Ranking The 2023 Women’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: #9-12

With the NCAA season upon us, it’s time for 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.


Previously ranked:

  • #16: Texas A&M Aggies
  • #15: Northwestern Wildcats
  • #14: North Carolina Tar Heels
  • #13: Cal Golden Bears


The reigning Ivy League champions bring in an international-heavy class that includes two swimmers featured in our 2023 class re-rank, Eleanor Sun and Mary McKenna.

Sun is a well-rounded swimmer with a sub-4:10 400 IM and fast enough times in the 200 fly (1:56.3) and 200 IM (1:58.8) that make her a legitimate contender for three individual victories in her Ivy League debut.

McKenna brings an intriguing distance free base (4:51/16:21), and they’ve got a pair of noteworthy overseas additions in Kamila Isaieva and Dakota Tucker.

Isaieva, a Ukrainian native, has finaled in all three breaststroke events at the European Juniors and competed at the 2022 Worlds in Budapest, owning impressive long course bests of 31.4, 1:09.6 and 2:29.4.

Tucker will likely be a good training partner for Sun, entering with IM times of 2:15/4:48 in long course and 2:11/4:40 in SCM which should put her in the 1:58/4:15 range in yards.


Alabama reloads with an impressive class headlined by two all-around sprinters, Jada Scott and Gaby Van Brunt, who were both featured in the BOTR section of our 2023 re-rank.

Scott can be competitive across all four strokes in 100 yards or less, with personal best times of 48.6, 54.2, 1:00.5 and 53.7 across free, back, breast and fly. That translates out to a 2:00.0 IM, though she’ll probably focus more on the 50 free (22.3) in college.

Van Brunt, one of four incoming freshmen on Alabama’s roster from the state of Georgia, is probably best in the 100 back (53.5) and 100 fly (52.9), but also has 22.6/49.8 in the sprint free events.

Cadence Vincent (22.7/49.2) brings more freestyle pedigree to the class, while Laurel Blase and Kate Christian are both solid backstrokers with an ability in the medley events. Both are notably 4:15 in the 400 IM, which is a good base to have entering college.

Sydney Blackhurst adds breaststroke depth at 1:01.8/2:12.8.


Auburn’s class is jam-packed with potential, as 13 freshmen enter the 2023-24 season as the team aims to build upon last year’s 30th-place finish after they scored zero points at the 2022 NCAAs.

The class is full of sprint freestyle and backstroke specialists, headlined by BOTR sprinter Lawson Ficken, a 22.6/48.6 freestyler who can immediately contribute to the Tigers’ relays. Morgan Carteaux (22.6/49.8), Wyllo Hanson (22.9/49.1/1:47.1) and Kara West (22.8) bring more freestyle pedigree to the mix.

Zoey Zeller leads the backstroke group with a best time of 51.38 in the 100, under what it took to score at NCAAs in 2023, and she’s also strong in the 200 IM (1:59.4) and the breaststrokes (1:01.5/2:11.2).

There’s also Jade Castro (53.7/1:56.9), Maggie McGuire (54.5/1:56.3), and Michelle Kaner (54.4/1:56.9) to supplement the backstrokers who have plenty of potential.


USC’s group isn’t as deep as the others but most of their incoming class has a chance to score at NCAAs right from the jump.

Honorable Mention recruit Macky Hodges is a true all-arounder with an NCAA scoring-worthy 400 IM (4:09.2) plus strong abilities across the 200 back (1:54.2), 500 free (4:43.5), 200 IM (1:58.5) and 200 fly (1:56.7).

Hungarian Lilla Minna Abraham joins the squad with long course bests of 25.98, 55.59 and 1:58.23 in the sprint free events, good for respective conversions of 22.88, 49.14 and 1:44.51 in the 50, 100 and 200 free.

She’ll be joined in the freestyle group by University of Virginia transfer Claire Tuggle, who heads to Los Angeles after just one season in Charlottesville.

Tuggle, one of the best age group swimmers in the country in the late 2010s, recently pushed through years of stagnation to hit personal best times in the 100 free (48.99), 200 free (1:44.81) and 500 free (4:40.41) last season.

Those times make her a likely scorer in the 500, a potential one in the 200, and a relay option given her sub-49 100. She could also push for points in the 1650 free if she opts to train for it.

Joining the Trojans for one season is Michigan transfer Sophia Kudryashova, who has been 1:45.6 in the 200 free and 4:46.1 in the 500 free, though both came during the 2021-22 season. She only raced through midseason invites last year, clocking 1:46.6/4:47.3 season-bests.

Turkish distance freestyler Merve Tuncel was expected to be a member of this class but has deferred her enrollment until the fall of 2024.

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2 months ago

Merve Tuncel will stay in Türkiye in 2024 and beyond. Because now her back is injured and her swimming career is rapidly declining. unfortunately…

tea rex
2 months ago

I think Zoey Zeller may have a wrong time in there. That 51.38 in the database was from a random meet in 2022, and she’s never been under 55 otherwise. Still an impressive breaststroker!

Sherry Smit
2 months ago

Claire Tuggle had a bit of a strange summer, following her performances at UVA. She was 2.03/4:15/8:50 in free. I can’t tell if that’s a red flag heading in to her sophomore year at USC.

2 months ago

Impressive incoming talent on these teams. Those Princeton girls will turn some heads in the years to come, going against power 5 teams and proving they can compete at any level. Let’s see what Bama and Auburn can do with all the potential on their teams. Claire will automatically make USC better, I hope that staff does not ruin yet another great class.

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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