Scoring the 2020 NCAA Women’s D1 Pre-Selection Psych Sheets

Data Compiled by Andrew Mering.

With Tuesday’s release of the pre-selection Women’s Division I NCAA Championship psych sheets, we were able to project where the cut-line will be drawn for invite to the national championship meet that runs March 18th-21st in Athens, Georgia.

That tells the story of who individually will earn invites to the meet (though there are likely to be a few scratches, including one we seem to know of already, to shift that picture in the next 2 weeks).

But this also allows us to start looking at the team scoring potential for the meet.

Sitting at the top of the projected team scoring, by a substantial margin, are the ACC Champion Virginia Cavaliers, followed closely by the SEC Champion Tennessee Volunteers. While Virginia has a ton of momentum, and incoming classes including swimmers like Alex and Gretchen Walsh, that left them destined to compete for national titles down the road, a title in the 2020 season would be ahead of schedule for what most expected from the Cavaliers.

The 3rd-place team is a bit of a surprise: the Cal Golden Bears. Cal definitely has a top-3 caliber roster at the NCAA Championships, so that bit is not surprising; rather, it’s that Cal is seeded so far ahead of Stanford, the three-time defending NCAA Champions. Stanford finished 373.5 points ahead of Cal at the Pac-12 Championships and won their dual meet over Cal by 89 points.

For perspective, last year Stanford led all teams in psych sheet scoring with 374 points: 3 ahead of Cal. While Stanford’s Pac-12 Championship margin was bigger last year (423 points), that they are seeded well back of Cal on paper is still surprising.

That’s one of several upended conference championship results projected. For example, the Big Ten runners-up from Michigan are projected to score more (233.5 points) than the Big Ten Champions from Ohio State (131 points).

These psych sheets don’t tell the full story of the NCAA Championship meet, although they are a reasonable starting point. There’s two other key pieces of information missing:

1. Diving – This scoring doesn’t include any diving points. Among the top teams, Stanford has the best diving squad – they scored 15 diving points at last year’s NCAA Championships, all of which return this season and all but 1 of which were scored by freshmen. That includes junior Mia Paulsen, who was the Pac-12 Champion over the weekend on platform.

2. Performance – Everyone’s most (and least) favorite topic: tapers, rests, suits, illnesses, and who’s going to show up for the NCAA Championships. Most teams claim expectations of improvements from their regular season and conference meets to the NCAA Championships, but in practice very few teams accomplish it. Last year’s top-performing teams on seed-versus-actual swimming scoring were Louisville, Stanford, and Minnesota, while the worst-performing teams were Tennessee, Ohio State, and Texas.

Most Improved Teams, By Points, from Seed Scoring to Actual Scoring, 2019 NCAA Championships:

  1. Louisville +70.5
  2. Stanford +63.5
  3. Minnesota +50.5
  4. Cal +44.5
  5. (TIE) Duke/Virginia +41
  6. Arizona +37.5
  7. Michigan +19
  8. (TIE) Wisconsin/Penn State/Alabama +10

Most Dis-Improved Teams, By Points, from Seed Scoring to Actual Scoring, 2019 NCAA Championships:

  1. Tennessee -76
  2. NC State -55
  3. Auburn -51
  4. Florida -49.5
  5. Texas -31.5
  6. Georgia -28
  7. Indiana -25.5
  8. (TIE) UNC/Texas A&M -22
  9. USC -21.5

Of course even this doesn’t tell a complete picture. Some years, teams have different goals. Some years, teams get sick. Some teams have new coaches, and some of it is individually-based, with certain athletes handling the conference-nationals taper cycle better than others.

But the proof of that will come out in the pudding in March at the Gabrielsen Natatorium. Until then, all that’s left to do is argue.

Psych Sheet Scoring, 2020 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships – Swimming Only

Rank Team Seeded Points
1 Virginia-VA 374
2 Tennessee-SE 304.5
3 California-PC 272
4 NC State-NC 247.5
5 Michigan-MI 233.5
6 Georgia-GA 217
7 Stanford-PC 193
8 Southern Cali-CA 176.5
9 Kentucky-KY 158.5
10 Auburn-SE 150
11 Ohio St-OH 131
12 Alabama-SE 130
13 Florida-FL 126
14 Louisville-KY 123
15 Wisconsin-WI 117
16 Arizona St-AZ 84
17 Northwestern-IL 83
18 Missouri-MV 79
19 Texas-ST 78
20 Indiana-IN 70
21 Arkansas-AR 49
22 Duke-NC 35.5
23 UNC-NC 22
24 Harvard-NE 19
25 Texas A&M-GU 14
26 Minnesota-MN 14
27 San Diego St-SI 13.5
28 Princeton-NJ 12
29 Arizona-AZ 7
30 FGCU-FL 7
31 Florida St-FL 6
32 Hawaii-HI 5
33 South Carolina-SC 5
34 Houston-GU 4
35 Utah-UT 3
36 Penn St-MA 1.5

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The Importer AND Exporter
8 months ago

Holy smokes the Aggies got gigged.

DeSorbo Effect
8 months ago

‘Sitting at the top of the projected team scoring, by a substantial margin, are the ACC Champion Virginia Cavaliers’ – BOOM!

‘Virginia has a ton of momentum, and incoming classes including swimmers like Alex and Gretchen Walsh, that left them destined to compete for national titles down the road’ – BOOM! BOOM!!

‘Most Improved Teams (TIE) Duke/Virginia +41’ – BOOM SHAKALAKA!!!

Reply to  DeSorbo Effect
8 months ago

Third shave and rest of the season for some of the Cavs. We shall see……..

Reply to  Snarky
8 months ago

Believe what you want, but no one was shaved in December.

Reply to  Snarky
8 months ago

Multiple shaves are inconsequential these days. I’ve known women who shaved throughout the season and got faster at every meet. Rest cycles are far more important.

Reply to  Snarky
8 months ago

No Virginia swimmers, men or women, were shaved or fully tapered at mid-season invite and the top Virginia women were not tapered for ACCs either. So NCAAs will be their first fully shaved and tapered meet of the season for many of these Virginia gals.

Bearly Breathing
Reply to  DeSorbo Effect
8 months ago

The last time I saw someone with this kind of irritating enthusiasm, he was selling the ShamWow and SlapChop on TV.

Reply to  Bearly Breathing
8 months ago

This comment this one right here wins

Reply to  Bearly Breathing
8 months ago


Reply to  DeSorbo Effect
8 months ago

Lol at the selective choice of most improved teams to make it look like Virginia is highest.

Reply to  DeSorbo Effect
8 months ago

Yeah, well a few years ago i thought Cal would win every foreseeable NCAA meet.

Wahoo Wah
Reply to  DeSorbo Effect
8 months ago

Virginia haters ^^. About to learn.

Wahoo Wah
Reply to  DeSorbo Effect
8 months ago

Go Hoos!

8 months ago

Seeing this on paper it looks like Virginia can win if their top 4 swimmers can match their seeds on avg. and the relays can avg a top 3 finish. Being super top heavy they could also fall pretty far down the standings if they don’t perform. Douglas and Madden should be able to be in the A final of all their events. Hill is on the bubble of the A final for her swims and Nelson I think would be a question mark. Tennessee based on last year I don’t think you can put them over 300pts. Stanford I did my own projection and I came up with about 260 plus diving would put them near 300. Cal has… Read more »

Reply to  Taa
8 months ago

I think (hope) TN swimmers learned from last year’s experience, although with Erika breaking an American record, I have to wonder if they were more rested than they let on (how many swimmers break their first American record unrested?). Matt’s a heck of a coach though, so they are in good hands. The challenge with UVA is their youth. Some of their younger stars did massive best times at ACCs. To match those times at their first NCAAs will be impressive. Stanford is interesting- a few years ago they had the speedsters like Lia, Simone, and Janet. They are a great mid distance team (400 IM/ 500 free/ 200s) this year, but that doesn’t help with 4 out of the… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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