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

2018 WOMEN’S NCAA 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. In fact, there almost certainly would have been a different #1. 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 Courtney Harnish Georgia 7
2 Sierra Schmidt Michigan 9
3 Margaret Aroesty USC 9
4 Brooke Forde Stanford 21
5 Nikol Popov Tennessee no invite
6 Lauren Pitzer Stanford 1
7 Ashlyn Schoof Louisville 0
8 Hannah Kukurugya Stanford 0
9 Taylor Pike Texas A&M 5
10 Grace Zhao Stanford 5
11 Victoria Edwards Texas no invite
12 Ashley Volpenhein Stanford no invite
13 Marta Ciesla USC 0
14 Caitlin Tycz USC 0
15 Alexis Margett Michigan no invite
16 Anna Belousova Texas A&M 27
17 Taylor Ault Florida 0
18 Paige Madden Virginia 0
19 Joy Field Texas A&M no invite
20 Regan Barney Princeton no invite
  • This year’s freshman class had a disproportionately small impact on NCAAs point-wise, scoring less than a third of what any other class scored. Some of that was due to a huge number of returning NCAA champs, and it shrinks our already-tiny sample size even further. It won’t be wise to close the book on this class until they get an opportunity in a less-loaded NCAA crowd.
  • Texas A&M’s Anna Belousova had the best point haul. She’s technically listed as a sophomore, but joined the Aggies with this recruiting class. When we ranked her in July 2016, she was 1:00.5 in the 100 breast and 2:10.1 in the 200. This year, she went 58.9 and 2:07.2 at NCAAs to make the A final in both races.
  • Stanford’s Brooke Forde scored 21 points in her team’s dominating NCAA effort. It became clear to us over the course of this class’s senior year of high school that Forde was probably the new #1 recruit in the class, especially when she dropped her 400 IM from 4:07 to 4:02, her 200 IM from 1:57 to 1:55 and her 200 free from 1:46 to 1:44 before even setting foot on campus as a freshman.
  • Six of our top 20 didn’t even get an NCAA invite. That’s a big change from last year when all 20 of our top prospects made the big show. All six of those swimmers regressed fairly significantly from their best times – always a possibility in the tough transition from high school to college.

And of course, we’ll include everyone’s favorite part: which unranked recruits scored NCAA points as freshmen. There aren’t many, and 6 of the 9 are internationals, denoted with an asterisk (*):

Name College Team Total NCAA Points
Evie Pfeifer Texas 23.5
Robin Neumann* Cal 16
Bailey Bonnett Kentucky 14
Sarah Darcel* Cal 12
Mariia Astashkina* Louisville 12
Tamila Holub* NC State 11
Kristen Romano Ohio State 7
Mackenzie Padington* Minnesota 5
Sonnele Oeztuer* Auburn 3

These don’t include diving or relay contributions.

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Bevo

Nice job Evie!

Joe

The first chart should read 2018 not 2015

Mike

Evie Pfiefer and Kristen Romano have improved significantly since July of 2016. Both have shown that they are among the top ten freshman in the country.

dmswim

Looking at the points they scored, I’d say they’re top 5.

coachymccoachface

Anybody know why Kristen didn’t swim the 200 back?

Mike

If you look at the scratches for the individual events for Saturday; most of those swimmers were also competing in the 400 freestyle relay. I think the coaches wanted to focus on that relay.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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