Ranking the 2020 Men’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #9-12

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We continue our spring recruiting series with a team-by-team look at the best recruiting classes entering the NCAA next season. The classes below are projected freshmen for the 2020-2021 season. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic presents a number of wrinkles to this analysis: some athletes didn’t get a senior-year taper meet. Some high-end recruits may opt to defer their enrollment for a year to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. There’s also still the possibility that the 2020-2021 school year is delayed, along with NCAA sports. All things considered, these ranks are based on the 2020-2021 NCAA season happening, but as we usually view these recruiting classes over their projected four years of college swimming, a potential delay or cancellation of the upcoming season doesn’t have as big an impact on this analysis as it would seem.

A few important notes on our rankings:

  • The rankings listed are based on our Class of 2020 Re-Rank from just last month. “HM” refers to our honorable mentions.
  • Like most of our rankings, these placements are subjective. We base our team ranks on a number of factors: prospects’ incoming times are by far the main factor, but we also consider potential upside in the class, class size, relay impact and team needs filled. Greater weight is placed on known success in short course yards, so foreign swimmers are slightly devalued based on the difficulty in converting long course times to short course production.
  • Transfers are included.
  • For the full list of all verbally 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.

Previously ranked:

  • #16: Texas A&M Aggies
  • #15: Tennessee Volunteers
  • #14: Auburn Tigers
  • #13: Indiana Hoosiers

#12: Florida Gators

It’d be hard to rank a class outside our top 12 with a sprint talent like Adam ChaneyThe #7 overall recruit in the country, Chaney had the best 100 free (43.00) of anyone in the class of 2020. He’s also 19.6 in the 50 free, which should make him an immediate contender for a 200 free relay spot. (Florida had a 19.6 leadoff from Eric Friese last year at SECs, but also returns all four legs.) A 47.1 backstroke could boost the medley relays down the road, and Chaney is also 1:35.9 in the 200 free – you could see him on four to five relays early in his college career.

The rest of the class is mostly distance-oriented, even the stroke specialists. Amro Al-Wir chips in a 2:14.8 long course 200 breaststroke to go with a 1:02 long course 100. Florida prospect Trevor McGovern is a 1:44.9 backstroker who probably has room to move up from his 49.3 in the 100. Jace Crawford is 1:45.9 in the 200 fly.

Then there’s a quartet of true distance freestylers. Jack Vandeusen is most notable, already at 15:08 and 4:23 in the 1650 and 500 frees. Brendan Peacock (15:19/4:27), Caleb Kravitz (15:26/4:26), and Wesley Hyde (15:31/4:27) should make up a strong distance group for a Florida program that broke the 500 and 1650 free American records last season.

#11: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame got a stellar class of IMers. Sean Faikish was an intriguing honorable mention, just outside our top 20 recruits nationally. He’s 1:44.6 in the 200 IM, which is an incredible high school time. He doesn’t have another event at that level yet, but could be a solid breaststroker (55.4/2:00.0) or 400 IMer (3:54).

Fellow honorable mention Tyler Christianson is 1:46.5 in the 200 and adds an even better 400 IM: 3:46.6, or just a few seconds off of NCAA invite level. Christianson is also a 53.6/1:55.5 breaststroker and he and Faikish should make outstanding training partners, with similar events and times. It’s worth noting Notre Dame’s 2020 success with breakout freshman IMer Jack Hoagland, who went from 3:49 to 3:40 as a freshman.

Luke Uttley and Stephen Lukashev are also a very similar duo in fly and free. Uttley has a little more range (20.4/44.3/1:37.2 free, 48.0 fly), while Lukashev has a little more pure speed (20.2/45.5 free, 47.5 fly).

There are three more 20-point types in free (McClamroch, Bernasek, Hinkes) and some backstroke depth in Hunt and Smesko.

#10: USC Trojans

The Trojans got an extraordinary and well-rounded class. Ben Dillard out of California is one of the best breaststrokers on the market, 52.7 and 1:54.7 out of high school. USC had a major breaststroke deficiency last year after losing Mario Koenigsperger to an Olympic redshirt, and Dillard should jump in and contribute immediately. The Trojans also got 53.6/1:59.3 Scott Sobolewski for much-needed depth.

Meanwhile Danny Syrkin is one of the better flyers out there in this freshman class. He’s 46.6 in the 100 and 1:45.6 in the 200, and his sprint free times (20.2/44.3) should make him a multi-relay factor.

Then in backstroke, USC got 200-specialist Holden Raffin (1:43.3 and 48.0) along with Greek prospect Vaggelis Makrygiannis (55.0/1:58.7 long course meters). Toss in 1:36.1/44.7/20.7 freestyler Hugh Svendsen and there’s a lot of developing relay pieces in the mix here. USC needs a bit of a reboot with a new coaching staff and just two 2020 individual NCAA qualifiers. This class is a great place to start.

#9: Virginia Cavaliers

UVA has been recruiting up a storm lately, and this group just continues to load up a monster of a free relay group. Matt Brownstead is one of the best high school sprinters we’ve seen since Ryan Hoffer, coming in with an individual 19.2 in the 50 free and an 18.6 relay split to his name. That’s instant NCAA scoring ability and helps form a strong relay group with last year’s freshmen Jack Wright and Jack Walker. Brownstead’s pure speed is a necessary addition as Wright and Walker both trend upwards a little from the 100/200 range. Now UVA has a pair of young guns who can split 18 between Browntead and rising sophomore August Lamb.

Brownstead is also 43.2 in the 100 and will probably go 100 fly (47.8) or 200 free (1:36.1) as a tertiary event.

Another key relay piece: Poland’s Jan Karolczakwho is 1:49.6 in the long course 200 free. (That converts roughly to the 1:35-range.) Karolczak is also 23.2 and 50.0 in long course free, and keeps building on a strength of coach Todd Desorbo‘s: relays.

If those two aren’t enough to fill out the free relays, Desorbo adds some developmental pieces in Addie Laurencelle (20.5/45.1), Brian Brennan (20.0/44.1/1:38.0) and Jack Moore (20.8/44.9/1:37.4). Distance man Tanner Hering is a 15:43 miler, but also comes down to 1:37.8 in the 200 free for a potential relay avenue.

Will Cole is a valuable fly/back prospect, a 46.9 backstroker and 47.5 flyer. He’s also got freestyles (20.0/43.6/1:36.7) that should beef up the relay options for the Cavaliers. It’s a well-rounded class between strokes, with breaststroker Noah Nichols going 53.7/1:58.0 out of high school.

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3 years ago

I think UVA has some of the best potential out of any school in the country. With one of the best coaching staff in the nation they have a massive amount of possible talent. DeSorbo and the rest certainly have a great history of developing possible talent into stars.

3 years ago

Where’s Iowa?

Reply to  Swimmmer
3 years ago

Between Minnesota and Missouri.

Former Big10
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago


Reply to  Swimmmer
3 years ago

Just above Purdue

ct swim fan
3 years ago

Yikes, who would have thought a few years back that 20.0 and 44.1 in the 50/100 free would be a “developmental” recruit. The number of kids with speed these days is incredible.

Reply to  ct swim fan
3 years ago

Had the same thought!

3 years ago

Notre Dame is also getting transfer Thacher Scannell from Davidson College

3 years ago

For Karolczak, 1:49 long course feels quicker than 1:35 to me, unless the dude has Hanser Garcia’s turns.

Getting hot for the top end, backing Stanford’s massive Minakov land to do it.

Is Minakov the best international recruit ever on the men’s side?

Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

I don’t think he’ll show up to Stanford this year with the Olympic Games being delayed.

Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

Any other studs redshirt? (Frosh or otherwise)

Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

Love a good Hanser Garcia reference

Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

No, gotta go with Artur Wojdat, Gustavo Borges, or Atilla Czene on that one. Czene had already won a gold medal by the time he showed up to ASU and Wojdat had won a bronze.

GA Boy
3 years ago

Just for context, half of the teams ranked 9-16 are from the SEC……
And with a pretty solid idea of the teams remaining (not the order but the names of the schools), that will be 6 of the top 16 classes to the SEC…
SEC- 6
PAC12- 3
B1G- 3
ACC- 2
Big 12- 1
It just means more.

NC Swim Fan
Reply to  GA Boy
3 years ago

Unless we are talking football, Notre Dame is part of the ACC so that would make 3.

GA Boy
Reply to  NC Swim Fan
3 years ago

Sorry! You’re right! 3 for the ACC as well.

NC Swim Fan
Reply to  GA Boy
3 years ago

To tip the scales a little further my way in ACC country if you include the HMs to make it Top 26 then it is
5 PAC12 and B1G

Reply to  GA Boy
3 years ago

Me searching the 2019 NCAA results for SEC teams in the top 5

comment image?itemid=7238063

GA Boy
Reply to  Swimnerd
3 years ago

at NCAAs last year the top 25 finishing teams break down was
SEC- 7
ACC- 6
PAC12- 5
B1G- 5
Big 12- 1
Ivy- 1
And wait…. it gets better
That’s 70% of SEC schools were top 25
50% for ACC
50% for B1G
33% for Big 12
Over all conference depth is my point. I am not dumb to see that Texas and California have owned the top over the past decade!

Reply to  GA Boy
3 years ago

Yeah and 5/6 (83%) of the pac12 teams placed in the top 25 so by that logic the pac12 should be the deepest conference.

Quarantined Swimming
Reply to  GA Boy
3 years ago

Why didn’t you put the percentage for pac-12? 5/6 is 83%. I would agree that the SEC is a deeper conference, but it’s more of a product of having more teams.

GA Boy
Reply to  Quarantined Swimming
3 years ago

Y’all are correct about the pac 12, their data point in the second scale is skewed by the fact they only have 6 teams. SEC had more top 25 teams than are in the PAC 12 conference. Pac 12 has good teams but when you compare conference championships it is much harder to final at SEC than at Pac 12.

Reply to  GA Boy
3 years ago

Or look at points scored by top 10 teams 2019:
1. Acc 625 (3 teams)
2. Pac 12 560 (Cal)
3. Big 10 509 (2x)
4. Big 12 475 (Texas)
5. SEC 306 (2x)
So deep recruiting doesn’t help in Recruiting too much if the other teams/conferences are scoring more points at NCAAs. This was my original argument.

Reply to  Ghost
3 years ago

This is skewed like GHOST’s comment on the article yesterday by only including the top 10 teams. The SEC has scored 1400 more points at NCAAs in the last 5 years than any other conference.

3 years ago

The article was about recruit rankings. And these schools are ones who recruited best. You could add in the swimmers Cal and Texas who make ncaas but don’t even get to swim it…I think 10th place was about 100 points so the depth and quality of recruiting (and coaching) goes to these top 10 schools IMO!

GA Boy
Reply to  Ghost
3 years ago

Ok, that’s cool to 1) take the the weakest competition year by the SEC in the past decade 2) only take the top ten (which is a cutoff that does not show conference depth but elite programs).
The point I am trying to make is the depth of the SEC is better than any other conference, in no other conference is a swimmer from the worst team in the conference top five in an event in the NCAA (Brooks Curry at LSU). The depth of a conference to do that is incredible!
If y’all want more angles to look at it tune in to my comment on tomorrow’s article. While admittedly not having the best college swim team… Read more »

Reply to  GA Boy
3 years ago

having a swimmer from the worst team in the conference top five in an event in the NCAA means absolutely nothing.

GA Boy
3 years ago

Name one other conference where that’s the case. I’ll wait.

2nd place
3 years ago

Any predictions for top 8?

Reply to  2nd place
3 years ago

Stanford, Texas, Cal, UGA, Michigan, NC State, Alabama, and Ohio State would be my guess

Reply to  2nd place
3 years ago

1. Stanford
3. Cal
4. Georgia
5. Michigan
6. NC State
7. Alabama
8. Ohio State

Reply to  RTR
3 years ago

I agree with this list, but I think it could be close between Michigan and NC State. Comparing Wyatt Davis/Jake Mitchell to Kacper Stokowski/Alexander Noergaard is really close, then add in Luke Miller for relay value and it’s a dead heat to me.

Jalen Stimes
Reply to  2nd place
3 years ago

5.NC State
7.Ohio State

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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