2022 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 2018 did after four NCAA seasons. Now it’s time to look back at a more recent recruit ranking: the current year’s freshmen:

Relevant links:

Naturally, this analysis has a far smaller sample size than the lookback of how the class of 2018 fared over their entire career, 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 2022 NCAA Points
1 Aiden Hayes NC State 15 15
2 Josh Matheny Indiana 0 0
3 Jack Aikins Virginia 9 9
4 Anthony Grimm Texas 0 0
5 Matt Fallon Penn 22.5 22.5
6 Jack Alexy Cal 0 0
7 Arsenio Bustos NC State 0 no invite
8 Tim Connery Texas 0 0
9 David Curtiss NC State 2 2
10 Luke Hobson Texas 18 18
11 Luke Barr Indiana 0 no invite
12 Sam Hoover NC State 0 0
13 Matthew Fenlon Stanford 0 no invite
14 Henry Bethel Auburn 0 no invite
15 Jacques Rathle Auburn 0 0
16 Ziyad Saleem Cal 0 no invite
17 Brady Samuels Purdue 0 0 (relay-only)
18 Trent Frandson Cal 0 no invite
19 Nate Stoffle Auburn 0 0
20 Daniel Matheson USC* 0 0
HM Max Iida Virginia 0 no invite
HM Connor Hunt Michigan 0 no invite
HM Tyler Lu Northwestern 0 no invite
HM Hayden Zheng Stanford 0 no invite
HM Garrett Boone NC State 0 no invite
HM Tyler Hulet Texas A&M 0 no invite
HM Alex McMahon Arizona 0 no invite
HM Mateo Miceli Alabama 0 no invite

*Matheson has entered the transfer portal.

The hits:

  • The top freshman scorer from this class was fifth-ranked Matt Fallon, who followed through with a 2+ second time drop in his best event, the 200 breast, to place third at his first NCAAs. Fallon also got on the board in the 100 breast to score 22.5 points for Penn.
  • Top-ranked recruit coming in Aiden Hayes had a very impressive opening campaign with NC State, securing a seventh-place finish in the 100 fly and a 14th-place showing in the 200 fly at NCAAs. It speaks to just how difficult it is for a freshman to score at men’s NCAAs given that Hayes was ranked #1 coming in, dropped time, and still mustered only 15 points. He ended up breaking the 17-18 NAG in both fly events during the postseason, setting the 200 mark at ACCs where he took third.
  • The swimmer ranked in the top-20 who really exceeded expectations as a freshman was Luke Hobson, who dropped eight seconds over the course of the season in the 500 free to place third at NCAAs and lower the 17-18 NAG record. Hobson also lowered the NAG record in the 1000 free during the season and also scored in the 200 and 1650 free at nationals. Additionally, he split 1:30.84 as Texas won the 800 free relay and set a new NCAA, U.S. Open and American Record.
  • The NCAA point totals don’t do the performances some of these freshmen produced justice, particularly in the relays. Jack Alexy was a critical sprint free relay asset for Cal, Anthony Grimm was 20.6 leading off Texas’ runner-up 200 medley relay, and David Curtiss was 18.74 to win the 50 free individually at ACCs (the fourth-fastest time ever from a freshman).

The misses:

  • #2 Josh Matheny underperformed individually at NCAAs, scoring zero points, but did have a big swim in the 400 medley relay (50.93 breast split) as Indiana placed second to Cal. At Big Tens, he established personal best times en route to placing second in the 200 breast and third in the 100 breast.
  • Arsenio Bustos was the lone swimmer ranked inside the top 10 who failed to earn an NCAA invite. The versatile Bustos had his top ACC performance come in the 200 IM, where he finished sixth.
  • Top-20-ranked Ziyad Saleem and Trent Frandson of Cal were both left off the team’s scoring roster at Pac-12s, though both were at or near their best times. The same went for NC State’s Garrett Boone, who didn’t race at the ACC Championships.
  • As a whole, this class performed better than the numbers indicate. Despite none of the Honorable Mentions earning an NCAA invite, the majority saw improvements over the season and scored some points at the conference championships. Arizona’s Alex McMahon was the lone member of the list who didn’t complete the entire season, swimming his last meet for the Wildcats in early November.

UNRANKED RECRUITS

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

DOMESTIC

Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
BOTR Gabriel Jett Cal 13 13
Chris O’Grady USC 1 1
  • Gabriel Jett was on fire for Cal early in the season, hitting quick times in the 200 and 500 free. And although he missed the top-16 in both events at NCAAs, Jett came through on the final day by going 1:40-point in the 200 fly twice to finish sixth overall.
  • Chris O’Grady dropped nearly eight seconds in the 200 breast over the course of the season for USC, going from 1:59.5 to 1:51.6 and a fifth-place finish at Pac-12s. He then earned a second swim at NCAAs.
  • Virginia’s Connor Boyle was featured in the Best of the Rest section in the re-rank and had an impressive season despite not scoring individually, highlighted by his contribution on UVA’s American Record-setting 200 free relay.

INTERNATIONAL

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
Leon Marchand Arizona State 57 57
Matt Sates Georgia 36 36
Jordan Crooks Tennessee 29.5 29.5
Gal Cohen Groumi Michigan 15 15
Ron Polonsky Stanford 14 14
Murilo Sartori Louisville 11 11
Rafael Miroslaw Indiana 11 11
Mert Kilavuz Georgia Tech 6 6
Alex Quach Ohio State 6 6
Bar Soloveychik Minnesota 4 4
Oskar Lindholm Florida 3 3
Robin Hanson Cal 2 2
  • Leon Marchand came even better than advertised for Arizona State, breaking Caeleb Dressel’s U.S. Open Record en route to winning the 200 IM, upsetting defending champ Max McHugh in the 200 breast, and adding a runner-up finish in the 400 IM. That gave the Frenchman 57 individual points, the highest of any swimmer at the meet. He was also incredible on the relays, including a sizzling 18.41 split on the 200 free.
  • Matt Sates‘ career at Georgia only lasted half a semester, as he arrived in late January and recently announced he’s returning to South Africa to turn pro. Nonetheless, his time in Athens was short and sweet, as the South African won the NCAA title in the 500 free, placed third in the 200 free, and swam a critical lead-off leg as the Bulldogs finished second in the 800 free relay.
  • The biggest surprise among the first-years this season was Tennessee’s Jordan Crooks, as the Cayman Islands native became the fastest freshman ever in the 50 free in 18.53, winning the SEC title. Crooks followed up by tying for third at NCAAs in the event, and added a fifth in the 100 free for 29.5 points.
  • Israeli natives Gal Cohen Groumi (Michigan) and Ron Polonsky (Stanford) both had very strong seasons, scoring in two individual events apiece at NCAAs. Polonsky put his versatility on full display, splitting sub-51 on breaststroke on Stanford’s 400 medley relay despite racing the 400 IM over the 100 breast individually.

DIVING

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
Tyler Downs Purdue 43 43
Jordan Rzepka Purdue 19 19
Quentin Henninger Indiana 16 16
Shangfei Wang USC 6 6
Jack Ryan Stanford 5 5
Carson Tyler Indiana 5 5
Adam Wesson Harvard 1 1
Joseph Victor Princeton 1 1
  • It was no surprise to see U.S. Olympian Tyler Downs lead the freshmen diving class this season, as the Purdue Boilermaker won the platform event, placed fifth on 3-meter and topped the 1-meter consolation final for 43 total points.
  • His teammate Jordan Rzepka added 19 points for Purdue, while Indiana’s Quentin Henninger was close behind with 16.
  • Given that we’ve historically seen divers score more points in the latter half of their career, having eight first-years score in 2022 indicates this will be a strong class down the line.

Archives: Revisiting Recruit Ranks

Analysis as of: Spring 2022 Spring 2021 Spring 2020 Spring 2019 Spring 2018 Spring 2017
Class of 2021
Class of 2020 After Sophomore Year
Class of 2019 After Junior Year After Sophomore Year
Class of 2018 After Senior Year After Junior Year After Sophomore Year
Class of 2017 After Senior Year After Junior Year After Sophomore Year
Class of 2016 After Senior Year
Class of 2015
Class of 2014
Class of 2013

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Gabe’s son
4 months ago

Always knew leaving Gabe off this list would come back to bite you guys in the butt 😅

Jonny Newsom
Reply to  Gabe’s son
4 months ago

Kid’s an animal, don’t ever sleep on Gabe.

Turtle
4 months ago

☘️

Hmm
4 months ago

Lot of zeroes for the Wuffies there

tea rex
4 months ago

I’ll say it again: this year’s NCAA was too crowded with redshirts/fifth years. I get the impulse to give an extra year of eligiblity to swimmers who missed an NCAA meet, but that did materially take invites or second swims from some of these guys (who are only going to get 4 seasons).

Other notes:

  • Foreign freshmen vastly outscored domestic freshmen. Not sure if that is usual.
  • Some missed swims or tapers (Matheny, Jett)
  • The uber-versatile guys couldn’t breakthrough. No points from Bustos/Barr/Grimm/Connery. Hayes had some success as basically a pure flyer.
MizzouSwimFan
4 months ago

Auburn’s recruits overrated yet again

Willswim
4 months ago

Is Andrei Minakov not classified as a freshman?

Admin
Reply to  Willswim
4 months ago

We’re still trying to get clarity on that from Stanford. They list him as a sophomore, but we would consider him a redshirt freshman by our math, so there must be some piece of information we don’t have.

So far, Stanford has not been responsive to our requests.

Admin
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Went straight to the source. He’s a redshirt freshman, sophomore academically, and does have 3 years of eligibility left, but isn’t sure yet if he’s going to stay at Stanford after the Paris Olympics.

So he’s one of those fringe cases that is a freshman or a sophomore depending on whether you’re counting “years competed” or “years of competition remaining.”

Willswim
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Thanks! This is why you get the big bucks!

oxyswim
4 months ago

I imagine the 5th years probably put a bit of a damper on the amount of scoring you might typically see out of a (domestic) freshman class

K chilly
4 months ago

Number 7 Arsenio Bustos who did not get the invite still dropped significant time in his three best races. It’s amazing what it takes to qualify these days. Congrats to an amazing season Arsenio!

Clown Show
Reply to  K chilly
4 months ago

🤡

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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