Men’s SEC Picks Revisited: Trust In Florida’s Taper Once Again Pays Off


  • When: Tuesday, February 23 – Friday, February 26, 2021
  • Where: Columbia, MO – University of Missouri
  • Champion: Florida (9x)
  • Results

In the lead-up to NCAA conference meet season, we previewed all ten major conference meets and took a stab at predicting a team order. Now, we’re looking back at those picks to see how the final team standings shook out. Where were we wrong? Where were we right? Which teams over-performed and under-performed compared to expectations?


SwimSwam Fan Guide Picks

  1. Florida
  2. Georgia
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Alabama
  5. Tennessee
  6. Mizzou
  7. Auburn
  8. Kentucky
  9. LSU
  10. South Carolina

Actual Finish Order (With Change from our picks noted in parentheses)

  1. Florida (-)
  2. Georgia (-)
  3. Tennessee (+2)
  4. Texas A&M (-1)
  5. Alabama (-1)
  6. Missouri (-)
  7. Kentucky (+1)
  8. Auburn (-1)
  9. LSU (-)
  10. South Carolina (-)

This one went quite a bit better than our women’s SEC picks, at least at the top. Once again, a theme is clear: trust what a team returns from last year more than you trust what a team has done this year. Maybe that’s more of a one-year theme, with the coronavirus pandemic making this year’s times and national ranks much fuzzier.

But Florida held about a ten-point lead over Georgia in returning points from last year when we tallied that up last spring. In-season, the Swimulator projections (based on conference-wide rankings of in-season times) had Georgia with a huge lead: 1310.5 to 950 over Florida. But credit to our staff for continuing to trust in a Florida team that pretty consistently shows up big at SECs. We picked Florida to topple Georgia, which they did, by about 77 points.

We knew things would get tight in the next tier, and we were right: 3rd-place and 6th-place were separated by just 50.5 total points. We picked Texas A&M’s star power and their strong diving group to take third, but Tennessee managed to nip them by 9.5 points. In the end, that was probably Tennessee performing better than expected, and A&M’s full roster not really coming together the way we had predicted.

Further down, Kentucky leapfrogged Auburn – just like on the women’s side, we probably underestimated how well Kentucky has been swimming at taper time. They’re clearly moving from “prove-it” territory to “proven-it” territory when it comes to our yearly ranks.

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3 years ago

“A&M’s full roster not really coming together the way we had predicted” – probably not the way they predicted either. Also probably the only team (?) at SECs that had to deal with SNOVID-21, the freak snow storm that closed their facilities during taper week. Not ideal prep, but it happened. No guarantee that’s to blame either and we all know there is no comments section on the scoreboard. They will never mention it either, rightly so. Just move on and roll with the punches. Well done to Tennessee and it was exciting to see that battle for 1st and 3rd come down to the final moments. Great meet!

Monday Morning Grind
Reply to  Jusayin'
3 years ago

Or, teams like A&M and Virginia have a history of coming further down for smaller meets than other teams, leading viewers to disproportionately inflate their potential at big meets like SECs and NCAAs. We’ll find out come NCAAs and Trials.

3 years ago

In Nesty we trust

3 years ago

Yea Tenessee’s divers came through!

Actual Factual
Reply to  SwimFani
3 years ago

They really did. Their diving coach is incredible. The 100 fly and both breast events also came through. (And scored more than any of their diving events). It was a great team effort.

Psu fan
3 years ago

You guys should have an individual event pic em challenge for men’s ncaas

Reply to  Psu fan
3 years ago

i’m sure they will

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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