SwimSwam’s 2019-2020 NCAA Division I Men’s Preseason Picks

The NCAA swim season is upon us, and it’s time for a time-honored tradition: SwimSwam’s staff predicting NCAA event champions half a year out.

We polled SwimSwam staff for event predictions and compiled them below for a “composite” prediction of the most-predicted champions. A couple factors to keep in mind:

  • While most of the major redshirts, gap years and Olympic deferrals have come to light in the past month, there will probably be a few more trickling in as meets start. We hope that doesn’t affect our picks, but very well could, especially on relays.
  • We tried to weigh the focus various athletes would have on short course yards vs long course meters. One big factor, for example, are Canadian swimmers, who have their Olympic Trial meet very close to the NCAA Championships. That didn’t scare all of us away from Canadian athletes (Maggie MacNeil was still particularly hard for many to overlook), but it does have an impact on all of our predictions.
  • Relays are especially tough to call, given the guesswork you have to do on four legs, usually with some freshmen, transfers or other new faces filling in for graduated seniors.
  • This post makes a great place to compile your own picks – feel free to join the fun in the comment section!

2019-2020 NCAA Preseason Picks (finalized 9/18/2019)

**Starred** athletes are unanimous picks.

Top Pick Braden Jared Karl James Spencer Reid Andrew Robert Top Returning Swimmer
800 Free Relay **Texas** Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas
200 Free Relay Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Texas Cal
500 Free Felix Auboeck, Michigan Sean Grieshop, Cal Felix Auboeck, Michigan Sean Grieshop, Cal Felix Auboeck, Michigan Felix Auboeck, Cal Sean Grieshop,
Cal
Felix Auboeck, Michigan Brooks Fail, Arizona Sean Grieshop, Cal
200 IM Pumputis/Casas/K.Smith (tie) Jake Foster, Texas Kieran Smith, Florida Shaine Casas, Texas A&M Caio Pumputis, Georgia Tech Andrew Loy, Ohio State Shaine Casas,
Texas A&M
Caio Pumputis, Georgia Tech Kieran Smith, Florida Caio Pumputis, Georgia Tech
50 Free Ryan Hoffer, Cal Ryan Hoffer, Cal Ryan Hoffer, Cal Pawel Sendyk, Cal Ryan Hoffer, Cal Ryan Hoffer. Cal Ryan Hoffer, Cal Ryan Hoffer. Cal Ryan Hoffer, Cal Ryan Hoffer, Cal
400 Medley Relay **Cal** Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Indiana
400 IM Sean Grieshop, Cal Sean Grieshop, Cal Hugo Gonzalez, Cal Charlie Swanson, Michigan Sean Grieshop, Cal Sean Grieshop, Cal Sean Grieshop, Cal Hugo Gonzalez, Cal Sean Grieshop, Cal Sean Grieshop, Cal
100 Fly Maxime Rooney, Texas Coleman Stewart, NC State Maxime Rooney, Texas Maxime Rooney, Texas Maxime Rooney, Texas Maxime Rooney, Texas Maxime Rooney,
Texas
Coleman Stewart, NC State Coleman Stewart, NC State Coleman Stewart, NC State
200 Free Drew Kibler, Texas Drew Kibler, Texas Drew Kibler, Texas Drew Kibler, Texas Drew Kibler, Texas Drew Kibler, Texas Drew Kibler, Texas Paul DeLakis, Ohio State Drew Kibler, Texas Drew Kibler, Texas
100 Breast Max McHugh, Minnesota Zane Backes, Indiana Max McHugh, Minnesota Max McHugh, Minnesota Reece Whitley, Cal Zane Backes, Indiana Max McHugh,
Minnesota
Max McHugh,
Minnesota
Max McHugh,
Minnesota
Max McHugh, Minnesota
100 Back Coleman Stewart, NC State Zane Waddell, Alabama Coleman Stewart, NC State Coleman Stewart, NC State Coleman Stewart, NC State Coleman Stewart, NC State Coleman Stewart,
NC State
Coleman Stewart,
NC State
Coleman Stewart,
NC State
Coleman Stewart, NC State
200 Medley Relay **Cal** Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Alabama
1650 Free Bobby Finke, Florida Sean Grieshop, Cal Bobby Finke, Florida Bobby Finke, Florida Bobby Finke, Florida Michael Brinegar, Indiana Bobby Finke,
Florida
Bobby Finke,
Florida
Felix Auboeck, Michigan Felix Auboeck, Michigan
200 Back **Austin Katz, Texas** Austin Katz, Texas Austin Katz, Texas Austin Katz, Texas Austin Katz, Texas Austin Katz, Texas Austin Katz,
Texas
Austin Katz, Texas Austin Katz,
Texas
Austin Katz, Texas
100 Free Hoffer/Krueger (tie) Ryan Hoffer, Cal Ryan Hoffer, Cal Daniel Krueger, Texas Maxime Rooney, Texas Ryan Hoffer, Cal Maxime Rooney, Texas Daniel Krueger, Texas Daniel Krueger, Texas Daniel Krueger, Texas
200 Breast Max McHugh, Minnesota Caio Pumputis, Georgia Tech Max McHugh, Minnesota Max McHugh, Minnesota Reece Whitley, Cal Reece Whitley, Cal Max McHugh,
Minnesota
Max McHugh,
Minnesota
Max McHugh,
Minnesota
Max McHugh, Minnesota
200 Fly Quah/Albiero (tie) Nicolas Albiero, Louisville Nicolas Albiero, Louisville Trenton Julian, Cal Zheng Quah, Cal Maxime Rooney, Texas Nicolas Albiero, Louisville Zheng Quah, Cal Zheng Quah, Cal Zheng Quah, Cal
400 Free Relay Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Cal Texas Texas

Previous Picks Revisited

Just for fun, we’re looking back at how our writers did the past two preseasons:

The half-score is for the 200 IM, where our consensus pick was a 4-4 tie between champion Abrahm Devine and Mark Szaranek.

SwimSwam’s Top Pick Braden Jared Karl James Spencer Reid Andrew Robert Lauren Torrey
2019 11/18 10/18 6/18 10/18 9/18 N/A 7/18 10/18 10/18 6/18 10/18
2018 6.5/18 8/18 5/18 6/18 6/18 N/A N/A N/A 5/18 5/18 N/A

In general, the men have been harder to predict than the women. Some wrinkles that tripped up our picks in past years: Dean Farris opting for (and winning) the 100 back instead of the 200 free, Townley Haas losing the 200 free after three straight titles and a year further back, John Shebat getting hurt for Texas and Joseph Schooling regressing in the 200 fly.

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Deanisthegoat
2 years ago

Dean Farris is going to win the 200 fly

yardfan
Reply to  Deanisthegoat
2 years ago

Redshirt this year.

200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
Reply to  yardfan
2 years ago

Yep. Irish Olympic Trials that month.

SabanInMyEar
2 years ago

Love the sleep on Alabama yet again. Powerhouse 200 medley relay school. SwimSwam forgets too quickly #reigningchamps

JP input is too short
Reply to  SabanInMyEar
2 years ago

New breaststroker, new butterflyer, new freestyler. Cal only .17 back and didn’t lose anything.

2 Cents
Reply to  JP input is too short
2 years ago

So you mean if you replace 3/4 of your relay you are not supposed to get faster than last year?

JCO
Reply to  SabanInMyEar
2 years ago

Waddell will give Liam Bell the clear water and could challenge the 20 second barrier, Tyler Sesvold broke out this summer in a big way (52.0 100 fly) and has a good chance to be sub 20, and Sam DiSette is on the rise with an 18.8 split last season.

volmenusa
Reply to  JCO
2 years ago

I believe Tennessee will defeat the tidybowlers at SEC and NCAA in the 200 medley when Houlie FLYS by the Bama breastroke guy…then our Aussie speed flyer will extend the lead and our sprinter will seal or man shark the deal. You will then have to endure the coonskin mad hatted Boys from TN whooping it up on the podium. YEA!!!

Snarky
Reply to  volmenusa
2 years ago

Voltroll. Not helping the “cause”.

Karl Ortegon
2 years ago

Lol I want to unofficially change my backstroke picks to Casas. Current picks are too boring.

The Ready Room
2 years ago

Interesting that there are so many picks for McHugh… The SwimSwam staff has a lot of confidence in his ability to recover from the gunshot wound. I hope y’all are right about that.

M1tchplease
Reply to  The Ready Room
2 years ago

I was thinking the exact same thing. I feel like a gunshot wound is not something to take lightly, especially when Reece Whitley is hot on his heels!

Justin Wright
2 years ago

Brooks Fail 👑🚫🧢

Observer
2 years ago

No Andrew Abruzzo? His 400 free was just as good as those guys in long course. Will be a wild card come NCAA

GrantJ
Reply to  Observer
2 years ago

Don’t sleep on Eric Knowles in the 500! Great summer and made the Nat Team in the 400 Fr. Kid just keeps getting better.

2 Cents
2 years ago

I like Hoffer… but picking him to win 50 and 100 is a very long shot…. can I just throw my hat in the ring and say he wont win either?

Editor
Reply to  2 Cents
2 years ago

He’s the top returner in the 50 free, and while he may not be quite as an overwhelming favorite over Sendyk as our picks make him out to be, it doesn’t feel like he’s a long shot, either. Who else do you think is likely to win?

Bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Robert Gibbs
2 years ago

Danny Krueger

PsychoDad
Reply to  Jared Anderson
2 years ago

I will stay with Horns but I call Kibler over Krueger in 100 free.

Bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Jared Anderson
2 years ago

I meant him in the 50 freestyle, sorry for not clarifying.

Snarky
Reply to  Robert Gibbs
2 years ago

Yeah. 41.2 in HS. Not a chance at winning the 100 three years in to college.

Heyitsme
2 years ago

I think Reece is underrated here. Had a great LC 200 breast breaking 2:10 for the first time. I think he has the 200. Grieshop will be good as well.

2 Cents
Reply to  Heyitsme
2 years ago

If you removed the allowed dolphin kick on the breast pullouts, I think he would dominate the 200 SCY… but with it, I think it levels the playing field a bit and gives him way more competition.

(G)olden Bear
Reply to  Heyitsme
2 years ago

No way Whitley wins the 200. #youhearditherefirst

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 …

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