Men’s Recruiting Season Opens – Top 10 in the Class

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’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.

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bobo gigi

When I see Jack Conger I see a little of Yannick Agnel a few years ago. No muscles, tall. He’s a great backstroker but he could have a big future on freestyle too. It’s just an impression. I think he isn’t a finished product and when he’ll have more strength he’ll swim much faster.
For Ryan Murphy nothing to say. He’s the future king of backstroke. Next year he’ll probably qualify for the world championships and his reign will begin.


Bobo… Murphy will be worth much more than backstroke when he gets to college.


if Murphy and Conger train together, Ryan will likely improve in his other events. I bet he has focused mainly on backstroke this past year… lets see what he can do next spring in the yards pool

don’t forget, he broke m phelps (15-16 nag) 200 im record at jr nats in dec, 1:45.7

bobo gigi

Why do you want he becomes an all-around swimmer? It’s better to dominate in one stroke than to be only good in all strokes. And for me he’ll dominate backstroke during many years like Aaron Peirsol has made it.

Lauren N

Bobo gigi… what is your input on where the guys should go? I enjoy reading your input

bobo gigi

Thank you but I’m not a specialist of NCAA. I’m not american and I’m a little less interested on college swimming even if I appreciate it. I have more a long course view with predictions about world championships and olympic games. If you want an answer I’d say Ryan Murphy should go to Florida. And for Jack Conger I don’t know. It’s a little different for him because I’m sure he could become a fantastic freestyler. Look at him! He is tall and he has no muscles! One or two years in the weight room and I’m sure he can swim 1.45 in the 200 free. So you have to find him the better place to improve his freestyle. Just… Read more »

bobo gigi

Excuse me. I’m a little less interested in college swimming even if I appreciate it. My english continues to improve. And I like writing while America sleeps.

Lauren N

Of course in pushing for Ryan to go go FL… But that’s cause that’s where I’m from. I think he will do well and hope he picks UF. Dwyer and Beisel chose NCAA eligibility over going pro and they have done pretty well. That was never a decision I had to make though so not really sure. Personally I think it’s more fun to be a part of the team and improve together instead of going pro and mainly focusing on yourself. It’s an experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. Ryan probably needs some of the resources and workouts (dryland, trainers, nutritionist etc) that a college team can provide. Plus he needs to graduate from the high school environment… Read more »


If they go to college on a scholarship, that can be a value of around $250,000 over 4 years, and they can leave with a degree. If they go pro, perhaps they can make that much, but post-swimming they would still probably want to pursue a degree for a future career.

Only for someone like Missy is she realistically costing herself money by keeping her eligibility. For swimmers like Caldwell, Nolan, etc, it is not only swimming based but a sound financial decision.


I remember 2 years ago when Texas looked like it was going to get Younquist, Darmody and Nolan.They got the first two and they were top recruits.

Berens and Walters, they were game changers and Texas got both of them.

I think 4 of the above 5 had the same high profile status and 4 out of 5 went to Texas:)


Nolan should have picked Texas….


I think if Nolan were willing to do the work, Florida is where he should have gone. Backstrokes and IMs are their bread and butter events, and Troy knows what it would take to get him to 2016, but he’d have to be willing to do the work.

Big Shark

Good point… They did win 5/6 medals on the podium at SECs in the IM… But you really have to be ready for the work. Maybe they could develop conger and Murphy’s IM


I think maybe auburn would have been better even

John Sampson

I dont think that a college will get ryan murphy and jack conger together, but if they did they would be clear canidates for a run at the NCAA title. I forsee ryan murphy staying out east, and going somewhere like florida or georgia. Especially florida. he litterally is the next ryan lochte, ok i shouldnt compare them its unfair but look at his times in his best events, awesome backstroker&IMer, and outstanding freestyler. it just makes total sense. and everyone says hes a really strong kid, well look at the strength programs the gators go through. Im just saying its almost his destiny to end up a gator. Jack conger im not to sure, i can see him fitting… Read more »

Ole 99

All you need to know about Malone is that he goes to New Trier High School. I would project Stanford as the favorite, even without knowing the replacement for Skip Kenney.


I don’t know, didn’t Sam Metz go their, or at least swim on their club team? He’s done pretty well at Cal.




Is Grodecki going to to Wisco? Looks like he is listed as a Mizzou recruit on collegeswimming. Could be a mistake though.

John Sampson

Maybe your right– as far as i know he signed on at madison in the fall. But maybe like whitney weisz he didnt get into the school (its actually a very very difficult school to get into). Thanks for the correction!


Grodecki was signed with Wisconsin, but was dropped from the school for academic reasons.


I think Murphy and Conger would be good for eachother… and I agree with Murphy going to Florida of course… being biased.

I don’t think Georgia is a great fit for Conger. I see him at FL or Texas… MAYBE Arizona. With his high yardage history FL would be a good pick for him, but Arizona is really good in the sprint department and he has a great 50 and 100 free as well as 100 200 back…

Maybe Malone would do well at Texas too…


Why malone at Texas? I feel like he would be much more likely to go to Florida. I don’t think he will choose an ivy league. He will probably want to be part of a team contending for NCAAs. Auburn could develop his 100s and 200s


Maybe he would consider Indiana University?

John Sampson

I hope he doesn’t end up at arizona..personally I hate the midseason taper, just because only a few actually improve at the end of the season then. Florida would be a great spot for conger considering he workload background. If I had to put my money on a college to score BOTH Ryan and jack it would be 1) Cal or 2) Florida.


I wouldn’t compare Murphy and Lochte just yet… Lochte actually started out with the 200 fly.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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