Headed Into Midseason Invites, Which NCAA Swimmers Remain Undefeated?

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 28

November 14th, 2022 College, National, News

For most college teams, this week marks the end of fall dual meet competition and the start of midseason invites, where the majority of swimmers will be suiting up for the first time. Because of this, we decided to highlight swimmers from SwimSwam’s top 25 ranked programs on both the men’s and women’s side who have yet to lose an individual race this NCAA season.

As of November 13, 2022, there are at least 17 different swimmers from top 25 teams that are still undefeated in individual competition. Of course, each swimmer’s “undefeated status” holds a different weight, as some have raced more than others, and some teams have extremely competitive schedules that make going undefeated much more difficult. In addition, a swimmer’s win-loss record throughout the NCAA season is not the primary indicator of their abilities, as many swimmers tend to race “off events” or not perform at their best during dual meets before going all-out in championship season.

The undefeated swimmer who has raced the most events this season is LSU’s Maggie MacNeil, who won 12 races across five meets. She primarily swam her marquee events of the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, and 100 back, although she’s swam the 200 back on quite a few occasions. In terms of event diversity, Cal’s Gabriel Jett takes the crown, having won races ranging from the 100 fly to the 400 IM. He has seven total event victories in three different strokes (plus IM) across three different meets.

The undefeated streaks for most of the 17 swimmers will likely be snapped (probably during midseasons), as even the all-time greatest NCAA swimmers have not been able to pull off perfect seasons. Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass, who both went three-for-three in individual NCAA titles in the 2021-22 season, didn’t go undefeated since they both lost “off-event” races at their midseason invite (plus, Walsh was third in the 200 fly at the Texas vs. UVA dual meet). Caeleb Dressel, who had arguably the greatest single-meet performance in NCAA history in 2018, was not undefeated that year since he had a few dual meet losses in the fall. Even Katie Ledecky, who hasn’t lost a long course 800 free race in ten years, did not have an undefeated NCAA season thanks to the likes of her teammates Simone Manuel and Ella Eastin.

That being said, if there’s anyone out of the 17 swimmers that’s most likely to end up with a perfect season, it’s got to be multi-event NCAA title contenders Leon Marchand, Maggie MacNeil, and Gretchen Walsh. If Marchand doesn’t swim any particularly “off events” in future dual meets this season, he could possibly remain undefeated through NCAAs if he gets past his competitors (Carson Foster, Hugo Gonzalez, Max McHugh, and Matt Fallon to name a few), given that he’s the favorite to win the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 breast.

Walsh and MacNeil won’t race each other until NCAAs, so it’s very possible that both of them are undefeated until then. The two swimmers are the fastest two performers in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 50 fly (relay splits) this season, and also would have been the fastest two performers in the 100 back had UVA’s 400 medley relay where Walsh led off in 50.60 not been DQed. However, given that Walsh and MacNeil are both sprinters that overlap in almost all of their events, it’s almost certain that one of them will ruin the other’s perfect season. In addition, they will also have to face additional competition from some of the NCAA’s best swimmers who happen to not be undefeated, such as 50 free American record holder Kate Douglass and the Stanford duo of Claire Curzan and Torri Huske.

Below, you can find a list of swimmers that our staff could find from top 25-ranked Division I programs that are still undefeated in official NCAA competition this season, and all of their individual event wins. Looking through the meet results for every single swimmer can be a lot, so if there’s anyone we missed, please let us know in the comments.

NOTE: Exhibitioned events count towards “wins” and “losses”. Only swimmers who have more than one event win are included.

List Of Undefeated Swimmers From Top 25-Ranked Division I Programs:

  • Katharine Berkoff, NC State
    • NC State vs. Tennessee: 100 free (49.35), 100 back (52.45)
  • Grace Countie, North Carolina
    • UNC vs. Queens: 50 free (22.24), 100 fly (53.86)
    • UNC vs. UNCW: 50 free (22.47), 100 back (52.80)
    • UNC vs. South Carolina: 100 free (49.17), 100 back (52.41)
  • Maggie MacNeil, LSU
    • LSU vs. Tulane vs. Vanderbilt: 100 free (47.43), 100 back (51.10)
    • LSU vs. South Carolina: 50 free (21.90), 100 back (53.51), 100 fly (50.84)
    • LSU vs. Denver vs. Air Force: 200 back (1:56.26)
    • LSU vs. Auburn: 50 free (22.36), 100 back (52.65), 200 back (1:56.23)
    • LSU vs. Alabama: 50 free (22.28), 100 free (48.81), 100 back (51.41)
  • Jasmine Nocentini, Northwestern
    • Northwestern vs. UIC vs. Illinois: 100 free (49.32), 100 breast (1:00.34)
    • Northwestern vs. Michigan: 100 free (49.28), 100 breast (1:00.06)
  • Anna Peplowski, Indiana
    • Indiana vs. Kentucky: 50 free (23.12), 100 back (53.48), 200 back (1:56.80)
    • Indiana vs. Texas vs. Texas A&M: 100 back (53.37), 200 back (1:55.97)
    • Indiana vs. Missouri: 50 free (23.02), 100 free (50.11). 200 free (1:46.81)
  • Taylor Ruck, Stanford
    • Stanford vs. Utah: 200 IM (2:01.74)
    • Stanford vs. Washington State: 200 back (1:56.82)
  • Gretchen Walsh, Virginia
    • Virginia vs. Florida: 50 free (21.40), 100 fly (50.53)
    • Virginia vs. Texas: 50 free (21.16), 100 IM (52.09), 100 free (47.11)
  • Emma Wheal, Stanford
    • Stanford vs. Utah: 50 free (23.01), 100 free (50.98)
    • Stanford vs. Washington State: 50 free (23.51), 100 fly (55.29)
    • Stanford vs. San Jose State: 50 free (22.90)
  • Carles Coll Marti, Virginia Tech
    • Virginia Tech vs. George Washington vs. Ohio: 200 free (1:36.30), 200 IM (1:46.13)
    • Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State: 200 breast (1:56.38), 200 IM (1:45.70)
  • Preston Forst, Stanford
    • Stanford vs. Utah: 1000 free (9:11.51)
    • Stanford vs. Cal Triple Distance Meet: 200 free (1:38.91), 500 free (4:29.26), 1000 free (9:17.23)
  • Gabriel Jett, Cal
    • Cal vs. Utah: 200 free (1;35.58), 100 fly (47.65)
    • Cal vs. Pacific: 100 back (46.95), 400 IM (3:54.29)
    • Cal vs. Stanford Triple Distance Meet: 50 back (21.99), 100 back (46.89), 200 back (1:43.30)
  • Hayden Kwan, Stanford
    • Stanford vs. Utah: 100 back (48.23), 200 back (1:45.58)
  • Derek Maas, Alabama
    • Alabama vs. Delta State vs. Millsaps: 100 back (48.61), 100 fly (48.90)
    • Alabama vs. South Carolina: 100 breast (53.52), 200 IM (1:47.50)
    • Alabama vs. LSU: 100 breast (53.78), 200 breast (2:00.93)
  • Leon Marchand, Arizona State
    • ASU vs. Georgia vs. Missouri: 200 breast (1:57.67), 200 fly (1:43.21), 2o0 IM (1:44.32)
    • ASU vs. Wisconsin: 200 back (1:42.82), 100 breast (53.16), 400 IM (3:41.59)
    • ASU vs. USC: 100 breast (52.75), 200 breast (1:53.34), 200 IM (1:42.55)
  • Youssef Ramandan, Virginia Tech
    • Virginia Tech vs. George Washington vs. Ohio: 50 free (19.74), 100 fly  (46.43)
    • Virginia Tech vs. Duke: 100 free (43.85), 100 back (47.84)
    • Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State: 50 free (19.78), 100 free (43.42). 100 fly (46.21)
  • Kacper Stokowski, NC State
    • NC State vs. Tennessee: 100 back (46.13), 200 back (1:44.53)
    • NC State vs. Kentucky: 500 free (4:20.40)
  • Adam Wu, Columbia
    • Columbia vs. Princeton: 200 free (1:37.23), 500 free (4:28.37), 200 fly (1:46.84)
    • Columbia vs. Yale: 500 free (4:27.19), 1000 free (9:21.59), 200 fly (1:46.96)

What swimmer do you think has the greatest chance of going undefeated this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Paula Dean Farris
2 months ago

This is the dumbest metric to keep in the sport of swimming. Touch the wall first in March, everything else is just for gigs

DLG
2 months ago

Didn’t Marchand lose an event (100 free to Grant House) at their intrasquad, or am I remembering incorrectly? Are intrasquads not counted?

Admin
Reply to  DLG
2 months ago

Because intrasquad results are so inconsistently reported, and are not bona fide NCAA Competition, we haven’t counted them.

Alex Wilson
Reply to  DLG
2 months ago

Leon Marchand may be getting some serious competition from within his own team when Hubert Kos from Hungary joins the ASU team in January.

greg
2 months ago

I don’t think Maggie MacNeil has much of a chance in the 50 free against KD and GW. Given that her best is 21.1, and KD and GW were 20.8 and 20.9 last season (and GW looks INCREDIBLE this year and is already 21.1 unrested and unsuited), the odds just aren’t there. Of course the 100 free/fly/back are all stacked this season, but they play more to MM’s strengths with her combination of speed and endurance. The top-end speed and power that KD and GW bring to the 50 are just too much for someone like MM, as great as she is IMO.

But will she do the 100 fly/back day 3 double? Historically the answer has been no.… Read more »

Demarrit Steenbergen
Reply to  greg
2 months ago

But now she is McHugh pulled with little to no relay duties

Eli
2 months ago

Claire Tuggle’s 4:46 500’s early season give me some hope that she’s going to go PB’s this season.

Sherry Smit
Reply to  Eli
2 months ago

I’m getting a good feeling about her too. Her 1:58.3/4:09 200/400 free times this summer provide hope for her college career. The future is bright for her, and I feel like she has a chance for Paris 2024 if all goes well.

Eli
Reply to  Sherry Smit
2 months ago

I didn’t say that particularly. She’s one to watch, but we all said the same thing in 2019.

Sherry Smit
2 months ago

Sometimes as years go on, taper helps more and more. That could be the reason why Alex and Kate aren’t winning everything in season. Maybe Tod is upping their yardage, or they are not as rested as they were before. A part of being an elite athlete is learning how to try new things.

greg
Reply to  Sherry Smit
2 months ago

They also took quite a lot of time off to recharge after WC’s. I would guess that has more to with it than anything else.

swimswammer
2 months ago

s/ most of the comment section is still undefeated. Where’s our praise?

Demarrit Steenbergen
Reply to  swimswammer
2 months ago

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Swim fan
2 months ago

Kacper will be undefeated in the 500 free this year.

SwimFanner
2 months ago

I thought McHugh would be undefeated. Huh.

Admin
Reply to  Yanyan Li
2 months ago

This is what makes it interesting. To remain undefeated for a whole season, you either have to swim only primary events (uncommon at top programs), or be versatile enough to win in secondary events.

MyFave
Reply to  Yanyan Li
2 months ago

@yanyan I believe Destin is also undefeated at Cal

Admin
Reply to  MyFave
2 months ago

Destin was not the fastest swimmer in some of the Pentathlon events. We could have a rousing debate about whether those count as losses or not – I can see an argument either way. SwimFans – vote “up” if you consider event losses but Pentathlon wins a “win,” or “down” if the individual event losses count as a “loss.”

Leon won all but the 100 free in his Pentathlon, but that was an intrasquad so not bona fide competition.

Admin
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Official poll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/swimswamnews/status/1592337278265098240

We’ll do whatever Twitter tells us to do.

Bigboy21
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Watch out for Marchand at the mid sason invite, he will make his times from last seaon look slow.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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