Women’s Round 1 Invite Mashup: Which Teams Stood Out?

by Robert Gibbs 38

November 23rd, 2021 College, News, Previews & Recaps

Originally published 11.22.21

Note: Results from the Georgia Tech Invite are now included in the team standings.

We’re at one of the most exciting times of the college swim season — the mid-season invites. For many teams, this is the first chance they’ve really had to swim suited up and (maybe) tapered and (maybe) shaved, although swim fans love to debate how rested and shaved their favorite teams actually were.

With at least five big invite meets this weekend, plus plenty of smaller ones, there were plenty of big swims. But with likely top-10 teams swimming at different sites, and with different scoring formats at each invite, it can get a little tough to quantity just how well each school was swimming.

To help frame the discussion objectively, we used the SWIMS database to compile the top 16 times in each event from this weekend’s action, then scored out the hypothetical meet using standard championship scoring. This aggregate scoring strips out some of the value of depth for a team like Tennessee, which scored a lot of points with a lot of scorers at their hosted invite.

Keep in mind that we compiled these rankings using only swims from this past weekend. Which means there are a few big caveats here:

  • These are not NCAA predictions, just a compiled ranking of this past weekend’s meets.
  • First of all, that means these results don’t include teams like Cal, Texas, and Michigan.
  • This does not take into account diving.
  • In some cases, schools or swimmers had faster times from earlier in the season. These rankings don’t include those.
  • These are not NCAA predictions.
  • Some schools were missing key swimmers (e.g, Gretchen Walsh).
  • Virginia annually opts out of the 800 free relays at the mid-season invite in order to leave the invite an hour earlier after a long night of racing. Similarly, relay DQ’s could have a big impact on these scorings.
  • These are not NCAA predictions.

All that being said, to the best of our ability, here’s how the women’s scores would look if you took all of the swims from this weekend and pretended they were all part of one meet. We’ll publish the men’s scores in a separate post.

Rank Team Individual Relays Total
1 Virginia 259 140 399
2 Stanford 216 156 372
3 Alabama 199 172 371
4 NC State 199.5 166 365.5
5 Tennessee 228 124 352
6 Ohio St 88 124 212
7 Southern Cali 113 94 207
8 Indiana 90 86 176
8 Louisville 78 98 176
10 Georgia 80.5 82 162.5
11 Kentucky 103.5 34 137.5
12 Missouri 59 64 123
13 Florida 52 28 80
14 Arizona St 59 16 75
15 Northwestern 43 26 69
16 Arkansas 30 36 66
17 Auburn 11 36 47
18 Florida St 4 22 26
19 Duke 15 8 23
20 Virginia Tech 15 0 15
21 Notre Dame 14 0 14
21 Florida Int’l 2 12 14
23 William & Mary 12 0 12
23 Texas A&M 4 8 12
25 San Diego St 9 2 11
25 UCLA 1 10 11
27 U.S. Navy 9 0 9
28 Missouri St (W) 7.5 0 7.5
29 Washington St. 6.5 0 6.5
30 UNC 0 6 6
31 CSUB 5 0 5
32 Northern Colo 2.5 0 2.5

Even without a Gretchen Walsh or a 800 free relay, the Virginia Cavaliers would’ve won this hypothetical meet by nearly 30 points. Arguably the biggest headline for the defending NCAA champs came from Kate Douglass. Not only did the Olympic 200 IM bronze medalist break the ACC record in the 200 breast, moving her to #4 all-time, but she also put up the 1st- and 2nd-fastest times in the nation in the 50 free and the 100 free, respectively, while leading off UVA’s free relays. Only slightly less impressive was teammate, and Olympic 200 IM silver medalist, Alex Walsh‘s ACC record in the 400 IM, against a field that included another Cavalier Emma Weyant, the Olympic silver medalist in that event. Walsh also had the weekend’s fastest time in the 200 fly.

While Virginia had a clear lead in this hypothetical meet, the next four teams were bunched up within 20 points of each other.

Stanford’s performances so far this season had some fans wondering what was going on in Palo Alto, but the Cardinal scored the 2nd-most hypothetical points behind Virginia this weekend. Freshmen Torri Huske and Regan Smith, both Olympians themselves, came out swinging in their first college taper meet. Huske swam the fastest 200 free time of the weekend leading off Stanford’s 800 free relay, put up the fastest time of the weekend in the 100 free, and the 2nd fastest time in the 200 IM, 100 fly, and 50 free (leading off a relay again). Swimmers like Douglass and Huske caused a bit of consternation as we compiled this ranking, as we had to go in and pull their relay leadoffs out of the event rankings for scoring purposes. Smith had the top times in both backstrokes, events in which she is the US Open record holder, and the 2nd-fastest time in the 200 fly, another Olympic event for her.

Alabama ended up finishing just one back of Stanford, while NC State and Tennessee weren’t too far away in fourth and fifth.

The Crimson Tide had an incredible weekend, breaking several school records. They didn’t do anything too too crazy individually, although Rhyan White had the 2nd fastest backstroke times behind Stanford’s Smith, and freshman Avery Wiseman impressed in the breaststrokes. The Alabama relays, however, were simply on fire the weekend. They beat Virginia head-to-head in the 200 and 400 free relays, putting up NCAA-leading times in both events, the medley relays both finished 3rd overall, and the 800 free relay had the 5th-fastest time of the weekend.

Meanwhile, Tennessee kept up the pressure against Virginia and Alabama while swimming in their home pool. The Lady Volunteers got weekend-leading times from freshman Ellen Walshe in her first big taper meet in yards, while Mona McSharry edged out NCAA champion Sophie Hansson of NC State for the fastest time of the weekend in the 100 breast. Tennessee tied Alabama in our virtual meet scoring, with 371 points each.

NC State, swimming at home, came within a whisker of matching Tennessee and Alabama, compiling 370.5 points. Individually, the Wolfpack didn’t have any of the fastest times of the weekend for points purposes (although Katherine Berkoff had the fastest medley relay leadoff split), but their core of swimmers like Berkoff, Kylee Alons, and Sophie Hansson scored in multiple events. Like Alabama, the strength was really in the relays, as they had the weekend’s fastest in the 400 medley relay, and the rest all finished in the top 5.

There was a pretty wide gulf between the top five schools and everyone else, with 140 points separating Tennessee from Ohio State.

One more swimmer we need to mention here is Arizona State’s Emma Nordin. The Sun Devil fifth year had the weekend’s best times in both the 500 free and the 1650 free, plus the 2nd-fastest time in the 200 free.  One of the big questions this year was how ASU would fare after redshirting the entire team last season. While the women’s team only finished 13th in our hypothetical standings, Nordin’s performance and the men’s showing this weekend (more on that to come), shows that the Sun Devils certainly haven’t completely forgotten how to compete in college swimming after a 18+ month hiatus.

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15 days ago

Did you leave off the Ga. Tech Invit swims?

Reply to  wolfensf
15 days ago

They must have.

Reply to  wolfensf
15 days ago

No Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Auburn, and FGCU would move some of those teams around. Akron & BGSU from the Magnus Cup Invitational possibly as well.

swimmer 78
Reply to  wolfensf
15 days ago

I was literally looking for Georgia hahahaha

Reply to  wolfensf
15 days ago

We’ll update whenever they submit to the database. It’s pretty bad to not have them in 48 hours later, but some meet hosts are slower than others.

Reply to  wolfensf
15 days ago

I don’t think those results have been loaded into the SWIMS database yet. While I appreciate the hard work that went into creating this article, wouldn’t it have been better to wait a couple of weeks until all the invites had been concluded?

Reply to  ClubCoach
15 days ago

Better is subjective. Waiting a few weeks for the 2nd round of invites is a different set of information. It’s no better or worse, just different.

There has been lots of chatter about comparing this week’s invites. So we did that. We can do other comparisons later.

15 days ago

Looks like y’all forgot the GT Invite teams

VB Dad
15 days ago

Thanks, great analysis. Texas with divers will be a threat as well. Also, Stanford divers looked great at Texas last weekend.

15 days ago

I’d rank them as follows

NC state
Ohio st
So cal

Reply to  Taa
15 days ago

good thing you aren’t ranking them

Reply to  SwimFan76
14 days ago

It’s not a prediction

Reply to  Taa
14 days ago

Wisconsin and Florida would definitely be up there, too.

Reply to  Taa
14 days ago

Texas and Cal didn’t even race this weekend and you have them ahead of NC State and Alabama? Okay then…

Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
15 days ago

GWalsh has the fastest 100 back time still from her relay vs Texas if you look at swimcloud

Reply to  Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
14 days ago

It’s her free relay lead off.

Wildcat Fan
Reply to  Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
14 days ago

Don’t you think we’d have heard that Walsh broke the American Record during a dual meet? That’s a mistake.

Say's Phoebe
Reply to  Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
14 days ago

Walsh was 50.89 at the dual meet with Texas.

Last weekend White was 50.15 leading off Alabama’s relay on Thursday evening. She was 51.31/50.31 in the individual event on Friday.

Smith and Berkoff were 50.47 and 50.54 in their prelim heats.

Smith and Berkoff were 49.97 and 50.45 swimming side by side in finals.

Berkoff was 50.96 leading off NC State’s relay on Thursday evening after swimming the 50 free both on the relay and individually at finals.

Smith was 50.06 leading off Stanford’s relay after swimming the 500 (4:43.86) at finals.

Reply to  Say's Phoebe
14 days ago

Berkoff was also 48.00 leadoff free relay.

ACC fan
15 days ago

Incredible that only 9 points separate teams #2-5. Then that “the rest” are so far back. No doubt TX and GA will be up there but for now, interesting.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
15 days ago

So I was wondering…. are these NCAA predictions?

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
14 days ago


But I mean….

Virginia-Stanford 1-2 is my NCAA prediction lol

Reply to  Braden Keith
14 days ago

Bold take

oh no my pool it’s broken
Reply to  coachymccoachface
14 days ago

Bold take Stanford lost to nc state they really arnt all that

Reply to  oh no my pool it’s broken
14 days ago

And a handful of NCSU swimmers are going to SC Worlds so they didn’t rest or shave for the invite.

Reply to  coachymccoachface
14 days ago

He’s a gambler, that guy.

Reply to  Braden Keith
14 days ago

Speaking of Stanford, do we know why Allie Raab only swam in a couple relays last weekend? Her breaststroke legs on relays will be so important for Stanford’s chances at NCAAs, it would be interesting to know how fast she’s swimming lately.

Circle swim
15 days ago

Ncaas is going to be lit. Get the popcorn and shasta early to avoid the supply chain delays.

Reply to  Circle swim
15 days ago

Shasta? Is it still around? I loved their root beer!

Mr. Pack
Reply to  Greg
14 days ago

Think its more common in the west. I see it occasionally travelling around the east coast.