2022-2023 NCAA Men’s Power Rankings: Pre-Season 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, Robert Gibbs, Yanyan Li, Sophie Kaufman and Anya Pelshaw contributed to this report.

Following the release of the women’s pre-season power rankings, it’s time for us to take a look at the men’s swimming & diving landscape entering the 2022-23 season.

Honorable Mentions: Missouri Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Princeton Tigers, Pennsylvania Quakers

#25: North Carolina Tar Heels +2 (2022 NCAA Rank: 27)

Most of the teams lingering in the 25 range from last season have incurred significant losses this offseason. North Carolina still has Anton Down Jenkins, who’s a good bet for 20-30 points on the boards. -JS

#24: Auburn Tigers +5 (2022 NCAA Rank: 29)

The 2021-2022 season was a turning point for the Tigers, as they notched their best finishes since 2018 at SECs and NCAAs. They followed that up with an electric summer. If they and their second-year head coach Ryan Wochomurka can keep that momentum going, that could translate into huge gains this NCAA season. -SK

The Auburn men had a great showing at Summer Nationals and seem to be on an upward trajectory. -AP

#23: Notre Dame Fighting Irish +10 (2022 NCAA Rank: 33)

Jack Hoagland should be back, and just matching times he’s already hit will be enough to raise the Fighting Irish in the standings. -RG

#22: Columbia Lions +2 (2022 NCAA Rank: 24)

Columbia brings back all 30 points, which came from diver Jonathan Suckow. A similar performance will keep Columbia in the hunt for the top 25, even without any swimmers. -RG

#21: Arizona Wildcats -4 (2022 NCAA Rank: 17)

On paper, it’s not clear that Arizona is a top 25 team. But, I feel like we’ve slept on them the last few years, and they keep surprising us. Last year our final power rankings didn’t have them ranked, but they ended up 17th. So, doggone it, Wildcats, you’re in my top 25 to start the year. Don’t disappoint me. -RG

#20: Texas A&M Aggies -1 (2022 NCAA Rank: 19)

The Aggies took a huge hit last season when Shaine Casas turned pro early, falling from 10th to 19th at NCAAs. Things are looking up in College Station though, as Baylor Nelson, SwimSwam’s #1 recruit in the high school class of 2022, arrived on campus this fall. -SK

#19: Minnesota Golden Gophers – (2022 NCAA Rank: 19)

I was about to make a joke relying on a premise that only Max McHugh would be scoring this year. But lest we forget, the Gophers also picked up some points in diving and in distance free. -RG

#18: Harvard Crimson -5 (2022 NCAA Rank: 13)

Yes, they’ve lost the man, the myth, the legend — Dean Farris. But the Crimson still have talent, like 100 fly A-finalist Umitcan Gures. -RG

#17: LSU Tigers -2 (2022 NCAA Rank: 15)

Sure, Brooks Curry returns with 62% of LSU’s points from last year. But diver Juan Hernandez provided all of the Tigers’ remaining points as a senior last year, and he doesn’t appear to be taking advantage of a fifth year. -RG

#16: Purdue Boilermakers -1 (2022 NCAA Rank: 15)

Nikola Acin‘s transfer to Michigan hurts Purdue–especially their relays–but diving remains a strength. There, they’re anchored by Tyler Downs, who scored 43 NCAA points in his freshman season, the most of anyone on the Boilermakers roster. -SK

Diver Tyler Downs scored 43 points as a freshman last year. If he was a one-man team, he would’ve finished 21st in the team standings, ahead of the likes of Michigan, USC, and Auburn, among others. -RG

Purdue diving always keeps them in the top 20 conversation, and it was Olympian Tyler Downs who held it down for the Boilermakers last season, scoring 43 NCAA points. -SP

#15: Michigan Wolverines +7 (2022 NCAA Rank: 22)

After a down and even somewhat tenuous season last year, I think Michigan is being underrated. They bring back Wyatt Davis, who not only provides some individual value, he also gives Michigan the backstroke leg they were missing on their medley relays last year and a very good 800 free relay leg. The Wolverines also get Nikola Acin from Purdue, who is a 41.81 100 freestyler, and like Davis, provides individual value and will be a huge boost the Michigan relays. -SP

Michigan is looking to find solid ground after a rocky 2022. They’ve lost a lot to transfers, but Wyatt Davis is back, Jared Daigle returns for a fifth-year, and Nikola Acin transferred from Purdue and will add crucial sprint and relay depth. -SK

#14: Tennessee Volunteers +4 (2022 NCAA Rank: 18)

All of the team’s individual scorers from last season are back, led by Jordan Crooks, who was a revelation as a freshman. Keeping fifth-years Michael Houlie, Aleksey Tarasenko and Lyubomir Epitropov will be paramount at SECs, and all could have an impact at nationals. On top of that, a promising freshman class. -JS

#13: Louisville Cardinals -1 (2022 NCAA Rank: 12)

It feels like the Cardinals lost a lot, and it’ll be tough to replace Nick Albiero, but they’re in better shape than you might think at first glance. The relays will bring in the points, and they’ve got plenty of NCAA and Olympic experience on this team. -RG

#12: Alabama Crimson Tide +2 (2022 NCAA Rank: 14)

Last year, the Alabama women excelled under first-year head coach Margo Geer; we’re still waiting to see if the men’s team will have a similar breakout this season. -SK

#11: Ohio State Buckeyes -2 (2022 NCAA Rank: 9)

The Buckeyes’ faithful have to be excited to see what Charlie Clark has in store in college competition after a great summer. They may also have a little trepidation about how OSU will fare under a revamped coaching staff. -RG

Losing Hunter Armstrong was big, but Ohio State still has a few stars like Charlie Clark, Ruslan Gaziev, Alex Quach, plus the divers should keep them in the top 12. -YL

#10: Virginia Tech Hokies +1 (2022 NCAA Rank: 11)

The Hokies got a strong recruiting class, which should help them fill the void left by a couple of key losses, including Antani Ivanov. Now, can the domestic recruits achieve the same level of success VT’s international recruits have had the last few years? -RG

Virginia Tech has big momentum and a great freshman class next year. I think Virginia’s sprint group will still have the Cavaliers ahead of the battle-within-the-battle this year, but next year that could flip. -BK

#9: Georgia Bulldogs -1 (2022 NCAA Rank: 8)

Sure, they lose Matt Sates, but don’t forget that Luca Urlando actually scored 14 more points than Sates did last year…and broke a US Open record in an event in which he did not swim individually. It’s going to be fun to see what Urlando, and the rest of the Bulldogs, do this year under a new coaching staff. -RG

Yes, they’ve lost Matt Sates, but they still have Luca Urlando, who had probably the best NCAA meet without winning a title ever. They’ve also picked up diver Kevin Li, who’ll be crucial as they try to chase down Tennessee and Alabama at SECS. -SK

#8: Virginia Cavaliers +2 (2022 NCAA Rank: 10)

Florida may beat Virginia to the legendary 200 free relay NCAA record, but the Cavaliers still have one of the best sprint groups in the country. -SK

The Cavaliers have an argument for having the best sprint free group in the nation. They’ll need the rest of the groups to step up and add some points if they want to move up further in the top ten. -RG

Matt King and Jack Aikins had great summers in long course and are primed for some big drops in yards. Very strong freshman class as well. -YL

#7: Stanford Cardinal – (2022 NCAA Rank: 7)

No doubt that this team had made dramatic improvement under Dan Schemmel, and it’s fun to see such a storied team return to being a perennial top 10 contender. -RG

After jumping from 14th to seventh in the NCAA standings last season, the Cardinal bring in a strong recruiting class that bolsters a well-rounded group of returners. -SK

#6: Indiana Hoosiers -1 (2022 NCAA Rank: 5)

Josh Matheny had a great summer and could translate that into SCY success which would help IU individually and on the relay level. -AP

Picking Indiana over NC State is bold, but I really like the way the Hoosiers look heading into this season. Their losses from last year were minimal in terms of NCAA scoring. IU diving is going to be exceptional this year, thanks to Andrew Capobianco taking his fifth year. They also had two freshmen who scored at NCAAs last year, as well as a fantastic incoming freshman. Ahmed Hafnaoui comes into the NCAA as the favorite in the mile and a contender in the 500. Also, Josh Matheny had a rough NCAAs last year as a freshman, but make no mistake, he’s one of the best breaststrokers in the NCAA right now. -SP (has IU fourth).

#5: Arizona State Sun Devils +1 (2022 NCAA Rank: 6)

Marchand proved his LCM to SCY transition last year and continued his momentum into the summer. The IM group got even better with Kalisz and Litherland for him to train with soooo expect maybe bigger things this season. -AP

This team doesn’t lose anyone big and gains a whole lot more. Hubert Kos has the potential to be one of the most versatile swimmers in the NCAA and joins a star-studded team with the likes of Leon Marchand and Grant House. Their top-notch relays, which all finished top eight at NCAAs, will be a huge boost as well. -YL

I know there’s so much momentum for Arizona State, but we can’t let the hype over the pro group sway opinions of the collegiate team too much. Hubert Kos joining mid-season is a big boost, but no bigger than Hafanoui to Indiana. I think this comes down to Indiana’s best-in-class diving crew. -BK (has IU over ASU).

#4: NC State Wolfpack – (2022 NCAA Rank: 4)

I came close to bumping NC State up a spot, as I like their returning strength better than Florida’s. 10 guys swam sprint free events last year, and if a few more of those guys can turn into A-finalists, the Wolfpack will give the Gators a chase. Sophomores David Curtiss, Arsenio Bustos, and Sam Hoover could all follow classmate Aiden Hayes‘ example and turn into double-digit scorers. -RG

#3: Florida Gators – (2022 NCAA Rank: 3)

Out go the stars Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke for Florida, but in comes the late addition Josh Liendo from Canada, and the Gators are right back in the battle for top 3. This team could break some legendary NCAA relay records this season. -BK

Losing Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke hurts, but sheesh, that’s an awesome class coming in. Right now, I still don’t think they have enough to overtake either of the top two teams unless one of them really stumbles, but the Gators may not be far away from breaking into that top two duo. -RG

Gaining Josh Liendo > Losing Bobby Finke and Kieran Smith. -YL

One name: Josh Liendo. -AP

#2: Texas Longhorns – (2022 NCAA Rank: 2)

The murmurs from the Longhorn faithful are less confident this year than they’ve been in more than a decade. Some around Austin are even wondering if the Longhorns can stick in the top 2. Eddie always finds a way, but a few highly-ranked prospects haven’t worked out in recent seasons, leaving the Longhorns with a bit of a dip year before another big class comes in next season. -BK

Retaining Danny Krueger for a fifth year was huge for a Texas team that looked to be in trouble in the sprint free relays. They’ve graduated some big pieces, and will need some of their recruits to step up. Keep an eye on Luke Hobson and David Johnston, who had big summers in meters. -SK

Like most years, it really feels like a coin flip between Cal and Texas right now. I nearly decided to default to the defending champions for now, and I reserve the right to change my mind if Hugo Gonzalez returns, but Texas is riding some outstanding long course momentum. While the recruiting class isn’t as flashy as some years, guys like Alec Enyeart and Peter Paulus could be huge sleepers. The Longhorns have an absolute slew of talent, and if they can fire on all cylinders like like they did in 2017 or 2021, they can retake the title. -RG (has Texas #1)

#1: Cal Golden Bears – (2022 NCAA Rank: 1)

I know I’ve waffled here. But my final (preseason) vote is that Texas’ challenges in the sprint group this year does them in. If Durden can keep the men focused now that he’s the head coach of both Cal programs, then this is their title to lose. If Hugo Gonzalez comes back mid-season, it’s game over. -BK

Even without Hugo Gonzalez, I think Cal gets the advantage over Texas this year. Getting back Whitley was a big bonus, and Patrick Callan + freshman Matthew Chai should make up for their weakness in middle distance free. I second the statement that it’s game-over if Hugo comes back. -YL

Hugo Gonzalez is a big question mark for the Bears, but given their returning group–which includes Seeliger and Lasco–the Bears have the edge on the Longhorns at the moment. -SK

Hugo Gonzalez is a huge question mark but the team has fifth years (such as Patrick Callan) that should help. -AP

Cal finally loses the remainder of one of the best recruiting classes ever. Transfer Patrick Callan is an intriguing addition after a bit of a rough season last year. Like Texas, this roster is chock full of talent, and I keep changing my mind about every 60 seconds where to rank Cal and Texas. I’ll keep them at #2 for now, although I’d definitely join my fellow writers and put Cal at #1 if we knew Hugo Gonzalez was returning. -RG  (has Texas over Cal)

WRITER BALLOTS

James Braden Robert Spencer Yanyan Anya Sophie
#1 Cal Cal Texas Cal Cal Cal Cal
#2 Texas Texas Cal Texas Texas Texas Texas
#3 Florida Florida Florida Florida Florida Florida Florida
#4 NC State NC State NC State Indiana NC State NC State NC State
#5 ASU Indiana Indiana NC State ASU Arizona State ASU
#6 Indiana Arizona State ASU Arizona State Indiana Indiana Indiana
#7 Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford Virginia Stanford
#8 Georgia Georgia Virginia Virginia Virginia Stanford Georgia
#9 Virginia Virginia Georgia Georgia Georgia Virginia Tech Virginia
#10 Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Louisville Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Ohio State Virginia Tech
#11 Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Georgia Ohio State
#12 Alabama Alabama Virginia Tech Alabama Alabama Alabama Louisville
#13 Louisville Purdue Alabama Michigan Louisville Louisville Alabama
#14 Tennessee Louisville Tennessee Louisville Tennessee Michigan Michigan
#15 Purdue Michigan Purdue Tennessee Purdue Tennessee Tennessee
#16 Harvard Texas A&M LSU Purdue Michigan Minnesota Purdue
#17 Michigan LSU Michigan LSU Harvard Purdue Harvard
#18 LSU Tennessee Harvard Minnesota LSU LSU LSU
#19 Minnesota Minnesota Texas A&M Harvard Minnesota Harvard Minnesota
#20 Texas A&M Harvard Minnesota Texas A&M Texas A&M Penn Texas A&M
#21 Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona Nortre Dame Columbia Arizona
#22 Columbia Miami (FL) Miami (FL) Notre Dame Columbia Auburn Columbia
#23 Notre Dame Columbia Notre Dame Auburn Auburn Notre Dame Auburn
#24 UNC UNC Columbia Columbia UNC Wisconsin Notre Dame
#25 Auburn Princeton Auburn UNC Mizzou Missouri UNC

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Snarky
1 day ago

I’m predicting Texas beats NCSU by 20 due to diving points for the title. Cal third, ASU fourth, Florida fifth.

Radiogaga
Reply to  Snarky
15 hours ago

A valid prediction but wrong as usual Sir Snark. Cal (with Coach Magicman Marsh and Dynamic Durden), TX, NCState, UF and ASU for the top 5.

d3hist0rian
1 day ago

While the Michigan men have continously underperformed at NCAA as of recent years, they remain underrated going into this season. Despite the key losses via transfer and graduation, they still have a talented scoring roster with NCAA scoring capability. The returns of Daigle and Davis are huge, but the transfers of Acin and Moraes also contribute greatly. Plus, they have the likes of Groumi, Szabados, and a freshamn class with a really high season. Just as much as they can fall out of the top 20 completely as they did last season, they have the potential to return to the top 10, despite the turmoil of the past few months.

d3hist0rian
Reply to  d3hist0rian
1 day ago

*ceiling

BearlyBreathing
2 days ago

Oh great — preseason #1 ranking. Cal is definitely cursed now. Thanks Obama.

ShermanO
2 days ago

Tyler Downs is not on Purdue roster this year so his guaranteed 40+ Purdue points are no more.

Ghost
Reply to  ShermanO
2 days ago

Sometimes I wonder if they look at new rosters or maybe the schools are just slow posting them?

Editor
Reply to  Ghost
2 days ago

I was trying to glance through rosters as I was doing my rankings. I’m not sure if I looked, and Downs was on the roster a few days ago, or if we somehow just all assumed he was returning since he was a freshman last year. No Downs would definitely knock Purdue down quite a bit.

John
2 days ago

No pressure Liendo

Coach DL2
2 days ago

Braden, you’re a very intelligent man for putting Princeton on your top 25 rankings list when nobody else did. But, here is my humble opinion on why I believe the Princeton Tigers should be ranked in the top 20…

Raunak Khosla: RK is arguably the best NCAA swimmer in Princeton’s 115+ year history, and I believe he will end his career on the (modern) Mt. Rushmore of Ivy League swimmers alongside Dean Farris, Alex Righi, and Alex Evdokimov. Very few college swimmers can go 46 FL, 48 BK, 52 BR and 42 FS (relay split) while also going 1:41.2 & 3:40.0 in the IM events on top of a 1:41.0 in the 200 FL. This man is aiming to A-final… Read more »

JG1990
Reply to  Coach DL2
2 days ago

Also seems like the SwimSwam crew still has Dean Farris on the brain.

Admin
Reply to  JG1990
2 days ago

Harvard still returns an A-finalist, a surprising number of individual qualifiers, and even an HM All-American diver.

Yes, Dean is gone, but Dean was not Max McHugh. He didn’t get 13th place at NCAAs by himself.

Coach DL2
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 days ago

Braden, just fyi: 91 of harvards 103 points were contributed by Dean. The remaining 11 points do return in the form of Umit’s 100 fly and 1 point by Adam as a diver, is that’s good for them. But is it really enough to rank them 18th? Along these lines,
Columbia should be ranked much higher with Suckow returning all 30 points he scored.

Last point, because I am a Princeton alum: the Tigers return all 7 of their points, including Raunak, who scored in three B finals, and Joe Victor, who scored in platform diving. So, while it is true Harvard had more bodies at 2022 NCAAs, that doesn’t mean the non-scoring guys (or returning relay guys)… Read more »

Coach DL2
Reply to  Coach DL2
2 days ago

Oops; harvard returns 12 Points. My bad!

Coach DL2
Reply to  Coach DL2
1 day ago

Oops; Princeton returns 14 points. My bad!

JTG1990
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 day ago

Braden – no doubt that Harvard had some other great swimmers other than Dean but, with all due respect, most/all of their relays (all scored and Dean swam all 5, but none scored higher than 9th) do NOT score without Dean. And, to add to that, while they do have several returning relay members, they had at least 1 other senior on EVERY relay so that’s another hole that has to be filled. Also, their A-finalist only scored in one event last year. Great swimmer for sure but one A-final is not enough for 16th overall.

Radiogaga
Reply to  Coach DL2
15 hours ago

Braden is indeed a very intelligent man. Princeton finishes in the top 25. Cal will win.

LI Swim Dad
2 days ago

No Wisconsin? But Purdue and Minnesota are top 25? Where’s the logic in that? Newmark, Benson, Aslan, Jekel, Myhre, plus the number #12 recruiting class, are gong to be tough this year and deserve some respect.

Chachi
Reply to  LI Swim Dad
2 days ago

McHugh will outscore Wisconsin by himself.

SoCal Swammer
2 days ago

It’s worth mentioning that Luke Rodarte (Cal transfer) starting swimming in Jan 2020, before that he was a skier.. now that he’s not hindered by DIII training restrictions, this guy’s ceiling could be ridiculously high

Grant Drukker
Reply to  SoCal Swammer
2 days ago

I’d assume jan 2020 is when it started swimming year round because he has swims in 2018 from his days at Colby-Sawyer, but then dropped 5 seconds in his first year at Cal Lutheran.

Chad
Reply to  SoCal Swammer
11 hours ago

Homie is like 500lbs of muscle, he could be 51 or 50 this year.

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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