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.

TOP 20 RANKED RECRUITS

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.

Other:

  • 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.

UNRANKED RECRUITS

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.

DOMESTIC:

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.

INTERNATIONAL:

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.

Diving:

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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Taa
1 year ago

How I look at is that only 5/26 of the top ranked swimmers couldnt qualify. The rest did and 2 redshirted and one TX kid was left out. Only 2 unranked kids scored which is slim pickens. They guys need two more years to be fairly evaluated but I think its started out really strong. I am mostly interested to see what the Stanford guys do and then for this years class the NC state guys.

(Prof) Andy Majeske
1 year ago

Hard to figure out how to compare Urlando to Foster and Lasco since Georgia chose to swim him in 2 individual events, and include him on all 5 relays. Given his drop in the 2 fly, it is likely he would have scored some points in the 2 IM. And his 44.9 backstroke leg could have had him scoring points there too (though a tough double with the 100 fly).

Probably still behind Lasco and Foster, but perhaps even with Magahey in individual points….

Taa
Reply to  (Prof) Andy Majeske
1 year ago

Luca is a stud in my book. Stepped up to help the team wherever they needed him. He also has had some shoulder issues we don’t really know if it is impacting him right now.

SwimFani
1 year ago

Thank HEAVEN for diving…especially international divers! Tennessee DIVING and swimming is still a viable top 20 powerhouse.

tea rex
1 year ago

Wyatt Davis should have scored more. He was a 1:44 IMer – that worked out a lot better for Lasco than trying the 200 fr/100 bk double.

#MFan
Reply to  tea rex
1 year ago

Michigan men got shut down for two weeks leading into both Fall taper and Spring taper. That is the number one cause of the NCAA performance troubles for Wyatt and Jake… and the rest of M team.

Sean
Reply to  #MFan
1 year ago

The women dealt with the same shutdown and still performed well at NCs. Outside of the Michigan distance crew it’s really standard for their men to be slower at NCs than at B1G championships. Even the year they won and we’re the favorites coming into the meet, many of their men added time.

#MFan
Reply to  Sean
1 year ago

I have no doubt Wyatt and Jake will do great things at future NC meets… not to mention others who were seeded much higher (eg Will Chan, River Wright, …) and were unable to repeat their peak times from two weeks earlier.

The women swam B1G a week before the men and didn’t swim great at B1Gs. they had a week less after the mandatory 2 week university wide Covid shutdown to somehow pull off that taper. It def hurt them at B1Gs…

The men had an extra week after the Covid shutdown to prepare before B1G and crushed B1Gs; but only 2 weeks after B1G before NCs. The effects of the forced Covid shutdown at the university absolutely affected… Read more »

So confused
Reply to  #MFan
1 year ago

Stanford had multiple Covid positives in the weeks leading up to PAC-12 and that skewed the results. Two weeks out of the water and stuck in a dorm room at that point is a lifetime.

Lol
1 year ago

When’s the 2021 class final rankings coming out?

FletchMacFletch
1 year 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
1 year ago

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

swimmingly
Reply to  FletchMacFletch
1 year 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 »

Horninco
1 year ago

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

Riccardo
1 year 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.

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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