2023-24 NCAA Women’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.

After a hectic offseason that saw a lot of turnover in the NCAA, coupled with some Olympic redshirts, we’re ready to dive back in as the 2023-24 campaign gets underway.

There are no drastic changes we’re predicting in terms of who the top teams are—Virginia is still number one, Texas is the consensus runner-up, and only one team, UNC, is predicted to fall out of the top 10. However, there is a lot of jockeying for position inside those top spots, with Louisville notably expected to move into the top three, Florida predicted to jump up three sports and Stanford penciled in to plummet down the rankings.

Outside of the top 10, two schools that finished outside of the top 25 at the 2023 NCAA Championships, Arizona State and Auburn, have been picked to make their way into the rankings, with Kentucky and Arizona the teams falling out.

We also see the likes of Michigan, Duke and Texas A&M picked to make a significant jump up the standings, while Minnesota, Alabama and LSU are expected to drop.

Without further ado, here are our pre-season women’s NCAA power rankings, along with the team’s final placing at the 2023 nationals.

Honorable Mentions: Arkansas, Florida State

#25: AUBURN TIGERS +5 (2023 NCAA Rank: 30)

As a whole, Auburn seemed to perform better at SECs than NCAAs last season, and tweaking their taper a bit should see a better showing at nationals. On top of that, they welcome a massive recruiting class with some intriguing names, particularly Lawson Ficken, who should help push the sprint free relays into scoring position. -JS

#24: PURDUE BOILERMAKERS (2023 NCAA Rank: 24)

Purdue holds steady at 24th, the same spot they finished last year, thanks to their diving prowess from fifth-year Maycey Vieta and junior Sophia McAfee—though they do lose Maggie Merriman. -JS

#23: LSU TIGERS -10 (2023 NCAA Rank: 13)

I’ve said this before, but LSU is absolutely still a good team without Maggie MacNeil. Swimmers like Ella Varga and Jenna Bridges showed huge potential at SECs but couldn’t back it up at NCAAs—if that proves to be just a rookie mistake, watch out for them this year. Also, the return of sprinters Katarina Milutinovich, Michaela de Villiers, and Regan Osborne gives the Tigers a good chance at qualifying more relays for NCAAs this season. -YL

#22: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE -8 (2023 NCAA Rank: 14)

Alabama continues to drop after finishing 4th in 2022, as the Crimson Tide lose their top three scorers from last season and only return one, Avery Wiseman. -JS

#21: MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS -4 (2023 NCAA Rank: 17)

Losing their top scorer last season, Joy Zhu, is certainly a hit for Minnesota, but Viviana del Angel and Megan Van Berkom keep them in the mix for a top-25 spot.

#20: TEXAS A&M AGGIES +5 (2023 NCAA Rank: 25)

The Aggies should see some improvement with additions such as transfers Hayden Miller, Abby Grottle and a few intriguing recruits. Aviv Barzelay is also knocking on the door of scoring in her junior year. -JS

#19: MIAMI HURRICANES +3 (2023 NCAA Rank: 22)

Mia Vallee‘s skill on the boards alone should be enough to keep the Canes in the top 25. The big question is what will grad transfer Talia Bates bring to the team? -SK

#18: VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES +2 (2023 NCAA Rank: 20)

Emma Atkinson and the relays have been the primary source of Virginia Tech’s points in recent years, but more help should be on the way this season from names like Carmen Weiler Sastre and recruit Athena Meneses Kovacs. -JS

#17: ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS +10 (2023 NCAA Rank: 27)

Deniz Ertan and Alexa Reyna joining the Sun Devils, plus Lindsay Looney‘s breakout could be the spark the ASU women have been looking for to launch themselves onto the national scene. -SK

#16: DUKE BLUE DEVILS +5 (2023 NCAA Rank: 21)

I was very impressed with the way Kaelyn Gridley handled her freshman NCAAs. Let’s see if her classmate, Martina Peroni, can follow suit as a sophomore—she showed a lot of promise earlier in the season. Foley, Gridley, and Peroni could single-handedly put this team in the top 20. -YL

#15: MICHIGAN WOLVERINES +8 (2023 NCAA Rank: 23)

I’m high on the Michigan Wolverines this season. Matt Bowe and his new staff are promising on the coaching side of things. Additionally, Michigan’s rising sophomore class did very well last season as freshmen. On top of that, Michigan is bringing in an excellent freshman class this season. Brazilian Stephanie Balduccini is a great LCM 100 and 200 freestyler, with times fast enough that she could realistically be an NCAA ‘A’ finalist in both events this season. Hannah Bellard joins the team with a 200 fly PB that would have made the ‘A’ final at NCAAs last season, and 400 IM and 500 free times that could potentially score at NCAAs as well. -SP

Stephanie Balduccini and Linsday Flynn will be a great sprint duo. -YL

#14: GEORGIA BULLDOGS +2 (2023 NCAA Rank: 16)

The Bulldogs lost just one individual NCAA point from last season and Eboni McCarty and Dune Coetzee seem poised to take another jump in ’23-24. -JS

#13: NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS -3 (2023 NCAA Rank: 10)

NCAA 1- and 3-meter champ Aranza Vazquez is the driving force behind UNC’s points. Grace Countie and Sophie Lindner graduated, and even with newcomers coming up big, the Tar Heels will likely slide a few spots in the standings from their 10th-place finish last season. -SK

#12: WISCONSIN BADGERS +3 (2023 NCAA Rank: 15)

With the addition of Hailey Tierney (the top 50 freestyler in the class of 2023) and top distance recruit Maddie Waggoner, Wisconsin is shaping up to be another freestyle U. Oh, and Phoebe Bacon, duh. -YL

#11: USC TROJANS +1 (2023 NCAA Rank: 12)

Justina Kozan and Kaitlyn Dobler had good summers, Nike Agunbiade is back for a fifth year and Claire Tuggle joins as a transfer from UVA, bringing plenty of optimism to the team in their Pac-12 swan song. Lilla Minna Abraham and Macky Hodges could both score in their first year. -JS

#10: STANFORD CARDINAL -7 (2023 NCAA Rank: 3)

Stanford took a brutal blow this offseason losing Huske, Curzan, and Ruck. They’re going to have to work hard to retain a top-10 position in the NCAA. -SK

No doubt Stanford suffered some tough losses this offseason. They aren’t going to post another top 3 finish this year, however, they definitely still have a chance at the top 10. The losses are huge, but Caroline Bricker and Lucy Thomas are fantastic recruits, both of whom should provide immediate value individually and on the Cardinal relays. -SP

First, I would like to clarify that I foresee the points gap between #8 and #9 to be very big at NCAAs. However, as the only writer who gave Stanford a single-digit ranking, I think rumors of the team’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. With the exception of backstroke, I truly believe that the Cardinal can score in every single event (and ‘A’ final in many of them). Their sprint relays may have taken a hit, but they can still be a top-three team in the 800 free relays and score points in the other free relays. Also, we *cannot* overlook the value of Lucy Thomas—she could easily be a Jasmine Nocentini-esque multi-event weapon that is good at both sprint breast and free. The Cardinal might not be able to contend with the top dogs anymore, but they are still a very solid, well-rounded squad. -YL

#9: CAL GOLDEN BEARS +2 (2023 NCAA Rank: 11)

The Bears will probably get a boost in morale simply due to the major commitments they received from the class of 2025, but last year’s pieces are still very much in place and this should be more of a Business As Usual season after the chaoticness of what we saw heading into 2022-23. -JS

#8: INDIANA HOOSIERS -1 (2023 NCAA Rank: 7)

Indiana loses Noelle Peplowski and Mac Looze from last season, representing the loss of two of their top breaststrokers and IMers. Still, the Hoosiers retain Ching Hwee Gan and Anna Peplowski, their top two individual scorers from last year, and Ashley Turak is returning for a 5th year, which is big for their relays. Additionally, star diver Tarrin Gilliland should be back this year after taking the last NCAA season off, which will be a huge gain for IU. All things considered, it seems likely that Indiana will end up in a very similar position to last year performance-wise.- SP

#7: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS +1 (2023 NCAA Rank: 8)

The Vols did much better at NCAAs than expected last year—and their momentum continued in the offseason. Katie Mack and Camille Spink will be great relay boosts, Mona McSharry is coming off of an incredible summer, and top class of 2022 recruit Regan Rathwell should be back from injury. -YL

Tennessee is in good shape heading into this season. The Vols benefit from losing only one individual scorer from last year’s NCAAs (Kristen Stege). On top of that, Camille Spink is a phenomenal pickup, coming in with a 200 free PB that can score at NCAAs, and 50 and 100 free times that are right on the bubble. Spink is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Tennessee’s incoming class is strong from top to bottom. -SP

#6: FLORIDA GATORS +3 (2023 NCAA Rank: 9)

Florida finished 9th at NCAAs last season. Facing minimum losses and two huge additions in Izzy Ivey and Bella Sims, the Gators are primed to improve on last season’s success. -SP

It’s hard to oversell the value Bella Sims and Izzy Ivey add to the Florida Gators, who already took a massive leap forward last season. -SK

Last year, #9 Florida and #5 NC State were separated by 84 points. Bella Sims and Izzy Ivey alone can probably combine for 100+ points, and that’s not counting the added relay boost and the rest of the Gators’ recruiting class. -YL

#5: NC STATE WOLFPACK – (2023 NCAA Rank: 5)

The return of Katharine Berkoff and the addition of Miriam Sheehan (a good sprinter recruit) is the only reason why NC State is even in the conversation to repeat their fifth-place finish. The loss of Abbey Webb, Emma Muzzy, Kylee Alons, and both of their breaststrokes from last year will hurt them tremendously, especially when teams like Florida, Indiana, and Tennessee are gaining big additions. -YL

The Wolfpack is facing some pretty big losses from last year’s 5th-place NCAA team, however, Katharine Berkoff returning as a fifth-year is huge for the team. Miriam Sheehan might be one of the most impactful freshmen in the NCAA this season. Similarly, Tyler Driscoll is a great sprint prospect. -SP

#4: OHIO STATE BUCKEYES +2 (2023 NCAA Rank: 6)

Ohio State is in an advantageous position heading into this season. Coming off a 6th place finish last year, the Buckeyes only really lost Felicia Pasadyn as an NCAA-scoring swimmer. Moreover, Pasadyn only scored 4 points at NCAAs last year, so OSU is facing very minimal losses. They have great leadership on the team thanks to the returns of Amy Fulmer, Hannah Bach, Morgan Kraus, Josie Panitz, and Janie Boyle, all of whom are now in grad school. -SP

#3: LOUISVILLE CARDINALS +1 (2023 NCAA Rank: 4)

We talk about Gabi Albiero a lot, I don’t think enough people understand just how important Christiana Regenauer and Abby Hay are to this team. Their return for a fifth just sealed the deal for this third-place ranking. -YL

Louisville is looking great heading into this season. Gabi Albiero had an amazing season last year and there’s no reason to expect she won’t continue swimming well. Also, watch out for freshman Lucy Mehraban. She’s flying under the radar but she’s on an incredible improvement curve over the last year, culminating in a pair of 3rd place finishes in the 50 and 100 free at Summer Juniors in Irvine. -SP

#2: TEXAS LONGHORNS – (2023 NCAA Rank: 2)

Texas’ performance at NCAAs may have skewed our view of the team. The fact of the matter is they looked incredible through the vast majority of last season and they still managed a 2nd place finish at NCAAs. It’s worth remembering that the usually fantastic Texas diving squad underperformed quite a bit at NCAAs. Had the divers scored the way I was expecting them to going into the meet, Virginia still would have won handily to be sure, but it wouldn’t have been the complete blowout it ended up being. Additionally, Texas is bringing in some much-needed sprinting with their newcomers, which should be huge for their relays. -SP

The Longhorns may have underwhelmed at NCAAs last year, but don’t forget about how good this team was throughout the course of last season. With what they have already as well as arguably the best recruiting class in the nation on the women’s side, my point from last year prior to NCAAs still stands—this team absolutely has what it takes to pull off an upset for the title. Just like in football, why not Texas? -YL

#1: VIRGINIA CAVALIERS – (2023 NCAA Rank: 1)

Every year, I hope for some team to challenge Virginia and create parity in women’s swimming. And I really thought it would come this year, but then Jasmine Nocentini and the returning fifth years said “nope”. I still think it will be a closer battle compared to years past though. -YL

I think the battle for the NCAA title will be tighter this year than in the last few years, however, Virginia absolutely should still be viewed as the top team in the NCAA going into this season. -SP

WRITER BALLOTS

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

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swimmer
2 months ago

braden putting ohio state at 10th??? LOL huh??

ACC fan
2 months ago

How can you not mention Kennedy Noble for NC STATE after her performance at world team trials?

Scorer
2 months ago

Bad news for the Sun Devils. Deniz Ertan was far from his best form.

hello
2 months ago

Arkansas Kentucky article link??

thezwimmer
2 months ago

Sleeping on the mid-majors

Queens
Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Swim dad
2 months ago

I have Texas and UVA tied at one with a decent lead over another 3rd place for Stanford. 4/5 I believe will be close between OSU and Louisville.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Swim dad
2 months ago

Stanford won’t be #3 lol

Admin
Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
2 months ago

Yeah…if they have a great year, they can certainly be better than the 10th we’ve got them.

But they’re not a top 3 team this year. They need the next two classes + return of Huske to catch up with what they’ve lost the last 2 years in Regan Smith and Claire Curzan and be back in that title hunt.

NoMorePancakes
Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
2 months ago

His daughter swims for Stanford.

JohnCena
2 months ago

Braden has Cal and Indiana higher than anyone else.

And Ohio State and Stanford lower than anyone else. Everyone else has Ohio State in top 5, but he’s got them at 10. Big difference there.

Those are his outlier picks.

Last edited 2 months ago by JohnCena
Former Big10
2 months ago

Stanford is not scoring in every event

Reply to  Former Big10
2 months ago

Sure, they might not. But they *can*. Look at their prospects:
50 free: Lucy Thomas (21.89 PB)
100 free: Amy Tang (47.89 PB), Kayla Wilson (48.21 PB)
200 free: Wilson (1:42 PB), Lillie Nordmann (1:42 PB), Aurora Roghair (1:44), Natalie Mannion (1:44)
500 free: Roghair (4:39 PB), Mannion (4:40 PB)
1650 free: Roghair (16:02 PB)
200 back: Mannion (1:53.08)
100 breast: Thomas (58.6 PB), Caroline Bricker (59.7)
200 breast: Bricker (2:08 PB), Thomas (2:09 PB)
100 fly: Lucy Bell (51.8), Gigi Johnson (52.3)
200 fly: Charlotte Hook (1:52 PB), Bell (1:53 PB)
200 IM: Bell (1:54 PB), Hook (1:54 PB)
400 IM: Bell (4:05 PB), Hook (4:06 PB),… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Yanyan Li
Sherry Smit
Reply to  Yanyan Li
2 months ago

Also, its worth noting that Roghair won PAC-12’s this year in the 1650.

Swim dad
Reply to  Yanyan Li
2 months ago

Facts are a wonderful thing! Go Card!

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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