SwimSwam Pulse: 51% Think SEC Will Be Swimming’s Most Competitive 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.

Our most recent polls asked SwimSwam readers which collegiate conference would be the most competitive in the pool after the realignment dust settles in the NCAA:

Question: What will be the best swimming conference in the NCAA post-realignment in 2024?


  • SEC – 51.1%
  • Big Ten – 26.2%
  • ACC – 20.0%
  • Other – 2.6%

The NCAA’s Power Five conferences have seen a dramatic reshuffling in recent weeks, and there should be more to come. The latest word on Cal and Stanford is that the ACC has continued discussions, but regardless of where they land, there’s no doubt conference championships will look different in the not-too-distant future.

The Pac-12 has essentially collapsed, with Arizona State, Arizona and Utah departing for the Big 12, which comes after USC and UCLA left for the Big Ten last year.

The SEC has added Texas to the mix, effective in 2025, while Cal and Stanford have been rumored to go to either the ACC or Big Ten.

With so many notable changes on the horizon in the NCAA, it begs the question of which conference will be the strongest in terms of swimming & diving.

The SEC has recently led the way in this regard—or at least been right at the front of the pack—and with the addition of Texas, more than 51 percent of SwimSwam readers believe that will continue to be the case once the realignment dust settles.

The poll was also designed in part for readers to be speculative, with Cal and Stanford’s landing spot still up in the air.

The Big Ten received 26 percent of votes, with the Cardinal and Bears potentially in line to join schools like Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan.

The ACC, which would rival the SEC in terms of star power if Cal and Stanford were to join, received 20 percent of votes, as they have the modern dynasty Virginia women’s team coupled with the NC State Wolfpack, which have perenially fielded among the country’s best men’s and women’s swim & dive teams.

The UVA and Virginia Tech men’s teams have also been in the vicinity of the NCAA’s top 10 in recent years.

The Big 12 has been the weakest Power Five conference in the pool for quite some time, and that will continue to be the case (minus whatever happens to the Pac-12) despite the addition of the nation’s #2 men’s team, Arizona State, as Texas departs and the rest of the conference is thin on swimming pedigree.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Who is the most clutch relay performer in recent memory:

Who is the most clutch relay performer of the last 20 years?

View Results

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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.

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1 month ago

Below would say ACC for women’s with 4 in the top 10.

2 Texas
3 Stanford
4 Louisville
5 NC State
6 Ohio State
7 Indiana
8 Tennessee
9 Florida
10 UNC

1 month ago

SEC always has been 👩‍🚀 🔫 👩‍🚀

1 month ago

SEC rules in everyway

1 month ago

i feel like it has to be Cate Cowbell? You can hate on her recent comments all you want, but 50.93, 51.00, 51.10, 51.19, 51.36, 51.45, 51.59 is a truly ridiculous list of split times.

47.0 for men is more or less like 52.0 for women so imagine a male swimmer with 45.9, 46.0, 46.1, 46.2, 46.3, 46.4, and 46.6 relay splits. This poll would not even be close

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

PVDH was dropping 46s back when 49s made the Olympic final. A 49 for men in the early 2000s is like a 53 for women now. So his multiple 46 point splits are more impressive than Campbell.

In any case I expect Lezak will run away with the poll, for reasons related to my username. Fair enough I guess.

Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

No it’s even more impressive than that. Campbell’s best split is half a second faster than anyone else in history, and she swam it in textile. Lezak’s was in a super suit and 7 swims are within half a second of him. He doesn’t have a single textile swim in the top 50 relay splits.

1 month ago

For the next poll question – how is King Kyle not a choice? Easily the most clutch relay performer over the past 2 decades.

Reply to  James Sutherland
1 month ago

Don’t apologize to people who were thinking about voting in a manner that disrespects the best comeback in sports history. Today is the 15 year anniversary for Pete’s sake!

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  James Sutherland
1 month ago

Thanks for the update.

1 month ago

Well is sure as hell ain’t the PAC 4!

Jalen T
1 month ago

SEC is the best conference for every sport except basketball

Reply to  Jalen T
1 month ago

SEC may soon make a claim in hoops too. 2023 was a down year for SEC hoops, which had six first-year coaches. Texas made final 8 and their new coach has them rolling, so they should consistently be top 3-4 team in the SEC.

Reply to  Jalen T
1 month ago

Hockey smh

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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