With Postseason Approaching, Re-Ranking the Top-25 NCAA Men

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Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

With Postseason Approaching, Re-Ranking the Top-25 NCAA Men

With six weeks to go until the NCAA Men’s Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, we at Swimming World decided to re-rank our top 25 swimmers in Division I at this point of the season. Who has surpassed expectations from last year? Who was performed below what was expected? Who has totally shocked us?

It was a bit difficult to analyze this season due to different schools and conferences having more tangible racing opportunities but we have ranked our top 25 below.

Swimming World’s Top 25 – Division I NCAA Men

Dropped from preseason rankings:

  • Bruno Blaskovic, Senior, Indiana
  • Paul DeLakis, Senior, Ohio State
  • Braden Vines, Junior, Texas
  • Nyls Korstanje, Junior, NC State
  • Hugo Gonzalez, Junior, Cal
  • Mitchell Whyte, Junior, Louisville
  • Austin Katz, Senior, Texas

25. Brooks Curry, Sophomore, LSU


Photo Courtesy: Chris Parent / LSU Athletics Photography Department

2021 times: 50 free, 19.28; 100 free, 42.06; 200 free, 1:33.75

Curry had a huge breakout rookie season for the Tigers, taking the SEC title in the 100 freestyle for LSU’s first win on the men’s side of the meet in 16 years. He was unable to follow that on the national stage, so what is next? A lot of people didn’t know his name before, but he has now emerged as a talking point among fans. LSU has not had a national champion in men’s swimming since 1988 and Curry will be one to watch in the future if he can break that streak. He is ranked as high as fourth nationally in the 100 free.

24. Jake Foster, Sophomore, Texas


Photo Courtesy: Angela Wang / Texas Athletics

2021 times: 200 IM, 1:42.59; 400 IM, 3:41.49; 200 breast, 1:54.83

Foster has been in a Draymond Green role for this stacked Texas team as he is quietly one of the best IMers in the nation. He has stayed steady in his first two years of school and has a real chance to make some noise in the NCAA A-Final in both IMs in seven weeks.

23. Sam Pomajevich, Senior, Texas


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 200 fly, 1:39.19; 100 fly, 45.65

Pomajevich leads the nation in the 200 butterfly this season after not having an opportunity at the national title last season. Pomajevich has led this Texas team to a number one ranking in what looks like another clash between the Longhorns and the Golden Bears as Texas is looking to regain its national title last won in 2018.

22. Camden Murphy, Senior, Georgia


Photo Courtesy: Chamberlain Smith / Georgia Athletics

2021 times: 100 fly, 44.89; 200 fly, 1:41.23

Murphy has been instrumental in Georgia’s rise to a #2 ranking in the country as he leads the nation thus far this weird season in the 100 butterfly. Georgia has a history of producing great butterflyers including NCAA champs Gil Stovall and Mark Dylla in the last 15 years. Murphy will have more than an individual title on his mind come nationals – the Bulldogs sit second nationally in the 200 medley relay behind Texas.

21. Trenton Julian, Senior, Cal


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 400 IM, 3:43.44; 200 fly, 1:39.93

Cal won the 2019 title thanks to the rapid improvements of their sophomore class that included Julian, who reached two A-Finals and won the B-Final in the 500. Julian played a big role in Cal’s impressive depth last season as well, being one of five Golden Bears seeded in the top 16 in the 400 IM. Julian is already ranked third nationally in the 200 fly at 1:39.93 and should also factor into the 400 IM A-Final in seven weeks.

20. Zach Yeadon, Senior, Cal


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2020 times: 500 free, 4:14.90; 1650, 14:54.66

Yeadon came to Berkeley after spending three seasons at Notre Dame where he was the ACC champion in both the 500 and 1650 freestyle. He was ranked highly in both of those events ahead of NCAAs as the 500 was shaping up to be one of the most anticipated races to watch in Indianapolis. Yeadon has transitioned nicely to life in Berkeley thus far with top ten ranked swims in both the 500 and 1650 in limited racing action with Cal.

19. Alvin Jiang, Senior, Texas


Photo Courtesy: Angela Wang / University of Texas Athletics

2021 times: 100 fly, 44.97; 100 back, 45.12

Jiang came in to Austin after two seasons at North Carolina and immediately became a contributor, becoming one of the top sprinters in the country. He was a part of an extremely deep Texas team that had four guys ranked in the top 16 in the 100 back and two ranked in the top eight in the 100 fly. Jiang is ranked second in both the 100 fly and 100 back and will make Texas’ medley relays tough to beat come nationals.

18. Matt Brownstead, Freshman, Virginia

SW August 2020 Record Breakers - Five New National Record Holders - Matt Brownstead

Photo Courtesy: The Brownstead Family

2021 times: 50 free, 19.26; 100 free, 42.03

Brownstead had a tremendous high school career with the national record in the 50 free, but missed out a chance on the 100 free. In one season at Virginia, Brownstead has lived up to the hype, reaching as high as third nationally in the 100 free. He has helped Virginia post the second fastest time in the 400 free relay this season as the Cavaliers are building a very strong team on both the men’s and women’s sides.

17. Mark Theall, Senior, Texas A&M


Photo Courtesy: Craig Bisacre / Texas A&M Athletics

2021 times: 500 free, 4:10.67; 200 free, 1:32.98

Theall made headlines in 2019 with his insane time drops from high school, coming out as a 1:40 200 freestyler and developing into a 1:31 relay swimmer in two seasons at A&M (he transferred after one year at UNLV). Theall is now one of the top middle distance guys in the country and has played a big role in Texas A&M’s rise to the top ten. Theall set a best time in the 500 this season and is ranked third in both the 500 and 200 free.

16. Javier Acevedo, Senior, Georgia


Photo Courtesy: Chamberlain Smith / Georgia Athletics

2021 Times: 100 back, 45.29; 200 back, 1:41.69

Acevedo returned to the Bulldogs after an Olympic redshirt last season, and has delivered nicely for the second ranked Bulldogs. He is ranked fourth nationally in the 100 back and has helped Georgia secure the top time in the nation in the 200 free relay. Georgia doesn’t have a rich history in the 50 free, but Acevedo has bolstered this sprint group that has contributed to the Bulldogs rise in the national rankings.

15. Luca Urlando, Freshman, Georgia


Photo Courtesy: Chamberlain Smith / Georgia Athletics

2021 times: 200 IM, 1:42.84; 100 fly, 45.10; 200 fly, 1:40.67

Urlando was the top ranked 200 butterflyer in the United States in 2019 before injuring his shoulder at the start of this year. But Urlando was back training in the later weeks and brought a lot to the table in Athens this season. He is ranked fourth nationally in the 200 fly and is fifth in the 100 fly, and many will be eager to see how he fares in his first NCAAs as a freshman in 2021. Urlando has already swam three best times in his best events, so how fast can he go at full strength in just one season in Athens?

14. David Schlicht, Sophomore, Arizona


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 200 IM, 1:42.97; 400 IM, 3:40.93; 200 breast, 1:56.28

Schlicht returned to Arizona after an Olympic redshirt as he is one of the top IM’ers in the nation, ranking as high as third in the 400 IM. The Australian made the final of the 400 IM as a freshman in 2019, placing sixth and scored in his other two events. Even in limited action in the Pac-12, Schlicht is a quiet contender for the 400 IM national title.

13. Nick Albiero, Senior, Louisville


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 100 fly, 46.12; 100 back, 45.54; 200 fly, 1:41.98

Albiero looked poised to add his name to Louisville’s wall of national champions last season as he was the top seed in both butterfly events, sharing the 100 distinction with Texas senior Maxime Rooney. Albiero has been a big rest swimmer the last few years, and in some limited action with Louisville, he has posted the seventh fastest time in the 200 fly this season, an event where he will certainly challenge for the national title.

12. Daniel Carr, Senior, Cal


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 100 back, 47.70; 200 back, 1:40.28

Carr, the double gold medalist in backstroke at the 2019 Pan American Games, was actually ranked the highest in the 200 IM last year, having been ranked second on the NCAA psych sheet in 2020. With a stacked team in place in Berkeley, he is actually the second best backstroker on his own team, but is still among the favorites for the 100 and 200 back at NCAAs based on his past success. He is ranked fourth nationally in the 200 back and is looking to back up Cal’s national title in 2019.

11. Jake Magahey, Freshman, Georgia


Photo Courtesy: Chamberlain Smith / Georgia Athletics

2021 times: 200 free, 1:33.50; 500, 4:10.48; 1650, 14:33.78

Magahey had a good high school career where he broke the national record in the 500 free, and has transitioned nicely to his new life in Athens, just down the road from his club days at Swim Atlanta. Magahey is the top ranked swimmer in the 1650 this season and is also second in the 500. The Bulldogs have had a lot of racing opportunities compared to some of their west coast rivals, but Magahey has certainly lived up to the hype in one semester.

10. Daniel Krueger, Junior, Texas


Photo Courtesy: Texas Athletics

2021 times: 50 free, 19.14; 100 free, 41.48

It seems like we have been waiting on pins and needles to see what Krueger can do fully rested. Having lost the chance at NCAAs last year, Krueger seemed due for a big breakout at his sophomore NCAAs and has returned this year as the top man in the 100 free and is second in the 50. Texas leads the nation in both medley relays, and Krueger will play a pivotal role on both of those come post-season.

9. Max McHugh, Junior, Minnesota


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 100 breast, 50.63; 200 breast, 1:53.78

McHugh has already swum his best time in the 100 breast this season at 50.63 – the only man to break 51 seconds. McHugh clearly has a lot of speed, but also the power to be good in the 200 breast, where he sits sixth nationally. McHugh still has not had a national champ in men’s swimming since 1964, something McHugh could achieve this season.

8. Reece Whitley, Junior, Cal


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 100 breast, 52.46; 200 breast, 1:48.53

Whitley looked poised to bust out a massive 200 breaststroke at the end of the season last year, as he had been swimming impressive times throughout all of Cal’s duel meets. He was the top seed in the 200 breaststroke before the meet was cancelled and has followed that up this season with a very fast 1:48. The American record will be on high alert in seven weeks as Whitley is searching for his first individual title.

7. Destin Lasco, Freshman, California


Photo Courtesy: Luke Bernstein

2021 times: 100 back, 45.21; 200 back, 1:39.60

Lasco has broken out this season as a star for Cal, as he is ranked second nationally in the 200 back and third in the 100. Cal has been known to produce good backstrokers and Lasco has adjusted well in Berkeley. Cal has had limited racing opportunities this season but Lasco has made the most of them, and will definitely be a force in the NCAA the next few years.

6. Bobby Finke, Junior, Florida


Photo Courtesy: Tony Walsh / Georgia Athletics

2021 times: 500 free, 4:15.06; 1650, 14:34.27

Finke exploded in his sophomore year by demolishing the American record in the 1650 with an other-worldly 14:12, and his teammates believed he had more in the tank. Finke is ranked second this season in the 1650 but not many people are counting him out in that event after what happened last season. He is a great racer and will step up to the occasion when his name is called. There is just a matter of how fast can he go in his junior campaign?

5. Carson Foster, Freshman, Texas


Photo Courtesy: Texas Athletics

2021 times: 200 IM, 1:41.98; 400 IM, 3:35.27; 200 back, 1:40.39

Foster made his long awaited debut for the Longhorns after he committed over two years ago as a sophomore and posted the third fastest time ever in the 400 IM in his first meet. He is ranked fifth in both the 200 back and 200 IM thus far this season and has meshed well with the #1 ranked Texas team. He has helped the Longhorns produce the top time in the nation in the 800 free relay and has been a big boost for the Longhorns looking to get their national title back from Cal.

4. Ryan Hoffer, Senior, Cal


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 50 free, 18.97; 100 fly, 46.43; 100 free, 42.12

Hoffer was the top seed in the 50 last season and was a favorite to take titles in both the 100 free and 100 fly as he was looking to build on a breakout sophomore season that saw him take national titles in the individual 50 free and 200 freestyle relay. Hoffer had a lot of hype around him coming out of high school and was showing glimpses of his potential the last couple years, but the cancellation really hurt his chances at finally going a best time in the 100 freestyle after dropping an insane 41.2 in high school. Hoffer is still the top ranked man in the nation in the 50 this season and it may take a lot to take him down in the sprint free events.

3. Drew Kibler, Junior, Texas


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 times: 500 free, 4:08.26; 200 free, 1:30.57; 100 free, 41.92

Kibler had a big breakout sophomore season and was a big reason why the Longhorns were so vastly improved as a whole. This year, he blasted best times in the 200 and 500 free, leading the nation in each event, as well as sitting second in the 100 free. Kibler looks like another guy in a long line of great middle distance freestylers out of the University of Texas, taking after the likes of Townley HaasClark Smith and Ricky Berens.

2. Kieran Smith, Junior, Florida


Photo Courtesy: Tony Walsh / Georgia Athletics

2021 times: 500 free, 4:11.08; 200 free, 1:32.75; 200 IM, 1:41.72; 400 IM, 3:42.11

Smith had a huge sophomore year as he was in line for national titles in both the 200 and 500 free, the latter breaking an American record at SECs. Smith has not missed a beat this season, posting long course bests at the Pro Swim Series in January. Smith follows a number of swimmers training in Gainesville that have just had a different aura around them in college, from Ryan Lochte to Conor Dwyer to Caeleb Dressel, who all saw tremendous success with the Gators. Although Smith has yet to officially win an NCAA title, he will be one to have a lot of eyes on him in his junior year.

1. Shaine Casas, Junior, Texas A&M


Photo Courtesy: Craig Bisacre / Texas A&M Athletics

2021 times: 200 IM, 1:38.95; 100 back, 43.87; 200 back, 1:36.54; 100 fly, 44.98

Casas could really swim any event at NCAAs and be a national title favorite from both backstrokes to both IMs to the 100 fly. Anywhere A&M puts Casas, he will deliver, and that is why he is our number one ranked swimmer with seven weeks to go until NCAAs. It really could be a toss-up between Casas and Smith at this point, but Casas gets the nod due to his inane ability to seemingly never have a bad swim. Casas has the top ranked time in the country in the 200 IM and both backstroke events.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Robert Ellison

    Great compilation….now I feel somewhat up-to-speed!! Thanks!

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