SwimSwam Pulse: 28% Pick Pac-12 As Strongest Men’s Conference

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to pick the strongest men’s swimming conference:


Question: Which is the strongest swimming conference for men this season?

  • Pac-12 – 28.6%
  • SEC – 27.5%
  • Big Ten – 22.5%
  • ACC – 13.6%
  • Big 12 – 7.8%

The women’s poll was a blowout, but the men’s was a true nailbiter, with the Pac-12 edging the SEC by one percent of the votes as the toughest NCAA men’s swimming conference.

The Pac-12 earned 57% of the votes in the women’s poll, but only 28.6% of the votes here. The SEC was just a tick behind at 27.5%, and the Big Ten had a strong showing in at 22.5%.

It’s a bit surprising to see the ACC this low based on the general fervor of those fanbases, but the conference is definitely reloading a bit, with most of NC State’s stars graduating and a new class coming in, and the Virginia men a little behind their women in their rebuild.

As we did in the women’s poll, we pulled some numbers from three sources: our own Power Rankings, the CSCAA dual meet poll, and last year’s NCAA finish order:

SwimSwam Power Ranks CSCAA Poll 2019 NCAAs
Top 5 Top 10 Top 20 Top 5 Top 10 Top 20 Top 5 Top 10 Top 20
Pac-12 1 2 5 1 2 5 1 1 4
SEC 0 2 6 1 4 5 0 2 6
Big Ten 2 3 3 2 2 4 1 2 4
ACC 1 2 5 0 1 5 2 3 4
Big 12 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

These numbers might show the SEC a little overrated by voters – that traditional powerhouse conference had no teams in the top five last year and none in our current top 5 Power Rankings. However, the SEC really hangs its hat on depth, with the most teams in the top 20 in all three metrics.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters to weigh in on the East/West split format for Winter Juniors:

Do you like the split Winter Junior Championships format for U.S. Juniors?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...



A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

Leave a Reply

7 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Swammer from Wakanda

Obviously I’m going against the majority here but no way the Pac-12 overall is the strongest conference. I’m not going to cite specific examples out of pure laziness but look at 8th and 16th in every event across conferences. SEC, ACC, and Big 10 show far more depth.


I think the SEC looks especially good looking at those times. I was also lazy and only spot checked a few events haha

The Man Himself

I mean technically you are with the majority. PAC-12 only got 28%, which is by no means a clear majority.

Texas swims in a short pool


Lezak swims a 46.5 100 freestyle at age 75.

Personally, I understand why the general public would view the pac-12 as the strongest. However, I respectfully disagree. I chose the SEC conference because I believe that their conference is the most competitive, entertaining, and deep when it comes to what teams are competing against one another. If I had to chose one conference meet to watch every year, it would be the SEC. While my favorite team is not in the SEC, My swimmer nerd self prefers an intense battle between teams, rather than just 1 or 2 teams winning every event.


Entertaining for sure. I don’t think entertaining = strength. You are describing parameters for a different discussion. My high school’s district is competitive but relatively slow. Our state qualifiers will likely make zero A/B finals. But they exciting to watch race each other. The strength of the SEC is it’s depth, but’s it’s depth is concentrated in the middle. The top (I mean TOP) end talent isn’t there in disproportionate numbers to suggest the SEC is a “stronger conference” Are you that strong when your best team might finish 5th at NCAA and have no shot at winning any of the other four conferences? Look at the top 16 in all 13 individual events last year. (All year, not just… Read more »

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 …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!