2018 Men’s NCAAs: How Did Our Top 20 Recruits Perform As Freshmen?

2018 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

We’ve taken a pretty deep dive back into years-old recruiting ranks over the past two days, and we have one more piece of that puzzle to reanalyze. Luckily, the ranking we’ll revisit today is much more recent: how did our top 20 recruits in the class of 2017 perform as freshmen?

Further reading:

Naturally, this analysis has a far smaller sample size than our reports from the past two days, so it’s much more difficult to read too much into these numbers. Still, it’s useful to look at which first-year NCAA swimmers had the best performances relative to their recruiting ranks.

The ranks are from our top 20 story from July of 2016. Bear that in mind – a lot of these ranks would have changed if we had ranked them in July of 2017, after their senior years. Our recruiting ranks also only include domestic athletes, as international students are often hard to group into a specific recruiting class, and are generally shrouded in mystery as to when they’ll join an NCAA team, if they do at all.

Rank Name College Team 2018 NCAA Points
1 Ryan Hoffer Cal 26.5
2 Sean Grieshop Cal 10
3 Matthew Hirschberger Stanford no invite
4 Camden Murphy Georgia 0
5 Michael Taylor Florida 0
6 Austin Katz Texas 35
7 Grant House Arizona State 3
8 Jake Sannem USC no invite
9 Paul DeLakis Ohio State 6
10 Christopher Yeager Texas 0
11 Bryce Mefford Cal 26
12 Sam Pomajevich Texas 24
13 Brennan Pastorek Stanford 4
14 Alex Liang Stanford 0
15 Trenton Julian Cal 12
16 Daniel Carr Cal 13
17 Michael Zarian Harvard no invite
18 Nicolas Albiero Louisville 22
19 Spencer Rowe Auburn no invite
20 Corban Rawls Harvard no invite
  • Austin Katz was the first of this group to win a national title (though two internationals did as relay members), taking advantage of a wide-open 200 back field. Those 20 points surge him to the top of the list for early scoring returns. This class made a tough choice between Katz and Michael Taylor who came into recruiting season with almost identical backstroke times. Taylor had a better senior year of high school (dropping from 47.1 to 45.5 in the 100), but Katz clearly had the better freshman year in the NCAA. That’s somewhat to be expected, given freshman seem to be more plug-and-play in Texas’s system, while Florida’s program usually has a pretty steep adjustment period.
  • Louisville’s Nicolas Albiero is proving to be a great value, scoring among the best in the class from the 18th rank. Behind Katz was a logjam of 20-point scorers, including Ryan Hoffer, Bryce Mefford, Sam Pomajevich and Albiero, along with unranked Zach Yeadon of Notre Dame.
  • Ryan Hoffer wasn’t going to win any NCAA titles swimming in Caeleb Dressel‘s event, but he quietly had a very solid meet, even if he didn’t improve his sprint free times.
  • While Cal took one on the chin in our look at Class of 2014 recruits earlier this week, their class of 2017 freshmen were outstanding. All 5 of their ranked recruits not only made NCAAs but scored in double digits. That includes Hoffer (26.5), Sean Grieshop (10), Bryce Mefford (26), Trenton Julian (12) and Daniel Carr (13).
  • Only five of these guys missed NCAA invites individually. Stanford’s Matthew Hirschberger was the big one, not dropping from the times that got him a #3 rank – but that was just following the trend of his senior year, where he also failed to drop time. And he improved from 2017 to 2018 and was within a second of an NCAA invite in the 500.
  • USC’s Jake Sannem went to NCAAs as a relay-only swimmer and scored points on the 800 free relay for the Trojans. He had moderate drops in his 100 and 200 frees as a freshman and ultimately split 1:34.6 at NCAAs.
  • Neither Harvard recruit got an individual invite – Corban Rawls or Michael Zarian. Rawls had a bad senior year, but went lifetime-bests in the 50 and 200 free as a freshman. Zarian dropped time in his 400 IM, but making NCAAs in those events is pretty brutal.
  • Spencer Rowe had two good drops in his breaststrokes for Auburn at SECs, and was brought to NCAAs as a relay-only swimmer, though he didn’t compete.

And of course, we’ll include everyone’s favorite part: which unranked recruits scored NCAA points as freshmen.

Domestic:

Name College Team Total NCAA Points
Zach Yeadon Notre Dame 27
Robby Giller Virginia 2
  • Check out the time progression on Yeadon, who scored more NCAA points than all but one ranked recruit:
    • July 2016 (when we ranked recruits): 15:09/4:23/1:40
    • July 2017 (end of his senior year): 14:49/4:19/1:37
    • Current (after freshman season): 14:34/4:12/1:36

International:

Name College Team Total NCAA Points
Ricardo Vargas Michigan 23
Brandonn Almeida South Carolina 15
Robert Glinta USC 14
Evgenii Somov Louisville 12
Hugo Gonzalez Auburn 7
Bruno Blaskovic Indiana 1

Diving:

Name College Team Total NCAA Points
Jordan Windle Texas 45
Andrew Capobianco Indiana 33
Zach Cooper Miami (FL) 12
Gregory Duncan UNC 6
Kurtis Matthews Texas A&M 5

These don’t include relay contributions.

In This Story

84
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
84 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
What
3 years ago

Wow!

Gator
3 years ago

Incredible showing overall by freshman swimming and diving… bodes well for coming championships!!

2 Cents
Reply to  Gator
3 years ago

Really? I kind of thought it was lackluster. There were definitely some bright spots, but overall I feel like this might have been down from years past. Maybe it is was better, but just lacked the big star power like it has in the past, or maybe that the star power from the upper class guys, Dressel, Finnerty, etc. just overshadowed the freshman.

Silent observer
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

I’ll chalk it up to upper class star power

Wow
3 years ago

I love this analysis

Horninco
3 years ago

Clearly Cal has a recruiting problem, right?

Swimfan
Reply to  Horninco
3 years ago

Nah not recruiting problem, sometimes it faces some talent development issues

#STATEment
Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

Agreed SwimFan. Let’s see how thing pan out over the next 3 years. I believe Hoffer swam slower than in HS right? Cal biggest issue isn’t attracting talent, they have great swimmers handed to them. They just struggle to turn the majority of them into key players.

SVIRD
Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

This is being overblown. So they had a couple high level recruits who never panned out. So what? This class is already doing great. Bryce Mefford, Ryan Hoffer, Trenton Julian, Sean Grieshop, and Daniel Carr all had solid freshman seasons. This “cal can’t develop talent” narrative is a stupid post NCAAs knee-jerk.

coachymccoachface
Reply to  SVIRD
3 years ago

I don’t think people are outright saying that but Texas is certainly better preparing their freshman than Cal is.

Swimmer
Reply to  coachymccoachface
3 years ago

How so? Pretty sure the Cal freshman outscored every other freshman class.

coachymccoachface
Reply to  Swimmer
3 years ago

When you have the 1, 2, 11, and 16th ranked recruits they should.

Bay City Tex
Reply to  Swimmer
3 years ago

Nope. Three Texas freshmen outscored the entire
Cal group. Windle 45, Katz 35, and Pomajevich
24. 104 points total.

gator
Reply to  Bay City Tex
3 years ago

Worth noting that Windle is a diver, and Swim/Swam top 20 list did not include divers. Without diving, its about even.

Swimcanada
Reply to  gator
3 years ago

And once again they gave one of their freshman scholarships to a diver because it is a swimming/diving competition. Smart and talented program!

Cmon
Reply to  Bay City Tex
3 years ago

Way to bring diving into comment section of an article only about swimming recruits. Must be a Texas fan

2 Cents
Reply to  Cmon
3 years ago

If it was only an article about swimming recruits, why does it list all the diving points by Freshman??

Yes, there was not ranking of divers, but that doesn’t make this a swimming ONLY article.

Jmanswimfan
Reply to  coachymccoachface
3 years ago

Only two of their freshman swimmers scored. Cal had 5 freshmen score but okay.

Foreign Embassy
Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

Not everyone wants to stick with it. That’s fair. But Look at Trenton Julian. 1:45 2fly out of high school and a finaled and dropped to 1:40 his first year. That is incredibly developed talent. I was surprised he signed with Cal rather than USC, where both his swim-famous parents went, but you can’t argue with that progress. Both Carr and Mefford improved – Mefford A finaling his 2Free – Carr leading off both medley relays. Sean had best times in events he had plateued in since high school. I’m not worried about Hoffer either. 18.2 as a frosh is a ‘problem” I think any college coach would gladly have. This class definitely shows that Cal can develop talent. ????

Tammy Touchpad Error
Reply to  Foreign Embassy
3 years ago

Speaking of sticking with it, if Gornay had swum to senior year that 8FR woulda been 3rd or 4th and he’d be a 30-40 point scorer at least. Was 1:34.9 at 16 before it was cool.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Tammy Touchpad Error
3 years ago

He was slower his freshman year before he left the team than he was in HS. No guarantee that 1:34 would have gotten better.

Now, if they had had Mefford in that relay instead of Jensen, that’s a different story…

Ervin
Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

Cal had 6 male olympians in 2016. They dont have development issues.

Swimfan
Reply to  Ervin
3 years ago

If 6 guys making it means they don’t have developmental issues do 6 guys not making it (never dropping time/ falling off the roster) mean they do? No one is blaming Durden or the program but maybe it’s hard to develop at Cal for a wealth of reasons?

Cmon
Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

not hard to develop at cal. Are we basing this off hoffer adding a tenth in the 50 and some guy named gornay?

JP input is too short
Reply to  Cmon
3 years ago

Yeah, it seems like this whole “Cal can’t develop” is based on Hoffer’s freshman year and Gornay/Silverthorn. Overreaction seems to be a specialty of some SwimSwam commenters…

Cmon
Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

Name the 6. For this class 4 out of 5 dropped on everything, hoffer dropped in fly and relays swims. If you look at there whole roster you won’t find 6 that didn’t drop. Maybe 3. I count just as many on Texas. Maybe more.

Cmon
Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

They must have a major issue developing swimmers. They only beat Texas by 70 without diving. I say they fire the entire staff

Sccoach
Reply to  Horninco
3 years ago

A diving recruiting problem

Cmon
Reply to  Sccoach
3 years ago

Finally, a common sense answer

JP input is too short
3 years ago

I’m curious, who would have been your new #1 had you ranked after their senior years? I have a hard time figuring who that would be – even considering someone like Michael Taylor’s drop to 45.5, Hoffer had already been a 45.5 100 back and that was probably his 4th best event.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

That’s what I was thinking – there’d be quite a bit of shuffling 2-10, but impact sprinters are they key to NCAA champs runs and Hoffer was really the only one of those in the class.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

The other question is, how do you separate individual performance/potential from team? For most other teams somebody like Bryce Mefford swims a full slate of relays. Instead, because Cal was so deep, he didn’t even make the relay in the event he ended up being the second fastest on the team, and DFSd his 200 IM. On any other team you’d be looking back on this season with him as a top-4 freshman, behind only Hoffer and Albeiro and Katz. Maybe you still do look at him that way.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

Ahhhh… I misread. This upcoming class is rather ridiculous. But I guess that’s getting to be the norm at this point.

2 Cents
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

I would consider coaching changes with this as well… like if there is a change from a traditional mid distance/distance coach or program to a sprint oriented one. I understand this would be hard since assistants usually have to deal with this and quantifying coaching changes or coming up with stats based on this is very difficult if not impossible. Just a thought though.

Sean Sullivan
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

If it’s hard for you to pick anyone other than Hoffer then why have the line “there almost certainly would have been a different #1” regarding a ranking after their senior year?

JP input is too short
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

Heh, now my original question looks like a non sequitur 😛

mikeh
3 years ago

Ryan Hoffer scored lots of points, and that is great, but sadly he didn’t improve as far as I know. I wonder if his age group coaches truncated his development by directing him towards shorter power/speed training at too young an age, thereby losing out on the neural adaptations of longer, slower swimming as well as aerobic development. Not sure but I hope he reaches his full potential, he is a gargantuan talent and the US needs him at the international level. He has time and hopefully his Cal coaches will rethink their approach.

JP input is too short
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

Not sure how much long/aerobic training would have helped him – the kid takes 6-7 strokes a length for a 100 free, that’s less than 30 strokes total. At that point, you’re much, much better served trying to maximize the impulse of every stroke (plus the underwaters that drive his speed) than trying to improve a metabolic pathway he isn’t even going to use in his events.

Jmanswimfan
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

Best time in fly

Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

Yes I agree. As a club coach, I steer my swimmers away from being fast at a young age because it robs them of time drops that can make them solidly mediocre by the end of collage.

mikeh
Reply to  Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
3 years ago

i don’t think a gifted athlete who waits until full adulthood to pursue maximum speed and power will be slower for it.

Caeleb Dressel was no where near a 41.2 in high school. Obviously he didn’t suffer a bit.

Guy
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

So you don’t think he was “pursuing maximum speed and power” in high school?

JP input is too short
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

He was 18.9/42.8/1:34 with a 45.8 fly. Pretty sure he was pursuing “maximum speed and power.”

mikeh
Reply to  Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
3 years ago

I don’t think you’re making your swimmers mediocre by taking one step at a time

mikeh
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

And to be clear Ryan Hoffer is extraordinary, nothing about his swimming is mediocre. Hopefully the Cal staff can figure it out.

Cmon
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

Besides the actual swimming. On top of water

Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

Of course not! I put a lot of time and effort into making sure my swimmers are slower right now so they can be faster later. It’s led to great success stories like Tim Finnigin

Dylab
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

When you already go 18.7 as a freshman there isn’t a whole lot of room to improve. He split 18.2 on their relay and even if he never went faster than that during his college career I think any school would be happy to have a lock down 18.2 split on their 200 free or 200 Medley relay

JP input is too short
Reply to  Dylab
3 years ago

Also, he’s listed on Cal’s roster as 6’3″ 195#, which means that’s what in came in as as a freshman. There’s not a whole lot of college freshmen that come into the season already that grown-man-ish. Not much more muscle to put on that frame and maintain efficiency.

sven
Reply to  JP input is too short
3 years ago

Worth pointing out, though, that nearly every male swimmer I’ve seen go on to swim in college has had about 2 inches added to their roster info, even if they didn’t grow. Had a kid go to school this past year at 5’9″ and they had him listed at 5’11″… Saw him this winter and spring and there was no growth spurt. The only exception I can think of is a kid who was already 6’5″… they only added one inch for him.

So I’ve never met Ryan Hoffer or seen him in person but by that formula my guess is he’s 6’1″ at best. If he really is 195, though, that’s decently beefy for a swimmer.

2 Cents
Reply to  sven
3 years ago

For comparison, what was Adrian? His freshman year and sr year and then now? Just curious. Same with Grevers. I think they are the 2 biggest bodies that have been on the national team the last few years correct?

JP input is too short
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

Adrian’s freshman year roster lists him a 6’6″ 200. Senior year 225 (that’s after 5 years since he took an Olympic redshirt). I would guess he’s about the same weight now?

Northwestern’s roster doesn’t list weights for Grevers.

SwimGeek
Reply to  Dylab
3 years ago

That’s why Dressel was so remarkable. He was REALLY fast in HS. And then . . . just kept getting faster.

swimswammy
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

What’s his full potential? And what would it have been if he did less power/speed training?

For that matter, what WAS his training in high school? Do you even know? Or are you just wildly speculating based on the fact that he was fast in the sprint events at a young age and the conventional knowledge (you know… from back in the day when 19.5/42.0/1:33 made you an absolute world beater) says you need to do lots of yardage?

Guy
Reply to  mikeh
3 years ago

Yes, MIKEH, Kevin and Bob totally screwed this kid over by giving him the opportunity to swim on what I am sure is a hefty scholarship at one of the best universities in the world. Shame on them. They should have done a better job and making him slow so he could go to a nice D2 school (no offense) and get better there instead of at Cal.

mikeh
Reply to  Guy
3 years ago

Under no circumstance was Ryan Hoffer going anywhere other than a high level D1 school. He is too talented to do otherwise. I am suggesting however that he could have got there, on full scholarship, without introducing the sort of speed/power training necessary to go that fast at 16, and that might have been better for his development.

I’m not saying it’s easy. There are certain circumstances when an age group coach needs to squeeze every last drop of speed from a young swimmer, just to get a subsidized education. But that is not always the right move and that’s why we have swim coaches.

The good news: Mr. Hoffer has all the time in the world, and superb… Read more »

Swimmer
3 years ago

Cal 5, Stanford 3, Texas 3. These three schools account for more than half the top 20 recruits. It’s no secret why theses schools are at the top of the rankings every year.

Yabo
Reply to  Swimmer
3 years ago

Good coaches good locations

Swimmer
Reply to  Yabo
3 years ago

Good swimmers make coaches look good. When swimmers do well it’s all because of the coach. When swimmers perform poorly it’s the swimmers fault ie Cal Texas.

Go Bearcats
3 years ago

Robby Giller’s time drops are insane. 3:50 to 3:41 in the 4IM. 4:23 to 4:15 in the 500. Never really did the 200 back in high school, but on paper a 1:57ish to 1:41. Insane. Go Robby!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »