The Future Is Bright: 23 U.S. 17 & Unders Would Have Scored At NCAAs

List courtesy @USASwimStats Twitter page.

 This was a huge year for freshman women at the NCAA Division I Championships. There was Stanford’s Ella Eastin, setting new U.S. Open, American, and NCAA records in the 200 IM (1:51.65); winning the championship in the 400 IM; and taking the silver in the 200 fly.  There was Indiana’s Lilly King, taking triple U.S. Open, American, and NCAA records in both the 100 breast and 200 breast events. Even in diving, Nevada freshman Sharae Zheng swept the 1 meter and 3 meter events. Outside of first place, a score of freshmen were able to take individual silver or bronze medals: Kathleen Baker, Kirsten Vose, Mallory Comerford, Miranda Tucker, Rose Bi, and Elois Belanger. 

And the talent is going to keep on rolling in. 23 girls aged 17 and younger have swam times fast enough to score at this weekend’s NCAA Division I Championships.

Name Age Club Recruiting Class
Claire Adams 17 Carmel Swim Club 2016: Texas
Margaret Aroesty 16 Long Island Aquatic Club 2017-2018
Zoe Bartel 15 Fort Collins Area Swim Team 2018-2019
Cassidy Bayer 16 Nation’s Capital 2018-2019
Megan Byrnes 17 Nation’s Capital 2016: Stanford
Lauren Case 17 Chattahoochee Gold 2016: Texas
Joy Field 17 Magnolia Aquatic Club 2017-2018
Brooke Forde 17 Lakeside Aquatic Club 2017-2018
Madison Homovich 15 North Carolina Aquatic Club 2018-2019
Isabel Ivey 15 Gator Swim Club 2018-2019
Hannah Kukurugya 17 Crown Point Swim Club 2017-2018
Dakota Luther 16 Austin Swim Club 2018-2019
Stanzi Moseley 17 Unattached 2016: USC
Beata Nelson 17 Madison Aquatic Club 2016: Wisconsin
Grace Oglesby 17 Cardinal Aquatics 2016: Louisville
Taylor Pike 16 Razorback Aquatic Club 2017-2018
Nikol Popov 16 Canyon Aquatics 2017-2018
Allie Raab 15 Nashville Aquatic Club 2018-2019
Ashlyn Schoof 17 Schroeder YMCA 2017-2018
Erica Sullivan 15 Sandpipers of Nevada 2018-2019
Tatum Wade 17 Nashville Aquatic Club 2016: USC
Alex Walsh 14 Nashville Aquatic Club 2020-2021
Grace Zhao 16 Palo Alto Stanford 2017-2018

For example, Margaret Aroesty would have taken eighth in the 100 breast with her NAG record 58.98 from NCSA Junior Championships this weekend. Brooke Forde could have scored seventh in the 400 IM with her 4:07.49 from this year’s Junior Nationals. 14-year-old powerhouse Alex Walsh would have taken sixth place in the 100 back with her 51.62, 10th in the 200 back with 1:52.07, and 13th in the 200 IM with 1:56.20.

In addition, 15-year-old Taylor Ruck would have won the ‘B’ final of the 200 free in 1:44.39. Claire Adams would have made the ‘B’ final of the 100 back with her Indiana High School State time of 51.65. Stanzi Moseley‘s 1:44.51 in the 200 free would have won her the ‘B’ final, and Beata Nelson could have scored points in the 50 free ‘B’ final with 22.08. Nelson also would have tied with Elizabeth Pelton for 12th in the 200 back. Megan Byrnes would have squeaked into 14th place in the mile with 16:06.61, and Erica Sullivan would have come in ahead of her in 11th with 16:02.32. Nikol Popov would have grabbed 11th in the 100 breast with 59.69, and Zoe Bartel would have been close behind in 59.84. Cassidy Bayer would have scored 12th in the 200 breast with 1:55.20, with Dakota Luther alongside her in 1:55.60.

And, while this list certainly demonstrates some of the young talent on the age group scene, it doesn’t even account for swimmers who are 18 or 19 and will be starting off their freshman year next fall. The most notable (and, arguably, the most notable female swimmer of our time), Katie Ledecky, celebrated her 19th birthday three days ago and will start up at Stanford this coming fall, after deferring her enrollment to focus on Rio. Even though the NCAA women’s scene will lose senior talent like Brittany MacLean, Kelsi Worrell, Rachel Bootsma, and Courtney Bartholomew this season, it’s safe say we have exciting NCAA Championships to look forward to in the years to come.

You can look here to see the USA Swimming age group rankings (updated 3/14/16).

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8 years ago

Is Taylor Ruck is Canadian.

Reply to  Dave
8 years ago

Dave – she is, but makes this list as a USA Swimming member/U.S.-based trainee.

8 years ago

Stanzi Mosley swims for Canyons and committed to USC last fall not Stanford.

8 years ago

I believe Stanzi Moseley is going to USC and some other names that could be included are probably already 18. Megan Small, Katie Drabot, Asia Seidt,Veronica Burchill, Becca Mann.

8 years ago

They should probably expand to age 18 as some other high school seniors are missing from the potential scoring list.

8 years ago

Raab will most likely attend Georgia, her sister is Meghan Raab.

8 years ago

is Allie Szekely 18 already?

bobo gigi
8 years ago

200 fly for Cassidy Bayer. Not breast.

Alex Walsh class 2020-2021
or pro?
Why you can’t even imagine in USA that a very talented young talent can turn pro?
It’s not a sacrilege to not swim in college. 🙂
Before the fall of 2020 she will already have some world and olympic golds in her pocket.

Beata Nelson will be a beast in college swimming on fly and back. Her underwaters are crazy.

When I see that list I also think that Cal would be inspired to finally recruit a great breaststroker. And the list is full of great breaststrokers with Aroesty, Popov, Bartel, Raab or Zhao.

Jacques Swim
Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago


You are the oracle of swimming. I truly believe you when you said Bayer will win 200 fly in 2020 Tokyo, 2017 and 2019 in Budapest.

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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