NCAA recruiting churns on, and so do our yearly recruit rankings. We’ve already ranked out the top recruits in the current high school sophomore and junior classes, but now it’s time to revisit our recruiting ranks of the graduating seniors.
As recruiting classes get closer to actual NCAA competition, we start to weigh certain factors more heavily: NCAA scoring times become more important, and we tend to value one or two standout events a bit more heavily (compared to a wide range of just decent events) than we would for a high school sophomore who has more time to develop across the board. Having already ranked this class about a year ago, we also get a clearer picture of momentum and trajectory: which recruits are continuing to drop time through their senior seasons, and which have stagnated.
You can look back on our original ranks for this class below, but do remember that those ranks are merely a snapshot in time – we didn’t have a working crystal ball then, nor do we now:
- One of the greatest classes of all-time, so many generational talents
- VERY stacked in sprint freestyle
- Not much depth in the 200 breast or distance free
- Versatility is prevalent, specialization is rare
- A lot of senior breakouts
You’re going to hear me say this a lot throughout this article, but the boys’ high school recruiting class of 2023 is one of the greatest classes that we’ve ever ranked. To put things into perspective, 8/14 of this class’s top times are faster than the top times for the class of 2022 and 10/14 are faster than the class of 2021. In addition, three different swimmers (Will Modglin, Rex Maurer, and Scotty Buff) have best times that are the fastest we’ve seen in history from high school seniors.
However, this class doesn’t just excel at the top—there’s so much depth as well. Out of the four sub-1:33 200 freestylers in history, two are from this class. There are three different swimmers with class-leading times that are ranked outside of the top 20 because there wasn’t enough room for them within the top 20. In the sprint events specifically, there are too many 19/43 freestyler and 46-point backstroke/butterfly swimmers to count—I’ve mentioned many times in my article that certain swimmers would be ranked higher if they were in a different year.
The only event that’s a clear weakness in this class is the 200 breast, where nobody has been under the 1:54-point barrier. With the exception of top guys like Maurer, distance freestyler also isn’t super deep either.
Another common theme in this class is versatility, with the top 20 largely consisting of swimmers who are proficient in 3+ strokes and IM. Many swimmers with very strong primary events even had to be penalized for not having range, mainly because there were others with similar times as them but could also race more events. Overall, nine different swimmers in this class hold times that would have qualified for 2023 NCAAs.
TOP TIMES IN THE CLASS OF 2023
|50 Free||Ethan Harrington||19.45|
|100 Free||Hudson Williams||42.54|
|200 Free||Aaron Shackell||1:32.85|
|500 Free||Rex Maurer||4:12.33|
|1000 Free**||Andrew Taylor||8:50.64|
|1650 Free||Rex Maurer||14:54.71|
|100 Back||Will Modglin||45.01|
|200 Back||Keaton Jones||1:40.32|
|100 Breast||Will Heck||52.38|
|200 Breast||Logan Brown||1:54.02|
|100 Fly||Scotty Buff||44.87|
|200 Fly||Ilya Kharun||1:41.39|
|200 IM||Nate Germonprez||1:42.82|
|400 IM||Rex Maurer||3:41.94|
**The 1000 free isn’t an event at the Division I NCAA Championships, but is swum instead of the 1650 in many Division I dual meets and is part of the NCAA program in Division II.
Our goal in these rankings is to reflect what college coaches look for in recruits, based on many years of conversations and coverage.
We focus only on American-based athletes, simply because there is so much uncertainty with international recruits – if they’ll come to the United States, when they’ll come to the States and with what graduating class they should be ranked. Projecting international recruits often becomes more a discussion of when they’ll first join a college program and not which program they’ll join.
A few other factors that weigh heavily in our rankings:
- Relay Value – Relay points count double in college swimming, and any program needs a strong stable of quality sprinters to fill out all 5 relays with stars. Obviously, a special distance swimmer can easily rank ahead of a very good 100 freestyler, but college swimming generally values a sprint freestyler over a distance swimmer, all other factors being equal.
- Improvements – Actual times carry the most weight by a longshot. But we also keep an eye on a swimmer’s trajectory, especially in deciding between two swimmers with relatively even times.
- Short Course over Long Course – while every club and every swimmer will have a different balance of focus between short course and long course swimming, the NCAA competes in short course yards, and that’s going to be the main factor considered in these rankings. Long course times are another data point for consideration, but we mainly view them through the lens of what a big long course swim could mean for an athlete’s future in short course.
- NCAA scoring ability – NCAAs are the big show for college teams, so we’ve weighted NCAA scoring potential very highly. Swimmers who already have NCAA scoring times wind up mostly filling out the top our of rankings. Since college athletic directors – and by extension coaches – also place high value on conference championships, scoring ability at conference meets is also a factor in our rankings.
- Relative depth in the NCAA and recruiting class – a wealth of elite depth nationwide in one stroke discipline makes a big difference in what times are considered more valuable in that event. Events rise at different rates in the NCAA, but when one event gets extremely deep and fast at the college level, it makes high school prospects in those events a little less valuable, relatively, with lots of other veteran options. In the same way, a recruiting class stacked with swimmers in butterfly, for example, would make each butterflyer a little less sought-after in the market, with lots of other recruiting options able to provide similar production.
Of course, there’s no way to predict the future, and the most concrete data we have to go on are cold, hard times. These rankings in no way mean that all of these 20 swimmers will be NCAA standouts, and they certainly don’t mean that no swimmer left off this list will make big contributions at the NCAA level.
With that out of the way, let’s get to our rankings.
Disclaimer: there are a lot of high school seniors in the country, and no really good, complete, 100% accurate listing of them all. If you don’t see your favorite swimmer on the list, feel free to politely point them out in the comments. There’s a chance that we disagree with your assessment of their spot in the top 20, and so long as it’s done civilly, there’s no problem with differences of opinions. There’s also a chance that we’ve simply missed a no-brainer (we’ve taken every precaution to avoid that), and if that happens, we want to make sure we correct it.
Top 20 Swimmers From The Class Of 2023
*We’re noting where athletes have publicly verbally committed. While most of these athletes have signed NLIs with their schools, we can’t always verify who has physically signed on the dotted line and who hasn’t – for that reason, the verbiage below is still “verbally committed,” as it was in our junior ranks last year.
- 500 free: 4:12.33 (best in class)
- 1650 free: 14:54.71 (best in class)
- 400 IM: 3:41.94 (best in class)
- 1000 free: 8:58.38
- 50 free: 19.77
- 100 free: 43.28
- 200 free: 1:33.54
- 100 back: 46.04
- 200 back: 1:42.30
- 200 IM: 1:45.49
After spending time weighing the pros and cons of each top three recruit, I finally came to the conclusion that Maurer was the best recruit in the class of 2023. In the last few years, he has always been the hands-down best distance-oriented swimmer in the class. And he’s continued to show that through his senior season, tying Michael Phelps as fastest high school 500 freestyler ever and dropping six seconds in his 1650 free to maintain his spot as the best miler in the class. However, his newly-developed versatility was what convinced me to push him up to the #1 spot.
Maurer’s freestyle prowess ranges from the 50 to the 1650 free, and the fact that he has a sub-20 50 free and a sub-15 mile as a high schooler is extremely significant, considering that not many swimmers in the NCAA have been able to achieve that feat. His strength in other disciplines was also revealed this season, as he dropped almost 16 seconds in his 400 IM to become the fastest 400 IMer in the class and took over four seconds off his 100 and 200 back times, with his 100 back time now ranking #4 in the class. Maurer’s newfound speed in the 100 back was actually what put a nail in the coffin for me to rank him over some of his other more sprinter-type classmates like Scotty Buff and Will Modglin, as that 100 back proved that he had the potential to be on sprint relays in addition to being a top distance swimmer. Plus, his 50 and 100 free times aren’t that far off the best sprinters in the class either.
In addition, when no other swimmer leads the class of 2023 in more than one event, it only seemed fair to put Maurer at #1 when he leads the class in three events. He’s going to make an impact in the NCAA right away, with his 500 free time being fast enough to score at 2023 NCAAs and his 400 IM being faster than the cutline (his 1650 free time was also less than second away from qualifying too).
Maurer reminds me a lot of a Kieran Smith-type NCAA swimmer (and Smith was much slower than Maurer out of high school), so considering how successful Smith was in college, I’m very excited to see how Maurer turns out at Stanford.
- 100 back: 45.01 (best in class)
- 200 back: 1:40.54
- 200 IM: 1:43.37
- 100 breast: 52.92
- 200 breast: 1:57.17
- 50 free: 19.56
- 100 free: 43.27
- 200 free: 1:35.96
- 100 fly: 46.35
Upon being ranked #1 in 2021 and #4 in 2022, I’ve settled on a happy medium for Modglin and ranked him as the #2 overall swimmer in the class.
Modglin is the hands-down best backstroker in this class, with his 100 back time being the fastest we’ve seen from a high schooler and quick enough to ‘A’ final at NCAAs, and his 200 back time being fast enough to ‘B’ final. However, he’s shown a rare proficiency in all four strokes, with strong breaststroke, butterfly, and sprint free times. Rankings-wise, he has top times all across the board, being #1 in the class for the 100 back, #2 for the 200 back, #7 for the 50 free, #4 for the 100 breast, #2 for the 200 IM, and #4 for the 100 fly.
The combination of Modglin’s once-in-a-generation standout backstroke times and his versatility give him both high NCAA scoring value and relay potential. Texas will breathe a sigh of relief when he brings his talents to Austin this fall, as he will immediately fill the holes on the Longhorns’ sprint-depleted relays.
- 100 fly: 44.87 (best in class)
- 100 back: 45.72
- 200 back: 1:43.92
- 50 free: 19.46
- 100 free: 42.94
Despite the fact that he’s not as rangey as Modglin or Maurer, Buff will be your best friend when it comes to making relay lineups. He’s the best pure sprint recruit in the class, holding the second-fastest 100 fly time ever posted by a high schooler (only behind Thomas Heilman, who went 44.67 in the same race where Buff set his PB) and the second-fastest 100 back time in the class, as well as top-five times in both the 50 and 100 free.
With how critical NCAA relays are to scoring, a swimmer like Buff is hugely beneficial, with his sprint free, fly, and back abilities allowing him to be placed wherever his team needs him to be. With the presence of elite sprinters like Josh Liendo and Adam Chaney headlining Florida relays right now, Buff might not be the Gators’ first option when he heads into college (even with a 44-point 100 fly). However, as he develops and swimmers graduate, he’s going to be a major weapon.
In addition to his relay potential, Buff is going to be a big help in individual scoring as well. His 100 fly time would have made the ‘B’ final at NCAAs, and his 100 back time was just 0.01 of a second off NCAA qualification. That being said, he dropped over half a second in the 100 fly but only improved 0.17 seconds in the 100 back over the last season—if he had dropped in his 100 back the same way he dropped in his 100 fly, he would made a big case for himself to be ranked in the top two.
- 100 fly: 45.59
- 200 fly: 1:41.39 (best in class)
- 1650 free: 15:03.72
- 50 free: 20.16
- 100 free: 43.70
- 200 free: 1:36.96
- 500 free: 4:20.55
- 200 back: 1:46.59
- 200 IM: 1:47.17
- 400 IM: 3:49.39
I enjoy making comparisons between recruits and current/former NCAA swimmers—it helps me contextualize how recruits can potentially turn out. However, when I got to Kharun, I legitimatley could not find an NCAA equivalent for him (the best example I could think of was Gabriel Jett, but even they have large differences)—what other butterfly specialist is going to swim the mile as a third event?
After being relatively unknown his sophomore year, Kharun exploded onto the scene at Winter Juniors his junior season, a meet where he broke the 15-16 U.S. national age group record (this was, of course, before it was revealed that he was born in Canada). He’s continued to make strides his senior season, dropping a second in the 200 fly during a club meet in February at altitude (many of his PBs don’t account for altitude adjustments) where he was not fully rested. As he missed Winter Juniors because he wasn’t at short course worlds, he didn’t get an opportunity to race at a big yards meet this season—hence why his PBs (non-altitude) in events like the 100 fly and 1650 free are all from last season. In other words, when he does get the chance to swim at a yards taper meet, expect to see some more big time drops from him.
Right now, Kharun’s 200 fly time would have been fast enough to ‘A’ final at 2023 NCAAs, while his 100 fly time would have also qualified for the meet. He also shows great potential in his distance free—with his 500 and 1650 free best times being from last year, it’s reasonable to assume that if he raced them at a big meet this year, he’d be under 4:20 and 15:00.
With best times of 51.45/1:54.49 in the long course 100/200 fly and two medals from short course worlds, Kharun is also the swimmer in this class with the most international racing experience, which will make it easier for him to adjust to the atmosphere of college championship meets.
- 200 IM: 1:42.82 (best in class)
- 100 breast: 52.59
- 200 breast: 1:54.87
- 100 back: 47.21
- 200 back: 1:42.21
- 50 free: 19.64
- 100 free: 43.17
- 200 free: 1:33.96
- 100 fly: 47.22
Though he doesn’t have a massive head-turning swim under his belt like those who ranked above him , Germonprez still remains one of the most versatile swimmers in the class (I’d say only Modglin and Maurer are the only swimmers who beat him both in versatility and quality times), with fast times in all four strokes. Though he’s very similar to Modglin, his future teammate, he seems to be better in the 200s and is more of a breaststroker, while Modglin is a bit more sprinty and primarily a backstroke.
Leading Germonprez’s resume is his class-leading 200 IM, an event where he dropped near two seconds in during his senior season. He’s fast enough to qualify for NCAAs already in the event, and is just a few tenths off scoring. His breaststroke, 200 free times, and 200 back also stand out, as he’s ranked #2 in the class for both the 100 and 200 breast, #4 in the class for the 200 free, and #6 in the 200 back. It will be interesting to see whether he chooses the 200 back or breast as a third event, as he dropped over two seconds in the 200 back this season but didn’t improve at all in the 200 breast (at Winter Juniors, he only raced the 200 back).
Like Modglin, Germonprez will also be big help on Texas’s relays as soon as he gets on campus. His 19/43/1:33 sprint freestyle abilities as a high schooler makes him a good candidate to be on freestyle relays, and though he won’t make immediate impact like Modglin in stroke 100s, he shows great potential to be a breaststroke leg and split sub-52 with Caspar Corbeau‘s return being uncertain.
- 200 free: 1:32.85 (best in class)
- 500 free: 4:15.35
- 200 fly: 1:44.24
- 50 free: 20.32
- 100 free: 43.63
- 100 fly: 47.04
Aaron Shackell and Henry McFadden saw the biggest jumps in the rankings this season, going from “Best Of The Rest” selections as juniors to top ten-ranked recruits as seniors. Shackell and McFadden are very similar swimmers, with Shackell ultimately being ranked higher because of his slightly-faster distance free times.
Headlining Shackell’s resume is his 1:32.85 200 free, which not only leads his class, but is also a national high school record. He’ll be a scoring threat as soon as he gets into college, with his 200 free time being just 0.24 seconds off what it took to ‘B’ final at NCAAs this year. He also has the second-fastest 500 free in the class, with his best time being less than a second off of NCAA qualification. The 200 fly, an event where he ranks #5 in the class, could become his third event. And as the cherry on top, he’s also got some pretty decent times in the sprints as a high schooler. Shackell’s improvement trajectory in his primary events have been incredible in the last year, as he dropped nearly four seconds in his 200 free and over ten seconds in his 500 free.
Though Shackell might not be as versatile as some of the other recruits being mentioned in this article, he’s a perfect example of the “quantity over quality” mantra. Only four high school boys in history have been under 1:33 in the 200 free, and the fact that he’s the second-fastest amongst those swimmers is something that can’t be ignored.
- 200 free: 1:32.97
- 500 free: 4:16.99
- 200 back: 1:42.89
- 200 fly: 1:44.30
- 100 fly: 47.95
- 400 IM: 3:49.50
- 50 fre: 20.18
- 100 free: 43.78
Many of the things said about Shackell can also be said for McFadden, with the two swimmers having many events in common with virtually similar best times. McFadden is not even the fastest 200 freestyler in the class (largely because of how stacked this class is), but as stated before, a 1:32 in high school is a once-in-a-generation type of thing.
Though McFadden and Shackell are very similar to each other, where they differ from each other is that McFadden has a sprinkle of backstroke and IM ability. With a 1:42 200 back and 1:44 fly, McFadden has multiple options to choose from on day three of NCAAs, which highlights his multi-stroke versatility. In addition, he also has a sub-3:50 400 IM after only swimming the event three times in the last three years. As two mid-distance freestylers with backstroke and IM abilities, McFadden and his future teammate Rex Maruer will become one of the most lethal freshman one-two punches in the NCAA.
McFadden is also one of the best long course swimmers in this class (probably the second-best behind Kharun), holding a personal best of 1:47.23 in the 200 free. As he continues to develop, he could potentially become the first Stanford male swimmer to make a major U.S. international team roster since 2019.
- 50 free: 19.55
- 100 free: 42.54 (best in class)
- 200 free: 1:35.84
- 100 back: 45.77
- 200 back: 1:43.51
- 200 IM: 1:46.58
The fact that a swimmer of Williams’ caliber is ranked #9 overall is another example of how good this class really is. To put things into perspective, Williams has a faster 100 free, 200 free, 100 back, 200 back, and 200 IM than his future NC State teammate Quintin McCarty, and yet McCarty was ranked #2 in the class of 2022.
Williams is probably the second-best pure sprinter in his class behind Buff (in fact, if it weren’t for Buff’s out-of-this-world 100 fly, I’d say that Buff and Williams were equal), with his best event combo of the 50 free/100 free/100 back being ideal for the NCAA format. He’s got fast times in all three of his primary events, leading the class in the 100 free and being ranked #4 and #2 for the 50 free and 100 back respectively. His 100 back time is just 0.05 seconds off of Buff’s class-leading 100 back, and is also on the verge of NCAA qualification. At NC State, Williams will add to the Wolfpack’s continuously growing array of sprinting weapons.
Though Williams didn’t drop at all in the 200 free or 200 IM his senior season, having seemingly shifted his focus towards shorter-distance events, he still holds formidable times both races from junior year. However, he did improve four seconds in the 200 back, going from a PB of 1:47.10 to 1:43.51.
- 200 back: 1:40.32 (best in class)
- 100 back: 46.90
- 1650 free: 15:06.90
- 500 free: 4:15.54
- 200 free: 1:34.31
- 100 free: 43.36
- 50 free: 20.23
- 100 fly: 47.83
- 200 fly: 1:45.81
- 200 IM: 1:45.51
- 400 IM: 3:47.55
Jones has consistently been the top 200 backstroker in this class, and with over a second drop in the event his senior year, he now has entered NCAA scoring territory. This stat alone is enough to have him remain in the top 10, as he has been for the last two years. Though Jones’s 100 back isn’t as strong as his 200 back, he’s a great distance swimmer. His 500 free time is #3 in the class behind Maurer and Shackell, and he’s also ranked #7 in the class for the 200 free. In addition, he holds respectable PBs in sprint free, fly, and 200 IM.
This year, Jones raced and broke multiple world records at the 2023 Ice Swimming World Championships, where he had to compete in sub-40 degree pools. Though he won’t have to deal with much cold weather in sunny California, it will be interesting to see how training under extreme conditions will affect his endurance swimming in the future.
- 50 free: 19.48
- 100 free: 42.67
- 200 free: 1:33.97
- 100 fly: 46.26
- 100 back: 47.68
- 200 back: 1:46.63
Yet again, another sprinting phenom that’s being pushed to the periphery of the top 10 because of how strong the class of 2023 is. But even though there’s plenty of strong 50/100 freestylers in this class, Whitfield is unique because he’s strong in the 200 free as well, being the only swimmer in the class to have a sub-20 50 free, a sub-43 100 free, and a sub-1:34 200 free. In addition, his 100 fly is ranked third in the class, only behind Buff and Kharun.
Part of the reason why Whitfield was moved up two spots was because of his improvement during his senior season. In one year, he dropped over a second in the 100 free, half a second in the 50 free, nearly three seconds in the 200 free, and over two seconds in the 100 fly—with all of his PBs coming from YMCA Nationals. At Virginia Tech, he will make an immediate impact, with only Youssef Ramadan being able to match his range and speed.
- 200 fly: 1:42.34
- 100 fly: 46.77
- 2o0 IM: 1:44.59
- 50 free: 20.39
- 100 free: 43.32
- 200 free: 1:35.65
- 100 breast: 54.85
- 400 IM: 3:45.28
Even though Holmes didn’t improve this season in the 100 fly or the 200 IM, two of his best events, he dropped 0.61 seconds in his 200 fly to remain one of the top swimmers in his class for the event. With his 200 fly drop, he now has NCAA qualifying potential even before entering college. He also saw development in the 400 IM, where he improved from best time of 3:55.94 to a 3;45.28 in one season and became the #4 ranked swimmer in the class for the event. In addition the 200 fly and 400 IM, Holmes also dropped over a second in the 100 free and two seconds in the 200 free.
Holmes, who was originally committed to Duke, was one his way to becoming one of the biggest recruits in Blue Devil swimming history. However, he now joins Stanford’s stacked recruiting class that already consists of two other top-2o ranked incoming freshmen.
- 100 back: 46.24
- 100 fly: 46.30
- 100 free: 43.17
- 100 breast: 53.82
- 50 free: 19.75
If you’re asking for the perfect four-way threat, then Jones is your answer. Like Modglin, Jones has formidable times across all four of the 100-yard stroke events, except he seems to specialize in the four 100s more than Modglin does. With virtually the personal best time in both events, Jones is amongst the class’s best 100 backstrokers and butterflyers, ranking #4 in the 100 back and #3 in the 100 fly.
Though Jones didn’t improve upon his best times in the 100 back/100 fly this season (though he got close and dropped in sprint free), it’s important to note that he did change clubs last fall, which could have played a part him in not dropping. He also “only” has a best time of 1:51.31 in the 200 IM despite being so strong in all four strokes because he doesn’t ever race the event at big meets, so it will be interesting to see if he experiments with it at Cal.
- 200 breast: 1:54.02 (best)
- 100 breast: 52.59
- 200 IM: 1:44.60
- 50 free: 20.09
- 100 free: 44.02
- 100 fly: 47.04
- 400 IM: 3:49.20
After dropping from a PB of 1:55.11 to a 1:54.02 as a senior, Brown leads his year with the fastest best time in the 200 breast by nearly a second in a class where there isn’t much depth in the event. You could arguably call him the top all-around breaststroker in the class too, with his 100 breast time being only 0.21 seconds behind the Will Heck‘s class-leading time.
Brown has versatility not typically seen in someone who is primarily a breaststroker, as he is also the class’ #4-ranked 200 IMer and has decent sprint free and fly times.
- 200 back: 1:41.86
- 100 back: 46.31
- 100 fly: 46.82
- 200 fly: 1:43.68
- 50 free: 19.99
- 100 free: 44.54
- 200 free: 1:36.59
Irwin is a very well-rounded backstroker and butterfly swimmer, with his stock rising after dropping over two seconds in the 200 fly and over a second in both backstroke events. He now stands as the #5-ranked 100 backstroker, #3-ranked 200 backstroker, and #4-ranked 200 flyer in the class of 2023 with a sub-20 second 50 free as the cherry on top of his resume.
As a Navy commit, Irwin and UC San Diego commit Asian Kozan are the first non-Ivy League mid major commits to be ranked top 20 by SwimSwam as mid-majors. Irwin will be a huge boost to the midshipmen, with his 200 back time already being faster than the team record. His contributions are just what Navy needs to maintain at the top of the Patriot League as they continue to try and fend off a rising Army team.
- 100 fly: 46.47
- 200 fly: 1:42.32
Schmitt was one of those recruits that I saw and didn’t know what to do with, just because it’s so rare to see a swimmer specialize so heavily in a specific non-breaststroke discipline in this day and age of yards swimming.
On one hand, Schmitt is one of the best butterflyers in the class. He’s ranked #6 in the 100 fly and #2 in the 200 fly, with his 200 fly time being both fast enough to qualify for 2023 NCAAs and 0.1 of a second quicker than the Harvard team record. He’s also on a massive improvement trajectory, considering that his best times in the 100 and 200 fly were 47./25 and 1:44.08 respectively.
However, if Schmitt had maybe one or two more events that he was strong in (his “third event” is arguably the 200 IM, where he has a PB of 1:48.96, but that’s far and away from his fly capabilities), he would have been ranked much higher. Simply put, there are other swimmers in this class with similar fly times (or times in other events of similar caliber compared to his fly times) as him but have wider range (like Holmes), which puts him at a disadvantage.
But at the end of the day, a swimmer can only race three individual events at a championship meet no matter how versatile they are, so versatility isn’t everything. And because of that, his fly times themselves warrant him a spot in the top 20.
- 200 back: 1:42.09
- 100 back: 47.28
- 200 free: 1:34.66
- 500 free: 4:16.52
- 50 free: 20.34
- 100 free: 43.71
- 200 IM: 1:47.14
Mueller’s best time in the 200 back remains the same as last year, and he’s now the #5 ranked swimmer in the class for the event. However, much like Keaton Jones, he seems to have developed into a mid-distance swimmer while he seemed to lean more towards the shorter distances as a junior.
In his senior season, Mueller dropped from a best time of 1:35.52 to a 1:34.66 in his 200 free. He also raced the 500 free for the first time since 2021, improving from a PB of 4:37.44 t0 a 4:16.52. He now stands as the fourth-best 500 freestyler in the class.
- 400 IM: 3:43.28
- 200 IM: 1:46.21
- 200 breast: 1:55.86
- 100 breast: 54.22
- 200 fly: 1:45.85
- 200 back: 1:45.61
- 500 free: 4:24.14
After dropping to “honorable mention” status last year, Barnett returns to the top 20 as a senior largely by virtue of his 400 IM. He retains his status as the second-fastest swimmer in the class for the event, but after dropping four seconds in the event in the last year, he’s now just 0.29 seconds away from the time it took to qualify for NCAAs.
Barnett doesn’t have any other standout events that match the quality of his 400 IM, but he’s shown great range across breaststroke, backstroke, distance freestyle and butterfly (he swam the 200 fly for the first time since 2019 and dropped 11 seconds). What’s the class of 2023 without yet another four-stroke talent?
- 50 free: 19.59
- 100 free: 42.85
- 200 free: 1:36.36
- 100 fly: 47.15
With the sheer amount of “pure sprinters” in this class, it was inevitable that many 19-mid/42-high/43-low freestylers would be left outside the top 20 when they wouldn’t have been in previous years. I had around five or six of these (very similar) swimmers who primarily specialized in sprint free written down and tried to pick out the best one, and in the end, it was Duncan that stood out to me the most.
After not being mentioned in our last two versions of these rankings, Duncan had a meteoric senior season, dropping from 20.34 to 19.59 in the 50 free, from 44.00 to 42.85 in the 100 free, from 1:38.88 to 1:36.36 in the 200 free, and from 48.78 to 47.15 in the 100 fly. He’s ranked 7th in the class for the 50 free and 3rd for the 100, and is one of the five 19/42 freestylers in the class. In addition, Duncan’s 200 free and 100 fly are both good third events, making him a better recruit in my eyes than many other pure sprinters that didn’t have third events or had slower 100 fly/200 free times than him.
Duncan will be one of the biggest male recruits in Northwestern’s recent history, as his best times are nearing Kyle Bubolz‘s elusive team record times of 19.47/42.45 from the 50 and 100 free that were set back in 2008.
- 1650 free: 14:58.81
- 500 free: 4:16.62
- 200 free: 1:35.45
- 1000 free: 8:58.72
DenBrok is one of the rare distance specialists in this class—most of the top 20 who can do distance free are either primary 200s swimmers or are generational talents like Maurer who can do distance alongside a multitude of other events. However, DenBrok’s value as the only swimmer in the class besides Maurer to have both a sub-15 minute mile and a sub-4:20 500 free shouldn’t be overlooked.
As a senior, DenBrok dropped over three seconds in his 500 free, over a second in his 100 free, and a whopping 27 seconds in the 1650 free. He’ll fit right into the distance freestyle group at Georgia, getting the opportunity to train alongside national champion Jake Magahey—who also had a sub-15 minute mile out of high school.
- 200 back: 1:41.99
- 100 back: 46.31
- 200 free: 1:35.93
- 50 free: 20.33
- 100 free: 44.51
Marshall’s 200 back personal best is from 2021, but he stays in the top 20 because he’s only the third sub-1:42 200 backstroker in the class. In addition, he also took fourth-tenths off his best time in the 100 back to become tied with Irwin as the fifth-fastest in the class. As a third event, Marshall could swim the 200 free, where he dropped half a second.
Like Schmitt, Marshall is an example of quality over quantity—though he’s not as versatile as some other recruits, he has a very clear top three events and will be strong on multiple relays.
I’m going to sound like a broken record now, but because of how strong this class is, deciding between who was a top 20, an honorable mention, or a “best of the rest” felt like splitting hairs. Many of the swimmers in this category most definitely could be placed in the top 20 had they graduated another year, but had the misfortune of being grouped together with some generational talents.
- 50 free: 19.45 (best in class)
- 100 free: 42.92
- 100 fly: 47.21
For the second year in a row, the fastest 50 freestyler in the class of 2023 is not in the top 20. That being said, Harrington is only the fastest in is year by 0.01 of a second, so unfortunately his class-leading time doesn’t hold as much weight as some others do. Though he lacks range, he specializes in the “classic sprinter” lineup of the 50/100 free and the 100 fly as a third event, similar to other NCAA swimmers like Josh Liendo and Jordan Crooks.
In his senior season, Harrington saw major drops in all of his primary events, improving three-tenths of a second in the 50 free, over half a second in the 100 free, and over a second in the 100 fly.
- 100 breast: 52.38 (best in class)
- 200 breast: 1:55.98
- 200 IM: 1:46.62
After dropping over a second in his 100 breast, Heck now sits atop of his class in this event and just needs to drop 0.48 seconds to get past the 2023 NCAAs cutline. He also saw a minor 0.03 second improvement in his 200 breast and is ranked sixth in the class for the event, though his 200 IM PB remains stagnant. With his 100 breast being significantly better than his 200 breast and the 200 IM being his third event, Heck sort of reminds me of the type of swimmer that Lilly King was in the NCAA.
- 1000 free: 8:50.64
- 1650 free: 15:08.83
- 500 free: 4:19.17
- 200 fly: 1:47.23
Yet again, another class-leading swimmer left out of the top 20. Taylor dropped over seven seconds in his 1000 free, his best event, but what hurts him is that his best event and the event he improved the most in is not an NCAA-scoring event. Meanwhile, he didn’t drop in either the 500 or the 1650 free as a senior. That being said, he did improve over six seconds in the 200 fly, though his times in that event aren’t on the same caliber as his distance free times.
With how fast Taylor’s 1000 free time is, you’d think he’d have a great 500/1650 free in him, so we’ll see if that potential ends up coming to fruition when he joins Florida’s distance free hotbed.
- 50 free: 19.59
- 100 free: 43.74
- 100 fly: 46.80
Madoch saw big improvements as a senior, dropping from a 20.32 to a 19.59 in the 50 free, from a 45.14 to a 43.74 in the 100 free, and a from a 50.10 to a 46.80 (!!!) in the 100 fly. He now is one of the top 50 freestylers in the class, and has a decent 100 free and 100 fly to complement it. After initially committing to in-state Wisconsin, Madoch has since then switched his commitment to Virginia, where he will join the Cavaliers’ deep sprinting crew.
- 100 fly: 46.43
- 100 free: 43.14
- 50 free: 19.95
- 200 free: 1:36.20
After dropping two seconds in his 100 fly, Bellotti is now ranked fourth in the class for this event—which leads his resume and was a big reason as to why he moved up from the “best of the rest” category. In addition, he’s also close to breaking 43 in the 100 free and has a sub-20 second 50 free, making him a very well rounded sprinter—even to the point where I nearly considered putting him in the top 20 (he probably would have been if it wasn’t for how deep this sprinting class is). As said with Maddoch, he’s going to be joining a very deep sprint group at UVA and will have a wide array of competitive training partners.
- 1650 free: 14:56.60
- 1000 free: 8:58.23
- 500 free: 4:23.90
- 400 IM: 3:48.94
Parent is the second-fastest miler in this class, having dropped 12 seconds in his senior season. His recruting value is largely due to his mile, but he also shows proficiency in the 500 free and the 400 IM. His event specialization is reminiscent of former Florida Gator Bobby Finke, who excelled in the mile but had a decent 500 free and 400 IM to swim as second and third events (yes, being a national champion in the 400 IM is more than “decent”, but I’m comparing his ability in the event to that of his mile)
- 50 free: 19.91
- 100 free: 43.27
- 200 free: 1:33.85
- 500 free: 4:22.35
After not having any officially recorded swims between 2018 and 2022, Koski exploded as a high school senior and posted times that made me seriously consider putting him in the top 20. Though he lacks versatility, his 1:33.8 200 free is a standout mark—it makes him the third-fastest 200 freestyler in the class and probably puts him on the Georgia 800 free relay next year. In addition, his 50 and 100 free times add him to a long list of strong sprinters in this class.
Though Koski, who is Finnish but resides in the U.S., hasn’t proven that he’s good at anything besides freestyle yet, the fact that he seemingly hasn’t raced much short course in the last four years probably plays a part of it. It will be interesting to see how he will turn out after training yards full-time at Georgia.
- 400 IM: 3:44.77
- 200 IM: 1:45.56
- 200 fly: 1:44.61
- 500 free: 4:23.54
- 1650 free: 15:21.42
There’s very few swimmers in this class who are like Nosack, who is a more mid-distance focused IM specialist. He dropped three seconds in his 200 IM, two seconds in his 200 fly, and four seconds in his 400 IM to upgrade himself from the “best of the rest” category. Currently, he’s ranked third in the class for the 400 IM, eighth for the 200 fly, and eighth in the 200 IM.
Like Duncan, Nosack will be one of the most monumental recruits in Northwestern history, with his best time in the 400 IM being already over a second faster than the NU team record.
- 50 free: 19.52
- 100 free: 43.47
Dillingham didn’t drop in the 50 free this season and still hasn’t really developed versatility, but a near half-second drop in the 100 free and a 19.5 50 free were enough to keep him as an honorable mention. Fast sprint freestyle times can do so much for relays, especially with a team like USC that has struggled to produce star power in recent years. However, it’s important to note that he won’t be on campus next fall—he will be taking an Olympic redshirt year before arriving in Southern California in 2024.
Best Of The Rest
Some more names that came up in our research. For the purposes of space, we won’t include every top event for these athletes, but just a few of their standouts. Verbal commitments are listed where they’ve been reported. Each of these athletes is still an extremely high-level recruit:
- Sprint Free:
- Samuel Quarles (20.02/43.17/1:35.69, 1:46.94 2IM, 47.79 1FL) **Cal**
- Jerry Fox (19.75/43.12/1:36.55) **NC State**
- Ian Pickles (20.00/43.57/1:34.89) **USC**
- Ben Scholl (19.83/43/42/1:36.79) **Texas A&M**
- Sonny Wang (19.90/43.38/1:37.44, 47.31 1FL) **Harvard**
- Jonathan Gim (19.88/43.54/1:39.52) **Brown**
- Deny Nankov (20.08/43/31/1:37.80) **Yale**
- Distance Free:
Feeling nostalgic? Here’s a look back at our historic recruiting class rankings, plus our retrospectives of those classes after four NCAA seasons:
|High School Class of 2023||Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores||Ranks as Juniors|
|High School Class of 2022||Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores||Ranks as Juniors||Re-Rank As Seniors|
|High School Class of 2021||Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores||Ranks as Juniors||Re-Rank As Seniors|
|High School Class of 2020||Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores||Ranks as Juniors||Re-Rank As Seniors|
|High School Class of 2019||Ranks as Juniors||Re-Rank As Seniors|
|High School Class of 2018||Ranks as Juniors||Re-Rank As Seniors||Post-college retrospective|
|High School Class of 2017||Ranks as Juniors||Post-college retrospective|
|High School Class of 2016||Ranks as Juniors||Post-college retrospective|
|High School Class of 2015||Ranks as Juniors||Post-college retrospective|
|High School Class of 2014||Ranks as Juniors||Post-college retrospective|
|High School Class of 2013||Ranks as Juniors||Post-college retrospective|