2021-2022 NCAA Men’s Power Rankings: First Edition

As in previous years, SwimSwam’s Power Rankings are somewhere between the CSCAA-style dual meet rankings and a pure prediction of NCAA finish order.  SwimSwam’s rankings take into account how a team looks at the moment, while keeping the end of the season in mind through things like a team’s previous trajectory and NCAA scoring potential.  These rankings are by nature subjective, and a jumping-off point for discussion.  If you disagree with any team’s ranking, feel free to make your case in our comments section.

Braden Keith, Spencer Penland, Andrew Mering and Robert Gibbs contributed to this report.

The NCAA season is in full swing and we’ve got our first edition of the men’s power rankings.

While we’re in the final stages of our 2021-2022 College Swimming Previews, taking a deep dive into the top 12 teams from last season’s NCAA Championships, the first edition of our power rankings are a more up-to-date look at how we rank the top 20 programs nationally in the “preseason”—primarily based on roster outlook for the season, but a little weight based on how teams have swum thus far.

Also Read: 2021-2022 NCAA Women’s Power Rankings: First Edition

Honorable Mentions: Northwestern Wildcats USC Trojans, North Carolina Tar Heels, Kentucky Wildcats

#25: Minnesota Golden Gophers -4 (2021 NCAA Rank: 21)

While Max McHugh is still on the team, Minnesota will grab decent points at nationals. -AM

#24: Wisconsin Badgers +4 (2021 NCAA Rank: 28)

Iowa transfer Will Myhre and Turkish freshman Yigit Aslan give the team two new swimmers with NCAA scoring potential. -JS

#23: Purdue Boilermakers -6 (2021 NCAA Rank: 17)

Purdue loses U.S. Olympic diver Brandon Loschiavo, last season’s NCAA platform champion, but return two other top divers that also scored big NCAA points. -JS

#22: Florida State Seminoles +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 23)

The case for Florida State this high is all about their relays. They return 19/20 of their relay legs and scored 30 relay points last year. -AM

#21: LSU Tigers -3 (2021 NCAA Rank: 18)

Brooks Curry is very much the straw that stirs LSU’s drink, and given his early-season swims, he’s setting up for a massive year. Getting a 5th year out of diver Juan Celaya-Hernandez means the Tigers return their two big guns from last season. Not a ton of upside here, but a new coach in Rick Bishop and some new energy should do the Tigers good. -JS

#20: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 21)

A pair of international recruits could have NCAA scoring potential, and I’m pretty bullish on Batur Unlu taking the next step as a sophomore. -JS

#19: Tennessee Volunteers +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 20)

The team has a lot of breaststroke and diving ability. Kayky Mota and Seth Bailey will be crucial to their success outside of those areas. -JS

#18: Arizona Wildcats -6 (2021 NCAA Rank: 12)

Brooks Fail is back, which is huge, but the David Schlicht loss is pretty brutal. -JS

#17: Texas A&M Aggies -7 (2021 NCAA Rank: 10)

It wasn’t just the departure of Shaine Casas, but the Aggies also lose Mark Theall and Tanner Olson. All three were relay fixtures, and Casas scored 60 individual points last season. The team will need to step up and collectively contribute. -JS

#16: Missouri Tigers – (2021 NCAA Rank: 16)

Danny KovacJack Dahlgren and Ben Patton looking great early on. The team very much lives and dies by the performances of those three come NCAAs. -JS

#15: Harvard Crimson + (2021 NCAA Rank: N/A)

Back after a year off, with multi-time NCAA champion Dean Farris leading the charge.

#14: Alabama Crimson Tide +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 15)

The fifth-ranked recruiting class lessens the blow of losing Matt King. They could rise or fall depending on how their international freshmen transition to yards. -JS

#13: Arizona State Sun Devils – (2021 NCAA Rank: N/A)

A sneaky-good roster that is flying under the radar given they haven’t competed in 20 months or so. Snagging David Schlicht from Arizona will pay dividends. -JS

#12: Michigan Wolverines +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 13)

Losing Gus Borges stings, but the Wolverines brought in solid reinforcements including transfer Nik Eberly who can fill that relay void. Patrick Callan and Jake Mitchell come back after making the Olympic team, and Wyatt Davis and Will Chan started strong at the SMU Classic. -JS

#11: Stanford Cardinal +3 (2021 NCAA Rank: 14)

Stanford had 11 finishes last year by returning athletes that placed between 17th and 24th at nationals, the most of any team. That plus their elite addition of Minakov gives them a high ceiling. -AM

#10: Virginia Tech H2okies +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 11)

I went back and forth on Virginia and Virginia Tech at #8 and #9. While Virginia has a better incoming freshman class, something as simple as Youssef Ramadan not getting DQ’ed at NCAAs would make a huge impact for the Hokies. -BK

#9: Virginia Cavaliers – (2021 NCAA Rank: 9)

Bringing in Matt King is going to make those already-strong relays even more lethal. They don’t yet have enough surefire A-final types to make the jump to the next tier, and the increased depth across the NCAA this year could make things even tighter, but they’re trending in the right direction. -RG

#8: Ohio State Buckeyes -1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 7)

Hunter Armstrong scored 4 points at NCAA’s last year. He also made the Olympic team this summer. It feels safe to assume he’ll score quite a few more this year. -AM

#7: Georgia Bulldogs -3 (2021 NCAA Rank: 4)

Georgia’s rankings is predicated on Matt Sates arriving on campus in the spring, and being as good in short course yards as we’ve seen him in short course meters. They’re still a top 10 team without him, but he is the backbone of their top 5 chances. -BK

#6: NC State Wolfpack +2 (2021 NCAA Rank: 8)

In our preview, we suggested that NC State could be putting together the pieces for a run at a top-two finish. That still feels a year or two off, but if the deep freshman class can click immediately, the Wolfpack should certainly be in the hunt for third this year. -RG

#5: Indiana Hoosiers +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 6)

Indiana is returning all of their NCAA qualifiers from last year, and they’ve added potential star power with freshmen Josh Matheny, Luke Barr, and Rafael Miroslaw. It also should be noted that IU came in 6th at NCAAs last year without Bruno Blaskovic, their top sprinter. Blaskovic likely would have accounted for 25-30 points individually and would have made a significant difference in the Hoosiers’ relays. Andrew Capobianco continues to pose a massive scoring threat in diving, and IU pulled in freshman Quinn Henninger, who was an Olympic Trials finalist this past summer. -SP

#4: Louisville Cardinals +1 (2021 NCAA Rank: 5)

Louisville returns essentially everyone from last year, and they’ve added a brace of Olympians who’ve been 1:46 in the 200 free (LCM). It feels like NCAAs may be even more cutthroat this season, but the Cardinals should be in the thick of the “Not Cal or Texas But Really Really Good” tier once again. -RG

They return 19 of 20 legs from relays that scored 136 points last year. -AM

#3: Florida Gators – (2021 NCAA Rank: 3)

It’s not just the really big stars that have me feeling good about Florida at #3. It’s what we saw last year from guys like Dillon Hillis and Eric Friese. -RG

#2: Cal Golden Bears – (2021 NCAA Rank: 2)

Cal had an all-time great NCAA performance last season — and finished 2nd. They’re bringing back a few more 5th-year swimmer points than Texas, and Liam Bell is already looking to be in great form, providing additional breaststroke depth. With five months until NCAAs, there’s every indication that this will be yet another great Cal vs. Texas slugfest come March. -RG

#1: Texas Longhorns – (2021 NCAA Rank: 1)

No doubt – the defending champions lost of ton of senior points and experience. However, there are a few things in Texas’ favor. 1 – Returning fifth year Alvin Jiang and grad transfer Cameron Auchinachie will help stabilize the relays that otherwise had holes to fill. 2 – The Jordan Windle-led dive crew will score more points than most schools competing at NCAAs. 3 – They’ve got top-ten recruits in the form of Tim Connery, Anthony Grimm, and Luke Hobson. 4 – You’ve to figure that a few of the ten guys who got left home after qualifying for NCAAs will be able to score. 5. They still bring back 282 individual non-senior points on top of everything else we just said. -RG

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