Cal’s Women’s Class of 2025 Is Shaping Up as One of the Best in History

The Cal women, in the course of a few weeks, have rewritten the future of the program, grabbing verbal commitments from the #1, #2, and #3 recruits in the high school class of 2025 (in addition to #13 and a number of other top-50 recruits).

The Cal women are in a nearly-perfect storm scenario. Most programs that have head coaching changes don’t get a trio of Dave Durden, Dave Marsh, and Josh Huger, which is a recruiting cheat code, taking over their program. The Golden Bear women simultaneously got fresh energy and instant stability injected into the program at the same time.

Couple that with a Cal roster that doesn’t have a ton of scholarship money tied up beyond next year (though a few huge international recruits in the class of 2024 complement this class).

The natural comparison is going to be to the Virginia men, who had #1, #2, #8, and #12 commit simultaneously a few weeks ago. It’s hard, of course, to compare boys and girls recruits until they’re done, because boys take a lot more projection, whereas girls, as demonstrated by this class, tend to be much closer to their peaks coming out of high school (and are way more likely to have times already with big NCAA point values even early in their junior years of high school).

If we were to plug the individual bests from those top 3 recruits into last year’s NCAA Championship meet (when they were sophomores in high school), they would have scored 116 points. Without relays, without divers, without the 20-some odd other swimmers on the roster, that’s more points than all-but-12 of the teams did at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

Cal’s entire women’s team last year only scored 137 points.

Individual Scoring, Big 3:

Alex Shackell Teagan O’Dell Claire Weinstein
Event 200 fly – 7th 100 back – 6th 200 free – 8th
Points 12 13 11
Event 200 free – 7th 200 IM – 6th 500 free – 1st
Points 12 13 20
Event 200 IM – 7th 200 back – 7th 1650 free – 8th
Points 12 12 11
Total Points 36 38 42

Then we start to layer on top of that some relays:

400 medley relay:

  • Back – O’Dell – 50.96
  • Breast – Scott – 1:00.19
  • Fly – Shackell – 50.47
  • Free – Weinstein – 48.76
  • Total Time (with 1.2 for exchanges): 3:29.18
  • 10th at NCAAs = 14 points

400 free relay:

  • Shackell – 47.44
  • O’Dell – 48.47
  • Weinstein – 48.76
  • Scott – 49.73
  • Total Time (with 1.2 for exchanges): 3:13.20
  • 11th at NCAAs = 12 points

800 free relay:

  • Shackell – 1:43.60
  • Weinstein – 1:43.93
  • O’Dell – 1:43.94
  • McDevitt – 1:46.72
  • Total Time (with 1.2 for exchanges): 6:56.99
  • 4th at NCAAs = 30 points

Extrapolating that out for the other relays, that’s another back-of-the-napkin 75 points out of relays.

To put a neat bow on all of that, this class alone, with their sophomore in high school times, is bumping on the door of 200 points. That would have put them 9th at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

And that’s without accounting for Mia West or Mary Molluh who come next season. That’s without swimmers like Finley Anderson (2024) and Kathryn Hazle (2023) who are already at, or very close to, NCAA points already. That’s without two more years of development.

And just like that, the Cal women are back, are a force, and are going to be chasing national titles again. They’ve got the superstar, they’re rebuilding the depth in a hurry – with a class that checks basically every box. They’ve got three swimmers who are already racing internationally and could very well be the backbone of the American women’s team heading toward the massive Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.

And what if they’re not done yet? There are still a bunch of top 20s left. Some are probably already committed to Stanford (those commits always announce left). But probably not all of them.

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25 days ago

isn’t it great when a plan comes together?

26 days ago

Let’s hope that ESPN opts to carry the ACC swim championships nationwide – it will (if not already) be must watch TV!

26 days ago

And….they just got Annie Jia

tea rex
26 days ago

I believe Polonsky and Kragh are juniors, meaning they graduate in 2025 and wouldn’t overlap with this class. But who knows these days…

27 days ago

This calls back to when Baker, McLaughlin, Bilquist, and Weitzel all committed to Cal that fall

Former Cal Student
Reply to  swimswamswum
27 days ago

Crazy that they’re 10 years apart

27 days ago

Knowing that Stanford comes late and swimmers sometimes switch their commitments if they end up getting in to there, who seems to be falling behind in the recruitment sweepstakes?
Looking at both SwimSwam and Swimcloud’s recruit lists, I feel like NC State and Texas don’t have a big presence yet this year for the women.

Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
27 days ago

NC State has Jefimova at least – She’d probably be domestic #4

Reply to  Noah
25 days ago

They also get Lily King and their class of ‘24 is really good. ACCs should be nuts in 25/26

27 days ago

When comparing UVA Men’s class to Cal Women you must remember that the women have more scholarships to use. Because of this I still put the UVA Men’s class on top if you are comparing to what other Men’s teams have done.

Reply to  2Fat4Speed
27 days ago

I also think Thomas Heilman is more of a generational talent than Shackell (nothing against her), so UVA’s #1 weighs more heavily. Also, it was an impressive feat to keep a local kid local, which UVA did.

27 days ago

Cal is using its history to its advantage. Back when Franklin was there, along with many others, they dominated. They were the Virginia of that time….just not as good. Dang, all these programs are making comebacks to dominance. Soooo uhhh, AYE Georgia women….. where y’a at?!

I miss the ISL
Reply to  Chestertonliveson!
27 days ago

Georgia women are slowly rising back. They are doing very well on the recruiting trail lately, and their current freestyle group is looking amazing. They won’t be anywhere near challenging for national titles in the next few years, but they definitely have a crack at top 5 in the next two or three years. Maybe.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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