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 for the most impressive NCAA upset of the season so far:
Question: What is the most impressive upset of NCAA season so far?
- Indiana men over Texas & Florida – 56.5%
- Notre Dame women over Louisville – 30.7%
- Other – 12.8%
More than half of voters selected Indiana’s wins over Texas and Florida as the upset of the NCAA season so far.
IU’s wins weren’t exactly unprecedented – in fact, they won this same triangular last year. On the other hand, Texas is the three-time defending NCAA champion and Florida finished third last year, adding weight to IU’s win.
Notre Dame’s win over Louisville took almost a third of votes. That one carries the weight of Notre Dame – an unranked team that took 44th at NCAAs last year – beating one of the more exciting young teams in the nation, and a Cardinal crew that finished 6th in 2017. On the other hand, the win is tempered a little by Louisville’s generally lackluster dual meet record (the team went on to lose to Michigan and Tennessee) coupled with its clear priority focus on championship meets like the SMU Classic, where the Cardinals performed much, much better than they have in dual meets.
The poll also brought up the question of what constitutes an upset, as some were upset (pun intended) that we termed IU’s win an upset after it had happened a year ago as well. One could certainly take a ranking-based approach to defining upsets (a lower-ranked team beating a higher-ranked one is always an upset), or one could base it on last year’s NCAA finish. But past performance doesn’t seem to be a great definer for upsets – after all, a team can put together a string of “upsets” over the same team in consecutive years.
That discussion is part of a bigger swimming theme – how we evaluate dual meet results. Certainly the dreaded r-word (“they r*sted”) will be thrown around plenty, but fan speculation on how each team prepared is hardly sufficient to disqualify a result as a true “upset.”
Beyond those two meets, 12% selected “other” as the biggest upset of the season – perhaps not defining either result as an upset, or favoring a different meet result, of which there were too many to fit into one list of poll results.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters which notable NCAA absence should be most worrisome for their team moving forward:
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The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner