With the recruiting season opening on July 1st, we’re giving quick primers to the top 10 recruits on both the men’s and the women’s side of the class of 2013. We’ve already run-down the women, now it’s time to look at the men.
While working through the women’s class, we highlighted those swimmers who had qualified for the Olympic Trials. While this is an impressive feat for a female swimmer, earning a spot in Omaha, or even better a spot in a semi-final or final, for a high school swimmer is significantly rarer. That’s because male swimmers tend to develop later than females. That also means that there’s always much more uncertainty about which men’s recruits will pan out and which won’t.
But there’s two in this class, both of whom made Olympic Trials finals, that stand out miles above the rest: Jack Conger and Ryan Murphy. The buzz around the country is that college coaches view these two as “once-a-decade” type recruits, and that coaches are going to pull out all of the stops to not only land one of these, but possibly both of them. Every top-10 program in the country made sure they’d have two scholarships open this year.
Schools who could expect to make big moves in this class include Texas and Arizona, both of whom will have a ton of scholarship money to give out. After a 2012 class that overall was not as strong as the two that bookended it, these programs brought in small groups last year despite losing a lot to graduation. If one program can land the double, that team will automatically become a strong contender for the next four NCAA Championships.
This class could also see a continued shift of talent away from the Pac-12 and toward the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten that we saw start last season with Georgia’s huge recruiting class. Out of CollegeSwimming.com’s top 13 rated athletes in the class, just 4 come from the western US (specifically Colorado and California), with the resting being Midwest or East Coast swimmers – including Conger and Murphy. If they decide to stay east, it could forebear a small rebalancing in power on the men’s side of the sport.
Here’s the best recruits in the class.
Top 10 Men’s Recruits
1. Jack Conger, Good Counsel High/Rockville-Mongtomery, Maryland– It’s hard to discern between the top two on this list. They’re both tall kids; Conger has an inch or two on Murphy, but no major edge gained by either in build. They’re both phenomenal backstrokers. But the edge goes to Conger because of his versatility. Nobody else in this class (or the last few classes) has come out of high school with the same depth of events as Conger has. A 19.8 in the 50 free and a 4:17 in the 500. A 46.9 in the 100 back and a 47.1 in the 100 fly. Sure he’s only been a 1:53 in the 200 IM, but that was when he was 14. Conger is a convergence of being a superstar in his best events, with being able to fill almost any role that a team needs (outside of breaststroke, really). The Cal Bears have done very well with that type of swimmer in the past (Tom Shields, to some extent Mathias Gydesen).
- 100 y back (46.98)
- 200 y back (1:40.41)
- 100 y fly (47.19)
- 50 y free (19.85)
- 100 y free (44.06)
- 500 y free (4:17.51)
- 200 y free (1:35.25)
2. Ryan Murphy, Bolles, Florida – Murphy’s exploits from this summer are well-told. He beat Ryan Lochte head-to-head in a 200 backstroke. He shattered Aaron Peirsol’s 100 back NAG Record at least a half-dozen times. Those who have watched him swim say that he’s the real-deal, not an age group flameout. He’s already got impressive musculature for a high schooler.In short, whoever signs Murphy is signing a swimmer who will likely leave a legacy at the program he goes to. He’s pretty good beyond the backstrokes (especially as an IM’er), but not quite to the extent that Conger is. We might see a bit more from those other events in his senior season, though, not that the Olympics have passed.
- 100 y back (46.72)
- 200 y back (1:40.90)
- 200 y IM (1:45.77)
- 50 y free (20.02)
- 100 y free (44.15)
- 200 y free (1:36.34)
- 100 y fly (48.74)
3. Steven Stumph, Campolindo High/Orinda Aquatics, California – After a very good crop of breaststroke in the fall, this year’s class is a bit thinner than was the class of 2012 in that department. But Steven Stumph is a clear standout at the top of the class, with a 54.06 to win the North Coast Section Meet and set a new record. In that same meet, he swam a 1:47.52 in the 200 IM as well, which ranks him near the top of the class too. Stumph will be on the old end of this class – he had already hit his 18th birthday by the time he finished his junior season – but that’s much less of a concern for men than it is women. Expect a lot of coaches to make a stop in Campolindo this summer, with Stumph’s high school teammate Sven Campbell standing as a highly-rated spriter (20.23, 44.22).
- 100 y breast (54.06)
- 200 y breast (1:57.00)
- 200 y IM (1:47.52)
4. Renny Richmond, Seabury Hall/Lahaina Swim Club, Hawaii – Never heard of Renny Richmond? Despite being the defending Junior National Champion in the 100 fly, he doesn’t come up much in conversation. The junior from Hawaii swam a 47.09 in that race in December, which at the time was an excrutiating .01 from the National High School Record (though it was in club, not high school, competition). This year, he could become only the 2nd swimmer to ever mark a 46 in high school competition if he has even a small improvement. He’s an above-average freestyler as well, which could make him a four-relay guy by his freshman or sophomore years, depending on where he ends up.
- 100 y fly (47.09)
- 50 y free (20.45)
- 100 y free (45.12)
- 200 y free (1:37.95)
5. Reed Malone, New Trier, Illinois – Malone had his National coming out party at this year’s NCSA Junior Nationals, where he won medals in a large handful of events. His best events, as a high schooler, have been the freestyles, where he can range from the 100 to the 1650 (and probably has a good 50, but didn’t swim it in his breakout junior season). His best race at this point appears to be the 500, where he was just two seconds behind Stanford-bound Danny Thompson at last year’s Illinois State Meet. But he seems to have a lot of untapped potential – he stepped up for a 48 in the 100 fly, and a 1:48 in the 200 IM as well. I think that when all is said-and-done, that Malone could be a bit of a gem in this class. He seems like he might be a fantastic fit for a Big Ten program like Michigan, though he hasn’t made any public indications of where he’s visiting. This program has also sent a lot of swimmers to small private colleges in the East, so don’t be surprised if he goes Ivy League either.
- 500 y free (4:19.39)
- 200 y free (1:37.72)
- 100 y free (44.67)
- 100 y fly (48.73)
- 200 y IM (1:48.35)
Next Best 5.
Kyle Darmody, SwimMAC/Providence – This SwimMAC product is every bit as good as older brother Kip (Texas) was after his junior year, with sprint free bests of 20.22 and 44.19. He’s not quite as good of a backstroker, but has huge relay value as a freshman.
Matthew Josa, SwimMAC – Josa is home schooled, but Darmody’s SwimMAC teammate is an extremely raw talent. In the last y18 months that he’s spent training in Charlotte, he’s gone from just a sprint freestyler (20.68 in the 50 free) to a great all-around swimmer (48.10 in the 100 back, 48.5 in the 100 fly, 1:47.88 in the 200 IM). When he was 14, he was just a 1:57 in the 200 IM, which put him outside of the top 20 for his age group; now he’s ranked 2nd.
Erik Risolvato, Shawnee High – The Ohio product doesn’t have great size (5’11) for a sprinter, but with a 19.6 in the 50 and 44.0 in the 100 free already, he’s still got a lot of value to many college programs and is one of the fastest high school sprinters we’ve ever seen.
Clark Smith, Regis Jesuit/Denver Swim Academy – Smith is the head of a great Colorado boys class this year. He’s been 47.73 in the 100 fly, plus 20.5/44.8/1:37.4 in the short freestyles. He had his best yards meet of his junior year at the Winter Juniors, so he can surely get all of those times lower as a senior. He’s huge, and both of his parents (John Smith and the former Tori Trees) swam at Texas, so that’s a good bet for where he’ll end up.
Evan Pinion, Bearden High School/Pilot Aquatic Club – As a distance swimmer, Pinion doesn’t have the same limitless value as many of the others we’ve mentioned. Still, with many of his best yards free times coming during his sophomore year (4:18.88/15:02.07) he’s already All-American worthy. A 1:38.0 in the 200 free says that he can swim at least one relay, and is already a Junior World Champion. Those credentials can’t be ignored.