SwimSwam Pulse: 62% Think Stanford Women Most Likely To Unseat NCAA Champions

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 SmithTorri HuskeTaylor 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.

The Bears also bring back a few top-tier fifth-years in Trenton JulianDaniel Carr and Sean Grieshop, but it’s clear voters are more bullish on Stanford’s chances.

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 Pollwhich asks: Who would you favor in an NCAA 200 free final after Matt Sates’ 1:40.6 SCM swim in Berlin?

Who would you favor in an NCAA 200 free final?

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

Nah I think UVA will take it home again

Just a Swim Mom
Reply to  Swimmer
1 month ago


1 month ago

Stanford curse gonna hit them at an all time high

Reply to  Shaq
1 month ago

What curse? Stanford has won 3 of last 4 NCAA championships. If that is a curse, any coach in USA would take it.

katie’s gator arc
1 month ago

i can’t wait for desorbo to smoke that meehan pack

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  katie’s gator arc
1 month ago

I want regan and torri to win a heck ton of individual titles and awards but I want UVA to win the whole thing

Last edited 1 month ago by Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
katie’s gator arc

same here!! ^^

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  katie’s gator arc
1 month ago

Great minds (Katie ledecky usernames) think alike

katie’s gator arc


katie’s gator arc
Reply to  katie’s gator arc
1 month ago

why are y’all booing at me?? i’m right?!? HE LITERALLY SMOKED IT LAST YEAR C’MON??

Last edited 1 month ago by katie’s gator arc
1 month ago

Hey don’t sleep on nc state 🤭 all ncaa returners plus an impressive freshman class

So confused
1 month ago

I think it’ll be Stanford for not only the win but will crush UVA.

Dicky V
1 month ago

Women’s NCAA’s are going to be AWESOME this year baby!!!! Hard to believe but Hoos relays will be even faster without Madden and I love their energy! UVA by 21. Take it to the bank baby!!!

1 month ago

Texas/ Cal is almost too close to call

Coach Macgyver
1 month ago

Less interruptions going into this season and a solid freshman class. Stanford will knock UVA down.

So confused
Reply to  Coach Macgyver
1 month ago

Agree as long as it stays the way it is now with almost no Covid restrictions on campus.

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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