Revisiting NCAA Recruit Rankings: Men’s High School Class of 2014

Each summer, college swimming fans look forward to recruiting – the lifeblood of any NCAA swim program. Since 2012, we’ve been ranking down the top NCAA prospects in the nation from each recruiting class. But sports are inherently unpredictable, and even the most sure-fire prospect can go awry or completely change their role over four years.

As we did last year with the first class we ever ranked, we’ll look back at the high school class of 2014, which just finished four years of college eligibility this spring.

First, a few notes:

  • Most of the data we’re tracking here deals with NCAA scoring. Obviously, some swimmers are great assets for their teams in dual meets and conference competition without ever being national factors. While we don’t discount the impact of those types of swimmers, the difference in competition between various teams’ dual meet schedules and conference meets makes NCAA scoring the best “apples to apples” comparisons between swimmers.
  • Relays are another point of contention, as a swimmer in a strong program has more opportunity for NCAA relays, though they also have more competition for those relay spots. We’ve mostly left relay results out of the data below, except where specifically indicated. That, too, gives us a more fair comparison between athletes.
  • We did our best to scour NCAA results over the past four years, but it’s certainly possible we made a mistake in compiling our data. If you spot an error, please respectfully let us know in the comment section so we can update our work!

Since our annual recruit rankings only take into account domestic recruits, the following analysis won’t include international swimmers. We’ve found that determining when international students will come to the U.S. or officially start their NCAA eligibility is too unpredictable. Fitting swimmers into specific recruiting classes is often a patchwork effort, so we’ve only included domestic swimmers in this data.

REVISITING OUR TOP 10

Check out this post for our analysis of the top 10 recruits in the high school class of 2014. Bear in mind that this was posted in July of 2013, when these swimmers were high school juniors. Complaining about slighted swimmers is barely a scrap above useless at the time of posting, and putting on Captain Hindsight goggles and complaining now without looking up best times from July 2013 is even less enlightening than that.

Here’s a look at our top 10 recruits, plus how many individual points they scored at NCAAs in each of their four years:

Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2015 NCAA Points 2016 NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points
1 Joseph Schooling Texas 141 49 40 33 19
2 Caeleb Dressel Florida 212 35 57 60 60
3 Kyle Gornay Cal 0
4 Nick Silverthorn Cal 0
5 Curtis Ogren Stanford 9 4 1 4
6 Gunnar Bentz Georgia 148 27 41 46 34
7 Paul Powers Michigan 38 11 14 11 2
8 Brett Ringgold Texas 59.5 21 27.5 11
9 Justin Lynch Cal 34 7 12 15
10 Corey Okubo Princeton 0
HM Ryan Kao Cal 0
HM Liam Egan Stanford 39 17 9 13
HM Alex Katz Michigan/NYU 0
HM Edward Kim Harvard 0
HM Jacob Molacek Auburn/NC State 14 14
HM Andrew Liang Stanford 13 7 6
HM Sam McHugh Tennessee 29 9 12 3 5
HM Wesley Olmsted Stanford 0
HM Jonathan Roberts Texas 83 11 7 35 30
HM Colin Ellington NC State 0

A few big takeaways:

  • At the top, this class always felt like a 1A/1B situation with Caeleb Dressel and Joseph Schooling. Through their freshman seasons, Schooling was the more impactful one, though both had won individual national titles. But Dressel scored 177 out of a possible 180 points over his final three seasons, a torrid pace that included 9 of his 10 NCAA titles.
  • Schooling ultimately fell to the #3 performer in the class in terms of individual points, but his big-time relay splits were a major part of Texas’s NCAA four-peat, and it’s still probably fair to say most teams would still take Schooling’s overall impact over a Gunnar Bentz type, even considering Schooling’s less-than-expected senior output.
  • Bentz quietly racked up 148 individual points and was remarkably consistent, scoring more than 27 points every year. Only he and Dressel accomplished that feat.
  • With Cal still fighting for NCAA titles all four years of this class, it’s a bit jarring to see how their top-tier recruits didn’t pan out. #4 Silverthorn didn’t improve much and never made NCAAs individually. #3 Gornay went backwards his freshman year, then dropped off the roster. Honorable mention Kao was a two-time NCAA qualifier but never scored, though he was a big Pac-12 contributor. Justin Lynch was solid, though, scoring in three of his four years. Cal had to supplement its class with big scoring from unranked Connor Hoppebut still didn’t get nearly as much out of this class as it could have.
  • Texas, by contrast, got a lot out of their top 3 recruits. Schooling and Jonathan Roberts scored in all four of their years and Brett Ringgold scored in 3.
  • A number of these guys dropped off their teams rosters, quit the sport or transferred. Ellington only swam one year for NC State and hasn’t recorded a swim since. Olmsted only swam two years for Stanford. Katz started with a year at Michigan, then transferred to Florida but never swam a meet for the Gators. He resurfaced on NYU’s roster at one point, but also never logged a swim with them, per USA Swimming’s database.
  • Jacob Molacek didn’t score in two seasons with Auburn, but was part of two NCAA title-winning relays in his first year with NC State. He’s got one more season left and could theoretically move up in overall scoring.
  • Meanwhile Okubo and Kim went Ivy League and though they weren’t big NCAA scorers, they had impacts at the conference level. Okubo was an NCAA qualifier during his career.
  • Certainly this list proves that getting a top 20 recruit doesn’t guarantee NCAA success, but it also shows that the vast majority of top NCAA scorers are indeed blue-chip recruits. Of the top 10 individual scorers in this class, 4 were ranked inside the top 20 (including recruits #1, #2 and #6), 4 were foreign (and thus not included in our rankings) and only 2 came from outside our top 20 ranks.

Top 10 Individual Scorers in the class:

Ranking indicates their ranking in our top 20. HM means honorable mention, or ranked between 11 and 20. UNR means unranked, INTL means international, and not included in our ranking system.

This table actually includes 14 swimmers – that means the top 10 domestic scorers (those eligible for our pre-recruiting rankings) along with the top 10 overall scorers.

Ranking Swimmer Team Points
#2 Caeleb Dressel Florida 212
#6 Gunnar Bentz Georgia 148
#1 Joseph Schooling Texas 141
UNR Ryan Held NC State 138
INTL Anton Ipsen NC State 118
INTL Jan Switkowski Virginia Tech/Florida 118
INTL Mark Szaranek Florida 116.5
UNR Blake Pieroni Indiana 103.5
INTL Akaram Mahmoud South Carolina 97
HM Jonathan Roberts Texas 83
HM Brett Ringgold Texas 59.5
UNR PJ Ransford Michigan 59
UNR Connor Hoppe Cal 56
UNR Jay Litherland Georgia 54

NCAA TITLES (RELAY & INDIVIDUAL) AMONG TOP CLASS OF 2014 RECRUITS:

Swimmer Individual Relay
Caeleb Dressel 9 1
Joseph Schooling 4 8
Jan Switkowski 1 1
Mark Szaranek 1 1
Anton Ipsen 1
Brett Ringgold 4
Ryan Held 4
Jacob Molacek 2
Justin Lynch 1
Ralf Tribuntsov 1
Luke Kaliszak 1
Enzo Martinez-Scarpe
1
Blake Pieroni 1

OTHER IMPACTFUL SWIMMERS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITING CLASS OF 2014

Of course, not every contributor comes from our top 10 list. Some swimmers develop extremely well in college. Some swimmers slip under our radar, or don’t really show their ability until their senior year of high school, after our rankings come out.

We dug through NCAA results to find the best American swimmers from this class to not appear on our top 10 list. Again, it’s not always easy to account for redshirt years, gap years or mistakes in an athlete’s listed class each season. So if we forgot anyone, respectfully let us know in the comments!

Note: We tracked these athletes based on individual All-America honors, or finishes inside the NCAA’s top 8 in any given individual event in any given year:

  • NC State got nothing from top 20 recruit Colin Ellington, but found a diamond in the rough instead in Ryan Heldwho finished as the class’s #4 overall scorer behind Dressel, Bentz and Schooling. Held’s times when we ranked these recruits: 19.9/43.9/1:39.5. By the time he’d finished his senior year of high school, he was 19.5/43.3/1:36.8, and over the course of his college career, he moved to 18.5/41.0/1:31.3.
  • Indiana’s Blake Pieroni was the only other domestic, unranked recruit to crack our top 10 in overall scoring. He scored all four years for Indiana, getting steadily better with each season. He ultimately ranks 8th in this class in total scoring.
  • This was a big class with a lot of scorers overall – 12 ranked recruits, 30 unranked recruits and 20 foreign swimmers. Compare that to their women’s NCAA counterparts, which had 14 ranked recruits 25 unranked recruits and 14 foreign swimmers.
  • On the international side, Jan Switkowski scored zero in his year with Virginia Tech, then averaged just under 40 points a season in his three with Florida. Had he gotten four years of his average production at Florida, he’d rank #2 in class scoring behind only Dressel.
  • Anton Ipsen scored in all four years, but about doubled his previous yearly scoring output as as a senior to tie for the class lead among internationals.

Domestic

Name Team Total NCAA Points 2015 NCAA Points 2016 NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points
Ryan Held NC State 138 6 36 48 48
Blake Pieroni Indiana 103.5 15 18 27.5 43
PJ Ransford Michigan 59 17 11 13 18
Connor Hoppe Cal 56 11 15 30
Jay Litherland Georgia 54 2 19 19 14
Anton Loncar Denver 44 19 25
Hennessey Stuart NC State 41 12 28 1
Tom Peribonio South Carolina 39 4 18 16 1
Conner McHugh Minnesota 39 11 28
Alex Evdokimov Cornell 38 2 7 29
Luke Kaliszak Alabama 33 18 15
Justin Wright Arizona 32 6 12 14
Nick Thorne Arizona 23 23
Chris Wieser Arizona 16 13 3
Ben Lawless Florida 16 9 7
Levi Brock Indiana 15 15
Henry Campbell UNC 9.5 3.5 6
Tristan Sanders Michigan 9 9
Patrick Conaton Stanford 9 9
Kevin Litherland Georgia 8.5 3.5 5
Andrew Porter Arizona State 6 6
Brock Bonetti Texas A&M 5 5
Austin Temple Texas 4 4
Jordy Groters Missouri 4 4
Jonathan Tybur Texas A&M 4 1 3
Payton Sorenson BYU 3 3
Cody Taylor Indiana 3 3
Mick Litherland Georgia 3 3
Aaron Whitaker Michigan 2 2
Patrick Park Arizona State 2 2

Foreign

Name Team Total NCAA Points 2015 NCAA Points 2016 NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points
Anton Ipsen NC State 118 21 26 29 42
Jan Switkowski Virginia Tech/Florida 118 39 25 54
Mark Szaranek Florida 116.5 19 22 34.5 41
Akaram Mahmoud South Carolina 97 13 32 29 23
Carlos Claverie Louisville 58 27.5 18 12.5
Nils Wich-Glasen South Carolina 54 12 12 24 6
Ralf Tribuntsov USC 54 11 16 16 11
Mauro Castillo Texas A&M 50 7 23 20
Peter John Stevens Tennessee 32 6 17 9
Sam Perry Stanford 25 8 17
Evan White Michigan 15 6 4 5
Hugo Morris Auburn 15 15
Kei Hyogo Yale 14 2 11 1
Ali Khalafalla Indiana 12 6 6
Marat Amaltdinov Purdue 12 12
Christopher Reid Alabama 11 7 4
Laurent Bams Alabama 8.5 4 4.5
Peter Holoda Auburn 8 4 4
Pawel Furtek USC 7 7
Ryan Coetzee Tennessee 1 1

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Bob

In inability of Cal to develop extraordinarily high rated talent is striking.

Swimfan

To be fair it is an extremely challenging school in terms of academics, this can be hard for some to balance with athletics if they spent high school focusing more prominently on sports rather than school

JoeSwammer

No excuse… There are plenty of highly challenging schools that figure out how to develop student athletes.

swimfan

Although that’s true it depends on the student, some of the kids who may not have been developed up to standards may not have been ready for that transition at any high level institution

cmon

Wait hang on so there a whole bunch of others schools that do a better job developing athletes than Cal? ok name them. I pretty sure they just got 2nd at ncaas. Won by 70+ without diving. Guys we are basing these comments of a like 2 kids they got 4 years ago that didnt pan out. If you think Cal does a bad job, that either your name is holloway, reese, or you should stop talking

swimfan

Not to say they are bad at developing talent, they had the most representation on the past Olympic team. It’s just curious to go back and look at the insane class they recruited and almost half of it never preformed to standards.
That being said plenty of athletes have been developed astoundingly (Norman and Hoppe are prime examples). This is why I look to perhaps the transition to academics as the source of these athletes (Silverthorn Gornay Young Green) being unable to develop, because I’ll tell you one thing, it certainly isnt Durdens fault. And I would like not to believe they kids didn’t just throw their hands up or no give a good effort.

#STATEment

Agreed. Feel like I’ve been trying to make this point for a while now.

Pvdh

Here’s another point I’d like to make. Cal worked NC State in the pool

Swimmer!

Ehhh I don’t know about that. Beating a team because you have the best resources to get the top talent in the world doesn’t mean you necessarily outperformed another team. In all honesty Cal should have won the title based on their talent

Swimmer!

I would just look at NC State’s swimmers’ high school times and do a % difference to this years NCAA times. Then do the same for Cal. I would imagine NC State would be better, but NC State has a ceiling on team finish just because of their inferior ability to recruit top talent like Texas or Cal. They just don’t have the resources to keep up with them in that aspect.

Swimfan

NC state is exceptional at developing talent but they also do get looks from some of the best in the country. That being said they are not on the academic level schools like Texas and Cal are, so the adjustment can be a little easier for student athletes who weren’t terribly challenged in high school

Swimmer!

I’m not saying they don’t get good recruits and looks, but just look at the year by year recruiting done by Cal. They’re comparative to Kentucky in basketball and Bama in football

cmon

hold up have you ever looked an a texas recruiting class? like for exampe, this year? Id say past 6 years talent wise texas has had the most coming in. Yet Cal beat them in the pool, loses cuz of diving, and then you guys sit here and say they cant develop talent. Trenton Julian just had one of the best freshman year drops ive ever seen, and mefford and Carr werent too far behind. Never sucks when you go from a 47 to a 45.0 in the 100 back and are the 3rd most improved in your own grade. Not bad for a school that cant develop its own talent

Swimmer

Academic level like Texas? They recruit a kid who doesnt know the difference between Advil and a diuretic. The academic admission criteria must not be too high.

Horninco

Book smart does not equal street smart. I’m sure you know that as you’re just trolling.

UTAustin has the
#5 business school overall
#1 accounting
#7 entrepreneurship
#5 finance
#5 MIS
#4 marketing
#11 engineering overall
#8 aero
#6 chem
#4 civil
# 8 comp eng
#10 mech eng
# 2 petroleum
#3 pharmacy
#10 comp sci

To name a few…

We’re not quite on the level of the ivies, Berkeley or GT, but we are a big arse public university. However, making sweeping generalizations based upon the bad choice of a single incoming student out of 10,000 isn’t an indictment of the school itself, but rather of the person making the claim.

🙂

Coach Josh

@PVDH – so you’re comparing a historical swimming powerhouse that has always gotten top tier recruits to a team that has nowhere near the same history/pedigree/resources and has achieved top 5 status while producing better relays and higher scoring individual performances…..Do you want to try again?

Swimmer!

Exactly my point. If there were a point a point spread to bet on between Cal and NC State, Cal would not have covered

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name

Point spread is relative to amount of action bet on both sides. Have you seen NC State fans in here? The line would have landed with NC State favored by like 100 points over Cal as their most ardent supporters kept getting more and more optimistic.

Swimmer!

Hypothetically possible, although extremely unlikely because a ton of people would bet on Cal with huge money by that point. I would have bet my life saving on Cal

Maverick

If I am not mistaken, Cal is only a partially funded program is that correct? which if that is true they in fact have less resources then Cal… You NC State fans can’t have it both ways… People complaining about status of the school, resources, divers, and quality of swimmers coming in. It is the NC states job and Cal’s job to do the best with what is given… Not complain all the time about someone having it better. If you want to compete with Cal academics, then improve the academics, if you want to compete in diving… go out and give scholarships to divers and not swimmers. They beat you in diving because they invested money into them and… Read more »

Swimmer!

I never complained about anything, and in fact I think NC state and their fans are quite annoying. That being said, I can respect the hell out of how they performed with their resources. Have you seen their pool? Those relays they put up are absolutely insane

Swimmer!

Yeah, Ryan Murphy was such a bust!

Zanna

Nathan Adrian too…

KeithM

It’s just one class. You’d need to show a pattern of at least a few years to suggest something more worrisome is at work. I thought Murphy, Pebley, and Prenot went along nicely at CAL.

JP input is too short

And looks at the improvement of guys this year like Thomas, Mefford, Julian, Norman and others.

cmon

Carr as well. 47 coming in. 45.9 mid season. 45.8 pac 12. 45.0 Ncaa. 3rd most improved in own class.

Swimfan

Last years senior class, outside Murphy, had two boys in the top 10 ranked swimswam recruits who both never scored a single point at an NCAA meet; Gornay and silverthorne. Matthew Josa regressed in terms of times and Justin Lynch, until this year never exceptionally flourished. with this years freshman they did quite well however

cmon

This years freshman arent the first to improve at Cal. If you want to go back before murphy to prenot pebley messerschmidt katis and look at where they were coming in, id be pretty proud if I were there college coach. Good to great coming in, great to excellent coming out. Thats how Cal rolls. Steady improvements for people Thomas, Norman, Sand, Hoppe over the course of their careers

Horninco

Exactly. I wouldn’t jump to broad conclusions based off a small sample size. Cal will rebound nicely. They’ve had two meets in a row where a few key swimmers underperformed but the team as a whole was fantastic. Is this now 9 years a row in the top 2? Still recruiting fantastic? They’ll be fine

Sir Swimsalot

The only real exceptions I can think of are in the Cal pro group.

cmon

exceptions to what?

Swimmer

Cal should have crushed everyone at ncaas They failed miserably. All that talent and they handed it to Texas on a silver platter.

cmon

Really sad statement. Dont you think, swammer, that its kind of hypocritical to ONLY look at the recruiting classes for SWIMMING but then compare scores for swimming AND divng? You are basically saying that CAL has so much more talent coming in than Texas, that they should be able to offset nearly 100 points on the board. So you think they not only should have beat but crushed the likes of Townley Hass, Austin Katz, John Shebat, Joe Schooling, and John Roberts and 100 points of diving. And not doing it is failing miserably? Take a look at some of texas recuiting classes. I dont think they come with a silver platter

Zanna

Failed miserably? But was 2nd place.

Cmon

Yeah it was striking how awful there freshman did this year. I remember how much worse Murphy pebley and prenot did. Imagine if Connor hopper went to Texas he’d be going a 48 100 br

Steve Nolan

And you’d never hear about Durden ruining all his swimmers as much as you do McKeever.

(I’m not saying either description would be accurate.)

cmon

THey won the swimming portion of the meet by a lot

Swimmingabbeys

Swimming talent is just like talent from any sport you don’t know fully what your getting maybe the kid has already peaked. I mean it happens across all ages only 20% of kids 12u who swim top 150 times are still in top 150 when they are 18. Just like footballs five stars can never pan out. I think a lot can be said of the training they’ve had before they get to college. Programs and clubs that train kids to swim their best and don’t do weights or try to push strength training when they are in high school allow them to see gains when the get to college and the training changes and they have a great technique… Read more »

Pvdh

I think I know where it went wrong for Cal…

Sarcastic

They needed a couple more guys to make top 16!!! Unfortunately not every swimmer peaked at NCAAs- it happens. Not every Texas swimmer was blazing trails either!

Jim

Dressel is of course in a league of his own, but Bentz making A finals in every individual he swam (11/11) in his career is really impressive

JP input is too short

That’s really impressive especially considering he didn’t really have a defined third NCAA event when he got there.

Jmanswimfan

Bentz could have gotten 60 this year if he wasn’t injured

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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