Flo 25: NCAA DI Men's Preseason Rankings #25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6, 5-1
So how did we create with the rankings?
First, we compiled a rankings list of all returning swims in each event from last season. Next, we added the best times from each incoming freshman to the event lists to complete the preseason time projections for each race. From there, the events are scored two different ways: First is a top 50 points system to analyze depth -- starting with the top-ranked team receiving 50 points and descending to one point. Second is the NCAA's top 16 scoring system. Relays are included into this as well. Combining those factors, we found the average of each team to create the final top 25 preseason rankings.
2017 NCAA Finish: 12th
The Cavaliers are a team hit hard by graduation. Virginia is without Olympian Leah Smith from here on out and will have to find a way to replace one of America's best swimmers. On the bright side, the Cavaliers won't be completely left out to dry. Virginia still has top-five ranked 200 butterflier Jen Marrkand (1:53.17). The Cavaliers are also adding five freshmen ranked in the top 50 with Erin Earley, Paige Madden, Abby Richter, Marcie Maguire, and Emma Seiberlich -- a number matched by only top-ranked Stanford. A more interesting note on the freshman class is that the five newcomers have nearly identical 200 backstroke times. Toss those in with Marrkand (should she choose to swim it over the 200 fly) and UVA could be challenging our No. 13 school below in that event.
2017 NCAA Finish: 22nd
Tennessee is coming off of a 22nd-place finish at the NCAA championships. The Volunteers are starting off a bit higher than they finished, and the main reason is that they return three potential top-eight finishers. Meghan Small is entering the year fourth in the 200m IM and will also be near the top in the 400 IM. Junior Maddy Banic is projected fourth in the 50 freestyle and eighth in the 100 butterfly. Incoming freshman breaststroker Nikol Popov is also looking to make an immediate impact with breastroke times of 59.5 and 2:08 in the 100 and 200, respectively. Tennessee also picked up transfer Stanzi Moseley from Southern California -- a 50-10-200 freestyle specialist who will likely contribute right away.
2017 NCAA Finish: 14th
The Wildcats' biggest strength, as it was last year, is the 200 backstroke. Kentucky put three swimmers in the championship final, and two of those swimmers -- Ali Galyer and Asia Seidt -- are back again this year. Add B-finalist Bridgette Alexander to the mix, and that one event will be UK's biggest punch. Elsewhere, Seidt is projected for scoring finishes in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. Replacing Danielle Galyer on the medley relays won't be nearly as difficult with the Wildcats' numerous backstrokers. Geena Freriks (500 freestyle) and Kathryn Painter (400 IM) are both B-finalist returners who will look to make the big jump up in the championship final this season. Head coach Lars Jorgensen's top recruit Bailey Bonnett is a solid 1:00/2:12 breaststroker who will tag team with Madison Winstead.
2017 NCAA Finish: 10th
The Gophers will help make for an exciting Big Ten Championships. Although she is over 40 seconds behind top-ranked Katie Ledecky, senior Brooke Zeiger has the second-fastest 1650 freestyle time from last year. She will also finish high in the 400 IM. Minnesota's other potential second-place finish is in a similar situation. Lindsey Horejsi sits second in line in the 100 breaststroke behind Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder Lilly King of Indiana. But, can Horejsi make the step up in the 200 to replace Kierra Smith? The Gophers also added a top Canadian recruit Mackenzie Padington for the freestyle events.
2017 NCAA Finish: 8th
It is safe to say a certain Hoosier is going to be claiming some national title trophies. World-record holder Lilly King will be relatively uncontested in both breaststroke races -- the 100 more so than the 200 -- coming off another dominant summer. Indiana also returns Kennedy Goss for her senior year. She enters the year ranked to score in the 200 and 500 freestyles and also has a top eight ranking in the 200 backstroke. Indiana's biggest loss is without a doubt All-American Gia D'alessandro, who graduated following last season. From a recruiting standpoint, the Hoosiers' top prospect Camryn Forbes will likely make an impact in the backstroke events immediately.