- Women’s classes #9-12
- Women’s classes #5-8
- Men’s classes #9-12
- Men’s classes #5-8
- Men’s classes #1-4
- Individual recruit rankings – Women’s Final Rankings (June 2018)
- Individual recruit rankings – Men’s Final Rankings (June 2018)
After a whirlwind of a summer season, it’s time to shift gears and start preparing for NCAA season. To help out, we’re launching our yearly series ranking the top 12 recruiting classes in the nation – these swimmers will be starting their freshman seasons in the next month.
Here are a few important notes on our rankings:
- The ranking numbers listed for individual recruits are from our Class of 2018 Re-Rank, which was done this past spring. Certainly, some of those ranks would change after this summer’s season.
- 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 are lots of big ones.
- For the full list of the 1200+ committed athletes, click here. A big thank-you to SwimSwam’s own Anne Lepesant for compiling that index – without it, rankings like these would be far less comprehensive.
Here are the 4th-through-1st-ranked women’s NCAA Swimming & Diving classes, with the top 8 to follow later this week:
#4: TEXAS LONGHORNS
Top-tier additions: #3 Julia Cook (TX – sprint free/back), #14 Grace Ariola (IL – sprint free/back)
The rest: Holly Jansen (VA – breast), Kendall Shields (TX – back)
Before everyone loses their minds about such a small class being ranked in our top 4, note that in the NCAA, sprint free is the most valuable strength in a recruit because of substantial relay significance. That said, Julia Cook and Grace Ariola are the fastest sprint freestylers in the class when it comes to yards. Cook’s 47.82 is already lethal and not far off of A-final speed, and she’s the only newcomer who has broken 48 seconds in yards. Meanwhile, Ariola’s 22.17 is the best yards 50 in the class, and her 48.30 is among the best. Cook’s 22.19 is tied with Indiana’s Ileah Doctor for 2nd in class. When considering that most of the girls who can hang with Cook and Ariola are part of Stanford’s monster class, Texas really has an elite sprint free duo coming in that nobody else can really touch (again, nobody else but Stanford).
When combining with Claire Adams and perhaps Remedy Rule or Brooke Hansen, Texas’s sprint free relays could push for top 3 or top 4 status at NCAAs. Additionally, when looking at Cook’s 1:44.21 (also one of the best in class) and noting names like Evie Pfeifer and Quinn Carrozza (not to mention Adams’ blazing 1:41.71 second leg split in the 800 relay at NCAAs), all of the Longhorns free relays are going to be on fire.
Cook and Ariola are also elite backstrokers, coming in at 51.64 and 52.56, respectively, and between the three of them and Adams, the medleys have a lot of options. As for other event possibilities, Cook has been 1:53.1 back and 52.8 fly, and Ariola has been 53.4 fly.
Holly Jansen‘s 2:10.8 200 breast has some intrigue, and she’s been 1:01.1 in the 100. Meanwhile, local pickup Kendall Shields brings in a 53.9/1:56.1 backstroke combo that will add even more depth to a sizable backstroke contingent in Austin.
#3: FLORIDA GATORS
Top-tier additions: #4 Vanessa Pearl (TX – IM/breast), #19 Leah Braswell (PA – distance), Mabel Zavaros (Canada – fly), Layla Black (Great Britain – breast)
The rest: Rosie Zavaros (Canada – back), Kirschtine Balbuena (FL – sprint free), Celi Guzman (FL – back), Ellie Hatton (Scotland – IM), Kalie Novosedliak (CA – free), Ellie Zweifel (MO – breast), Lauren Snider (FL – diving), Elizabeth Perez (Venezuela – diving)
Florida needed a rebuild, and this class is a huge step in the right direction for the Gators. A nice mix of domestic and offshore talents, #4 Vanessa Pearl is the biggest get, with legitimate NCAA scoring potential in both IM’s and both breaststrokes. She’s been 1:55.6/4:05.8 in the IMs, and she’s the best IM’er coming in in the class. Her 1:00.1/2:08.1 breaststrokes are also great, with her 200 being one of the best in the class. #19 Leah Braswell is a 4:39.2/16:16.1 distance freestyler with a 4:08.9 IM, another heavy hitter with no shortage of endurance. She, too, could score in at least the 500 free.
Canadian twins Mabel and Rosie Zavaros join the Gators, with Mabel being an incredibly capable butterflier at 58.6/2:08.7 in long course, her 200 being the exceptional event. The Gators DQ’d their 400 medley at SECs and didn’t qualify it for NCAAs, and Mabel may be a solid replacement to the 53.01 leg they got on that DQ’d relay. She’s tough — she’s also been 2:01 free and 4:45 IM in long course, and she made headlines by hitting a PR in the 1500 free at the Santa Clara PSS this year while doing the last 50 fly.
Her sister Rosie is a backstroker, with bests of 1:02.5/2:11.7 in long course. She joins British backstroker Layla Black, who is 1:09.2/2:26.6 in the breaststroke.
Florida will still struggle with sprint free, a serious issue for them going forward, though in-state pickup Kirschtine Balbuena (23.1/50.1/1:49.5) might develop into more of a threat at UF. This is a very big class, with blue chip names and a couple people ready to score right away at NCAAs, but Florida is still going to need a stronger sprint core to make more of a foundation for a significant rebuild.
#2: GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Top-tier additions: #7 Eva Merrell (CA – back/fly/free), #9 Olivia Carter (NC – fly/IM), #12 Dakota Luther (TX – fly/free), #18 Madison Homovich (NC – distance), Sofia Carnevale (UNLV transfer – breast)
The rest: Callie Dickinson (VA – back), Portia Del Rio Brown (OH – IM), Tatum Smith (GA – free), Caroline Aikins (GA – back/IM), Ellie Crump (GA – diving), Kelliann Howell (GA – diving), Addison Kelly (GA – diving)
This is a tried and true UGA line-up coming in: lots of 200 stroke specialists, mid-distance freestyle talent, and IM speed. To top it off, a versatile sprinter joins in — Eva Merrell. The California native hasn’t raced much this year, but she’s very dangerous in anything that isn’t breaststroke — 22.2/48.5 FR, 52.2/1:52.2 BK, and 51.9 FL — making her a relay weapon and an immediate individual scoring threat.
Dakota Luther and Olivia Carter are both fantastic 200 flyers, in fact the two fastest in this class in SCY, but they bring so much more to the table than that. Luther is at 52.1/1:54.5 FL, and has a nice spread of freestyle talent (49.8/1:45.3/4:44), while Carter has been 52.3/1:53.4 FL, as well as 1:56.8/4:09.9 IM and 49.3/1:46 FR.
Madison Homovich is another multi-talent prospect, at 4:39.7/16:03 free and 4:10.9 IM, as well as a strong 1:54.1 backstroke. Her mile is already in top 16 scoring range, and she’s one of the best distance swimmers in the class.
UNLV transfer Sofia Carnevale is the last big piece here, and few teams will be as relieved to have a great sprint breaststroker join their lineup as UGA. Like Cal, sprint breast has been an odd gap in the Bulldogs’ lineup for awhile, plaguing their medley relay salience, and UGA gets two seasons from Carnevale. Her event of significance is the 100 breast, where she’s been 59.87 and could be a scorer in that event. Most important will be her medley relay duties, as UGA notably missed both medley relay A finals without a hammer breast leg.
This is a large class, with 1:56 backstrokers Caroline Aikins and Callie Dickinson as well as 2:00 IM’er Portia Del Rio Brown adding even more depth, along with three divers.
#1: STANFORD CARDINAL
Top-tier additions: #1 Taylor Ruck (Canada – sprint free/back), #2 Zoe Bartel (CO – breast), #6 Morgan Tankersley (FL – free), #10 Lucie Nordmann (TX – back/free), #11 Amalie Fackenthal (CA – sprint free/fly), #20 Allie Raab (TN – breast)
The rest: HM Anya Goeders (IN – sprint free), Carolina Sculti (NY – diving), Daria Lenz (CA – diving)
It’s hard to grapple with the deafening noise that this class has. Taylor Ruck is a Canadian record holder, and her time in high school training and racing in yards makes it easy to see how she will be able to transfer from LCM to SCY. She has blown up this past year or so, and her 24.4/52.7/1:54.4 freestyle combo in LCM is absolutely lethal, not to mention her 59.1/2:06.3 in backstroke. Ruck will boost any relay she’s on, and her yards bests (22.3/48.5/1:44.3 FR and 52.9/1:53.3 BK) are already impressive, but when considering they’re from 2015 and earlier (save for her 50 from 2017), it’s clear that she will probably be an NCAA title contender in multiple events.
The freestyle talent here is insane, with Morgan Tankersley coming in at 48.6/1:44.3/4:37.6, Lucie Nordmann at 22.3/48.3/1:44.9, Amalie Fackenthal at 22.4/48.2/1:46.2, and Anya Goeders at 22.4/49.3 (and 24.8 LCM). Meanwhile, Nordmann may be better utilized as a backstroker (52.1/1:52.1 PRs), and Fackenthal a butterflyer (52.0 PR). We haven’t even mentioned the best breaststroker in the class yet, Zoe Bartel, whose 58.7/2:06.2 blows away anyone else in the class, true freshman or transfer, out of the water. 1:00.0/2:09.6 breaststroker Allie Raab and two divers makes this class simply elite.
The Stanford freshman class, on its own, could probably go top 3 in any relay right off the bat. While the Cardinal loses Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky, there isn’t much else you could’ve expected from their freshman class as they keep trekking on with another NCAA title in sight.