Ranking the 2017 Women’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #5-8

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We continue our whirlwind tour through the nation’s top recruiting classes today, exploring the 5th-through-8th-ranked classes.

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 classes #5-8, with our top four ranked classes coming tomorrow morning:

#8: Texas Longhorns

Top-tier additions: #11 Victoria Edwards (TX – fly/back), Evie Pfeifer (MO – free), Ella Tierney (IL – free), Kennedy Lohman (Arizona transfer – breast)
The rest: Ashley Pollok, Emily Reese, Grace Ritch, Peyton Quattlebaum, Logan Shiller

Getting Victoria Edwardsone of the two best in-state prospects in this class, was a must for the Longhorns, and they pulled it off early last fall. Edwards is hugely versatile while also being one of the top all-around butterflyers in her class (52.74 in the 100; 1:56.08 in the 200). She didn’t have a great senior year, but also brings 53.3 speed in the 100 back to complement her butterflys, which are tenths out of scoring range at NCAAs.

But the best freshman pickup in the Longhorn class might turn out to be Evie Pfeiferwho didn’t even make our top 20 last summer but has improved immensely since then. She dropped from 4:42 to 4:39.48 in the 500 free as a senior, putting up one of only a few NCAA scoring times in this entire freshman class. Pfeifer is also coming along as an IMer and should be a key relay pickup for the 800 based on her 1:45.9 in the 200 free.

Texas also padded that relay’s options with Ella Tierney out of Illinois, who has been 1:46.0. She’s a little bit sprintier than Pfeifer and probably projects to the 100 through 500 frees.

And that’s not even mentioning the ‘Horns star transfer, former Arizona breaststroker Kennedy LohmanPart of a mass exodus from Tucson amidst a coaching change, Lohman brings times of 59.8 and 2:10.8 to the Texas breaststroke crew. And she’s been an even bigger relay weapon, splitting 58.4 and 26.8 on the medley relays at NCAAs last year. Typically in the case of coaching changes, transferring athletes are released to compete with their new team immediately, so it’s not likely Lohman will have to sit out a season to complete her transfer.

The rest of the class is very solid compared to the back end of a lot of classes. Emily Reese is a 53.3 flyer, and Peyton Quattlebaum and Logan Shiller look like a solid developmental distance duo.

#7: Florida Gators

Top-tier additions: Liliana Szilagyi (Hungary – fly), #17 Taylor Ault (CA – distance free), Bettina Boszormenyi (Hungary – free), Rachel Ramey (TX – breast)
The rest: Nikki Miller, Gabrielle Hillis, Jillian Hatch (Pacific transfer), Emma Whitner (diving)

This Florida class is tough to accurately rank, because two of its top talents are coming from long course backgrounds. Hungary’s Liliana Szilagyi could be the best swimmer in this entire class. Her 2:06.59 in the 200 fly converts roughly to 1:51.5, a time that would have been NCAA runner-up last year. Certainly long course to short course conversions are notoriously inconsistent (hence our hesitance to rank this class too high based on LCM projections), but it’s worth noting that Szilagyi has been far faster in long course than last year’s NCAA champ Ella Eastin (2:09.2 last summer).

Szilagyi is also a 57-second 100 flyer (again in long course meters), which should make her a relay factor on the 400 medley if nothing else. She’ll be joined by fellow Hungarian Bettina Boszormenyia 2:00 and 56.2 long course freestyler. And both join a program that has traditionally done pretty well with internationals and long course meter converts.

#17 Taylor Ault is the big domestic addition. Ault is exceptionally rangy with her top speed centered around the distance events. She’s been 16:07 in the mile (five seconds out of NCAA scoring), 4:40.95 in the 500 (about a second out) and 1:46.07 in the 200, which should make her an 800 free relay factor as well. She’s also great in long course, with times pretty similar to Boszormenyi in the 50, 100 and 200 and superior swims in all of the longer distances.

After a rough 2016-2017 season on the women’s side, Florida looks set to reload its talent level, and this sets off a run of a couple strong recruiting classes for the Gators.

#6: Tennessee Volunteers

Top-tier additions: #5 Nikol Popov (CA – breast/IM), Tjasa Pintar (Slovenia – free/breast/IM), Alexis Yager (IL – IM/breast), Stanzi Moseley (USC transfer – free)
The rest: Emily Sykes, Megan Sichterman, Bailey Grinter, Amanda Nunan

#5 Nikol Popov is arguably the best breaststroker in this class. She’s got the top 200 time (2:08.92) and isn’t far back of Margaret Aroesty in the 100 (59.58 for Popov). Both of those would have been NCAA scoring times in 2017, and as a relay factor, Popov should be the best breaststroke weapon Tennessee has had since Molly Hannis.

Speaking of relays, Tennessee got the biggest transfer of the offseason with former USC sprinter Stanzi MoseleyOnce the #4 recruit in her own freshman class, Mosley holds times of 22.11, 48.11 and 1:43.98 in the 50 through 200 frees, making her a massive five-relay weapon. That 200 free time would have scored at NCAAs, and Moseley is within tenths of scoring in the other two races as well.

Following the success of Peter John Stevens on the men’s side, Tennessee pulled another Slovenian national, Tjasa PintarShe’s an interesting breast/free hybrid who could potentially be sub-minute in the 100 breast and sub-50 in the 100 free.

The dark horse in this class is Illinois state champ Alexis Yagerwho is on a rocket ship of a trajectory in the IMs. This spring, Yager dropped from 2:00.7 to 1:58.7 in the 200 IM and from 4:17.0 to 4:12.0 in the 400 IM.

And in a relatively weak class of sprinters, the Vols loaded up on a pair of rare 22-second women: Megan Sichterman and Bailey Grinter. They both have room for improvement in their 100s, but bring in a lot of pure speed that make this class an intriguing one to watch this fall.

#5: California Golden Bears

Top-tier additions: Robin Neumann (Netherlands – free), Sarah Darcel (Canada – IM/breast), Sophie Krivokapic-Zhou (CA – back), Ali Harrison (CA – breast)
The rest: Alexandra Skorus-Neely, Dannie Dilsaver, Natalie Tuck, Elizabeth Bailey, Briana Thai (diving), Jackie IM (diving), Kathleen Navas (diving)

Cal is another international-heavy class at the top. Robin Neumann rolls in from the Netherlands with freestyle times clearly a cut above any other international on this list. She’s been 1:57.8 in the 200 meter free (converts to 1:43.2) and 55.0 in the 100 meter free (converts to 48.1), which would put her right about at Moseley’s level, depending on how well she makes the difficult transition to the college-sized pool.

Canadian Sarah Darcel is a 4:39 long course IMer, which should put her into A final contention based on conversions (roughly 4:05). She had as good a summer as she possibly could without making the Canadian World Champs team, coming up third at Canadian Trials in both the 200 and 400 IMs. Darcel should have NCAA scoring shots in both IMs, and is maybe an outsider to fix Cal’s longtime breaststroke woes, with long course times of 2:27 in the 200 and 1:10 in the 100.

Within the states, California got local Santa Clara product Sophie Krivokapic-Zhouwho’s a nice versatile pickup. She’s 53-mid in both fly and back with solid 200s (headed by a 1:56.7 back) and a 1:47.9 in the 200 free that could make her a future relay chip.

With the rest of the class, Cal went after its two biggest weaknesses: breaststroke and diving. Ali Harrison is on the cusp of a sub-minute breaststroke, and is coming off a massive summer that saw her drop from 2:34 to 2:29 in the 200 long course meter breast and 1:10 to 1:08 in the 100 meter breast. Those times well outclass her current short course bests (1:00.8 & 2:13.5), suggesting Cal might be getting a Mallory Comerford-type riser who blows up just before starting college and keeps surging from there.

Beyond Harrison, Alexandra Skorus-Neely and Natalie Tuck both specialize in breaststroke. Dannie Dilsaver could project as a breaststroker, too, but is also pretty good in free and fly. Then the Bears added a trio of divers to round out a big class that’s pretty well-targeted based on need.

Karl Ortegon contributed to this report.

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4 years ago

Virginia is way above all these….almost 7 girls under 1:55 in the 2 back is insane…they are all versatile fast swimmers better than any other girls

4 years ago

Texas also getting German IMer Maxine Wolters

Reply to  Horns
4 years ago

Wolters’s world ranking in the 200 IM LC is #52 with a 2:13.57. That converts to a 1:57.45 in SC.

Reply to  Fan
4 years ago

#87 ranking in 100 Back with 1:01.24, that converts to a 54.09.
#96 ranking in 200 Back with 2:12.44, that converts to a 1:57.15.

Ex Quaker
4 years ago

Sarcasm appreciated, but I’d rather they push their idiocy forth so the rest of the commenters can shut them down as they surely have. Let’s keep the open marketplace of ideas and then just tear apart the crappy ones.

4 years ago

Does this message board have a mute or ignore button? If not, then one is needed for his treatment of young kids. Coach = classless!

Not Betty
4 years ago

Agreed! I am very surprised that Swim Swam doesn’t remove this “coach”.

Reply to  Not Betty
4 years ago

Its a valid opinion shared by many that scholarships at publicly funded universities should go to students whose parents have funded the university through paying all their damn taxes all these years.

Reply to  taa
4 years ago

If you look at Cal’s Athletic Hall of Fame roster, you will see Swedish, Dutch and Canadian WC and Olympic medalists.

So, their swimming scholarships have been handed out to foreign swimmers for a long time. Guess their Athletic Department cared about winning more than the taxpayers who fund the UC schools.

Reply to  marklewis
4 years ago

By that logic, foreign students must be given a quota in athletic scholarships, as foreign students paying full fees (and more) have been subsidizing in state.

Jim C
Reply to  SchoolingFTW
4 years ago

Are students paying full fees subsidizing other students, or are they simply receiving less of a subsidy than other students? I think we would have to check facts to determine which is the case.

Reply to  taa
4 years ago

So all should be in state? All swimming, football and basketball recruits? Very narrow thinking. It seemed to me that all the schools above had some foreign kids and all had some out of state kids!

Reply to  taa
4 years ago

Taxes don’t go towards athletic scholarships

Reply to  Klorn8d
4 years ago

So then what pays the scholarship?

4 years ago

since when is the word “mercenary” (which coach spelled incorrectly) considered hate speech? Give me a break. Everything people say that might be offensive is not hateful. I would say you are more of a problem than coach. Coach just doesn’t like Florida which is probably more of a fun rivalry with another school than it is hateful. sheesh

Reply to  meeeeee
4 years ago

It’s common these days when there’s a disagreement and a compelling counter argument cannot be made, that a label will applied (i.e. hate speech) to form a foundation for an attack. Once labeled, then it’s open season to throw out acquisitions.

4 years ago

More accurate description: sometimes a low life human being tells nothing but lies and his simpleton devotees scramble to pretend they aren’t lies

4 years ago

whys kal on this list they have noone in top 20
class of nobodies like 2016 so they go import mercenies

we all know whose the no 1 top dog already 🙂 🙂
everyone like to see a winner that stick with home talent

Hint of Lime
Reply to  coach
4 years ago

@Coach, “Class of nobodies” – please see how well “nobodies” like Maddie Murphy performed, and stop trolling.

Reply to  Hint of Lime
4 years ago

I agree! Every year there are swimmers that were not on the top 20 who have a breakout year either their senior year of high school or freshman year of college. The most famous one is Mallory Comerford, who wasn’t a high profile recruit when she went to Louisville but just got fourth at the World Championships.

On Fleek
Reply to  Hint of Lime
4 years ago

Recruiting is important but it isn’t everything. I’m more impressed by colleges that welcome lower profile student-athletes and help them develop above their perceived level. Case in point – Steve Bultman’s Aggies – sure they can’t boast of recruiting a Ledecky or Manuel or Neal, but their recruits have thrived on the NCAA, Worlds & Olympic stage. Then there’s the classic & well-known fairy tale of the Cardinals’ Comerford.

Bears may not have had a Top Ten recruit last year, but Murphy contributed 20 individual points in her freshman year for her team last March, on top of swimming on their 200 free relay in finals (NCAA record) + 400 free relay (prelims).

This is coming from an unheralded… Read more »

Reply to  On Fleek
4 years ago

It’s also hard to tell who will have a good senior season, something else that SwimSwam’s recruiting labels don’t take into account as they are made after junior year, not senior year. Murphy is great an example of a recruit who improved both senior year (She was #13 on college swimming at the end of her senior year) and also in college. She improved her 50 from 22.49 to 21.76, her 100 free from a 48.62 to a 48.22 and her 100 fly from a 52.15 to a 51.15. I also think it’s important to note that when she committed to Cal, she hadn’t made her big senior year improvements yet, furthering your point about welcoming lower profile student athletes.

samuel huntington
Reply to  coach
4 years ago

I give your trolling a C-

Reply to  coach
4 years ago

Way harsher words than is necessary, Coach! But raises the blunt question of why what used to be a top school is unable to recruit from the top 10 in consecutive years?

Also, what is Stanford doing so right that 40% of the best recruits in the nation chooses to go there rather than to any of the other D1 programs? Can Cal, TAMU, Georgia, Texas, Louisville, NC State, Indiana, USC and the likes adopt the Card’s magic formula to stay competitive??

Reply to  GoMyStanford
4 years ago

magic formula = Ledecky effect + lure of an NCAA ring being likely the next 2-3 yrs + school’s academic reputation + endowments, endowments!!! 😉

Reply to  NCAASwam
4 years ago

Key word being ENDOWMENTS!

Reply to  CHEEZ
4 years ago

22 BILLION That is with a B

Reply to  coach
4 years ago

If you’re going to judge a recruiting class the least you can do is spell the school’s name right

4 years ago

Florida didn’t score a single point last year. Wow, what a turn around. It’s all about recruiting

Reply to  Swimmer
4 years ago

Florida should always be ranked last in everything. Except in avoiding rivals. They are first in that.

As always — Orange, Blue and Mostly Yellow

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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