Ranking The 2023 Women’s NCAA Recruiting Classes: Honorable Mentions

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.

We’ll count down our top 16 classes – but first, the top teams outside those ranks:

Honorable Mentions:

In no particular order

Louisville: The Cardinals bring in a small but mighty class, with Germany’s Zoe Vogelmann the headliner given her long course pedigree in freestyle (55.3/2:01.4/4:15.6) and IM (2:12.1/4:41.4). They also bring in Romanian Bianca Costea, a 25.3/56.0 LCM freestyle sprinter, and supplement the class with domestic recruits Lucy Mehraban, another sprinter (22.8/49.3) and Summer Cardwell, a mid-distance freestyler (1:46.3/4:47.2) who also has some fly pedigree (53.7).

Missouri: The Tigers bring in a quartet of intriguing prospects in freestylers Chloe MudaduZara Zallen and Francesca Smith, plus butterfly specialist Emily Roden. Mudadu was a BOTR distance freestyler in our 2023 re-rank (4:44/16:28), while Zallen is well-rounded (22.8/49.3/1:47.1/4:50.1) and also has a 1:01.4 100 breast. Smith (23.3/50.2/1:48.2) is better in LC at present, and Roden has a chance to make an immediate impact given her 1:56.7 200 fly.

Indiana: The Hoosiers likely would’ve been ranked much higher had French sisters Lucie and Justine Delmas not deferred their commitments until 2024, but Indiana still brings in two talented recruits in Reese Tiltmann and Ava Whitaker, both of whom featured in the Best of the Rest (BOTR) section in the 2023 re-rank. Tiltmann is well-rounded with a specialty towards IM, owning bests of 1:58.6/4:11.1, and she’s also strong in the 200 free (1:47.9) and in the breaststrokes (1:02.9/2:13.7). Whitaker is a very intriguing butterflier with times of 52.3/1:57.0, making her a contender to vie for NCAA qualification if she drops time.

Air Force: With 18 incoming freshmen, Air Force earns Honorable Mention status partially due to the mass quantity of recruits they’ve got entering the fold this season. However, there are some swimmers who can have an impact right away, led by Sienna Karp, a Maryland state champion who was a BOTR IMer with personal bests of 1:57.7/4:15.6 while also having an impressive breaststroke pedigree (1:01.2/2:14.6).

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers bring in the versatile Katie McCarthy, who is a BOTR distance freestyler (16:19 in the mile) and also owns an impressive PB of 4:14.9 in the 400 IM. McCarthy is also coming off a breakout long course performance at U.S. Junior Nationals that saw her earn four top-eight finishes, including a third-place showing in the 400 IM (4:47.3). Joining her in Minnesota’s class are Serbian sisters Mina and Anja Kalijevic, who come in with some potential based on meters times. Mina has been 26.0/56.7 in the freestyles and 1:02.0 in the 100 fly in LCM, while Anja has been 2:01.0/4:16.6 in the 200 and 400 free in SCM. The team is also adding Swedish diver Elna Widerstrom, who was a bronze medalist at the 2022 European Championships and competed at the 2023 World Championships.

UC San Diego: The Tritons became the first non-Ivy League mid-major program to have a female recruit ranked inside SwimSwam’s top 20 with their addition of Asia Kozan, who rocketed up to #14 in the 2023 re-rank thanks to significant improvements during her senior year. That included dropping nine seconds in the 400 IM (4:07.2), and she’s also well-versed across free (48.5/1:45.8), fly (54.1/1:56.9) and the 200 IM (1:57.6). UC San Diego now has a swimmer in position to score at NCAAs after they didn’t send any women to the national championships last season. The Tritons will also bring in Eva Boehlke who has competitive IM (1:59.5/4:15.9) and backstroke (54.2/1:57.4) times.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils are bringing in a distance-heavy class led by Alexa Reyna, who has shifted her commitment up by a year after initially being penciled in to join in the fall of 2024. Reyna, a two-time silver medalist at the European Junior Championships representing France, comes in with times of 4:42 in the 500 and 16:21 in the 1650, meaning she only needs slight drops to be fighting for scoring spots at the NCAA level. She’ll be joined by Bulgarian Zhanet Angelova, a 2:02/4:15 long course freestyler, and Hungarian Lia Csulak, who has been 4:19.1/8:42/16:35 in LCM. ASU will also add Deniz Ertan to the mix after she transferred out of Georgia Tech after just one year. Ertan was 15th in the 1650 and 39th in the 500 free at NCAAs.

Harvard: Harvard’s class takes a big hit with #3 ranked Kiley Wilhelm taking a redshirt year, but the Crimson still have a solid crop of incoming swimmers led by BOTR freestyler Alexandra Bastone (4:46/16:25). They also have the consistently-improving Piper Wood Prince (1:50/4:51/16:48) joining the freestyle squad, and breaststroker Stephanie Iannaccone (1:02.0/2:16.3) is also intriguing. Canadian Blythe Wieclawek has LCM times of 1:03.9 in the 100 back and 1:01.2 in the 100 fly, and Iceland’s Kristín Helga Hákonardóttir has some sprint freestyle pedigree.

UCLA: The Bruins add BOTR swimmer Sarah Bennetts, who has 1:00.1/2:12.1 breast times to go along with 22.8/49.7 freestyle accolades. They also bring on Katy Pacher, a 23.0/49.5/1:47.5 freestyler, and Amy Zhang, who is a 53.4/1:57.5 backstroker with 53.8/1:59.9 fly times.

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Foreign Embassy
7 months ago

Isn’t Denize Ertan at ASU this fall as well?

Reply to  Foreign Embassy
6 months ago

Good question
They may have skipped this year because they had very bad results in the first meeting with Asu.

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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