2021 Men’s NCAAs: How Did Our Top 20 Recruits Perform As Freshmen?

We’ve already done a deep dive into our recruiting archives, looking at how the top 20 recruits from the high school class of 2017 did after four NCAA seasons. Now it’s time to look back at a more recent recruit ranking: the current year’s freshmen, the first class we officially scouted from their sophomore years through their senior seasons of high school:

Relevant links:

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.

As always, our notes on this data:

  • The data included is only individual scoring at NCAAs. That’s not an exact measure of an athlete’s contribution to a program: many of these swimmers (and others not listed) were relay scorers at NCAAs, scored significant points at conference meets and provided great leadership and culture-building for their programs. This data isn’t a perfect analysis of the best recruits – it’s merely a quick look at the data we can compile.
  • A college swimming career includes four years of eligibility, and sometimes more. Revisiting scoring after one year is an incomplete analysis of a swimmer’s career – this is not the final word on any of these prospects, and we will revisit this data over the next three seasons to get a more complete evaluation.

The ranks listed below are from our re-rank last summer – they are not current ranks of NCAA athletes. We also do not rank international athletes as recruits, as it’s hard to predict if and when they’ll come to the U.S., and which class with which to include them.


HM=Honorable mention

Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points
1 Carson Foster Texas 45 45
2 Luca Urlando Georgia 26 26
3 Jake Magahey Georgia 42 42
4 Wyatt Davis Michigan 0 0
5 Destin Lasco Cal 49 49
6 Matt Brownstead Virginia 15 15
7 Adam Chaney Florida 25 25
8 Ethan Hu Stanford 5 5
9 Jake Mitchell Michigan 0 0
10 Coby Carrozza Texas 3 3
11 Luke Miller NC State 2 2
12 Ethan Heasley Texas 0 roster scratch
13 Ben Dillard USC 0 redshirt
14 Luke Maurer Stanford 0 0
15 Rick Mihm Stanford 0 no invite
16 David Johnston Texas 23 23
17 Forrest Frazier Cal 0 no invite
18 Ethan Dang Stanford 0 no invite
19 Matt King Alabama 14 14
20 Jonathan Affeld Stanford 0 0
HM Preston Forst Stanford 7 7
HM Sean Faikish Notre Dame 0 no invite
HM Arik Katz Harvard 0 redshirt
HM Tyler Christianson Notre Dame 0 0
HM Owen Conley Ohio State 0 no invite
HM Dare Rose Cal 3 3

The hits:

  • This was an early-impact class – something we’d been excited about since we started evaluating this crew as sophomores. Every swimmer in our top 20 earned an NCAA invite as a freshman. That’s very difficult to do on the men’s side, where older and stronger swimmers typically take up an especially large share of NCAA invites and scoring.
  • We had two redshirts in the mix, and just five of the 26 in our final ranks missed NCAA invites as rookies.
  • The bulk of the scoring was concentrated in the top 7. It was actually #5 overall recruit Destin Lasco who led the class in scoring. Lasco finished in the top three in all three (200 IM, 100 back, 200 back) of his individual events.
  • #1 recruit Carson Foster wasn’t far behind with 45 points. We noted how good this class was in the IMs, and that was no joke: Foster, Lasco and David Johnston all scored in the IMs as freshmen.
  • Johnston was a great pickup as the #16 recruit – distance swimmers are especially volatile in our ranks, because a great mile can score big, but can also be wiped to zero points with one bad swim. Johnston was outstanding, scoring the 7th-most of any athlete in the class (international recruits and divers included).
  • Alabama’s Matt King scored well and could have scored way more if not for a DQ in the 50 free.
  • One swimmer in this class has already won an NCAA title individually: it’s #3 Jake Magaheywho won the 500 free.
    • From our 2020 re-rank: “Finding an NCAA scoring-level 500 freestyler out of high school is extremely rare – we tend to see much more development in that event at the college level. Magahey’s 4:12 stands up extremely well compared to senior-year times from the top recruits we’ve ever ranked: Townley Haas (4:14.1), Grant Shoults (4:12.8), Sean Grieshop (4:15.5), and Drew Kibler (4:14.4).”
    • That turned out to be a better predictor than even we thought at the time, with Magahey beating Kibler, Grieshop, and Shoults head-to-head while going under Haas’s old American record.

The misses:

  • Both Michigan prospects were our highest-ranked recruits to miss scoring individually. Some of that may have come down to how much their program focused on Big Tens vs NCAAs. Davis would have scored in the 200 back had he held up his season-best. Mitchell would have scored in the 500 and 1650 frees. Both were still key contributors on scoring relays.


  • Some athletes will have to wait a year for a clearer picture. Ethan Heasley was seeded to score in two events, but was scratched to get Texas under the NCAA roster limit. USC’s Ben Dillard took a redshirt season. Harvard’s Arik Katz didn’t compete as the entire Ivy League canceled sports in the pandemic.


And of course, we’ll include everyone’s favorite part: which unranked recruits earned NCAA invites and projected to score points this season – both domestic up-and-comers and international pickups.


Rank Name College Team 2021 NCAA Points
Charlie Clark Ohio State 11
BOTR Noah Nichols Virginia 3
  • A very short list here so far. The time progressions are the fun part with these recruits, so here goes:
    • Charlie Clark was 4:25.7/15:07 at the time of our senior re-rank. He went 4:17.7/14:40.7 for Ohio State.
    • Noah Nichols was one of our top breaststrokers just outside the top 20 – we included him in our “best of the rest” section with times of 53.7/1:58.0. As a freshman, he went 51.3/1:52.9.


Name College Team 2021 NCAA Points
Bjorn Seeliger Cal 32
Tomer Frankel Indiana 18
Youssef Ramadan Virginia Tech 18
Carles Coll Marti Virginia Tech 13
Batur Unlu Georgia Tech 9
Tommy-Lee Camblong Georgia 1
  • Bjorn Seeliger was a big get for California – he actually leads the class with 2 relay national titles after one year. (Lasco and Foster each have one apiece). Seeliger is the #4 overall scorer in the class.
  • Youssef Ramadan likely would have been a much bigger scorer had he not been DQ’d out of his best event, the 100 fly. Virginia Tech did extremely well internationally with Ramadan and Carles Coll Marti.


Name College Team Total NCAA Points
Noah Duperre Texas 23
Bryden Hattie Tennessee 16
Jack Matthews Miami 12
Brendan McCourt Texas 1
  • Noah Duperre looked like the most impactful freshman in the nation for one day, placing second in a Texas 1-2 on 1-meter. But high school divers are usually more accustomed to 1-meter than the 3-meter or platform events, and Duperre’s scoring dropped off a little. Still, he scored the 7th-most points of any freshman in this class.

Archives: Revisiting Recruit Ranks

Analysis as of: Spring 2021 Spring 2020 Spring 2019 Spring 2018 Spring 2017
Class of 2020 After Freshman Year
Class of 2019 After Sophomore Year After Freshman Year
Class of 2018 After Junior Year After Sophomore Year After Freshman Year
Class of 2017 After Senior Year After Junior Year After Sophomore Year After Freshman Year
Class of 2016 After Senior Year After Junior Year
Class of 2015 After Senior Year
Class of 2014 After Senior Year
Class of 2013 After Senior Year

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Former Big10
5 months ago

Going to have a LOT of sophomores winning events next year. Going to say they win more than any other class next year.

Reply to  Former Big10
5 months ago

I get the point, but I don’t think any class is gonna touch the seniors next year. Krueger in the 1Free, Finke in the 1650. Smith/Kibler in the 200+500. Casas in the backs and 2IM. McHugh in the breasts.

tea rex
Reply to  JigglyPuff
5 months ago

Dean Farris should be back next year as a 6th-year senior too.

Reply to  JigglyPuff
5 months ago

Matt King could for sure upset Krueger in the 100 free and Magahey could repeat in the 500 and neither of those would surprise me

Last edited 5 months ago by JCO
JP input is too short
Reply to  JigglyPuff
5 months ago

Funny thing is, many of those events are ones that a sophomore could conceivably also win (Brownstead, King, Chaney, or Seeliger in the 100; Magahey in the 500, Lasco in the backs, Lasco or Foster in the IM).

Reply to  JP input is too short
5 months ago

Sorry Brownstead is very good but not at the top of an NCAA podium

Reply to  SwimFani
5 months ago

Bro you’re sleeping on him. Been consistently cutting half a second off his 50 for a few years in a row. Also one of the most clutch racers (like his dual ACC individual titles). I would bet my car he will win an individual event by the time he graduates

JP input is too short
Reply to  SwimFani
5 months ago

He is currently only a tenth behind Chaney and two tenths behind Seeliger and King, so not sure how you can be so certain of that.

Reply to  JP input is too short
5 months ago

Size matters

5 months ago

Lasco was so good and over performed. I think he will be even greater years to come. Hope it translates to LC, always been a fan of him.

Reply to  Hswimmer
5 months ago

Found Bobo Gigi’s burner account.

Reply to  JimCorbeau
5 months ago


5 months ago

Charlie mf Clark

5 months ago

Excited to see what this group can do at Trials in a few months!

5 months ago

Johnston really not surprising that he outscored many of the other similarly ranked recruits. He was always going to score as a freshman in the mile.

Development in the 400 IM was big time though.

For a more fair picture I would like to see which of the sprint oriented recruits swam on scoring relays. I imagine those will score more individually in the coming years.

5 months ago

And texas’ best diver of the class (possibly) stayed in Canada this year

5 months ago

A better way to do this would be to sort and rank the swimmers by points scored and then show the recruit rank instead of ordering by recruit rank. Then we can all see how SwimSwam predictions performed.

For example, SwimSwam miss on Forst/Johnston/King on the upside and Davis/Mitchell/Maurer/Mihm/Frazier/Dang/Affeld/Faikish/Christianson/Conley on the downside.

Overall, SwimSwam hit on 10 of 23 listed names, excluding redshirts and the roster scratch.

Samuli Hirsi
Reply to  FletchMacFletch
5 months ago

but that is not the point of this exercise, sir.

Reply to  FletchMacFletch
5 months ago

Hey Swimswam – good on you for doing this introspection. Kudos. Think how refreshing it’d be if NFL GMs who burned first round picks for failed QBs were introspective.

Some hopefully constructive critiques:

  1. look at the rate of (time drop) change statistically, in the years leading to the recruit year. Most kids heading to college have that skewed time drop that happens as they mature. Look for when that happens and see if you can correlate to your hits and misses.
  2. look at the programs vs 1. Do athletes who are reaching their asymptote in their HS Sr year move much beyond that?

and, oh yea , what Fletch said. Show your prev rank would be… Read more »

5 months ago

When’s the 2021 class final rankings coming out?

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 …

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