#2 Taylor Ruck, Canadian Olympian, Sends Verbal to Stanford

The Stanford women have added the next major piece to their dynasty. Canadian Olympian Taylor Ruck has committed to the Cardinal, bringing in elite speed in freestyle and backstroke.

Ruck is at the forefront of the youth movement that is revolutionizing the swimming landscape in Canada. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Ruck swam the 2nd leg of Canada’s 4×200 free relay, splitting a 1:56.18 and helping them to bronze. Then, at the 2016 FINA SC World Championships in Windsor, Ruck grabbed the bronze in the 200 free, going 1:52.50 to set the World Junior record and take over a second and a half off of the old Canadian record.

Ruck has never lost an individual race at the Arizona High School Championships. She competed for Chaparral for three seasons, setting state records in the 100 free, 200 free, and 500 free, and winning six individual titles along with five relay titles.



  • 50 free – 22.31
  • 100 free – 48.54
  • 200 free – 1:44.39
  • 500 free – 4:41.38
  • 100 back – 52.95
  • 200 back – 1:53.13


  • 100 free – 53.92
  • 200 free – 1:57.87
  • 400 free – 4:09.93
  • 100 back – 1:00.46
  • 200 back – 2:07.62

Ruck, who was born in Canada but moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, when she was 10 months old, has been an exceptional swimmer with the Scottsdale Aquaic Club. Her time there came to an end recently, though, as moved to Toronto in May, and she’ll stay there up until the end of high school before she joins Stanford‘s class of 2022.

Since her move back to Canada, she put down some very convincing backstroke times, highlighted by a 1:00.46 lifetime best in the 100 in Canet in June as well as a 2:07.62 at the recent Canadian Junior Championships in late July. That 2:07 was a huge swim for Ruck, who has excelled in freestyle after proving to be a prominent backstroker earlier in her career. The time of 2:07.62 would have also been fast enough to qualify for the final at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, though Ruck missed qualification at Canadian Trials this spring.

Ruck’s SCY bests do not match up with the high-level speed that she’s shown in LCM, and she is a huge get for Stanford. Taking her SCY swims at face value, though, her best times in the small pool in both backstrokes, the 100 free, and the 500 free, were all from when she was just 14, with her 200 free best coming in 2015 when she was 15. With those times, she would’ve been a 2017 NCAA B finalist scorer in the 200 free at just 15.

Though Ruck will be the only non-American on the Stanford women’s roster, she will fit right in as a training partner for freestylers Katie LedeckyKatie DrabotLauren Pitzer, and Amalie Fackenthal as well as top 200 backstrokers Erin Voss and Allie Szekely… among others.

The Stanford women are building one of (if not the) fastest, most dominant teams in NCAA history, and certainly in recent memory. Ruck joins an already star-studded Stanford class of 2022, made up of #3 Zoe Bartel, #9 Allie Raab, #15 Amalie Fackenthal (who we reported on yesterday), along with Anya Goeders.

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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5 years ago

Nice picture

5 years ago

This is undoubtedly a great move. It will be a cool experience and great academic resume for this young woman.

However, with the ability to take sponsorship $$, still train at the Toronto National Training Centre (which seems to be putting Ms. Ruck back on the track for greatness) and attend the world class U of T (the “Kylie Masse” plan), she passed up a lot by leaving Canada.

5 years ago

On the next episode of Hoarders…

Mr G
5 years ago

I remember Katie D’s podium body language at the 2015 Winter Jrs when she lost the gold to Taylor in one single race (Katie took the other golds). Maybe they will have a bonding chuckle about that during a relay or some team trip in 2019.

5 years ago

I understand that after watching Stanford have the top recruiting class for the past two years and likely also this year, it seems as though Stanford is unbeatable. But if you look closely at the classes themselves, there are some holes. There are a lot of freestyle sprinters, but not really a lot of sprint flyers and backstrokers. Not to mention, even Eva Merrell and Lucie Nordmann couldn’t fill the hole in their medley relays that are going to be left when Janet Hu and Ally Howe graduate. It’s tough to say how much this will affect their chances at conference and NCAAs given the amount of points they can get from Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, and Ella Eastin, but… Read more »

E Gamble
Reply to  Hannah
5 years ago

Cal’s relay breasrtstroker last year was Abbey Weitzel…remember? ?

Reply to  E Gamble
5 years ago

They got a verbal from ema Rajic who is a 27/1:00 breaststroker with a huge improvement curve

On Fleek
Reply to  Rachel
5 years ago

In addition to the very promising Rajic for 2018, Bears will have Alicia Harrison coming in this season, worth a 27.68 (flying start) / 1:00.80, also with tons of upside.

But getting back on topic, congrats to Taylor! Great match for both this top recruit and top program, very happy for Ruck!

Reply to  E Gamble
5 years ago

Abbey Weitzeil was a pretty good breaststroker for someone who focuses on sprint freestyle

5 years ago

Clarification: Stanford, like every other school is subject to the NCAA and can only provide a limited number of scholarships. That said, Stanford’s large endowment allows them to be very generous with financial aid – thus, while athletic scholarships from Stanford may only cover a small part of someone’s tuition, the person can still get financial aid – which is completely separate from athletic scholarships.

Also, congrats to Taylor and best wishes to her at Stanford! A little disappointing to see other college programs not get as many top recruits, but it’s the athlete’s decision after all, and that should be respected.

5 years ago

People are giving Stanford way too much credit. Most incoming freshman cannot score much at Ncaas with their current times. The big 3 of Ledecky, Manuel and Eastin give them 50+ plus points each plus 5 relays at 40 each and that is what will win. They lost Neal already and next yr Hu and Howe. Their relays will be average good but not great anymore. When Easton and Manuel are gone who will replace them? We are talking a swimmer who will be NCAA champion or top 3 in all their individual swims. Right now I just see swimmers with potential to score but not to win anything. Okay maybe Ruck in the 200 free and back I can… Read more »

Reply to  Taa
5 years ago

Taylor is coming out of a long plateau – her best times were from when she was 15 and she’s only now just starting to get PB’s again. Perfect timing IMO.

Reply to  Taa
5 years ago

Thank you for actually looking at the facts instead of just assuming Stanford’s recruiting class is amazing and therefore they will always be dominant. I would point out though that Szekely and Drabot were freshman and will probably perform better next year at NCAAs after gaining some experience. I would also point out that very few swimmers come into college with the potential to win. There isn’t a Katie Ledecky in every class. Stanford has been very good at developing solid recruit into stellar swimmers. Look at Megan Byrnes. She came in with a 16:01 and ended up getting 3rd at NCAAs behind Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith. What makes Stanford great isn’t thier recruiting, it’s how they develop their… Read more »

ct swim fan
Reply to  Hannah
5 years ago

The other thing to keep in mind here for recruits is if these girls want to swim at the NCAA Championships, there is a roster limit on how many can go. I believe it’s 18 total girls, which includes divers who each count 1/2 a girl (someone correct me on that if I’m wrong), so we’re talking only 16 or 17 swimmers to NCAAs if they take any divers. Should promote a lot of strong competition, but possibly some disappointed girls that don’t get chosen who could have easily gone on other teams. Just a thought.

5 years ago

I have been posting for a long time that NCAA swimming is no longer a competition it is an exhibition. Unless you are a “Stanford fan” there is no way that you can see any way to win PAC12 or NCAA for at least the next 8 years. This is not good for swimming. True competition means that the outcome is unknown until after the event. Womens NCAA D1 swimming is like going to a Harlem Globetrotters game. You know who is going to win when you walk in the door. Stanford is obviously using their endowment to fund the swimming operation. It was reported on Swimswam that the Womens Head Coach position was now “fully endowed”. Meaning the school… Read more »

Reply to  azfan400
5 years ago

They do not buy top talent; they develop it. Yes, they recruit stars like Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky. Cal has Abbey Weitzel, Kathleen Baker, and Katie McLaughlin, all who were stars before Cal recruited them. Not all the top talent goes to Stanford. Also, if you look at their top swimmers, you will see huge improvement. Look at Ally Howe and Janet Hu. When she was recruited Howe had a 52.3 100 back, 22.8 50 free, and 1:58 200 IM. Now she has a 49.69 100 Back, a 1:54 200 IM, and she split a 21.26 on the 200 free relay. Janet Hu had a 52.0 100 back, a 52.0 100 fly and a 153.4 200 Back. Now she… Read more »

Swim DAD
Reply to  Hannah
5 years ago

It’s pretty well bought. The numbers speak for themselves. In the last 5 years, going back to class of 2014, this is the breakdown by college as to who got the top 10 SwimSwam women’s recruits. This does not include 2 from the class of ’18 who still haven’t committed.

School % of total
Standford 29.2%
Cal 12.5%
USC 10.4%
UGA 8.3%
U Tex 8.3%
A&M 6.3%
UM 4.2%
U Lou 4.2%
U Tenn 4.2%
U Min 4.2%
U Wis 2.1%
U Flo 2.1%
U Ariz 2.1%
U Indi 2.1%

Stanford more than doubles Cal who is second with 12.5%. Also, on Stanford’s “down year”, where… Read more »

Pac-12 Fan
Reply to  Hannah
5 years ago

Agree it’s very impressive how Howe & Hu have improved by leaps & bounds on the farm! (pun intended lol)

But for every Hu & Howe, there’s also a KC Moss, Tara Halsted, Julia Anderson, Allison Arnold, Bridget Boushka who didn’t (the list goes on). Then you get Maddy Schaefer who retired early, and Heidi Poppe who may be following suit.

I actually don’t agree with this for a variety of reasons, but just pointing out that some SwimSwam commenters are already advocating that Ledecky should go pro, as there is a sense of mild disappointment with her performances in Budapest…at least when compared to her pre-Stanford mystique of lowering the bar with every swim!

Reply to  Pac-12 Fan
5 years ago

Every school has hits and misses. I’m not trying to imply that other schools can’t develop great swimmers, Mallory Comerford at Louisville and Vanessa at Michigan are two great examples of swimmers who were not even in the top 20 but had great success so far in the NCAA. Personally, I don’t think any school should be judged on how they recruit, and the misconception that the schools who recruit the best athletes are the best seems to be especially prevalent regarding Stanford. Yes recruiting helps a lot, but developing your athletes is more important. Since most incoming freshman can’t score at NCAAs, it’s obvious that a lot of swimmers improve in college and the schools they go to (not… Read more »

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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