With the NCAA season upon us, it’s time for our annual rankings of the incoming recruiting classes for the 2023-24 campaign.
- Women’s Honorable Mentions
- Individual recruit rankings – Girls final rankings
- Individual recruit rankings – Boys final rankings
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: WOMEN’S CLASS OF 2023
#16: TEXAS A&M AGGIES
- Top-tier additions: BOTR Katie Walker (TX – fly), Miranda Grana (Mexico – back), Hannah O’Leary (TX – breast/IM), Hayden Miller (Florida transfer – distance free)
- The rest: Paula Warren (TX – back), Ellis Fox (TX – back/fly/free), Emma Gettys (TX – fly), Emma Guglielmello (TX – distance free), Emma Hrasko (TX – free), Gracie Walker (TX – IM), Halina Panczyszyn (TX – back), Chloe McKnight (TX – diving), Diana Soto (TX – diving)
Texas A&M is bringing in a class loaded with in-state talent, led by BOTR butterfly specialist Katie Walker, who is coming off an impressive showing at Junior Nationals where she hit new LCM bests of 2:12.42 in the 200 fly and 1:00.71 in the 100 fly.
In yards, Walker holds bests of 53.5/1:56.2, the latter of which puts her within striking distance of the 2023 NCAA cutline (1:55.92).
A very intriguing addition to the squad is Miranda Grana, who represented Mexico at both the 2022 Short Course and 2023 Long Course World Championships. Grana has been as fast as 27.12/58.72 in the 50 and 100 back in SCM, and her LCM bests stand at 28.81/1:01.41. Those should put her roughly in the 24/53 range in yards, which could make her A&M’s fastest backstroker right away.
The rest of the class brings plenty of depth, including Hannah O’Leary, who is well-rounded in breaststroke (1:01.7), medley (1:59.6/4:20) and free (1:49.9).
Coming over as a transfer from Florida is Hayden Miller, who heads to Aggieland with three years of eligibility and NCAA scoring-worthy times of 4:39.88 in the 500 free and 15:59.21 in the 1650 free.
#15: NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
- Top-tier additions: BOTR Maggie Papanicholas (IL – breast), Sydney Smith (TX – free/IM), Audrey J-Cheng (CA – breast/IM), Ayla Spitz (Cal transfer – free/back)
- The rest: Maggie Belbot (MD – fly/free), May Peterson (WA – back), Amy Pan (MI – free), Chloe Sharp (TX – diving), Leah O’Connell (MA – diving)
Northwestern welcomes a very solid class that’s spearheaded by breaststrokers Maggie Papanicholas and Audrey J-Cheng, who will be critical to add to the roster given the losses of Jasmine Nocentini and Hannah Brunzell. Both Papanicholas and J-Cheng own 1:01/2:12 best times in the 100 and 200 breast, and J-Cheng could also make an impact in IM and/or free down the line.
Texas native Sydney Smith comes in with a 1:46.4 200 free and a sub-2:00 200 IM, and Ayla Spitz transfers over from Cal after a very solid 2022-23 campaign that included finishing as high as 20th individually (500 free) at NCAAs.
#14: NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
- Top-tier additions: BOTR Samantha Armand (NC – breast), BOTR Ava Muzzy (VA – IM/breast), Mary Macaulay (NC – back/IM), Katja Pavicevic (UC San Diego transfer – breast), Delaney Carlton (UNC Asheville transfer – free)
- The rest: Sophia Frei (CO – back), Alexandra White (Kenyon transfer – free), Eden Goettsch (IL – free), Lucy Walker (NY – IM/breast), Maren Conze (MD – back/free), Michaela Chokureva (NC – free/fly), Taylor Bloom (NC – fly), Ellie Joyce (VA – diving)
Another school bringing in a jam-packed class, UNC reloads with a plethora of recruits and a few transfers after losing star sprinter Grace Countie to graduation.
Armand (1:00.6/2:10.8) and Muzzy (1:01.2) will be joined by UCSD transfer Katja Pavicevic to provide a shot in the arm to the breaststroke group that already features NCAA scorer Skyler Smith. Pavicevic has been 2:09.0 in the 200 breast, within seven-tenths of NCAA scoring range, and she’s also sub-1:01 in the 100.
Muzzy is more geared towards the medley events, with a PB of 4:12.76 in the 400 IM likely being her primary event (and potentially negating her racing the 100 breast collegiately). She’s also sub-2:00 in the 200 IM, 53.8/1:58.8 in fly, and solid in free and back as well.
Although the loss of Countie will hurt UNC this season, especially on relays, UNC Asheville transfer Delaney Carlton will soften the blow as she’s a 22.0/49.4 sprinter, having won the 50 free CCSA conference title last season. Alexandra White is another sprint transfer, joining from Kenyon where she was 3rd at D3 NCAAs in the 50 free (22.82).
In terms of other swimmers who will be with the Tar Heels for a full slate of eligibility, Mary Macaulay is an impressive IMer (1:59.0/4:15.0) with some backstroke ability as well (54.3/1:56.5).
#13: CAL GOLDEN BEARS
- Top-tier additions: HM Kathryn Hazle (CA – IM/free/breast), Ava Chavez (CA – free/fly/IM), Hannah Brunzell (Northwestern transfer – breast)
- The rest: Morgan Brophy (Texas transfer – free), Ariana Drake (CA – diving), Caroline Li (TX – diving), Jane Raffetto (WA – diving)
The Bears have a small but potentially impactful class led by HM Kathryn Hazle, an all-arounder who is nearing NCAA ‘A’ final territory with her personal best of 4:07.44 in the 400 IM.
Hazle is also very strong in the 200 IM (1:58.5), 200 breast (2:10.8) and 500 free (4:45.0), making her potentially dangerous in a wide variety events.
She’ll be joined by fellow in-state product Ava Chavez, who is coming off of three top-10 finishes at U.S. Junior Nationals in the 100 free, 100 fly and 200 IM.
Chavez is 1:59.2 in the 200 IM, 53.2 in the 100 fly and 1:47.4/4:48.0 in the freestyles, making her a similar prospect to Hazle, and thus, they should make for good training partners.
Northwestern transfer Hannah Brunzell gives the team a potential scorer in the breaststroke events this season, though the Swedish native didn’t qualify for NCAAs individually last season after she scored in both events in 2021. Nonetheless, she’ll provide a boost to the Bear medley relays.
Cal also has sub-23 sprinter Morgan Brophy coming over from Texas as a transfer, and they also bring in a trio of divers, two of whom have international experience.
Ariana Drake (Philippines) and Caroline Li (Taiwan) both competed at the 2022 Junior Worlds and could be future players to help revive Cal’s diving corps. Drake, Li and Jane Raffetto are the only three divers listed on Cal’s roster, kicking off the a new era of the program under coach Pei Lin.