 in the 200 free relay before too long, but even the coaching staff seemed a bit surprised that they took down the American Record already. They’ll be in the hunt for that title, and they’ve got some room to move up in the standings overall. There are a bunch of tough teams right ahead of them in the projections, but they might be able to ride some momentum after watching their women’s counterparts roll to a championship last week. -RG

UVA was significantly better at ACCs than their midseason invite- and they needed to be to qualify a large portion of their squad. If they can take another stuff forward they should challenge for a Top 10 spot. -MH

#11: VIRGINIA TECH H20KIES +1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 12)

The heavy hitters like Youssef Ramadan delivered at ACCs, but guys like Carles Coll Marti and Samuel Törnqvist took big strides fowards as well. We’ll have to see if they can keep the momentum going this week, but this is set up to be the Hokies’ best NCAA team in years, if not ever. -RG

#10: OHIO STATE BUCKEYES – (PREVIOUS RANK: 10)

#9: STANFORD CARDINAL +4 (PREVIOUS RANK: 13)

This team is so young and they swam so well at conference a few weeks ago. That makes it hard to gauge where I think they’ll be at this week. That being said, Preston Forst and Ron Polonsky are really coming into their own, and we can’t ignoire Andrei Minakov, who has the potential to be one of the stars of the meet. -SP

Stanford was fantastic at Pac-12s – probably the best meet the men’s program has had in years and a clear sign that the Cardinal are well on the way back to national relevance. This team’s ceiling will be determined by how well the rest of the roster can score individual points around Minakov. -MH

#8: GEORGIA BULLDOGS – (PREVIOUS RANK: 8)

With Magahey, Urlando and Sates, the Dawgs have the individual stars to make noise. The only problem is that their stars, save Urlando, aren’t game-changers on relays. -MH

#7: ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS -1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 6)

We’ll see if they can match their Pac-12s performance, but either way, ASU has taken a huge step forward this year. Leon Marchand is the real deal, and I see no reason to think he won’t perform on a similar level to what he did at Pac-12s. The relays will be critical for the Sun Devils since they swam out of their minds a few weeks ago. If they can approximate those relay times, ASU will easily be in the top 10. -SP

Being a combined program, ASU’s pedestrian performance at women’s meet does give me some pause. But the Sun Devils still have the individual and relay firepower to contend for a trophy. -MH

#6: LOUISVILLE CARDINALS +1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 7)

My head says I should have the Cardinals about two spots lower (Robert has them sixth). My heart says that this is a team that almost always shows up for NCAAs. At the very least, they should challenge for wins in both medley relays again, and their 800 free relay has the potential to make some noise as well. -RG

#5: INDIANA HOOSIERS – (PREVIOUS RANK: 5)

Indiana has a diving advantage as always. We also can’t count out their veteran roster when it comes to performing at the big meet. -SP

#4: NC STATE WOLFPACK – (PREVIOUS RANK: 4)

Maybe I’m just getting old, but it doesn’t feel like all that long ago that NC State was all about the sprint freestyles. Those days are long gone, though, and the Wolfpack roll into Atlanta with a deep, strong team. They’ll need some of the younger guys to step up and deliver, but the freshman class looked great at ACCs, and it’s fair to expect the same here. -RG

#3: FLORIDA GATORS – (PREVIOUS RANK: 3)

The top end of their team is truly elite, but they are missing some depth to keep up with the top two. -AM

#2: TEXAS LONGHONRS -1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 1)

Without Windle, this looks like a toss-up between the top two. Picking either Cal or Texas to win is defensible. Both teams have tons of points that can easily be gained vs seed. For Texas, candidates to out-perform seed include Drew Kibler, Alvin Jiang, and Jake Foster. For Cal, Sean Grieshop, Bryce Mefford, and the relays. Any or all of those could easily beat their seeded points by 20+. -AM, who has Texas 2nd.

This feels like a coin flip, just as it has a lot over the last few NCAAs. I know the Longhorns’ won’t have the diving points they have in years past. Still, I’m feeling a bit bullish on the Longhorns, thanks in part to the womens’ great showing last week, even though I know the men and women have separate programs. -RG, who has Texas 1st.

#1: CAL GOLDEN BEARS +1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 2)

With Texas’ diving advantage reduced this year, the door is more open for Cal to step through. Also, Cal had a slow start to Pac-12s and even so, they’re seeded to score more points in the pool than Texas. If they’re on the from the beginning, the Golden Bears have an excellent shot at reclaiming the NCAA title. -SP, who has Cal 1st.

The diving gap has often been cited as the big difference between Cal and Texas in recent years. But with Windle out this should be an old-fashioned showdown. The #1 indication of a team not resting much for conference is having their best swimming on the last day of the meet, and that is exactly what Cal did at Pac 12s. I’m rolling with the Bears. -MH, who has Cal 1st.

INDIVIDUAL WRITER PICKS

Ranking Braden Keith Robert Gibbs Spencer Penland Andrew Mering Michael Hamann
#1 Texas Texas Cal Texas Cal
#2 Cal Cal Texas Cal Texas
#3 Florida Florida Florida Florida Florida
#4 NC State NC State NC State NC State NC State
#5 Indiana Indiana Indiana Indiana Arizona State
#6 Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Indiana
#7 Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Stanford Louisville
#8 Georgia Ohio State Georgia Arizona State Georgia
#9 Virginia Tech Stanford Ohio State Ohio State Stanford
#10 Stanford Georgia Stanford Georgia Virginia Tech
#11 Ohio State Virginia Tech Michigan Virginia Tech Virginia
#12 Michigan Virginia Virginia Tech Virginia Ohio State
#13 Virginia Tennessee Virginia Michigan Michigan
#14 Alabama Michigan Alabama Alabama Alabama
#15 LSU Alabama Tennessee Tennessee Harvard
#16 USC LSU LSU LSU LSU
#17 Wisconsin Miami Harvard Missouri Missouri
#18 Missouri Harvard Wisconsin Florida State Tennessee
#19 North Carolina Wisconsin Arizona Harvard Arizona
#20 Georgia Tech Arizona Minnesota Miami Georgia Tech
#21 Harvard Georgia Tech Miami Minnesota Florida State
#22 Texas A&M USC Florida State Purdue Minnesota
#23 Florida State Minnesota Missouri USC Auburn
#24 Kentucky Missouri Northwestern Georgia Tech Penn
#25 Northwestern Florida State USC Northwestern Northwestern

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TN Fan
4 months ago

Braden Keith….. Tennessee not even top 25?!?!?!?!?? Put some respect on their name.

Admin
Reply to  TN Fan
4 months ago

Nah you’re right, I forgot to account for their divers.

I still think the overall average probably has them a few slots too high, though, so works out all the same.

Back2Back
4 months ago

“The #1 indication of a team not resting much for conference is having their best swimming on the last day of the meet, and that is exactly what Cal did at Pac 12s. I’m rolling with the Bears”.

I guess ‘SP’ ignores and scores only swimming and ‘MH’ didn’t pay attention to Big 12 Champ exhbition swims much as far as not resting much…

What a spectacle if it comes down to the 400 FR: CAL in Lane 4 – TX in Lane 5 – then we will see who wants it more.

I’ll go with the majority of the individual writer picks for TEXAS.

Anon
4 months ago

NC State 3rd.

chinnychenchen
4 months ago

roll on you bears 🐻

honestly I just want Cal to win because if they don’t this year I don’t see them contending for a while: loss of all the great 5th years + the young talent that Texas / NC State have

Aaron
4 months ago

Im very confused about why people have so much faith that Cal will drop a lot of time but not Texas. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Eddie or someone else say this year they had done more yards going into Big-12s than any previous year? Didn’t texas have the best time in the country in all 5 relays going into conference? This seems like a huge reach especially considerring that texas will most likely have some diving points (even though it’ll probably be lower than previous years)

cynthia curran
Reply to  Aaron
4 months ago

Texas usually has the divers.

Reply to  Aaron
4 months ago

You’ve seen this article, right?
https://swimswam.com/which-mens-teams-move-up-and-which-move-down-at-the-ncaa-championships-2022/

It’s in the numbers. In recent history, Cal has been the best at outperforming during the swimming portion of NCAAs. It doesn’t matter what Eddie says … doesn’t matter what Dave says … It matters what the athletes do in the pool.

Traci F.
4 months ago

does Miami FL have a men’s team?

Admin
Reply to  Traci F.
4 months ago

Yes, they have a men’s diving program. Their diving is good enough that they regularly finish top 25 even without swimmers.

James Beam
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Braden- are they the school to have diving and not swimming for men?

Admin
Reply to  James Beam
4 months ago

Only one I can think of.

PFA
4 months ago

I feel UVA is being a bit underestimated here. If we’re judging the vols women and saying their men’s team isn’t likely going to do well at NC’s then that would leave me to believe that UVA is gonna finish in the top 10. If we’re going off that.

oxyswim
Reply to  PFA
4 months ago

Their men’s performances are almost entirely dependent on sprint freestyle where there is no margin for error. Could they put 2 up in the 50? Sure, but it wouldn’t shock me if that number was 0. It’s set to be the fastest NCs in history, and every team in front of them have a wider array of events that they’re good in.

Editor
Reply to  PFA
4 months ago

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if UVA delivers and cracks the top ten. But, there’s a 60 point gap between them and the next team based on psych sheet scoring, and that’s a lot of ground to make up.

Bub
4 months ago

Max Mchugh is indeed pretty good

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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