Last Top-20 Recruit from Class of 2021, Hayden Zheng Chooses Stanford

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Hayden Zheng from St. Louis Park, Minnesota has announced his verbal commitment to Stanford University’s class of 2025. Zheng is number 13 on our list of top-20 boys recruits from the high school class of 2021.

“So excited to announce my commitment to study and swim at Stanford University! Huge thanks to my family, friends, coaches and teammates for helping me the whole way. Can’t wait to join such an incredible community. Go Card #fearthetree 🌲❤️🌲”

Zheng is a senior at St. Louis Park High School, where he is a 4x Minnesota Class AA state champion and state record-holder in the 100 breast with 53.86. He broke the Minnesota All-time state mark at the 2019 MSHSL Boys Class AA State Championship, taking more than half a second off the previous record of 54.41. He improved the AA record by 1.04 seconds. Also in 2019, he won the 200 IM (1:48.25) and swam breast (24.70) on the 9th-place medley relay. As a junior in 2019-20, he won the 100 breast (54.52) and 200 IM (1:48.04), contributed to the 5th-place 200 medley relay (24.24 breast), and led off the 7th-place 200 free relay (21.33). As a freshman he won the 100 breast (56.43) and was 3rd in the IM (1:50.57)

Zheng swims year-round with Aquajets Swim Team. He is even stronger in the 200 breast than in the 100, and at 2019 Winter Juniors West he ripped a pair of lifetime bests in the two distances, finishing 2nd in the 200 (1:54.98) and 3rd in the 100 (53.09 in prelims). He also went a best time in the 200 IM (1:47.05) with his 6th-place finish.

Best Times:

  • 200 breast – 1:54.98
  • 100 breast – 53.09
  • 200 IM – 1:47.05
  • 400 IM – 3:55.28

Zheng, who also looked at Virginia and Wisconsin, will suit up for the Cardinal in the fall of 2021 with Gabe Machado, Hayden Kwan, and Matthew Fenlon. He will add strength to one of Stanford’s weaker areas; his 100/200 breast times would have both scored in their respective A-finals at 2020 Pac-12 Championships. He’ll join a 200 breast training group led by Daniel Roy, with whom he’ll overlap one year.

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El Palo Alto
1 year ago

Not sure it’s fair to call the breaststroke group one of Stanford’s “weaker areas”. “Shorter areas” might be a better phrase as both Daniel Roy and Shane Blinkman are significantly below 6’0 and not nearly as tall, charming, charismatic, smart, or good looking as other groups on the team — like the distance group.

Reply to  El Palo Alto
1 year ago

Have been watching Hayden compete in MN since he was 8. At the MN high school state back in March, he looked HUGE for a HS junior. From a distance, I would guess 6’2, 185lbs. A nice looking young man as well!

Reply to  El Palo Alto
1 year ago

Great post!

1 year ago

Congrats to Hayden and Stanford!

Big Cat
1 year ago

Congrats Hayden!

1 year ago

Congratulations Hayden! Welcome to the Farm!

1 year ago

Congrats Hayden! How things have changed. Back in the 80s and 90s most folks didn’t commit until the second semester of their senior year, some a little earlier but to have the entire top 20 committed by the beginning of the year is certainly a change.

Big Boi
1 year ago

“He adds strength to one of Stanford’s weaker areas”

At Pac-12s this year Stanford put 2 on the podium in the 100 Breast and had 4 in the A final of the 200 Breast. Looks like he will actually be joining a great breaststroke group. Congrats Hayden!

Reply to  Big Boi
1 year ago

Great young man and excellent all around swimmer: in addition to BR and IM, Fr 21/45/140; 100BK/FL 49.0/50.

Swim Parents Need to Chill
1 year ago

Ok, dad, we get it. No need to pile it on….

Reply to  Swim Parents Need to Chill
1 year ago

I must confess I’m a bit biased as I do know Hayden’s parents. But I am a swim nerd and excited, perhaps a little too excited, when I see kids excel in our sport.

1 year ago

Congrats Hayden!

GA Boy
1 year ago

Stanford loading up on breaststrokers.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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