Ranking The 2022 Men’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #1-4

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We continue our 2022 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 2022-2023 season.

A few important notes on our rankings:

  • The rankings listed are based on our Class of 2022 Re-Rank. “HM” refers to our honorable mentions and “BOTR” refers to our best of the rest section for top-tier recruits.
  • 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.
  • Some teams had not released a finalized 2022-23 team roster at the time these articles were published, meaning it’s possible we missed some names. Let us know in the comments below.

Best NCAA Swimming & Diving Recruiting Classes: Men’s Class of 2022

Previously ranked:

  • #16: Princeton Tigers / Cal Golden Bears (tie)
  • #15: Georgia Bulldogs
  • #14: Kentucky Wildcats
  • #13: Wisconsin Badgers
  • #12: Indiana Hoosiers*
  • #11: Michigan Wolverines
  • #10: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • #9: Tennessee Volunteers
  • #8: Texas Longhorns
  • #7: Virginia Tech H2Okies
  • #6: Virginia Cavaliers
  • #5: Arizona State Sun Devils

*Note: Indiana was a late addition to our top 16 ranks. We’ve updated previous posts to include IU in the 12th position.

#4: Texas A&M Aggies

  • Top-tier additions: #1 Baylor Nelson (NC – IM), #16 Connor Foote (TX – fly/free), Batuhan Filiz (Turkey – distance), Kaloyan Levterov (Bulgaria – back), Takuto Endo (Missouri transfer – diving)
  • The rest: Matthew Aigner (TX – diving), Garret Green (TX – free), Lane White (TX – free), Max Vega Cuevas (Mexico – back), McKennzey McDonald (AL – free), Shawn Mohseni (TX – back)

Texas A&M snagged the #1 recruit in our class (among American prospects, at least). North Carolina IM specialist Baylor Nelson heads to College Station, bringing with him an NCAA scoring time in the 200 IM (1:42.0) and an invite time in the 400 IM (3:41.5). He’s the best IM prospect we’ve ranked since Carson Foster, who is currently starring for another Texas-based college program.

Nelson is also 1:54.7 in the 200 breast, 1:41.3 in the 200 back and 1:44.8 in the 200 fly, so there’s plenty of potential for his third NCAA event. He’s also got enough free speed (19.9/44.9/1:36.1) to be a multi-relay threat at the college level.

Speaking of relays, Texas A&M got another key relay contributor in 20.1/43.1 sprinter Connor Footealso a 46.0 butterflyer and one of our top 20 recruits nationwide.

Internationally, the Aggies add a standout distance swimmer in Batuhan Filiz and a great backstroker in Kaloyan LevterovFiliz, out of Turkey, is 1:49.7/3:50.2/15:18 in the long course meter 200, 500, and 1500 freestyles. Those roughly convert to 1:35.2/4:16.9/14:57 in short course yards, not far off of NCAA invite level.

Levterov has been 54.9 and 1:56.5 in the long course meters backstrokes, roughly converting to 46.6/1:40.0 with a good chance to score at 2023 NCAAs.

The rest of the class is pretty deep, though developmental, with 20-point freestylers Garret Green (20.5), Lane White (20.3) and McKennzey McDonald (20.5).

The Aggies have also added Japanese diver Takuto Endo, a transfer out of Mizzou who is entering his junior campaign. Endo has scored at SECs (including third and fourth-place finishes in 2021) and qualified for NCAAs in each of his first two seasons.

#3: Stanford Cardinal

The top three recruiting classes are extremely close, and we expect plenty of comment-section arguments in favor of all three. Stanford brings in three of our top ten recruits nationally, plus a deep group of high-level support prospects.

The Stanford class is a little bit more distance-based than the top two classes, and if we’re forced to split hairs on the order of the top 3, we’ll lean on the relays as a tie-breaker. That said, Stanford has some of the best distance and IM talent in this class – two very strong points of the recruiting class as a whole.

Liam Custer is potentially a transcendent distance prospect. His 14:37 lifetime-best in the mile is the best time we’ve seen from a high school senior since a star-studden class of 2018 including Michael Brinegar at 14:35 and Bobby Finke at 14:37. Custer is also 4:18.4 in the 500 free and 3:48.4 in the 400 IM, with three good potential NCAA scoring events early in his career.

The Cardinal also adds 14:57/4:23 distance guy Henry Morrissey to the mix.

Zhier Fan might be the best breaststroker in this class. He’s got the top 200 breast time (1:52.9 – an NCAA invite time as of last year) and isn’t far off the top 100 breast time (52.9 is just six tenths from the best in the class). He’s also more versatile than a lot of top breaststroke, with 1:46.9/3:47.6 IMs that could actually become his best collegiate events.

Backstroker/IMer Josh Zuchowski has been a top-10 recruit since our sophomore ranks. He’s 46.8/1:41.2 in the backstrokes and 1:45.5/3:48.4 in the IMs. He’ll train alongside 47.9/1:44.4 backstroke prospect Hayden Kwan.

Meanwhile the free relays get a boost from a pair of great three-distance sprinters: Andres Dupont Cabrera (1:35.6/43.6/20.0) and Rafael Gu (1:37.8/44.6/20.3).

The other new face is U.S. National Team diver Peyton Donald, who should chip in some NCAA points right off the bat as a freshman.

#2: NC State Wolfpack

  • Top-tier additions: #2 Quintin McCarty (CO – free), #3 Michael Cotter (NC – free/IM), #11 Lance Norris (NC – distance), HM J.T. Ewing (VA – back), BOTR Kyle Ponsler (IN – free/back), BOTR Collin McKenzie (DC – IM/breast), Mason Hunter (Michigan transfer – breast), Drew Salls (FL – sprint free)
  • The rest: Stephen Conrad (AL – free/back), Roman Calederaro (Italy – diving), Ezra Dykema (OH – diving), Aiden Fuller (FL – free), Ryan Weaver (NC – back), Max Zum Tobel (FL – free), Spencer Bloom (VA- diving)

NC State got two of our top three recruits in the nation, who comprise the class’s best times in the 50, 100, and 200 frees. For a program historically built around relay production, that’s a dream recruiting class.

Quintin McCarty has become the best sprinter in the class, going 19.35 and 42.61 as a senior in the 50 and 100 frees. He’s also surprisingly versatile, with a 46.5 100 back that will probably be his third NCAA event and a 1:45.8 in the 200 IM (though that wouldn’t fit well with his 50 free in the NCAA format).

Michael Cotter holds the best 200 free time in this recruiting class at 1:33.80. He’s one of those rangy sprint free types who is as good in the sprints (20.1/43.0) as he is in the distance races (4:18.5/15:28) and could really go either way as a college swimmer. A wild card is his 1:44.5 in the 200 IM, a high-level time for a high schooler.

Versatility is a theme in this class beyond the sneaky IM talent of McCarty and Cotter. Kyle Ponsler is one of those hard-to-categorize swimmers who could go a number of different ways with his NCAA event lineup. He’s a 1:47.1/3:47.7 IMer, but also a 1:36.6/4:23.3 freestyler and a 1:45.3 backstroker. Collin McKenzie is a 1:46.2 IMer, 54.9/1:57.9 in breaststroke and 47.9/1:46 in backstroke.

The distance group adds one of the better distance men in a strong mile class: Lance Norris is 14:58 in the 1650 free and 4:19.6 in the 500 free, plus 3:47.2 in the 400 IM.

Fifth-year transfer Mason Hunter should help replace the breaststroke leg on the medley relays, where NC State graduated 51.8 breaststroke Rafal Kusto but bring in the 51.8/1:54.1 Hunter.

A few other names of note: J.T. Ewing is a strong 1:41.8 200 backstroker who is also 47.7 in the 100. The class is thick with developing sprinters, including 19.9 Drew Salls20.0 Max Zum Tobel, and the versatile Stephen Conrad, a 20.4 freestyler who is also 47.6 in the 100 back.

#1: Florida Gators

Florida claims the #1 recruiting class in our ranks by bringing in two Olympians – one from Canada and the other from the U.S.

Josh Liendo is a game-changing addition. The Canadian standout won two individual bronze medals at the 2022 World Championships and has the potential to be one of the top individual scorers in the entire NCAA next season. He’s a true sprint free/fly specialist, and that role carries huge relay value in the NCAA format, too.

Liendo’s long course bests (21.6/47.5 free and 50.8) suggest he’s a likely three-event A finalist at NCAAs, if, of course, he can make the transition to yards. Those times convert roughly to 18.8/41.7 in free and 44.2 in butterfly – times that would have placed 6th, 12th, and 5th, respectively, at last year’s NCAA Championships.

U.S. Olympian Jake Mitchell transfers in after two years with the University of Michigan. Mitchell had a really rough NCAA meet last spring and missed scoring, but his lifetime-bests of 4:12.8 in the 500 free and 14:42.6 in the 1650 free would have scored last year, and his 1:33.5 in the 200 free makes him a key 800 free relay weapon.

The Gators add star sprinter Dawson Joycean in-state pickup who is 19.7/43.5 in sprint free out of high school. At the other end of the yardage spectrum is Gio Linscheerwhose 14:51 lifetime-best in the mile would have scored at NCAAs last year.

Florida also adds 20.1/44.1 sprinter Daniel Gordon out of Pennsylvania and long course 22.7/50.0 sprinter Edouard Fullum-Huot to the relay stable. (Fullum-Huot’s times roughly convert to 19.7/43.7).

Other names of note: Cam Abaqueta is 1:47.6 in the 200 IM and 47.5 in the 100 back. Canada’s Eric Brown has been 3:52 and 15:17 in the long course distance events (roughly converting to 4:18/14:56 in yards). And Lithuanian breaststroker Aleksas Savickas‘s best times (1:01.2/2:13.3 LCM) convert to about 53.0/1:55.3 in yards.

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1 year ago

47’5 in the LCM 100 free converting to a 41’7 100y free always makes me laugh hard

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Mclovin
1 year ago

Especially because that would mean Dressel’s 39.9 would convert to roughly a 45.7.

1 year ago

I don’t see Cal on the list at all–was their recruiting class really that bad?

Reply to  Andy
1 year ago

They are at 16, but when published they were missing a decent portion of their class so they should be higher up

HOO love
1 year ago

did I miss the #5-8 article? can’t seem to find it

Cousin Eddie
1 year ago

I do t know. The title is “Recruiting Class”. I was thinking True Freshman coming in for first year as an NCAA athlete that we are looking in many cases as a pay off in 2-3 yrs. A first year scorer is great but how many (real) freshman will really do that?

The transfer factor should be noted but as for recruiting class

1. NC State
2. Stanford
3 A&M
4. FL (maybe)

1 year ago

I try to be the voice of the divers on this site, but saying Peyton Donald should contribute NCAA points right off the bat is a bit of a stretch. Great diver and no hate but I’m not convinced you should put him in the freshman points scorer category quite yet

Definitely Not Sun Yang
1 year ago

Kind of absurd that the scy conversion time of Liendo’s 47.5 would have only placed him 12th at last years NCAA’s

Reply to  Definitely Not Sun Yang
1 year ago

It’s because conversions suck

Reply to  Pdp
1 year ago

If we know conversions suck and SwimSwam knows conversion sucks, why don’t they just adjust the convertor…

Reply to  Definitely Not Sun Yang
1 year ago

I really dont know how they make these conversions, but 100 free is maybe the most ridiculous of them all

Chanadler Bong
1 year ago

*Waiting on all the Hoosier outrage in being a complete afterthought

Reply to  Chanadler Bong
1 year ago

Yeah…that was a bad miss on our part.

PK Doesn’t Like His Long Name
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I think if you’re going to adjust the rankings for missing the Hoosiers that they should also be adjusted for all of the depth that was added to the Cal section. The initial ranking made sense when it was just 4 recruits due to the lack of depth, but their best recruit is better than teams above them, and the depth is now as good or better than those teams.

Last edited 1 year ago by PK Doesn’t Like His Long Name
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I also think UNC deserved HM.

Reply to  Nonrevhoofan
1 year ago
1 year ago

Eric Brown is a National team member and Edouard Wiliam Huot was a finalist at trials how is the former in the “the rest” category and the latter in the “Top Tier”?? Not trying to bash Edouard I’m just confused by the placement.

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

distance is not as relevant at FLA than sprint dude

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

u coulda at least copy pasted his name too💀

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

I think u meant erik grey?..

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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