#11 Daniel Li, Top 100 Breaststroker in Class of 2024, Commits to Stanford

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Daniel Li, the fastest 100 yard breaststroker and top remaining uncommitted swimmer in the boys’ class of 2024, has announced his commitment to Stanford. Li was ranked as the #11 recruit in the class in SwimSwam’s re-ranks from June.

“I am extremely excited to announce my commitment to Stanford University. It is a huge honor to be able to continue my swim and educational career at one of the top universities in the county. I would like to thank my coaches, especially Coach Andrew (Nguyen), Hector (Jimenez), Jeff (Julian), and Kristine (Quance Julian) for helping me get this far in my career. I would also like to thank my family for supporting me throughout the years. Finally, I would like to thank Coach Dan and Coach Neil for offering me this special opportunity to swim at the Farm. Go Card!!!! 🌲🌲”

Li is a native of Southern California, where he trains with Rose Bowl Aquatics and attends San Marino High School.

Li’s 52.43 in the 100 yard breaststroke is faster than any other rising high school junior has been. The time would have time him with Arizona’s Ryan Purdy as 12th-best in the Pac-12 last season; it would have been 3rd-best on Stanford’s squad behind Ron Polonsky (Sophomore, 51.14) and Zhier Fan (freshman, 51.97).

Li is the defending California High School State Champion in the 100 yard breaststroke, swimming 52.83 in May. His best time of 52.43 at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 Championships set a new Section Record in the event.

He also finished 3rd at the state meet in the 200 IM in 1:47.60.

Best Times in Yards/LCM:

  • 100 breast – 52.43/1:01.90
  • 200 breast – 1:55.08/2:14.15
  • 200 IM – 1:47.60/2:07.78
  • 400 IM – 3:54.12/4:39.52
  • 200 free – 1:38.16/1:53.89
  • 500 free – 4:30.33/4:10.80

Li has the kind of versatility that used to be rare in top breaststrokers but that is becoming more-and-more common. He’s also a very good long course swimmer, having finished 7th in the 100 breaststroke at the 2023 Speedo Junior National Championships.

This is the second-straight season in which Rose Bowl Aquatics has produced the top-ranked recruit in the state of California, and the second-straight season in which that recruit has gone to Stanford: double legacy Rex Maurer will precede his teammate by a year on The Farm.

If Li continues his progression, he’ll be an immediate contender as a freshman for conference titles for Stanford – though it’s not totally clear yet what conference that will be in. He’s also tracking toward the 51.90 that it took to earn an NCAA Invite last season.

Li’s progression, 100 breaststroke:

  • 9th grade – 57.16
  • 10th grade – 53.79
  • 11th grade – 52.43

Li’s progression, 200 breaststroke:

  • 9th grade – 2:06.16
  • 10th grade – 1:57.48
  • 11th grade – 1:55.08

Li exploded coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. After not racing for more than a year, he returned to the pool as one of the best breaststrokers in his class, and by his sophomore and junior years had really found his groove.

Stanford swimmers are usually among the last of the elite recruits to announce their commitments, though those commitments are often made much earlier. So far, the Cardinal men have received verbals from Wisconsinite Abram Mueller (52.98/1:57.27 yards breaststrokes), Japan’s Go Nagaoka (1:03.20/2:15.3 long course breaststrokes), and New Zealand’s Finn Harland (51.00 free/55.33 backstroke in long course).

The Cardinal are clearly hitting breaststrokers hard in the group after a class of 2023 that had everything-but. That class of 2023 features Henry McFaddenRex MaurerEthan Harrington, and Gibson Holmes, all of whom project as NCAA qualifiers as freshmen, with McFadden and Maurer already projecting to score NCAA points.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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6 months ago

Can everyone stop being so picky, there are top swimmers in every school who are not making progress in college, why staring at Stanford. by the way Stanford’s recent top recruits Rex and Henry are fun to watch at ncaa, and they have great potential to continue dropping time in college.

6 months ago

Wishing you the best of luck in your swimming career from a fellow Titan.

ASU’s biggest fan
6 months ago

After Stanford’s dismal showing at NCAAs last year I’m not projecting anyone, freshman – 5th year, will score points. I wonder how such amazing recruits can struggle so much? Then you watch their veteran swimmers struggle and the kids sitting on the bench during NCs looking sad and depressed and wonder if there are deeper issues. Hopefully the Coaches can figure out the issues and fix them before they get replaced.

Reply to  ASU’s biggest fan
6 months ago

Look at these ASU fans getting all uppity after having one decent season

6 months ago

Word on the street is that he only fuels off cheezits

6 months ago

Man, Stanford is gonna be really freaking good. They’re probably gonna have three dudes at 51 or faster by 2025 which is stupid. Not to mention their recruiting classes of 2023 and 2022 are also insane. I’m curious to see how these guys improve in such an intense academic and athletic environment.

Reply to  Swimmingrules
6 months ago

Probably not much. Greg Meehan is going to ruin them

Reply to  Guy
6 months ago

greg doesn’t coach them but to be fair, their top breaststroke recruits recently haven’t improved much either -> ethan dang, hayden zheng, etc.

Reply to  swimmer
6 months ago

They’re all smaller guys. At a certain point in SC there’s a ceiling for that, especially in the 100. Seli showed that doesn’t need to matter as much in the 200, but he has killer pullouts for his size.

Reply to  oxyswim
6 months ago

Breaststroke is all about technique, and the height requirements are not so high. You can see that Leon Marchand and Zac are not tall, but they swim fast.

Reply to  Swimmingrules
6 months ago

Compare to previous classes, class 2024 is not that good. Maybe only Daniel in the top 50. Why is that?

Reply to  Swimmingrules
6 months ago

Dan Schemmel is not a good coach. Look at their performance. Takes good recruits and does absolutely nothing with them.

Reply to  NoMorePancakes
6 months ago

Agreed. It’s not like stanford has recruited poorly in the last few years for the men. Mist of these swimmers don’t improve once they get there.

Reply to  NoMorePancakes
6 months ago

You get what you pay for. Maybe throw more $ for a solid coach instead of finding one who lives in the dorms.

Crisp Collar
Reply to  B1Guy!
6 months ago

Or maybe Stanford should pay their coach more so they don’t have to live in the dorms.

Reply to  Swimmingrules
6 months ago

I don’t think this comment is going to age well.

6 months ago


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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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