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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2 Cents
4 years ago

Sounds like ranking and projecting men recruits was and is a LOT harder than women recruits.

I also feel like this year and last year that Freshman have been having a bigger impact than they did as recently as this class being examined.

Did any of the bigger top end teams ever leave any of these guys at home because they were the 18th or 19th best swimmer and they needed to make room for divers? Just curious. I doubt it would make a difference in any of the point totals but would be interesting to see.

He Gets It Done Again
4 years ago

Isn’t Switkowski technically class of 2013? He took a redshirt year after transferring from VA Tech. Or if we’re taking all seniors then Santo Condorelli and Dylan Carter should be included.

Hangry
Reply to  He Gets It Done Again
4 years ago

Did he redshirt?

Whaga Chath
4 years ago

There are some patterns here that can’t be seen in a four-year analysis of graduating seniors. Programs differ in their approaches. Up-and-coming programs mine under-recognized talent and develop it to establish themselves while established programs like Cal and Texas capitalize on having more choices when it comes to recruits. Nobody blames schools searching for diamonds in the rough when they don’t pan out, but a lot of people question TX and Cal when their blue-chip recruits don’t become Olympians or NCAA Champions.

If you look at the trajectories of programs like Cal, they, in many ways, mirror programs like NC State. Developing no-name recruits and recruiting internationally helps solidify program’s statuses (late 2000s) and, later, when top recruits become interested,… Read more »

longseeker
Reply to  Whaga Chath
4 years ago

Good points WHAGA. Also, in Cal’s case as a public institution (and UCLA which has no Men’s swim team) there is a big push by the State to reduce out-of-state overall numbers in favor of in-state applicants as both universities have over the top numbers of applicants each year. Cal does very well when they recruit out of state swimmers, but this may be curtailed some way in the future.

Jmanswimfan
4 years ago

So sad about Gornay, what could have been with Okubo

Buona
4 years ago

If combined all relays and individuals, Schooling is ranked 1st with 12 NCAA titles!

Right Dude Here
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

Some of Schooling’s best swims were certainly those 400 medley relays, and then handing off to Conger.

Pvdh
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

And down 4 titles to 9 for Dressel individually ?

swimmer
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

Being on relays certainly helps when others can pull your weight. A slow gradual meltdown over the four years. I think he lost his focus after winning all that money. Money will do that. This year was supposed to be his refocus and bounce back year. It will be interesting to see if he even continues swimming.

4 years ago

Been saying for years that relative to the talent that cal pulls in, they do not produce results. They get to pull the best talent in state and offer them limited scholarship so they can offer full rides(or at least very large %) to out of state people like seliskar and whitley lord knows who else. This article fails to mention the other members of the class who while not 20 recruits were easily top 100. Lets dive in shall we:
Kyle Coan: 136.16 2free out of HS. 133.85 best time. Not too shabby but not on pace with contemporaries. Not too long ago this would’ve been considered great success.
Zach Stevens: 55.1/203.7 out of HS. 54/159 at… Read more »

#STATEment
Reply to  [email protected]
4 years ago

Agreed. Wonder what the deal is. Do they just not work hard? Real shame seeing recruits go ruin their swimming careers there.

Pvdh
Reply to  #STATEment
4 years ago

Who’s the last NC State swimmer to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics?

Isaac
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

Cullen Jones had a silver in 2012

Zanna
Reply to  Isaac
4 years ago

But was he training at NC State at that time?

Taa
Reply to  [email protected]
4 years ago

Looks okay not great but they got all three to swim 4 years so I would count it as a win.

Swimswamswum
Reply to  [email protected]
4 years ago

Whittle went 1:53 his junior year, which is a pretty good improvement from a 1:57

Jay ryan
Reply to  Swimswamswum
4 years ago

1:53.8

longseeker
Reply to  [email protected]
4 years ago

OK…Just a few comments:
(1) I am guessing that most posters on this board are either east of the Rockies and don’t really know that much bout Cal’s swim team. I go to every Cal swim meet as I live in the Bay Area.

(2) There was mention here about Silverthorn and Gornay. Did you know Silverthorn and 2 other prep Bay Area breast stroke swam a 53 second 100 breast in a 3 way tie at the same local meet for a then National record. One went to Stanford but switched to Water Polo. The other (Stump) went to USC and did not swim the 100Br better than his HS time, but was better in the 200Br. Agree… Read more »

Reply to  longseeker
4 years ago

Utterly unverifiable and irrelevant. Why does it matter that you attend cal meets? Why does it matter that most people on swim swam are east coast? For the record my intuition is the complete opposite, that most posters are west coast.

Yes? I specifically remember the many comments noting a very suspicious number of fly kicks off the wall from two of them. Also not sure how this is relevant. I haven’t commented on stanford nor have I talked about USC. USC I could rant about just as long.

I am not neglecting other schools. Lets use swimswams very own ranking system for the last years. Oh whats that? Cal tops nearly all of them? Funny. #1 in 2017 2016… Read more »

chuck p
4 years ago

What ever happened to Kyle Gornay & Nick Silverthorn? Did those guys ever end up competing for Cal in at least duel meets? Cant find any results with them. Someone please advise.

korn
Reply to  chuck p
4 years ago

Silverthorn swam all 4 years but not sure about Gorny

Sarcastic
Reply to  korn
4 years ago

Gornay quit after 1 year at Cal.

In Seattle
Reply to  Sarcastic
4 years ago

Gornay came to PAC12s to support his class – and he even got to be in the team victory photo! Classy coach and brotherhood.

mcgillrocks
4 years ago

“where is Ryan Held? surely 19.7 is good enough to warrant some attention”

My comment on the article from four years ago. I feel vindicated.

Reid
Reply to  mcgillrocks
4 years ago

Dude same.

BigNowhere
Reply to  mcgillrocks
4 years ago

Yup. He was faster in high school than several people in the top 10 list.

Swimmer
Reply to  mcgillrocks
4 years ago

He swam mostly YMCA and not USA swimming. The opportunity to swim long course in a Springfield IL was next to zero. He was truly flying under the radar. NC State saw him first at Y Nationals and they recruited him hard. The biggest hidden gem of them all.

Friuti
Reply to  Swimmer
4 years ago

yeap, being from Illinois and watching him swim at the IHSA state meet twice, he had the most inefficient tempo driven stroke you’ve ever seen go sub 20. It was actually quite impressive. Seeing that and seeing the potential of and how to improve was quite a get for NC state.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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