Ranking The 2021 Women’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: Honorable Mentions

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We continue our 2021 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 2021-2022 season.

A few important notes on our rankings:

  • 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.
  • Several swimmers that would’ve been freshmen last season deferred enrollment for one year in order to focus on the postponed Olympic Games. There were also teams that didn’t compete last year, such as those from the Ivy League and Arizona State, so last season’s would-be first-years are now redshirt freshmen in 2021-22. Due to the fact that these swimmers were included in our 2020 recruiting class rankings, they have been left out of these rankings.
  • Some teams had not released a finalized 2021-22 team roster at the time these articles were published, meaning it’s possible we missed some names. Let us know in the comments below.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Texas A&M Aggies: The Aggie class is headlined by in-state product Kaitlyn Owens, a top-flight 100 backstroker (53.5) that should be able to contribute to the sprint free relays down the line (23.0/50.2 best times). Pitt transfer Abby Grottle shores up the distance group after placing seventh at the 2021 ACCs in the 1650 (16:28.67), while they also have a pair of butterfly/IMers in Joelle Reddin (1:59.9 FL, 2:03.2/4:17 IM) and Sarah Holt (54.2/1:59.2 FL, 2:03.9 IM). Shannon Bagnal is a sub-2:00 200 backstroker, and Italian Alice Marini has promising IM conversions (2:00.6/4:17.0).

Florida State Seminoles: FSU’s international recruiting pipeline continues this season with the additions of Swedes Edith Jernstedt and Gloria Muzito, with Jernstedt’s fly conversions projecting her under the NCAA cutline from last season (52.6/1:56.6). Muzito (22.5 conversion) and Alexandra Dicks (22.74) bring a strong sprint free presence, while Jenny Bird is an up-and-comer with a 54.6 100 fly and Emily Trieschmann (1:47.8/4:48/16:35) is a solid distance prospect.

Alabama Crimson Tide: Kailyn Winter figures to be a future relay linchpin with her 22.4 50 free PB, and is also an elite 100 flyer at 53.5, with future teammate Anna Ogren (53.2/1:59.1) also a nice butterfly addition. Sophia Garrison (1:01.7/2:15.9) and Kasia Norman (1:01.7) will join Canadian Avery Wiseman for a strong breaststroke freshman class, though Wiseman is technically a redshirt freshman.

Arizona State Sun Devils: ASU picks up a high-end breaststroker in Izabella Adame (1:00.3/2:13.8), who also has a third event that will be competitive at the top level in the 100 fly (53.8). Australian Charli Brown‘s 4:39.6 SCM 400 IM converts down to sub-4:12 in yards, just two seconds outside of NCAA scoring position, and she’s also well versed in freestyle (1:45.6/4:47 conversions). The Sun Devils also have several redshirt freshman after the team didn’t compete last season.

UCLA Bruins: The Bruins land Eva Carlson, one of the top breaststrokers in the class with bests of 1:00.4/2:12.4, who will be in contention to be swimming in Pac-12 ‘A’ finals this season. UCLA also adds Turkey’s Gizem Guvenc, whose 200 free LCM conversion (1:44.5) is NCAA scoring-worthy, and sprinter Joanie Cash (22.7/50.6 FR, 53.5 FLY) will be a nice relay asset. Florida native Paige MacEachern adds versatility.

Louisville Cardinals: Louisville’s class is headlined by German breaststroker Kim Herkle, who projects to be an NCAA scorer from the jump in the 200 breast and 400 IM if her conversions carry over (2:07.3 BR, 4:08.0 IM). Krista Wheeler is within striking distance of an NCAA cut in the 100 back (53.2), while Madie Hall is a sub-23/sub-50 free sprinter. The Cardinals also grabbed Russian Polina Nevmovenko, who has 22.6/49.0/1:44.2 free conversions that make her extremely valuable both individually and on relays, but her best event will likely fall in the 500, where her 4:07.3 SCM 400 free best converts down to an NCAA-scoring 4:42.6. Brazilian Fernanda Celidonio (54.6/1:58.7 backstroke conversions) and breaststroker Adry Kasemets (1:01.8).

Northwestern Wildcats: Ashley Strouse marks the lone top-20 recruit whose team is not ranked in the top 16 classes this season, headlining a relatively thin Wildcat class with her elite bests in the freestyle events. Strouse’s PBs in her premier events came back in 2018, but she’s still got NCAA scoring times in the 200 (1:45.4), 500 (4:41.4) and 1650 (16:01.2). Italian Jasmine Nocentini is a big-time freestyle addition coming over from FIU, with bests of 22.2/48.9/1:45, and international swimmers Kenisha Gupta (23.2/50.2 FR) and Emily Park (54.7 FL) are also solid. Justine Murdock (54.3/1:56.4) is a strong backstroker.

Harvard Crimson: After the team didn’t compete last season, Harvard brings in a pair of first-year swimmers in contention to earn an NCAA invite in Abby Carr and Erin Cavanagh, not factoring in their 2020 signing class that will be redshirt freshmen this season. Carr is a 1:57.7 200 flyer that also has a 54.0 100 and solid backstroke times (54.6/1:58.6), while Cavanagh is a 4:13-mid 400 IMer.

Arkansas Razorbacks: The Razorbacks’ top get was Italian Eleonora Camisa, a butterfly specialist that’s got a 1:00.30 LCM time in the 100, converting down to 53.06, just over three-tenths off the NCAA cutline last season.

Virginia Tech Hokies: VA Tech brings in a backstroke-heavy class, led by Janika Perezous (53.9/1:58.0) and Anna Summers (55.7/1:57.8). British breaststroker Charlotte Rigg has potential with LCM bests (1:09.0/2:29.7) converting to 1:02.1/2:11.2.

Missouri Tigers: Mizzou’s freshman class has no single standout, but rather a deep squad primarily made up of backstrokers and flyers. Colleen Duffy is a 54-mid backstroker with sub-23 50 free abilities, Ashley Gill is a 54.6 flyer, and Brecken Merkel (55.5/2:00.0 FL) has 200 fly potential.

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2 years ago

Has something happened to Ashley Strouse of Northwestern? Her recent SC times haven’t been close to what she’s been able to do in previous years. 16:01 in the 1650 back in 2018, 16:14 in 2019, and no swims in 2020 or 2021. Her LC time in may also was only 16:51, above the trials cut, and her 200 Free at Olympic Trials (PB 1:59) was well off, above 2:00. Just out of curiosity, has she faced any sort of injury or interruption in her training? Amazing athlete, but seems a bit concerning when an athlete hasn’t swam their signature event in almost 2 years.

2 years ago

Has Strouse had any type of interruption to her training? She hasn’t swam a 1650 in almost 2 years, and her recent success shows that she is well off of her best times. Hopefully she can get back to the 2018/2019 form at the NCAA level, but definitely concerning if an athlete who’s 16:01 goes 16:51 in LC, and only 16:14 as the most recent swim.

An Old Cardinal
2 years ago

Louisville is also bringing in a 22.6/49.00/1:44.27/4:42 Freestyler from Russia. Rumor has it she’s on campus already. Imagine that bumps them up a bit?

Reply to  An Old Cardinal
2 years ago

“rumor has it” ooooooooooo rumor has it

2 years ago

Forgot about Texas A&M and Olympic semi finalist Aviv Barzilay?

Reply to  James Sutherland
2 years ago

Then why is Avery Wiseman included on both rankings ?

2 years ago

Will be interesting to see who is ranked 13-16 and which of these honorable mentions maybe should be there instead.

Last edited 2 years ago by Swim

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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