- Women’s honorable mentions
- Women’s classes #13-16
- Women’s classes #5-8
- Women’s classes #1-4
- Men’s honorable mentions
- Men’s classes #13-16
- Men’s classes #9-12
- Men’s classes #5-8
- Men’s classes #1-4
- Individual recruit rankings – Girls final rankings (April 2020)
- Individual recruit rankings – Boys final rankings (April 2020)
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.
- #16: Texas A&M Aggies
- #15: Alabama Crimson Tide
- #14: Georgia Bulldogs
- #13: Virginia Tech H2Okies
#12: Northwestern Wildcats
- Top-tier additions: Selen Ozbilen (Turkey – free), Lola Mull (MI – distance free), Annika Wagner (IL – IM/breast)
- The rest: Erika Chen (MD – distance free), Isabella Wallace (OR – free)
Northwestern has been on the rise under new coach Jeremy Kipp, and this class is going to keep powering that move up the ranks. Selen Ozbilen joins a wave of strong international recruits to the Chicago-area Big Ten program, and she could wind up being one of the best sprint free recruits in this class. A Turkish national relay record-holder, Ozbilen has long course bests of 25.4 and 55.3 that put her in the ballpark of going sub-22 and sub-49 in short course yards. She can swim up to 2:02.1 in long course free, and should be a multi-relay threat for Northwestern right out of the gate.
Lola Mull is one of the best distance swimmers outside our top 20, with times of 4:43.3 and 16:12 – she should be in the hunt for an NCAA invite as a rookie.
Meanwhile Annika Wagner is a key in-state pickup who is 4:14.8 in the 400 IM and 1:58.6 in the 200 IM, with 1:01.8/2:13.0 breaststroke added in.
Potentially every member of this class has relay potential: Ozbilen’s impact is obvious, but Mull and Erika Chen are both 1:49s in the 200 free and Wagner is a strong 1:47.0. Isabella Wallace is 23.3 and 50.4 with 55s in both fly and back.
#11: Ohio State Buckeyes
- Top-tier additions: #19 Kit Kat Zenick (TX – sprint free/fly), Emily Crane (England – free), Catherine Russo (MT – sprint free/fly), Janessa Mathews (OH – breast), Liberty Gilbert (CA – mid-distance free)
- The rest: Kyra Sommerstad (NY – back), Maya Geringer (OH – mid-distance free), Mia Lachey (OH – mid-distance free), Tristan Harrison (VA – fly/free)
After winning Big Tens last year, Ohio State loses some distance types but loads up on sprinters. Kit Kat Zenick out of Texas and Emily Crane out of England have a chance to be a dynamic duo for years. Zenick is 22.3/48.8 and rising very fast. She adds a 52.5 fly that might be her best overall event. Crane is one of a bunch of 25-second long course sprinters in this nationwide recruiting class. 25.7/55.2 should put her in the early hunt for at least an NCAA invite, provided she can translate her speed well to yards. Long course conversions are never perfect, but for comparison’s sake, Crane is actually faster in long course meters than Zenick (26.0/56.9), so picturing Crane at Zenick’s short course times or better isn’t a crazy projection.
Montana’s Catherine Russo is a pure sprinter with a 22.7 free and a 53.9 fly. It’s a little more range and a little less speed for Liberty Gilbert, who is 4:48.3 in the 500 and 1:48.5 in the 200. And Janessa Mathews is a very solid breaststroker (1:00.9/2:13.2) who keeps this class well-rounded across disciplines.
#10: Michigan Wolverines
- Top-tier additions: #17 Kathryn Ackerman (MI – IM), Sophia Tuinman (MI – back), Claire Donan (KY – breast/IM), Claire Tuttle (MI – breast/free), Noelle Kaufmann (NY – mid-distance free), Sophie Housey (MI – free), Natalie Kan (Hong Kong – fly/free)
- The rest: Casey Chung (MI – back), Claire Newman (MI – sprint free), Kalli Fama (AZ – free)
Michigan got a priority recruit in Kathryn Ackerman, the only Michigan high schooler in our top 20 ranks. She’s a great IMer (4:07.7/1:57.2) with a time in the 400 that would have scored at the most recent NCAA Championships. Ackerman is also very good across the 200-yard distance, with a 1:54.3 backstroke and a 1:47.1 freestyle. Michigan has a strong track record with 200 types lately, so Ackerman should be a good fit.
Michigan got a pair of Claires to build up their breaststrokes after graduating Miranda Tucker: Claire Donan (1:00.8/2:11.7) is also a good IMer (1:59.1/4:16.9), while Claire Tuttle (1:00.7/2:15.7) crosses over more into sprint freestyle (22.7). And following that name theme, Claire Newman adds another sub-23 in the 50 free.
Sophia Tuinman (53.9/1:55.1) and Casey Chung (53.4/1:56.3) load up the backstroke depth, and Kalli Fama (1:48.4) falls in with that stellar 200 free group in a Wolverine class that spans a lot of disciplines. Michigan has had a great recruiting pipeline from Hong Kong, and Natalie Kan is the latest recruiting nab. She’s 1:00.7 in long course fly.
#9: NC State Wolfpack
- Top-tier additions: #8 Abby Arens (NC – breast/IM), Andrea Podmanikova (SMU transfer – breast/IM), Abby Pilkenton (GA – free), Abby Doss (PA – distance free), Yara Hierath (Germany/NY – distance free), Megan Pulley (VA – fly)
- The rest: Ashley Cusano (VA – fly/back), Katey Lewicki (CO – back/fly), Mary O’Neill (OH – diving), Morgan Jones (NC – back), McKaley Goldblum (NC – free)
There are a handful of great breaststrokers in this class, and NC State got one in Abby Arens, the in-state pickup who is 59.7 and 2:08.0 and projects to score at NCAAs early on in her career. Arens is hyper-versatile – her 1:56.4 IM is maybe the event to watch, given NC State’s recent successes in the IMs. She’s also 22.9/50.2/1:47.8 in freestyle and could eventually cross over there for relays, the way Sophie Hansson has.
SMU transfer Andrea Podmanikova has already been very successful at the NCAA level, winning three AAC breaststroke event titles over two years. Times of 59.6 and 2:08.6 are very comparable to Arens and in NCAA scoring range.
Where Michigan went for a monopoly over Claires, NC State countered with a recruiting run on Abbys. Abby Pilkenton and Abby Doss join Abby Arens in this group. Pilkenton is 1:47.0 in the 200 free and should be a 100/200 freestyle and relay contributor down the road. Doss is a distance swimmer with a 16:31 mile and a 4:49 500.
Yara Hierath is a German national who has competed out of the U.S. for a few years, so she’s already got some short course yards data points. Originally a UC – San Diego commit, Hierath brings 16:33/1:48.8 freestyles to NC State, and long course times of 2:01.3/4:14.0/16:41.0 probably paint an even better picture than that. As with Arens, keep an eye on Hierath’s 4:45.7 long course 400 IM, which has been a specialty event for NC State’s women lately.