Ranking the 2017 Men’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #9-12

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With our women’s classes wrapped up as of yesterday, it’s time to count down our top 12 men’s classes for the coming NCAA season. We’ll start with classes #9-12, which are a tightly-bunched group.

Please read these notes:

  • The rankings numbers listed for some individuals are from our pre-recruiting season rankings done more than a full year ago. Had we re-ranked these swimmers today (including some previously-unknown internationals putting their hat in the ring), the rankings would undoubtedly be different.
  • Like most of our rankings, these placements are subjective.  Rankings are based on a number of factors, including prospect’s incoming times, team needs filled, prospect’s potential upside, class size, and potential relay impact. Greater weight is placed on known success in short course yards, so foreign swimmers are slightly devalued because of their inexperience in SCY.
  • Transfers are included, and there were a lot of big ones this summer.
  • For the full list of the 1200+ committed athletes, click here.

Here are the 9th-through-12th-ranked Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving classes (plus some honorable mentions), with the top 8 to follow later this week:

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)

  • Wisconsin
  • Harvard
  • Virginia
  • Pitt
  • Alabama

At the top, we’ll note that the 9-12 classes are so close as to be almost-interchangeable, and they shuffled around a lot within the block of four as we checked and rechecked our ranking drafts.

#12: South Carolina Gamecocks

Top-tier additions: Brandonn Almeida (Brazil – IM), Rafael Davila (Canada – distance free)
The rest: AJ Ross, Tamas Novoszath, Grant Summers (diver)

Brandonn Almeida is a monster pickup to sit at #12 on this list. He’s a former junior world record-holder in the 400 long course meter IM, and actually comes in with long course times superior to our #1 domestic recruit, Sean Grieshop. But what keeps Almeida (and this class) lower on the list is the uncertainty in the long course to short course translation. Converters are only a rough estimate, and the transition seems to be toughest in the short-axis strokes, which could affect IMs.

Still, Almeida has a shot to be a beast for South Carolina, with long course times of 4:12 in the 400 IM, 2:00 in the 200 IM and 15:11 in the 1500.

Depth is thin after Almeida, though. Rafael Davila is a Venezuelan national who lives and trains in Canada, and he should be a solid addition to a great distance group. He’s been 15:22 in the long course 1500, which gives him a shot to break 15 in a short course 1650 this year. And he could develop down to the 500 and 200, especially with how well the Gamecock distance group has developed in recent years.

It’s a small class, with only 5 new names, one of them a diver. AJ Ross is a developmental sprinter with some range, and Tamas Novoszath is a U.S.-based Hungarian who also projects as a distance man.

#11: Georgia Bulldogs

Top-tier additions: #4 Camden Murphy (MI – fly), Youssef Abdalla/Youssef Said (UAE – back), Tal Davis (SC – free/IM)
The rest: Joshua Fulcher, Greg Reed, Billy Rothery, Cade Anderson, Teagan Cheney, Aaron Apel

Georgia got the class’s best pure butterflyer in Camden Murphywho’s been a NAG record-breaker out in Michigan. He’s fairly one-dimensional at this point, but when you go 46.2 and 1:44.3, that one dimension can still score a lot of points. Murphy is also a pretty solid IMer (1:48.9), which suggests he’s got room to drop from his 49.6 backstroke. And though it isn’t reflected in USA Swimming’s database, we were able to dig up a 44.78 relay leadoff for Murphy in freestyle from the Michigan high school state meet last March. On the other hand, Murphy went backwards a little bit in his best events as a senior, so we might need to temper early expectations a bit.

Youssef Abdalla (who has also been listed as “Youssef Abdallah” or “Youssef Said“) is an Egyptian national record-holder who was recruited out of the United Arab Emirates. He’s more of a sprint-based backstroker who has been 54-high in long course meters.

Talmadge Davis, on the other hand, has been surging lately, coming off a Junior National meet that was so good that it threw a wrench into our research for this series, which was already well in progress during Juniors. Davis has dropped five seconds in his 400 meter free (from 3:57.2 to 3:52.2) and two and a half in his 200 fly (2:03.3 down to 2:00.9) since being recruited, and his biggest surge came in the 400 yard IM, which he cut from 3:55.5 to 3:49.9 at Winter Juniors.

Davis is pretty versatile, and should hit the ground running in that stellar Georgia IM group that’ll be looking to fully reload when Jay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz graduate after this season.

The issue for this Georgia class is that there aren’t any quick-fix solutions to the team’s long-running sprint freestyle woes. They got a couple of potential diamonds in the rough in Teagan Cheney and Billy Rothery, but they’ll need a lot of improvement to compete in the 18-second-happy NCAA. The rest of the class are classic Georgia distance guys and multi-stroke/IM specialists. Aaron Apel is a sub-15-minute miler and Greg Reed isn’t far behind, but they’ll still need 10+ second drops to be relevant – something that could certainly happen down the road if not this year with Georgia’s track record in distance races.

#10: Arizona State Sun Devils

Top-tier additions: #7 Grant House (OH – free/IM), Jack Dalmolin (GA – breast/IM)
The rest: Cristian Musterait, Dylan Boyd, Evan Kolde, Joshua Vedder, Will Brenton, Graham Hauss, Aaron Beauchamp

Grant House is a giant get for head coach Bob Bowman, now in his third year at the helm in Tempe. House was originally the #7 recruit in our prospect rankings based on top-of-the-class 200 and 100 free times, but he’s since dropped his 200 IM from 1:47.8 to 1:46.3. That might make a great first-day event for House in the NCAA postseason, and his 1:34.5 freestyle already makes him a top-shelf pickup for the individual 200 free and the 800 free relay.

House feels ready for a breakthrough in the 100, where he hasn’t bested his 44.26 since 2014, but has improved his long course time by a half-second in that span.

It’s pretty clear with this class that Bowman wanted to build up his relay stores; the problem is that outside of House, big-time freestylers were hard to come by in a class mostly dominated by IMers and mid-distance types. Cristian Musterait, Dylan Boyd, Evan Carlson and Graham Hauss all span the relay distance freestyles, but will need big steps up to contribute nationally. Carlson might be the closest right now, with a 44.0 in the 100 free last spring.

On the stroke side of things, Jack Dalmolin is a 54.8/1:58.1 breaststroker out of Georgia who should be a nice fit in Bowman’s system. Dalmolin is on a rocketship right now with a massive trajectory: he dropped from 56.2/2:03 as a senior, and also cut four seconds off his 200 IM, down to 1:47.5.

Evan Kolde is another breaststroke prospect, about where Dalmolin was before his senior breakout. Then the Sun Devils filled in their backstroke group with Joshua Vedder and Will Brenton, both 49-second guys.

#9: Virginia Tech

Top-tier additions: Lane Stone (VA – distance free), Thomas Hallock (VA – sprint free/breast), Connor Doyle (PA – IM/back)
The rest: Sam Tornqvist, Alex Hines, Lasse Pittioni, Gershwin Greene, Alex McMurray

Virginia Tech’s big get was NCAP distance ace Lane Stoneone of a handful of sub-15:00 milers in this recruiting class. Stone is dropping time fast at the higher distances. He cut 18 seconds at Winter Juniors, dropping down to 14:59.93 in the mile, and he’s also lowered his 500 from 4:23 to 4:20 over his senior year. He’s also 1:37 in the 200 free, which should make him a potential relay factor down the road.

At the other end of the distance spectrum is another home-grown prospect, Thomas Hallock out of Machine Aquatics. This class isn’t as rife as some others with 19-second sprinters, so Hallock’s 20.00 carries quite a bit of weight compared to his peers. He’s also 44.21 in the 100, making him one of the top non-Ryan Hoffer values of the class of 2017. Hallock adds a 55.3 breaststroke to boot, so he should be a key relay cog to develop in Blacksburg.

The fast-riser of the bunch is Connor Doylewho dropped from 1:50.7 down to 1:47.8 in the 200 IM last winter. He also cut from 3:58 to 3:51 in the 400 IM and had strong drops in his 200 back (down to 1:46.5) and 100 back (down to 49.2). Doyle is still a ways out of meaningful contribution in those events (which are wicked fast in the NCAA right now), but he’s no doubt on the right path.

Alex Hines and Lasse Pittioni make a dynamic breaststroke duo. Hines is 55.9 and 2:01 and improving fast, while the Danish Pittioni has the more eye-popping time in the 100 (1:03.8 long course) but a little less range.

Virginia Tech also adds Sweden’s Sam Tornqvist, who is a pretty decent long course IMer. The extra boost for Tornqvist, though, is that he’s actually better in short course, which should make him a more race-ready yards prospect.

Karl Ortegon also contributed to this report.

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5 years ago

i am very disappointed that BAMA’s men’s team is not ranked among the top twelve men’s classes They appear to have recruited a very balanced freshman class which includes two divers who transferred from other institutions. Where do you rank them among the NCAA’s top twenty teams and among the SEC’s men’s teams?

5 years ago

Might sound crazy, but Almeida makes this class ranked at least 9th. He’s a worlds finalist lol enough said!!!!

Colin Monaghan
5 years ago

UGA also has Zach Allen, a diver who finaled at nationals this summer. He should make UGA higher, he is a top 5 diving recruit.

Gerald Macedo
5 years ago

Not a better name choice?

5 years ago

Arizona State is on the rise with this class and the one they’ve already locked in for 2018.

Sean Justice
5 years ago

Aaron Beauchamp is a walk on for ASU and a pretty good breastroker. I think that he has US Open cut in the 100.

Reply to  Sean Justice
5 years ago

Evan Carlson from Tualatin Hills is also headed to ASU this fall but not included on this list. US Open time in the 100fr and National Time in the 100fly.

Reply to  Sean Justice
5 years ago

Jeez the kid has a US Open cut and ASU isn’t giving him a dime. This program is really on the up and up

Reply to  Dylab
5 years ago

Nowadays a US Open cut isn’t that impressive unfortunately. They probably had to throw around money at new recruits/bumping people’s scholarships

Sean Justice
Reply to  Maverick
5 years ago

I disagree, an US Open time, is pretty impressive. I also know that he has had some really good time drops as well. I didn’t mean to draw attention to the fact that he is a walk on, but that he should be mentioned as part of the incoming class.

Heck coming out of high school, I had only one National time cut and I would say that I was an okay swimmer in college.

Reply to  Sean Justice
5 years ago

Times have changed.

Reply to  Sean Justice
5 years ago

In no way am I bashing you. However a “national cut” is completely different than a US Open cut. A national time could be scy. or even ymca national or NCSA nationals.

It is impressive in the whole scheme of things. However when talking about a top 25 school, a US open cut isn’t something to get hung up on.

samuel huntington
5 years ago

Bernadino continues to build up a great distance crew – I can see a huge 400 IM and 500 from Almeida

5 years ago

Alex Hines was a 20.25 a few weeks ago

Reply to  Jared Anderson
5 years ago

Knoxville GKAISA City Meet leadoff 200 Free Relay. 20.25 also was 21.8 50 Fly in the same meet.

Reply to  Jared Anderson
5 years ago

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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