Ranking the 2020 Women’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #5-8

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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: Alabama Crimson Tide
  • #14: Georgia Bulldogs
  • #13: Virginia Tech H2Okies
  • #12: Northwestern Wildcats
  • #11: Ohio State Buckeyes
  • #10: Michigan Wolverines
  • #9: NC State Wolfpack

#8: Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee didn’t get any ranked domestic prospects, but Ireland’s Mona McSharry is definitely at the level of a top-10 recruit. Her long course breaststroke times (1:07.4/2:27.4) suggest she could be an NCAA A final contender as a freshman and beyond. She’s also a 25.4 freestyler in long course, probably translates to somewhere in the 22s in yards. That makes McSharry a massive relay weapon, and a much-needed one after Tennessee graduated most of its top relay swimmers.

Jasmine Rumley is a high-ceiling sprinter who played three sports (swimming, softball, track) at a high level in high school and saw her 100 free drop significant time as she focused in more on swimming. She’s 22.2/49.0 in the sprints, and should have a lot of fast swimming ahead of her in a program that just took Erika Brown from a no-name prospect into one of the best sprinters in college history.

Those two are supplemented by distance swimmer Kristen Stege (16:11/4:43.8 and an extremely fast-rising freshman miler at ECU last year) and backstrokers Elle Caldow (53.5/1:57.2) and Olivia Harper (53.5/1:56.8), plus flyer Berit Quass (53.6/1:58.9). This is a big class with a lot of developmental types, which is important to restock the roster after the graduations of Brown, Tessa Cieplucha, Stanzi Moseley, and Meghan Small.

#7: Wisconsin Badgers

The top of this class nationally is incredible, and Phoebe Bacon is one of the better NCAA prospects we’ve seen in the past decade. With backstroke times of 50.7 and 1:50.7, she’d be an instant NCAA title contender if there wasn’t a world record-holder coming into the NCAA in her same class. That said, Bacon goes to a Wisconsin program that turned 51-second high school backstroker Beata Nelson into the college swimmer of the year as a junior, so there’s plenty to be excited about.

Bacon’s 51.7 fly, 1:55.3 IM, 1:00.3 breaststroke and 22.4/49.2 freestyles should fill in wherever Wisconsin needs on its relays. The backstroke group reloads in a big way despite the graduation of Nelson. In-state prospect Kaylyn Schoof is 52.7 and 1:54.5 in back and will make a great training partner for Bacon in a stout 1-2 punch. The rest of the class will need some time to develop. Cal Dunn and Emma Lasecki build up the IM group, Elle Braun and Emily Ecker are milers who swim down to 1:49s in the 200 free, Mallory Jackson is a backstroker and Alex Anagnostopoulos a breaststroker.

#6: Louisville Cardinals

Louisville doesn’t have a single swimmer of Bacon’s caliber, but does bring in three swimmers who made our recruiting re-rank. Tristen Ulett of Georgia and Gabi Albiero of Kentucky are very similar butterflyers (52.0/1:55.7 for Ulett; 51.9/1:55.8 for Albiero) who should provide some free relay coverage, too. Ulett is also a great IMer (1:56.5), and perhaps gives Louisville an inside track at her younger sister, highly-touted recruit Rye.

Albiero follows the footsteps of her brother, All-American Nicolas Albiero, to swim for their father Arthur at Louisville. She’s a 22.3/49.3 freestyler who should stay busy on relay duty with the Cardinals. Both Ulett and Albiero come in at a great time, as Louisville just lost top flyer Grace Oglesby and free relay legs Casey Fanz and Lainey Visscher.

Paige Hetrick could go a number of ways as a prospect. She’s got 52.8/1:53.0 backstrokes, but also great freestyle range, from 22.8/49.1 to 1:45.7/4:47. She and Olivia Livingston (22.7/49.4/1:49.5) should help rebuild the free relays.

Liberty Williams is more of a distance prospect, with a 16:21 mile that would have been only about four seconds off an NCAA invite in 2020. Addie Farrington adds 1:01.0/2:12.3 breaststroke speed, and Paige McCormick is a solid IMer (4:14.6/2:01.9) who also swims a 4:48 in the 500 free.

#5: USC Trojans

USC went all-in on sprint freestyle with this recruiting class, and that has to be a bonus for whoever takes over the vacant head coaching job there. Kaitlyn Dobler is the kind of prospect retired coach Dave Salo generally thrived on. She’s a sprint breast/free combo with the best 50 free (22.01) in the domestic recruiting class and one of the better 100 breaststrokes (58.3) we’ve ever seen in a U.S. recruit. Throw in a 2:09.5 in the 200 breast and 48.6 in the 100 free, and you’ve got a swimmer who could be scoring in multiple individual events as a freshman and perhaps swimming the full slate of four relays and three individuals.

The Trojans also added Canadian standout Jade Hannahwho has long course backstrokes (59.6/2:09.2) and freestyles (25.8/56.2) that should convert to roughly NCAA invite level and thoroughly bolster USC’s relays in the absence of graduated star Louise Hansson. Hannah, in particular, has to be a deferred enrollment candidate as a Canadian Olympic contender, but there’s a chance USC could build medley relays on a Hannah-Dobler pairing for years to come.

Then it’s just sprint depth on sprint depth. Anicka Delgado is a California high school product who goes 22.5 and 49.3 in sprint free. Andrea Santander out of Florida is 22.9/49.6/1:47.0, Michigan’s Johanna Jorgenson is 22.8/50.0/1:47.4, and Florida’s Adair Sand 23.4/49.6/1:48.9. Caroline Famous is a 53.6 backstroker, but also 22.9 in the 50 free.

Then USC got one of the many strong breaststrokers in this class, with Colorado’s Caraline Baker (1:01.7/2:12.8) coming down from altitude to join the noted breaststroke factory.

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1 year ago

Who’s left? Cal-Texas-STAN-UVA?

Reply to  Swimmerj
1 year ago

Yep, it’ll be interesting so see who is at the top UVA or Stanford. Although Stanford got the best swimmer in the class, UVA got Walsh and others

Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

Personally I think Stanford will be at the top, although UVA will be close. Excited to see the final rankings.

Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

I’m curious too.

Those are two classes that would be slam dunk #1s in most seasons.

Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

I didn’t realize Lillie Nordmann was “chopped liver”.


GA Boy
1 year ago

Auburn has to be somewhere, this leaves me confused cause I don’t think they’re top 4 but they’re at least top 16, probably top 10, and there is no way they aren’t top 25 (including the the honorable mentions)!!

Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

AU needs to recruit and coach em up…stop yer whining. I just breathing ez that the GirlVOLS are in the top 8! With this great class, the amazing coaching, coonskin caps and our girl swimmers and divers learning clogging, we gonna be great.

Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Stay classy Tennessee.

Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
1 year ago

Lady Vol Disser is obviously a troll account on many different pages that doesn’t represent Tennessee

Reply to  VFL
1 year ago

I misquoted.

You stay classy Tennessee – Ron Burgundy


Reply to  VFL
1 year ago

Now dont get yer coonskin in a wad…

Reply to  GA Boy
1 year ago

Which “stars” did they sign that are guaranteed points at ncaas?

War Damn
1 year ago

No way is Auburn top 4. For the class of 2021 that’s a conversation, but not this class.

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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