2022-2023 NCAA Women’s Power Rankings: October 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.

Previous Ranks

We’re now about a month into the NCAA season, and there’s been no shortage of storylines emerging despite some teams having yet to compete.

Gretchen Walsh and Maggie MacNeil have been on a tear, USC has come flying out of the gate and question marks loom over certain swimmers’ status for the remainder of the season, which will have major implications come February and March (Ellen Walshe, Emma Weyant, etc.).

There hasn’t been a crazy amount of movement in our women’s power rankings as we near the end of the month, though Auburn and Arkansas did enough to move into the top 25 and some teams jockeyed for position by moving up or down one slot.

The big mover was the Trojans, jumping up five spots into #12 after great showings at the SMU Classic and USC Invite. However, we’ll get a better gauge of how they stack up in the long-term next month at the Art Adamson Invite.

The other key change was Stanford jumping Texas for the #2 position. There’s still a lot of discourse internally on which team belongs in the runner-up position right now, and although the Cardinal have only raced Utah thus far, they surpass the Longhorns for now.

Honorable Mentions: Purdue, Minnesota

#25: Arkansas Razorbacks + (Previous Rank: NR)

Arkansas was thumped by Florida, but looked good against Alabama. English newcomer Betsy Wizard swam 1:46.3 in the 200 free – that’s a big swim for a dual meet. -BK

Arkansas was reportedly suited against Alabama, but they still performed well regardless—beating an Alabama 400 free relay by three seconds is a pretty big confidence boost. In addition to Wizard, Luciana Thomas looked good in her debut for this new team. -YL

#24: Auburn Tigers + (Previous Rank: NR)

Meghan Lee has already been faster this season in the 100 back (52.15) than she was at SECs last season. Lexie Mulvihill is a genuine sprinter-1 too. Ryan Wochomurka made magic at Houston, and now with a much bigger brand at Auburn is starting to make some motion for the Tigers too. -BK

The Auburn women are catching the wave of momentum the men’s team is currently on. Their dual against LSU this weekend should be a good test for them. -SK

#23: Arizona Wildcats – (Previous Rank: 23)

Arizona was competitive against Wisconsin and had an impressive win over Miami last weekend. The matchup with USC next Saturday will be a good pre-invite litmus test. -JS

I believe this Arizona team is better than last year, although they haven’t necessarily looked amazing so far. Keep in mind Delaney Schnell is good enough to put the Wildcats in the top 20 at NCAAs by herself. They brought in some sprinters, which could lead to faster relays this season. -SP

#22: Virginia Tech Hokies – (Previous Rank: 22)

Tough loss against Duke, but we can’t read too much into an October dual meet. -JS

#21: Miami (FL) Hurricanes – (Previous Rank: 21)

Ultimately Miami’s NCAA placement comes down to diving, so it’s hard to move them around too much based on dual results. -JS

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

Northwestern kicks off its season this weekend against in-state foes UIC and Illinois. They’re one of the latest-starting teams in the country. -BK

No data yet on Northwestern so it’s hard to move them up here. -AP

#19: Duke Blue Devils +1 (Previous Rank: 20)

This Duke team is looking very good right now. Kaelyn Gridley is proving to be an incredible asset, both individually and for relays. Sarah Foley is also the real deal. -SP

The Duke women thumped Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils don’t have the sprinters to climb too high on the rankings, but Sarah Foley is living up to the hype so far. -BK

Fun Fact: Freshman Kaelyn Gridley still has the fastest 50 breast split out of anyone in the NCAA this year, suited or unsuited. -YL

Sarah Foley and their freshmen move up the team themselves. -AP

#18: LSU Tigers – (Previous Rank: 18)

Maggie MacNeil automatically ranks LSU after swimming the (now second fastest) non-suited 100 fly ever. -AP

Maggie MacNeil has been lights out so far this season. -SK

#17: Georgia Bulldogs -1 (Previous Rank: 16)

There were lots of unknowns about Georgia heading into the season, but they’re off to a 5-0 start which bodes well. -SK

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

Grace Countie continues to show her sprint free power. -AP

#15: Kentucky Wildcats -3 (Previous Rank: 12)

They had a particularly solid showing against Indiana. -AP

#14: Michigan Wolverines -1 (Previous Rank: 13)

Michigan is managing despite their losses from last year. The Wolverines brought in a very sprint-heavy group of freshmen, so it will be interesting to see how they continue to develop throughout the season. -SP

Michigan’s freshmen were impressive at the SMU Classic. -AP

#13: Wisconsin Badgers +1 (Previous Rank: 14)

Wisconsin just keeps getting better. Phoebe Bacon hasn’t looked amazing so far, but i don’t think anyone is doubting that she’ll show up when it matters. Wisconsin has quietly put together a very good middle-distance and distance group, and this class of freshmen has been impressive so far. -SP

Bacon hasn’t matched the early speed of some of her 200 back competitors, but it’s not worth getting nervous about yet; she did the same last year as well. So far, Wisconsin’s strong freshmen class has been doing well, which gives them a boost. -SK

#12: USC Trojans +5 (Previous Rank: 17)

Yes, USC is always fast at their invite, but they seem to have found their replacements for Caroline Pennington (Justina Kozan, to an extent) and Jade Hannah (Hanna Henderson). Kozan switching over to more mid-distance indicates a potential lineup change, and maybe for the better considering that she’s struggled to drop in the IMs. -YL

USC has only swum suited meets so far, so we have to be careful not to get TOO excited, but the women look really good early in the Lea Maurer era. -BK

Kaitlyn Dobler hit the ground running this season, and the rest of the team looks strong too. -SK

The USC women had a great showing at the SMU Classic. -AP

#11: Florida Gators – (Previous Rank: 11)

The fate of Florida’s season depends on how quickly Emma Weyant and Caroline Pennington can be cleared for competition. -YL

#10: Cal Golden Bears – (Previous Rank: 10)

Cal is seemingly losing less than we thought, as their biggest stars that entered the portal (Ivey, Stadden, Polonsky) all appear to be back. Stadden’s 1:52 200 back was a statement swim. -YL

I feel like Cal is a little hard to judge. There’s really good top end talent but there are also holes. That being said, Isabel Stadden and Leah Polonsky have looked really good so far. They also still have a very solid sprint group. -SP

#9: Indiana Hoosiers – (Previous Rank: 9)

Indiana’s roster isn’t as flashy as some of the teams ahead of them, but this is still a very solid Hoosiers team. Mariah Denigan and Ching Hwee Gan have looked good in the distance events so far. The Peplowski sisters and Mac Looze are formidable as well. On top of that, Kristina Paegle has looked good so far in her freshman season and IU has added some much needed fly depth. -SP

The fifth years are swimming well and Mariah Denigan looks like shes continued her summer LCM momentum. -AP

#8: Tennessee Volunteers – (Previous Rank: 8)

Julia Mrozinski and Jasmine Rumley have yet to make a meet appearance for the Vols, and along with Ellen Walshe‘s question mark status, I have less confidence in this team compared to the start of the season. Regan Rathwell looked good in her first few yards meets though, and Josephine Fuller being within a second of her 100 back PB was also pretty impressive. -YL

#7: Ohio State Buckeyes – (Previous Rank: 7)

No meets yet means no new information for Ohio State. Good matchip with Virginia Tech this weekend and a chance to make a statement. -BK

We haven’t seen Ohio State officially compete yet, so I don’t feel like I can move them up or down from my preseason rankings. -SP

We still haven’t seen the Buckeyes in action yet but will this weekend. -AP

#6: Louisville Cardinals – (Previous Rank: 6)

Gabi Albiero has been particularly strong so far, and looks like she might get in on the 100 fly drama in March. -SK

#5: NC State Wolfpack – (Previous Rank: 5)

I feel like Berkoff being sick shouldn’t affect the Pack that…much? Depends on how long she’s out of the water. -YL

Mono has struck NC State. It’s early in the year, and we don’t know how much impact it will have yet, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Katharine Berkoff, for her part, says that her tests for mono have come back negative – so that’s good news. -BK

#4: Alabama Crimson Tide – (Previous Rank: 4)

I love how Alabama has looked under Margo Geer. This is easily one of the best sprint free groups in the NCAA, which is part of the reason Bama has some of the best relays around right now. -SP

#3: Texas Longhorns -1 (Previous Rank: 2)

While Virginia is clearly at the top, Texas vs Stanford for that #2 spot is a much more difficult decision. Texas’ diving squad is so good that I think it gives them the edge in a championship format, which is why I’m rolling with the Longhorns at #2. -SP

Jacoby, Pash, Luther, Elendt, and co. looked good in their early-season meets. -YL

Jacoby stands out to me already showing some progress in the SCY format already going 59 in the 100 breast (unsuited), just off her best of 58. -AP

Kelly Pash is thriving in her senior season. 48.17 in the 100 free in a dual meet from one of the nation’s best 200 butterfliers is big. -BK

#2: Stanford Cardinal +1 (Previous Rank: 3)

I had Texas over Stanford in the pre-season rankings. Based on how Stanford’s depth has shown up this month, I’m moving Stanford ahead of Texas for the time being. -SK

Stanford had a few big questions coming into this season, specifically needing another sprinter to step up (Emma Wheal was 23.01 in the 50 free against Utah) and a breaststroker (Sam Tadder leads the team in 1:02.94). -BK

#1: Virginia Cavaliers – (2022 NCAA Rank: 1)

That dual meet against Florida was Virginia’s reminder to us that they run the NCAA. Gretchen Walsh swimming out of her mind, Maxine Parker nearing her NCAAs times, that 3:11 400 free relay…I could go on forever. -YL

Dominance this past weekend against Florida. Gretchen Walsh showed us she can be a butterflier too. -AP

Virginia is very good. -SP

Writer Ballots

Rank James Braden Robert Spencer Yanyan Anya Sophie
#1 Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia
#2 Stanford Texas Texas Texas Stanford Stanford Stanford
#3 Texas Stanford Stanford Stanford Texas Texas Texas
#4 Alabama NC State NC State Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama
#5 NC State Alabama Alabama NC State NC State NC State NC State
#6 Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville
#7 Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State
#8 Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Indiana Florida Indiana Indiana
#9 Cal Indiana Cal Cal Cal Tennessee Cal
#10 Indiana Cal Indiana Tennessee Tennessee Cal Tennessee
#11 Florida USC Florida Florida Indiana Florida USC
#12 USC Florida USC Kentucky Wisconsin USC Florida
#13 Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin Michigan Michigan Wisconsin
#14 Kentucky UNC Michigan Michigan USC Kentucky Georgia
#15 UNC Georgia UNC USC Kentucky UNC Michigan
#16 Georgia Michigan Georgia Georgia UNC Wisconsin UNC
#17 Michigan Kentucky Kentucky UNC Georgia Duke Kentucky
#18 LSU LSU LSU LSU Duke Georgia LSU
#19 Duke Duke Duke Northwestern Northwestern Northwestern Duke
#20 Northwestern Northwestern Northwestern Duke LSU LSU Northwestern
#21 Miami (FL) Arizona Arizona Arizona Miami (FL) Miami (FL) Miami (FL)
#22 Viringia Tech Virginia Tech Miami (FL) Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
#23 Arizona Miami (FL) VIrginia Tech Miami (FL) Arizona Auburn Arizona
#24 Auburn Auburn Auburn Auburn Auburn Arizona Auburn
#25 Purdue Arkansas Arkansas Purdue Akrnasas Arkansas Minnesota

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GoGatorFans
3 months ago

Isabel Ivey joining UF for 2023-2024 season

Big Abey
3 months ago

hbgg

Last edited 3 months ago by Big Abey
Hawksrising
3 months ago

UNCW?

Ghost
3 months ago

Does SwimSwam know why UF transfers aren’t eligible now? Curious to me!

HOO love
Reply to  Ghost
3 months ago

entered the transfer portal late and are waiting on waivers

Sherry Smit
3 months ago

Early Hot Takes:
-Caroline Pennington wins the 1650 over McKenna, Sullivan, and McMahon.

-Kensey McMahon adapts well to the 500 freestyle and continues to drop in that race after a successful summer going bronze at 4:08.5 at nationals. She rips a 4:33.7 to win the 500 free over Weyant.

-Emma Weyant adapts well to the Florida training, reaching her potential in the 400 IM winning in 3:57.6.

-This one is really hot and will likely get a lot of dislike, but Gretchen Walsh breaks the 20 second barrier at 19.9 in the 50 free, becoming the fastest 50 freestyler, 50 backstroker, and 50 butterflier this season.

-Phoebe Bacon breaks Regan Smith’s AR in the 200 Y back… Read more »

Reply to  Sherry Smit
3 months ago

I was literally just thinking about the 20-second barrier thing this morning. I don’t think she’ll do it flat start, but relay split there’s an outside shot.

Taa
Reply to  Sherry Smit
3 months ago

Pennington No
Mcmahon maybe
Weyant no, can’t do short course
Walsh 20.75, relay 20.39
Bacon no, she doesn’t have the raw speed
Huske yes at conference

Swammer
Reply to  Sherry Smit
3 months ago

McMahon doesn’t have the speed for a 4:33. I think it’s significantly more likely she wins the 1,650 than the 500

Eli
Reply to  Swammer
3 months ago

Idk… her 4:08 this summer, and her in season 500 suggest that this may be her calling. I think her strategy in the 1650 is very similar to that of a 500. She takes it out fast and makes her move early. Also if Weyant doesn’t get approved and Sullivan doesn’t reach her form, McMahon is in serious contention

oxyswim
3 months ago

YanYan is assuming Ivey is sticking around because she hasn’t transferred yet, I would be surprised if that’s true. The plan was always to finish her undergrad this term and transfer next semester. Her name is still active in the portal.

Waiting…
3 months ago

We want DIII coverage

oxyswim
Reply to  Waiting…
3 months ago

Braden has said that they get a ton of requests for additional D3 coverage, but whenever they’ve provided more they don’t get nearly enough eyes on it to justify putting it out.

MIHA
3 months ago

don’t doubt the aggies (:

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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