Post NCAAs: A look back at our final Power Rankings for men and women

Our bi-weekly Power Rankings are always a lightning rod for conversation. In a sport where no team truly shows its full hand until the final meet, mid-season speculation on which teams outrank which is always just that: speculation.

But now that the season has wound down for both men and women, it’s time to take a quick look back at how our final set of power rankings held up to the eventual NCAA finish order.

One quick disclaimer: the point of power in-season power rankings is to balance a team’s projected finish with what they’ve already done to that point on the season. So a team that had an average regular season but really came through big at NCAAs (looking at you, Michigan men…) would naturally finish higher than their power rank.

Though by this point in SwimSwam history, we’ve been accused of both overrating and underrating just about every major team in the country, our rankings were very solid at the top. Picking teams 10-15 was a fairly mixed bag, and as expected, the final 10 teams were really all over the board.

Our final Power Rankings accurately picked both winners, as neither was a major surprise. On the women’s side, we managed to accurately predict the top 5 teams in order, as well as 6 of the top 10. The men’s side was a bit more difficult at the top, but we still correctly placed the top 2 teams and 5 of the top 10.

Also of note: there was only one team that we ranked outside the top 10 who actually climbed their way up to a top-10 finish. That was the Indiana women, who took 10th.

We’ve got the full charts below, with our top 25 Power Ranked teams compared to the top 25 actual finishers. Before that, here are the biggest risers and fallers from our rankings to their actual finishes:

Note: these do not include unranked teams who moved into the top 25. Those teams are the South Carolina men (19th), Miami men (20th), Brigham Young men (23rd) and Minnesota men (25th), plus the Penn State women (20th) and Miami women (25th).

Risers

Men:

  • Missouri: +4
  • Purdue: +4
  • North Carolina: +4

Women:

  • Louisville: +4
  • Missouri: +4
  • Indiana: +3
  • Kentucky: +3
  • North Carolina: +3

Fallers

Men

  • Virginia Tech: -11
  • Iowa: -10
  • UNLV: -8

Women:

  • Alabama: -8
  • SMU: -8
  • Michigan: -7

In hindsight, our biggest misses came from the SEC – the conference as a whole tended to really drop from their ranking, perhaps the effect of moving from the expanded, 5-day meet schedule to the NCAA’s 3-day meet. The Florida men dropping to 5th were our biggest miss in the top 10 on the men’s side, and the Tennessee women were the only program to drop out of the top 10 between our ranks and the NCAA Championships.

Also falling from the SEC: the Florida women (-3), Auburn women (-2) and Alabama women (-8) and the Georgia men (-1) and Tennessee men (-2).

We didn’t see the huge leap from the Louisville women coming (who really did?), but we did have them 10th, which would have been their highest finish in years. 6th overall was a massive jump. We also didn’t have the Michigan men quite high enough – the Wolverines were helped by a falling Florida, but Michigan also clearly showed up to swim all week of men’s NCAAs.

The other men’s team that really showed up on the final day of racing was Missouri, and they were rewarded with a jump of 4 places.

Power Ranks vs Actual Finish

Men

Team Final Power Rank NCAA finish +/-
Texas 1 1 0
California 2 2 0
Michigan 5 3 2
USC 4 4 0
Florida 3 5 -2
Stanford 8 6 2
Georgia 6 7 -1
NC State 7 8 -1
Auburn 9 9 0
Alabama 10 10 0
Missouri 15 11 4
Indiana 11 12 -1
Arizona 14 13 1
Tennessee 12 14 -2
Louisville 13 15 -2
Ohio State 16 16 0
Purdue 21 17 4
North Carolina 22 18 4
South Carolina unranked 19 N/A
Miami (FL) unranked 20 N/A
Wisconsin 19 21 -2
Utah 24 22 2
Brigham Young unranked 23 N/A
Penn State 17 24 -7
Minnesota unranked 25 N/A
UNLV 18 26 -8
Northwestern 23 29 -6
Virginia Tech 20 31 -11
Iowa 25 35 -10

Women

Team Final Power Rank NCAA finish +/-
California 1 1 0
Georgia 2 2 0
Stanford 3 3 0
Texas A&M 4 4 0
Virginia 5 5 0
Louisville 10 6 4
Texas 9 7 2
USC 8 8 0
Florida 6 9 -3
Indiana 13 10 3
Tennessee 7 11 -4
Minnesota 12 12 0
Wisconsin 11 13 -2
Missouri 18 14 4
Arizona 14 15 -1
Kentucky 19 16 3
NC State 17 17 0
Auburn 16 18 -2
North Carolina 22 19 3
Penn State unranked 20 N/A
Notre Dame 20 21 -1
Michigan 15 22 -7
UCLA 24 23 1
Florida State 25 24 1
Miami (FL) unranked 25 N/A
Alabama 21 29 -8
SMU 23 31 -8

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Danjohnrob

Jared, I’m sure this was a Swimswam Team effort, but I’m impressed by your accuracy, especially in the Women’s top 10! Good job!

Phil jackson

Now let’s see the one about the most valuable swimmers at the meet. I know who made the biggest jump in that one. Just surprised he was ranked so low to begin with considering he was already seeded 2nd in two events on the psych sheet. Ended up scoring the most points at the meet and barely even made the original list.

PAC12BACKER

Impressive accuracy. I had predicted before that the change from a 5 day conference meet to a 3 day NCAA meet would pose challenges for the SEC.

Also, the +4 jump for Purdue men was strictly on their massive diving points, which was over 70, while their swimming was about 3 points total. If you take out the swimming scores (but who would want to do that), I believe Purdue would have won the NCAA Diving title for about 9 years straight.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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