Ranking The 2023 Men’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #5-8

With the NCAA season upon us, we continue our annual rankings of the incoming recruiting classes for the 2023-24 campaign.

See also:

We continue our 2023 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 2023-2024 season.

A few important notes on our rankings:

  • The rankings listed are based on our Class of 2023 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 being 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, though weighed less than recruits who came in with four seasons of eligibility.
  • 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 2023-24 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 2023

Previously Ranked:

  • #16: Yale Bulldogs
  • #15: Virginia Tech Hokies
  • #14: Harvard Crimson
  • #13: USC Trojans
  • #12: Tennessee Volunteers
  • #11: Northwestern Wildcats
  • #10: Texas A&M Aggies
  • #9: Georgia Bulldogs

#8: VIRGINIA CAVALIERS

After a bit of a down year that saw them fall to 15th at the NCAA Championships, the Virginia men are reloading with a sizable class that’s brimming with talent, including two Honorable Mention recruits and one game-changing transfer.

Jack Madoch and Hayden Bellotti come in with similar abilities, as they’re both sub-20/43-point freestylers with a 46-second 100 fly. Madoch is more sprint-oriented with a 50 best time of 19.5, while Bellotti is 43.1/1:36.2 in the 100/200 to make him a valuable relay asset.

The 200 free is certainly a point of strength for the Cavaliers in this class, as in addition to Bellotti, they’ve got Zach Larrick (1:35.2), Noah Dyer (1:36.3) and Tristen Davin (1:36.9) coming in with impressive PBs.

The big-time transfer coming in for UVA is Anthony Grimm, one of the top-ranked recruits in the high school class of 2021 who initially retired after one season at Texas, but after entering the transfer portal in March, he made the official move to the Cavs shortly after the conclusion of last season’s NCAAs.

With three seasons of eligibility remaining, Grimm has no real weakness and could realistically focus on any of the sprint events, though his priority will likely be backstroke, where he’s 45.4 in the 100, a time he produced to place 19th at the 2022 NCAAs. Matt Brownstead has been a reliable lead-off man on UVA’s 200 medley relay, but Grimm could take over that role this season—his 50 back PB of 20.55 would’ve ranked 4th in the relay at NCAAs last year.

Grimm is also 19.3/44.0 in free, 52.5 in breast, 46.0 in fly and 1:45.8 in IM.

In addition to the 200 free times mentioned above, Simon Lins (20.1/44.4), Dyer (20.8/44.3), Davin (20.4/44.3) add to the sprinting depth, while Larrick is also 44.6 in the 100 and 4:25 in the 500.

In backstroke, in addition to Grimm, Will Thompson (47.7/1:43.5), Jack Berube (48.3/1:46.5), Lins (47.6) and Davin (1:45.4) provide plenty of depth, and the butterfly core is also getting a boost with Lins at 46.9 and Dyer and Davin both sub-49.

Breaststroke is highlighted by in-state products Jay Gerloff and Dyer, with Gerloff coming in with a 54.7 100 breast PB while Dyer is at 55.3.

They’re both solid in the 200 IM as well (1:49 for Dyer, 1:50 for Gerloff), but the top newcomer there is Larrick, who is 1:46.7 in the 200 and 3:51.8 in the 400.

While no one in Virginia’s class is a clear-cut NCAA scorer right now, with Grimm right on the edge, that’s generally the case for male swimmers and it takes some development to become a top-16 swimmer in the nation. This class has potential across the board and if executed properly, should pay dividends for the team down the road.

#7: ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS

The Sun Devils’ class is centered around Ilya Kharun, who might already be the favorite for the NCAA title in the 200 fly after putting up a time of 1:40.68 in his ASU yards debut in late September.

A product of the Sandpipers of Nevada, it’s no surprise that Kharun is extremely versatile, a coach’s dream, with the ability to race any event under the sun and be competitive. He already owns the program record in the 100 fly (44.88), and will likely turn to the 500 free (4:20.5) as his third event. His other best times include 20.1/43.7/1:35.4/14:56 in free, 49.2/1:46.5 in back, 55.5 in breast and 1:46.6/3:46.8 in IM.

Kharun already owns two Short Course Championship medals, most impressively having claimed silver in the 100 fly at the 2022 SC Worlds in a sizzling time of 49.03, and came within 16 one-hundredths of winning a medal at LC Worlds this summer in the 200 fly (1:53.82). He could easily be the top-scoring freshman this season.

Beyond Kharun, ASU’s class isn’t necessarily stacked with immediate impact swimmers, but it doesn’t need to be given that their team is priming to take a run at the national title and their freshmen will be given some runway to develop.

There are a few who could surprise this season, however, with a pair of international swimmers in Filip Senc-Samardzic and Reece Grady joined by Jack Schuster, who is two years older than the other domestic freshmen.

Senc-Samardzic is a sprinter who represented Canada at both the 2022 Junior Pan Pacs and 2023 World Juniors, coming off setting best times in the 100 free (49.80), 200 free (1:49.82) and 100 fly (52.85) in Netanya. Both of his free PBs were set on relay lead-offs, indicating he’s got the ability to step up in the team events which is something every college program covets.

He’s also been 23.3 LCM in the 50 free, and has conversions that translate to 20.3/43.4/1:36.0 for free and 46.4 for fly, which are probably on the conservative side.

Senc-Samardzic and Schuster will make for great training mates, as they’ll join an impressive ASU sprint squad head up by coach Herbie Behm that’s seen some swimmers make massive gains in a short amount of time (see Kulow, Jonny). Schuster graduated high school two years ago, but due to varying circumstances—“some injuries, illness and COVID”—is only joining a collegiate program this fall.

He owns best times of 19.6 and 43.1 in the sprint free events, and recently blasted a PB of 22.61 in the LCM 50 at the U.S. Pro Championships.

Grady is a British distance specialist who has been 3:54.3/8:07.7/15:34.2 in LCM (and 3:49/8:00/15:12 in SCM), making for a good prospect who should be able to challenge the 15-minute barrier in SCY with some improvement. For what it’s worth, 15:34 in long course converts to 15:10 in the 1650.

For this season, the sprint free group will be further bolstered by the addition of Cam Peel, a fifth-year transfer from Michigan who is 19.2/42.7 and has 18.8/42.1 relay splits under his belt. ASU is already well-equipped in the free relays, but Peel could end up challenging for a spot.

Adding depth is incoming freshman Leo Roden (20.5/44.5/1:37.9/4:33).

Asher Havenhill is a bit of an all-arounder who’s best at back (48.7/1:48.3), Quinlan Gould is a back specialist (47.8/1:48.0), and Kaden Guzman enters as an intriguing breaststroke prospect with a 100-yard PB of 54.3.

#6: NC STATE WOLFPACK

NC State’s pipeline of elite sprint freestylers continues with this class, with a pair of sub-20 swimmers in the 50 and a trio who are 43.7 or better in the 100.

#8 Hudson Williams has an impressive freestyle pedigree with best times of 19.5/42.5/1:35.8, while BOTR Jerry Fox is an in-state product who is 19.7/43.1/1:36.5 in yards and notably set a PB of 49.5 in the LCM 100 free in July.

Williams is also strong in backstroke (45.8/1:43.5) and is one of several swimmers in the class with a competitive 200 IM time (1:46.5).

The freestyle additions also include #16 Chase Mueller, who, though he’ll also be focusing on backstroke, is 1:34.6 in the 200 free and ranks 4th in the class with his 4:16 500 free. Mueller, also 43.7 in the 100 free, is 1:42.0 in the 200 back, which figures to be his #3 event to go along with the 500 and 200 free.

On the distance side, BOTR Sam Flack is on an upward trajectory with 4:19.2/15:07 times in the 500 and 1650.

NC State’s breaststroke group is getting a much-needed punch in the arm with the addition of HM Will Heck, the class’s #1 100 breaststroker with a PB of 52.3. He’s also 1:55.9 in the 200 breast and 1:46.6 in the 200 IM, giving him three clear events to key in on while also being relied upon relay services, maybe as soon as this season.

They also bring in Henry Lee, who is a 54.6/2:01 breaststroker with a notable 1:02.3 LCM best time. He’s versatile, with other PBs including 20.3/44.4 in free, 48.7 in back, 48.5 in fly and 1:48.5 in the 200 IM.

Wells Walker (20.0/44.3/1:38.9) adds more sprint free depth, and Mitchell Ledford (46.3/1:45.8) is an intriguing add on the butterfly side who is also impressive in free (20.0/44.0/1:37.2).

And although they aren’t part of this season’s recruiting class, NC State will also be getting a big boost from redshirt freshmen Michael Cotter, JT Ewing and Quintin McCarty, who all missed the majority of last season.

#5: STANFORD CARDINAL

Similar to the women’s team, the Stanford men welcome a small but mighty class that includes three recruits ranked inside our top 11 in the 2023 re-rank.

Leading that charge is top-ranked Rex Maurer, the National High School Record holder who has an unmatched range (in the class) in the freestyle events, owning the top time in both the 500 free (4:12.33) and 1650 free (14:54.71) along with one of the fastest in the 200 free (1:33.54). His 500 free time is already NCAA-scoring worthy.

Maurer is also #1 in the class in the 400 IM (3:41.9), and could easily be a relay player with his sprint times of 19.7/43.2. He’s an elite backstroker at 46.0/1:42.3, though freestyle and the 400 IM will likely take precedence in college.

Joining Maurer on The Farm is #7 Henry McFadden, coming in at 1:32.9 in the 200 free to put him within striking distance of scoring in one of the NCAA’s deepest events. McFadden is coming off a big summer that included winning silver at the World Championships as a prelim member of the U.S. 800 free relay, and he figures to jump into college and be an instant scorer.

He’s also 4:16.9 in the 500 free, 1:42.8 in the 200 back and 1:44.3 in the 200 fly, and has 20.1/43.7 sprint accolades to make him a future relay asset.

#11 Gibson Holmes, a product of the Mason Manta Rays, is one of the most versatile swimmers ranked in the top 20, but his specialty undeniably lies in fly, where his 1:42.3 best time in the 200 puts him under the 2023 NCAA cutline. Holmes is also 46.7 in the 100 fly and 1:44.5 in the 200 IM, giving him three events to focus on individually.

He’s also got 20.3/43.3/1:35.6 free times, plus a 54.8 100 breast and 3:45.2 400 IM to consider as options, even if just in dual meets.

Rounding out the domestic class is HM Ethan Harrington, a much-needed sprint freestyle addition who is the class’s fastest 50-yard swimmer at 19.45. Stanford had no one split sub-19 on the 200 free relay last season at NCAAs, so Harrington should give them a nice boost there and challenge to move into the top eight.

Harrington is also 42.9 in the 100 free, and will likely look to the 100 fly (47.2) as a third event, especially coming off an impressive 54.3 best time in the LCM event in late June.

Joining from the international ranks is Singaporean Jonathan Tan, who is sub-22 (21.91) and sub-49 (48.80) in the sprints to give them another big-time sprinting addition who will have a significant relay presence.

In This Story

36
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

36 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Swim Alchemist
6 months ago

Jonathan Tan is not being given enough credit. A 21/48 50/100 LCM freestyler as an incoming freshman is absolutely blazing. That’s like an 18/41 in SCY.

Last edited 6 months ago by Swim Alchemist
JP input is too short
Reply to  Swim Alchemist
6 months ago

Yeah, I feel like Tan > Mikkel Lee and leaving aside feelings about Stanford development (since this is recruiting rankings after all), Maurer + McFadden is at least = Hafnaoui.

Justin Pollard
Reply to  JP input is too short
6 months ago

It’s tough to say that Maurer & McFadden = Hafnaoui. If Hafnaoui wins the 500 & mile, that’s 40 points. Will he score in the 200? Not sure. But Maurer & McFadden won’t win 2 events and might not even score in 3 events between them. I guess what could increase their value is relay contribution.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Justin Pollard
6 months ago

Maurer could very well score in 3 by himself, I would think. Plus Hafnaoui only contributes in 1 relay while Maurer/McFadden ought to make up half an 800 free relay plus at least one should be on the 400 free relay.

mds
Reply to  JP input is too short
6 months ago

“Maurer + McFadden is at least = Hafnaoui.”
Maybe; maybe not. Will certainly be fun to re-evaluate at season’s end. A matter of potential points v more sure points. If both Maurer and McFadden crazy hit, they MIGHT even outscore Hafnaoui; But absent injury or illnes, Hafnaoui, who showed with a phenomenal summer that he has responded well to living and training in Bloomington, will quite likely have two wins (40 points) plus whatever points he might pick up in a third event. Lets just say the 200 free. In his opening meet v Kentucky, he had a LCM 200 free at 1:49.63, while swimming 3:56 51 in the 400, nearly 16 seconds off his best. If he improves… Read more »

IUfan
Reply to  JP input is too short
6 months ago

IU has like 16 freshman and a transfer. Assuming class size gave them an edge in these rankings.

jp input is too short
Reply to  IUfan
6 months ago

That’s probably true. Sheer probabilities mean at least a few of those guys ought to become scorers.

mds
Reply to  Swim Alchemist
6 months ago

Agreed. The article seems to undervalue Tan a bit, but jumping to “18/41” calls for a closer analysis. Using the SwimSwam Swimulator time converter puts his LCM 50 at SCY 18.81, an A Final swim at ’23 NCAAs. Running his :48.80 through Swimulator puts him at :41.98, which would have put him in a non-scoring 17th in prelims, slipping between Texans Danny Krueger and Luke Hobson. Both Tan swims are excellent but your estimate is an oversimplification, to the point of being a bit misleading. Whether the tenths are hi or lo for swims in this range can make a difference of 8-12 places in meets with depth of NCAA caliber.

Jimmie Boy
Reply to  mds
6 months ago

When the article was originally posted, Tan was left off of Stanford’s list, an innocent error. With the amendment of Tan, I’m wondering if staff, would y’all see this addition move Stanford up the list?

Nonrevhoofan
6 months ago

Just for 100% completeness: UVA also added UNCW transfer Sam O’Brien, a 3rd year distance specialist with A/B finalist times at ACCs, Will Tempas, a Duke graduate 5th year specializing in breast; and Teddy Cross, a C’ville native who improved significantly in his first year at Mid-Major Loyola (MD).

chazoozle
6 months ago

How is the top breaststroke recruit not a top 25 recruit?

Horninco
Reply to  chazoozle
6 months ago

Is that are requirement ? Being fastest in the class is an accomplishment, but his other two events don’t look like they rank as well

I bet they come along as he matures though

Pescatarian
Reply to  chazoozle
6 months ago

Because breaststrokers often a hard time find a hard time finding a third conference or spots on the free relays (3 of those).

K Chilly
6 months ago

Great to see NC State with the solid breastroke recruit! With the impact on relays, the value of one breastroker is equivalent to getting 2 or three solid butterfliers.

chazoozle
6 months ago

Ilya should have been a higher ranked recruit than Rex

snarky
Reply to  chazoozle
6 months ago

It’s SCY. He really hasn’t done the same things SCY as Rex.. yet.

Justin Pollard
Reply to  snarky
6 months ago

19.5, 44.8, 1:40 butterflies beg to differ

mds
Reply to  snarky
6 months ago

Sorry, Snarky. Rex is great and has the bloodlines to go far. But I kinda dispute the SCY PB conclusion you suggest betwen Rex and Ilya. Let’s compare the PBs scoring for their most likely NCAA calendars.

Rex: Day Two: 500 4:12.33, 12th in prelim — 5 pts.
Day Three: 200 1:33.54, 31st in prelim — zip, nada or/
400 IM 3:41.94, 17th in prelim — zip, nada
Day Four: 1650 14:54.71, 25th — zip, nada
200 Back 1:42.30, 32nd — zip, nada
100 Free :43.28, 53rd — zip, nada
Relays: Flat sprint frees: :19.77, :43.28, 1:33.54, Backs: :22.00, :46.04

Ilya: Day One 4×50 MR, fly :19.51 first dual, ASU :19:74 on 2nd place… Read more »

jp input is too short
Reply to  mds
6 months ago

Shouldn’t be counting Ilya’s college results for a recruiting ranking. Now, I’d be with you if you used his still-ridiculous SCM swims to compare.

mds
Reply to  jp input is too short
6 months ago

That is probably fair for a recruiting article, jp input is too short. Thanks. But analysis of Ilya’s value has already changed, especially for the relays, in seeing Sept/Oct. duals in SCY.

CosPAC
6 months ago

Who’s the fourth team? Indiana? I have Florida, Cal and Texas as top three.

LBSWIM
Reply to  CosPAC
6 months ago

Indiana maybe?

IU Swammer
Reply to  CosPAC
6 months ago

I doubt Indiana is outside the top 15, so IU has to be top 4.

Chanandler Bong
Reply to  IU Swammer
6 months ago

Big ooofs they forgot Indiana all together last year so hopefully they didn’t again!

https://swimswam.com/ranking-the-2022-mens-ncaa-recruiting-classes-1-4/#comment-1122676

Reid
6 months ago

I don’t know all the classes off the top of my head but this seems a bit low for Stanford. I guess the knock is in the lack of versatility, but 1-7-11 plus a 19.4/42.9 sprinter feels like there’s a strong argument it could be ahead of at least Florida or Texas, with a strong case for #1 overall. I’m guessing IU is number one with their automatic 40+ from Hafnaoui and some good pieces surrounding him.

swimmer
Reply to  Reid
6 months ago

Maybe Swimswam is factoring in the likelihood of any of their recruits dropping from their highschool personal bests ever again

NEW! Zesty Dipping Sauce
6 months ago

Rex Maurer’s ability to swim is the least impressive thing about him. Per sources Rex is eating a Papa John’s Family Meal Deal with a large two-topping Spicy Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust pizza with 10 Hot Lemon Pepper boneless wings (new Special Zesty Dipping Sauce on side) and washing it down with a 2-liter Diet Mountain Dew EVERY day until Papa John gives him that sweet, sweet NIL cash.

Day 9 and counting!! Come on Papa, feed Rex!

Last edited 6 months ago by NEW! Zesty Dipping Sauce

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 …

Read More »