Shaine Casas a Huge Favorite in SwimSwam Pick ‘Em Contest (ENTER NOW!)

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 7

March 24th, 2021 News

There are just a few hours left before the start of the 2021 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, which means just a few hours left to get in your entries for the 2021 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships Pick ‘Em Contest.


Daily winners will receive a one year subscription to SwimSwam Magazine, while the overall winner will receive A one year subscription to SwimSwam Magazine, and one 25-meter/25-yard X1- pro resistance training device – a $997 value.

So far, there are a lot of overwhelming favorites, with over 90% of entries choosing the top seed to win in 8 different events.

That includes Texas A&M junior Shaine Casas, who is the biggest favorite of the field, with almost 98% (427 out of 436 entries) picking him to win the 100 backstroke, almost 95% (413 out of 436) picking him to win the 200 IM, and 94% (410 out of 436) picking him to win the 200 backstroke.

Anybody who picked against Casas has the chance to make up big ground on the field in the event of an upset.

In that 200 backstroke, he’ll face up against, among others, Texas’ Austin Katz, who was the 2018 NCAA Champion as a freshman and 2019 NCAA runner-up as a sophomore. Katz got off to a slow start this season, and is just the 15th seed coming into the meet.

Katz was still picked to win on 15 entries. Those entries, in general, were very high on the Texas Longhorns’ chances in a number of events, including the team battle.

Entries so far do not have a high degree of confidence in top seeded freshmen.

The two top seeds with the lowest number of picks to win so far are Virginia Tech’s Youssef Ramadan in the 100 fly (35.78%) and Florida’s Adam Chaney in the 50 free (10.32%).

Those two events, plus another low-confidence-top-seed race the 100 free (Daniel Krueger – 36.70%) all have one thing in common: they’ll be racing against, among others, Cal’s Ryan Hoffer.

In the 50 free, the pick makes sense: Hoffer, the defending NCAA Champion, is an overwhelming favorite with 85.1% of the vote.

He’s also the favorite in the 100 free with 57.3% of the vote, in spite of the fact that the top-seeded Krueger (4th) placed higher at the 2019 NCAA Championships than did Hoffer (6th).

The 100 fly is the most split decision of the meet. Hoffer received 30 picks, Ramadan received 156, Nicolas Albiero of Louisville received 151 choices, Camden Murphy 32, and Texas’ Alvin Jiang, who didn’t race at the 2019 NCAA Championships, received 48 choices.

So, all-in-all, while not as favored as other top seeds, Ramadan has still received more fan votes than any of the other candidates.

The exception to the freshman rule is Texas rookie Carson Foster in the 400 IM, who has been picked-to-win by 91.1% of entries. He is the top seed by 2 seconds over Cal’s Hugo Gonzalez.

The most surprising low-pick favorite to me is Cal’s Trenton Julian, who is only receiving 55.73% of choices to win the 200 fly.

Besides being generally a popular swimmer, he is the top seed by over half-a-second.

The 2nd seed Albiero received about half of the remaining picks (108, 24.8%) – with high confidence driven in part by the Louisville women having a very successful championship meet and moving up a lot in seed.

There’s also more Longhorn love for Sam Pomajevich, who hasn’t had a great year overall but is still the 3rd seed in the 200 fly. Georgia freshman Gianluca Urlando, who before a shoulder injury looked like the American favorite to win the 200 fly at the US Olympic Trials, and Indiana sophomore Brendan Burns are also receiving some action in that event.

There seems to in general be a lack of confidence in favorites in the relays as well (aside from Texas in the 800). That’s because neither of the top two teams in the country overall, Cal or Texas, have top seeds in the 200 free relay (Florida), 200 medley relay (Michigan), and 400 free relay (NC State).

NC State has received just 13.07% of the first place choices so far in the 400 free relay, in spite of the Wolfpack women last week performing very well, especially on relays. The NC State men hold the top seed in that event.

Top Seed – Percentage Picked – 2021 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships

Event Top Seed Picks Percentage
100 backstroke Shaine Casas, Texas A&M 427 97.94%
1650 free Bobby Finke, Florida 422 96.79%
800 free relay Texas 419 96.10%
200 IM Shaine Casas, Texas A&M 413 94.72%
200 back Shaine Casas, Texas A&M 410 94.04%
100 breast Max McHugh, Minnesota 409 93.81%
200 breaststroke Reece Whitley, Cal 405 92.89%
400 IM Carson Foster, Texas 397 91.06%
500 free Kieran Smith, Florida 384 88.07%
200 free Kieran Smith, Florida 378 86.70%
400 medley relay Texas 278 63.76%
200 fly Trenton Julian, Cal 243 55.73%
100 freestyle Daniel Krueger 160 36.70%
100 fly Youssef Ramadan, Virginia Tech 156 35.78%
200 free relay Florida 124 28.44%
200 medley relay Michigan 99 22.71%
00 free relay NC State 57 13.07%
50 free Adam Chaney, Florida 45 10.32%

The team battle sees some clear stratifications. It’s clear to most readers that the battle for first place is between Texas and Cal, with a Florida-Georgia showdown for 3rd and the Gators heavily favored there.

After that, as is expected, the opinions become more disparate.  The 7-11 spots between Ohio State, Indiana, NC State, and Michigan are nearly a dead-heat.

Consensus Team Picks – Pick ‘Em – By Place

  1. Texas – 68.5%
  2. Cal – 64.7%
  3. Florida – 75.5%
  4. Georgia – 45.0%
  5. Louisville – 30.1%
  6. Texas A&M – 27.3%
  7. Ohio State – 20.2%
  8. Indiana – 21.8%
  9. NC State – 22.0%
  10. Michigan – 17.7%

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1 year ago

Oh man, time to get everything wrong again.

1 year ago

I love how a lot of people probably predicted Kibbler to upset smith in the 500. What a joke.(coming from a texas fan)

1 year ago

Can’t deny his talent, going to be a force this summer in the big pool.

1 year ago

I would say Finke is a bigger favorite to win the 1650 than Casas is for the 100 back. Casas is clearly the big favorite but with the possibility of a bad start and the 100 back having a higher rate of DQs, I think Finke is more of a lock.

Reply to  ACC
1 year ago

Yeah ikr?

1 year ago

Betting on kibler in the 500!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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