PHOENIX, Arizona, October 30. THE California Golden Bears stand at the top of the season’s first NCAA Division I women’s rankings poll from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America after a trio of dominant competitions.
The goal of the CSCAA rankings committee is to produce an in-season poll of the 25 best-performing teams in rank order at the time of each poll. The poll is not designed to predict the results of the NCAA Championship, but rather which teams would win head-to-head against other teams in the country.
Specifically, the poll committee does not differentiate between the types of meets, or the status of a specific team in terms of rested versus unrested, when considering votes. Further, rankings are only based on performances that have taken place up to that point in the season, with an emphasis on action from the previous poll.
Swimming World has been invited as a media member to participate in the polling process, and has a vote in each poll. Jeff Commings serves as Swimming World’s representative on these weekly conference calls.
1. California (3-0, 2-0 Pac 12)
W at Oregon State (9/27), 161-95
W vs. Washington State (10/4), 164-89
W vs. Florida (10/19-20), 238-210
Next competition: Friday vs. Wisconsin
After opening the season with an unscored Queen of the Pool pentathlon, the Golden Bears faced conference foes Oregon State and Washington State, then faced national rival Florida. Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Pelton have posted impressive early-season times, though a lack of depth in distance freestyle nearly cost Cal the two-day dual meet against Florida.
2. Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC)
W vs. Kentucky (9/25), 165-98
W vs. Wisconsin (10/4-5), 182-136
W vs. Georgia Tech (10/15), 187-88
W at LSU (10/18), 170.5-118.5
Next competition: Friday at Florida
Georgia’s journey to defending their national championship has featured four dominant dual-meet wins, with the Wisconsin meet being held over two days. Though no member of the Georgia women’s team ranks at the top of the collegiate standings, the depth of the squad has been quite evident in all four of the dual meets so far this season.
3. Southern California (1-0, 1-0 Pac 12)
W at Washington State (10/18), 146-116
SMU Classic (10/18-19), first place
Next competition: November 8 at Arizona State
Southern California had most of its swimmers racing in two cities on the same weekend, with eight competing at the SMU Classic, and others at a dual meet against Washington State. Freshman Chelsea Chenault made an immediate impact in her first meet for the Trojans, winning the 200 free at the SMU Classic in a time that ranks second in the collegiate ranks.
4. Texas A&M (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
W at Vanderbilt (10/12), 154.5-98.5
W vs. Texas (10/18), 152-148
Next competition: Friday at Missouri
The Aggies, building on the strength of seniors Breeja Larson and Cammille Adams, posted a nailbiting win over in-state rival Texas last week that came down to the final relay. Larson ranks in the top two in the nation with her quick breaststroke swims against Texas, with a 59.23 in the 100 and 2:10.22 in the 200.
5. Florida (1-1, 1-0 SEC)
All-Florida Invite (9/27-29), first place
W at Missouri (10/17), 181-109
L at California (10/19-20), 238-210
Next competition: Friday vs. Georgia
The Florida Gators started the season with very impressive swims at the All-Florida Invite, including multiple wins from Elizabeth Beisel and Sinead Russell. Beisel, not typically known to swim times that would garner recognition during the season, briefly held the nation’s top time in the 200 back and is ranked well in the 500 free, 200 IM and 200 back. Natalie Hinds is becoming a key player in the sprint events, and the Gator distance program had a chance to shine against California, taking the top five spots in the 500 free on the first day of the two-day dual meet.
6. Texas (4-1, 0-0 Big 12)
W vs. Rice (10/11), 149-99
W vs. North Carolina (10/17), 171-129
L at Texas A&M (10/18), 152-148
W at Indiana (10/25) 155-141
W vs. Michigan (at Indiana) (10/25), 210-90
Next competition: November 8 vs. West Virginia and Penn State at Virginia
The season after the graduation of NCAA champion Laura Sogar has been a chance for the underclassmen on Texas’ women’s team to shine. Tasija Karosas and Madisyn Cox have been strong in all four dual meets so far, winning several events in strong in-season times. The upperclassmen, led by Sam Tucker and Gretchen Jacques, continue to provide strong leadership. With Sarah Denninghoff not competing yet this season, the Longhorns felt the absence especially in the close match with Texas A&M.
7. Stanford (3-0, 2-0 Pac 12)
W vs. San Jose State (9/26), 138-100
W vs. Washington State (10/3), 147-104
W at Oregon State (10-25), 170-88
Next competition: Saturday vs. Wisconsin
Stanford’s senior class will be the highlight of this season, as evidenced by the strong dual-meet swims so far by Felicia Lee, Andie Taylor and Maya DiRado. Also performing well has been junior Maddy Schaefer, and freshman Lia Neal will be called on to perform well as the tougher foes approach on the schedule.
8. Tennessee (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
W at UNC-Wilmington (9/27), 178-116
W vs. South Carolina (10/18), 169-124
W at Louisville (10/24), 170-130
Next competition: Friday vs. Kentucky at Indiana
Tennessee is out to prove their third-place finish at last season’s NCAA championships was no fluke, showing off their depth in every event and strengths in the freestyle and breaststroke disciplines so far in dual-meet action. Faith Johnson and Lindsay Gendron continue their slow but steady climb up the national rankings in the freestyles, while Molly Hannis remains in contention in breaststroke.
9. North Carolina (5-1, 1-0 ACC)
W at Virginia Tech (10/11), 233-120
W vs. Radford (at Virginia Tech) (10/11), 289-55
W vs. Liberty (at Virginia Tech) (10/11), 262-87
W vs. James Madison (at Virginia Tech) (10/11), 272.5-80.5
L at Texas (10/17), 171-129
W at TCU (10/18), 200-97
SMU Classic (10/18-19), third place
Next competition: Friday vs. Louisville
Stephanie Peacock has led the Tar Heels to impressive performances so far this season, leading the nation in the 1000 free (9:42.95) and ranking second in the 500 free (4:42.55). Freshman Sarah Kouchecki posted an impressive 200 fly against Texas with a 1:58.57, while junior Danielle Silverling has been a key utility player so far.
10. Indiana (2-2, 1-0 Big Ten)
Dennis Stark Relays (10/11), third place
W at Notre Dame (10/12), 155-145
L vs. Auburn (at Notre Dame) (10/12), 180-120
SMU Classic (10/18-19), second place
W vs. Michigan (10/25), 181-119
L vs. Texas (10/25), 158.5-141.5
Next competition: Friday vs. Tennessee and Kentucky
The Indiana Hoosiers women’s swim team has the strength to win multiple events in dual meets, but as was evidenced by their losses to Auburn and Texas, depth is an issue. Lindsay Vrooman, Brooklynn Snodgrass and Haley Lips are strong leaders for the team in the pool and should continue to do so through the season.
11. Arizona (2-0, 1-0 Pac 12)
W at Utah (10/19), 204-96
W vs. UNLV (10/25), 183-109
Next competition: November 8 vs. UCLA
Though not typically a great in-season team, particularly in the fall as the Wildcats prepare for their mid-season taper meet, Arizona has shown off an extremely diversified squad that presents very few weaknesses on the roster. At the top is Margo Geer, who is looking toward defending her NCAA titles in the sprint freestyles.
12. Louisville (1-1, 0-0 Big East)
W vs. Xavier (10/11), 189-70
SMU Classic (10/18-19), third place
L vs. Tennessee (10/24), 170-130
Next competition: Friday at North Carolina
Led by consistent performances by Tanjia Kylliainen, the Louisville women are proving they are just as strong as their male counterparts. Despite a loss to Tennessee, the women were able to put up strong times and throw in some good minor finishes to keep the meet fairly close.
13. Auburn (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
W at Vanderbilt (9/27), 158-44
Dennis Stark Relays (10/11), first place
W at Notre Dame (10/12), 180-120
W vs. Indiana (at Notre Dame) (10/12), 180-120
Royals Invite (10/25), unscored
Next competition: November 22-24 at Auburn Invitational
Auburn went undefeated in dual-meet action last season, and are on track to do so again this time around. Freshman Allyx Purcell has not wasted any time in showing her worth for the Tigers, winning multiple times this season, including the 50 free and 100 free against postgraduate swimmers at the Royals Invite. Seniors Haley Krakowski, Emily Bos and Aubrey Peacock have helped Auburn in multiple events.
14. Minnesota (3-0, 2-0 Big Ten)
W vs. Arizona State (10/5), 197-94
W vs. Michigan (10/11), 174.5-125.5
W at Wisconsin (10/18-19), 218-152
Next competition: Friday at Iowa
The reigning Big Ten conference champions are sailing through the early season, posting strong wins against two conference rivals, as well as a dominating win over Arizona State. Strong relays and good diving depth have been the key for the Golden Gophers in their meet wins.
15. Arkansas (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
NTU Relays (10/4), first place
W at North Texas (10/5), 207-91
W at LSU (10/19), 180-120
W vs. Nebraska (10/26), 205-95
The Razorbacks showed that they can be a powerful presence in the Southeastern Conference, beating LSU handily with depth in backstroke, breaststroke and distance freestyle. Nikki Daniels, a finalist in the 100 breast at the NCAA championships, continues to put up reliable in-season times and help with relay duty as Arkansas celebrates 13 consecutive dual meet victories.
16. Southern Methodist (0-0, 0-0 Conference USA)
UNT Relays (10/4), third place
SMU Classic (10/18-19), fifth place
Next competition: Friday at Rice
A nation-leading time of 2:10.22 in the 200 breast by Rachel Nicol is a large part of SMU’s presence in the top 25, as the Mustangs have not yet swum in dual meets. A few top-three finishes outside of Nicol’s win in the 200 breast at the SMU Classic show that the Mustangs will have a few names to help in the points, but might lack depth.
17. Michigan (1-3, 1-1 Big Ten)
W vs. Iowa (9/27), 185-111
L at Minnesota (10/11), 174.5-125.5
L at Indiana (10/25), 181-119
L vs. Texas (at Indiana) (10/25), 210-90
Next competition: Friday at Toledo
Marni Oldershaw and Ali DeLoof are leading the Wolverines through the season, and despite some tough losses to conference rivals and Texas, the team has good relay speed and strong diving to help in points. Oldershaw currently has the top 200 IM time in the Big Ten with a 2:00.64.
18. Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
W at Navy (10/25), 250-50
W vs. Yale (at Navy) (10/25), 237-63
Next competition: November 8 and 9 vs. Penn State, Texas and West Virginia
Ina tri-meet with Navy and Yale, Virginia showed its strength under first-year coach Augie Busch. Though the meet was conducted in a 25-meter course, the times showed a strong team that could compete nationally. Times by Courtney Bartholomew in the backstroke events and Leah Smith in distance freestyle would likely rank high in the collegiate standings if converted to short course yards.
19. Ohio State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
W at Kentucky (10/11), 195-104
W vs. Kenyon (10/25), 191-99
Next competition: Friday vs. Virginia Tech, Cleveland State and Denison
The Buckeyes posted some strong times in the first two dual meets of the season, including a 1-2-3 sweep in the 1000 freestyle against Division III powerhouse Kenyon and three wins from Annie Gillig at the meet against Kentucky.
20. Wisconsin (0-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
L at Georgia (10/4-5), 361-275
L vs. Minnesota (10/18-19), 438-302
Next competition: Friday at California
Ivy Martin’s 22.38 in the 50 free in the dual meet against Georgia has gone a long way to keeping Wisconsin in the spotlight in the early season. Relay gaps were noticeable in the losses to Georgia and Minnesota, but head coach Whitney Hite’s challenge to race the best teams in the country this season could only help to make the Badgers better.
21. Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
W at Delta State (9/20), 242-50
W vs. Florida State (10/12), 179-121
Starting the season in mid-September helped showcase some of Alabama’s talents early, including freshman distance ace Bonnie Macdonald, who has helped lift the distance program in Tuscaloosa. Strong relays and depth in the strokes were key for Alabama to beat Florida State.
22. Arizona State (2-1, 0-0 Pac 12)
L at Minnesota (10/5), 197-94
W vs. UNLV (10/26), 198.5-98.5
W vs. Denver (10/26), 163-131
Next competition: November 8 vs. USC
Arizona State’s diving helped with winning dual meets, though a lack of depth was a factor in the loss to Minnesota. Tristin Baxter and Melanie Busch have been two standout swimmers thus far for the team.
23. North Carolina State (2-1, 2-1 ACC)
All-North Carolina Invite (10/4-5), first place
W at Virginia Tech (10/19), 171-129
L at Florida State (10/25), 157-143
W vs. Georgia Tech (at Florida State) (10/25), 224-76
Next competition: November 8 vs. Duke and Miami
A first-place finish at the All-North Carolina Invite was a strong start for N.C. State, followed by a win over Virginia Tech that allowed such swimmers as freshman Alexia Zevnik to shine in the backstroke events. Depth has been key for the Wolfpack in winning their dual meets over Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, but Florida State’s talent at the top helped win a close meet.
24. Florida State (5-1, 2-0 ACC)
All-Florida Invite (9/27-29), second place
W at West Florida (10/11), 232-68
W vs. Tulane (at West Florida) (10/11), 241-59
L at Alabama (10/12), 167-133
W vs. Florida Gulf Coast (10/18), 189-109
W vs. Georgia Tech (10/25), 239-61
W vs. NC State (10/25), 157-143
Next competition: November 22 at Auburn Invitational
Tiffany Oliver and Kaitlyn Dressel continue to be a strong duo in the sprint events, helping the Seminoles win all but their matchup against Alabama, whose depth was the deciding factor there. The All-Florida Invite showed how well Florida state could hold up against Florida, and despite not winning any events, had plenty of runner-up swims.
25. Penn State (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
W vs. West Virginia (10/18), 152-102
Next competition: November 8 and 9 vs. West Virginia and Texas at Virginia
Winning 10 of 16 events against West Virginia helped get Penn State into the top 25, including a sweep in the 100 backstroke. The Nittany Lions will face West Virginia again next week to gauge their season’s progress.