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 which team has the best chance of upending the reigning NCAA champions and winning the national team title this March:
Question: Which team has the best chance to dethrone the defending NCAA champions in 2022?
- Stanford women – 62.8%
- Cal men – 28.0%
- Other – 9.2%
The poll asked readers if they think it’s more likely that the Stanford women take down Virginia to win the 2022 NCAA title, or the Cal men take back the national crown from the University of Texas. There was also an “Other” option, which over nine percent of voters selected.
Both the Cardinal women and Bear men were reigning NCAA champions for two full years after the cancellation of the 2020 meet, having won the 2019 team titles.
Stanford won its third straight title two seasons ago, with the Cal women finishing in the runner-up position all three times. The winning margin in 2019 was by far the smallest of the three, with the Cardinal prevailing by just 38 points on the Bears.
For the men, Cal ended Texas’ four-year run in 2019, winning the meet by 85 points.
Last season, Texas and Cal finished 1-2, in either order, for the seventh straight championship, with the Longhorns regaining the crown by 37 points.
On the women’s side, Virginia, which finished sixth in 2019, stormed to the 2021 title in dominant fashion, topping runner-up NC State by 137 points. Stanford, on the other hand, plummeted down to ninth place following the departure of several top swimmers and other big-name freshmen redshirting the season in order to focus on the delayed Olympic Games.
But now, the Stanford women are back in full force, reloading with the likes of Regan Smith, Torri Huske, Taylor Ruck and many more blue-chip prospects, while returning multi-time NCAA champion Brooke Forde as a fifth-year senior.
As a result, 62.8 percent of readers selected the Cardinal as being more likely to regain the NCAA title on the women’s side.
The UVA women have notably lost Paige Madden, who won three individual titles last season for 60 points, but they do bring in stud sprinter Gretchen Walsh, who has already been 21.6 flat-start/20.9 on a relay in the 50 freestyle this season.
The Cal men received 28 percent of votes, having come incredibly close to winning the title last season. The Bears do bring in a strong recruiting class, led by freestylers Jack Alexy and Robin Hanson, but so does Texas. Cal is also losing 60-point scorer Ryan Hoffer who was a driving force on their relays as well.
The Longhorns will return their top 10 individual scorers from last season’s NCAAs.
If you were one of the readers that voted for “Other” in the poll, let us know who you think has the best chance to unseat the defending NCAA champions in the comments below!
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: Who would you favor in an NCAA 200 free final after Matt Sates’ 1:40.6 SCM swim in Berlin?
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.