Revisiting NCAA Recruit Rankings: Men’s High School Class of 2015

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 do each year, 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 also did not include diving scorers or recruits.
  • 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!

We only include domestic recruits in our recruit rankings, as it’s often harder to predict if and when an international recruit will join the NCAA, and which class they should be ranked with. However, we’ve gone back through and tallied up all individual scorers that roughly fit into this class – international and domestic.

Revisiting Our Top 10

Check out this post for our analysis of the top 10 recruits in the high school class of 2015. Bear in mind that this was posted in July of 2014, 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 2014 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 2016 NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points
1 Andrew Seliskar Cal 192 42 43 47 60
2 Townley Haas Texas 198 55 46 53 44
3 Mike Thomas Cal 68 0 9 27 32
4 Carsten Vissering USC 50 1 16 16 17
5 Aidan Burns Georgia 0 no invite 0 0 0
6 Patrick Mulcare USC 48 13 16 16 3
7 Cole Cogswell Stanford 0 no invite no invite no invite no invite
8 Thomas Brewer Auburn 2 no invite 0 2 0
9 Ryan Harty Texas 51 24 redshirt 3 24
10 Alex Valente USC 0 0 0 no invite 0
11 Ryan Dudzinski Stanford 2 0 1 1 no invite
12 Tabahn Afrik Notre Dame 0 no invite no invite no invite
13 Ross Palazzo Florida 0 no invite 0 no invite no invite
14 Cody Bekemeyer South Carolina 4 0 4 0 no invite
15 Bowen Anderson Kentucky 0 no invite no invite no invite no invite
16 Brennan Balogh Florida 0 0 0 no invite 0
17 Brad Zdroik Stanford 0 no invite 0 0 no invite
18 Nick Norman Cal 32 0 0 16 16
19 Jake Miller Louisville 0
20 Tate Jackson Texas 25 0 1 12 12
  • We’ve had some fans retroactively quibble with our ranking of Andrew Seliskar ahead of Townley Haas five years ago, much of that brought about by Haas’s more flashy accomplishments over his first three NCAA seasons. But any argument between the two is a pretty classic case of nit-picking. They were the top two scorers in the class by at least 60 points, and both won multiple NCAA titles – Haas won six overall, three each in the 200 free and 500 free. Seliskar won three overall, all in his senior year. Both were massive relay weapons and both led their teams to an NCAA points title.
  • Mike Thomas and Carsten Vissering both held up very well. Vissering scored in all four seasons and probably had a bigger relay impact, but Thomas ultimately scored more points, most of them in his final two seasons.
  • Cal and Texas did very well in this class, so it’s no surprise they’ve been the top two teams all four years of this class’s NCAA careers.
  • As with the women’s class, there were some misses outside of the top few clear-cut elite recruits. Aidan Burns was a pretty regular NCAA qualifier for Georgia, but never quite cracked scoring. He was a big SEC contributor, though. Cole Cogswell was on an NCAA scoring relay as a sophomore. Brad Zdroik was also a relay scorer for Stanford. Alex Valente did qualify for NCAAs three times and was a Pac-12 runner-up.
  • Both Cal’s Nick Norman and Texas’s Tate Jackson came along significantly in their junior and senior seasons after not scoring as freshmen.
  • Texas’s Ryan Harty could add to his total with one year remaining after redshirting his sophomore season.
  • #19 Jake Miller tragically took his own life in a struggle with depression before he graduated. His untimely passing was one of the catalysts for an increased awareness of mental health and our own ongoing mental health series.

Other Impactful Recruits in the High School Recruiting Class of 2015

Of course, not every contributor comes from our top 20 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.

Domestic

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2016 NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points
John Shebat Texas 131 12 34 34 51
Abrahm Devine Stanford 119.5 18.5 21 46 34
Zach Apple Auburn/Indiana 108 22.5 38.5 47
Ian Finnerty Indiana 100 1 0 51 48
Justin Ress NC State 52.5 4.5 23 25
Bowen Becker Minnesota 51 19 32
Robert Howard Alabama 49 19 30
Brendan Casey Virginia 33 33
Jeff Newkirk Texas 27 2 9 16
Jack Saunderson Towson 26 1 11 14
Zach Harting Louisville 24.5 6 5.5 13
Chatham Dobbs Arizona 23.5 7 2.5 3 11
Zach Fong Virginia 19 5 14
Mark Andrew Penn 19 1 18
Blair Bish Arizona/Missouri State 18 9 2 7
Brennan Novak Harvard 14 3 11
Devon Nowicki Oakland 13 13
Jordan O’Brien Missouri 11 11
Carson Sand Cal 8 7 1
Sam Stewart Auburn/Texas 5 5
Kanoa Kaleoaloha Florida State 5 5
Jacob Wielinski Missouri 4 4
Bryce Keblish Virginia 4 4
Luke Mankus Missouri 4 4
Logan Houck Harvard 3 3
Noah Hensley Florida State/NC State 3 3
Jake Armstrong West Virginia 2.5 2.5
Kyle Decoursey Tennessee 2 2
Max Holter Texas 1 1
James Bretscher NC State 1 1
  • John Shebat was obviously the biggest riser, scoring the third-most of any swimmer in the class. He’s a case of a huge collegiate explosion. His best times when we ranked this class were 48.1/1:45.3 in the 100/200 back and 1:50.2 in the 200 IM, and he didn’t really become the swimmer we now know until his sophomore year, when he scored 34 points at NCAAs.
  • Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine turned out to be another big scorer over all four years. He was actually pretty good out of high school (1:47.6/3:45 in the IMs), though when the top recruit is 1:43/3:41, it probably throws off the perspective a little bit.
  • Ready for another fun progression: when we ranked these recruits, Zach Apple was 21.2/46.7/1:41.7 in freestyle. By his senior year of high school, he’d cut to 20.3/44.5/1:38.3, and he ended his college career 18.8/41.3/1:30.3.

International

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2016 NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points
Vini Lanza Indiana 131 13 21 45 52
Andreas Vazaios NC State 131 37 53 41
Fynn Minuth South Carolina 43.5 18 9.5 16
Marcelo Acosta Louisville 43 7 23 13
Mikel Schreuders Missouri 25 7 18
Mark Nikolaev Grand Canyon 23 7 16
James Guest Georgia 22 11 11
Laurent Bams Alabama 13.5 4 4.5 0 5
Will Pisani Florida State 9 9
Metin Aydin Hawaii 8 2 6
Angel Martinez Texas A&M 4 4
Rodrigo Correia Georgia Tech 1 1
  • Vini Lanza was a huge and consistent international scorer for Indiana.
  • Andreas Vazaios came in listed as a junior in 2017 – we originally missed his scores from that year – then swam as a junior in 2018 and senior in 2019. He wound up matching Lanza’s point-total over his three years.
  • Mark Nikolaev of Grand Canyon would have been invited to NCAAs in his first two years, but the program (switching to Division I at that point) wasn’t yet fully DI eligible.
  • This was a much smaller international senior class than last year’s, when 20 international men scored at some point.

Top 10 Individual Scorers In the Class:

(Ranked recruits are listed with their 2014 rank. International recruits are listed with “INTL” and unranked recruits with “UNR.”)

Final Rank 2014 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2016 NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points
2019 NCAA Points
1 2 Townley Haas Texas 198 55 46 53 44
2 1 Andrew Seliskar Cal 192 42 43 47 60
3 INTL Vini Lanza Indiana 131 13 21 45 52
3 INTL Andreas Vazaios NC State 131 37 53 41
3 UNR John Shebat Texas 131 12 34 34 51
6 UNR Abrahm Devine Stanford 119.5 18.5 21 46 34
7 UNR Zach Apple Auburn/Indiana 108 22.5 38.5 47
8 UNR Ian Finnerty Indiana 100 1 0 51 48
9 3 Mike Thomas Cal 68 0 9 27 32
10 UNR Justin Ress NC State 52.5 4.5 23 25
11 UNR Bowen Becker Minnesota 51 19 32
11 9 Ryan Harty Texas 51 24 redshirt 3 24
13 4 Carsten Vissering USC 50 1 16 16 17
14 UNR Robert Howard Alabama 49 19 30
15 6 Patrick Mulcare USC 48 13 16 16 3
16 INTL Fynn Minuth South Carolina 43.5 18 9.5 16
17 INTL Marcelo Acosta Louisville 43 7 23 13
18 UNR Brendan Casey Virginia 33 33
19 18 Nick Norman Cal 32 0 0 16 16
20 UNR Jeff Newkirk Texas 27 2 9 16
21 UNR Jack Saunderson Towson 26 1 11 14
22 INTL Mikel Schreuders Missouri 25 7 18
22 20 Tate Jackson Texas 25 0 1 12 12
24 UNR Zach Harting Louisville 24.5 6 5.5 13
25 UNR Chatham Dobbs Arizona 23.5 7 2.5 3 11
26 INTL Mark Nikolaev Grand Canyon 23 7 16
27 INTL James Guest Georgia 22 11 11
28 UNR Mark Andrew Penn 19 1 18
28 UNR Zach Fong Virginia 19 5 14
30 UNR Blair Bish Arizona/Missouri State 18 9 2 7
31 UNR Brennan Novak Harvard 14 3 11
32 INTL Laurent Bams Alabama 13.5 4 4.5 0 5
33 UNR Devon Nowicki Oakland 13 13
34 UNR Jordan O’Brien Missouri 11 11
35 INTL Will Pisani Florida State 9 9
36 UNR Carson Sand Cal 8 7 1
36 INTL Metin Aydin Hawaii 8 2 6
38 UNR Sam Stewart Auburn/Texas 5 5
38 UNR Kanoa Kaleoaloha Florida State 5 5
40 UNR Jacob Wielinski Missouri 4 4
40 UNR Luke Mankus Missouri 4 4
40 14 Cody Bekemeyer South Carolina 4 0 4 0 no invite
40 INTL Angel Martinez Texas A&M 4 4
40 UNR Bryce Keblish Virginia 4 4
45 UNR Noah Hensley Florida State/NC State 3 3
45 UNR Logan Houck Harvard 3 3
47 UNR Jake Armstrong West Virginia 2.5 2.5
48 8 Thomas Brewer Auburn 2 no invite 0 2 0
48 11 Ryan Dudzinski Stanford 2 0 1 1 no invite
48 UNR Kyle Decoursey Tennessee 2 2
51 INTL Rodrigo Correia Georgia Tech 1 1
51 UNR James Bretscher NC State 1 1
51 UNR Max Holter Texas 1 1
  • Outside of the top two ‘can’t-miss’ prospects, this turned out to be a better class of developmental talent. Guys like Shebat and Apple wound up among the top scorers, along with Ian Finnerty (54.9/2:02.9 in breaststroke when we ranked).
  • This was a great class for unranked sprint types: Apple was one of the NCAA’s best at the 50-through-200 during his four years. Justin Ress was a top 10 scorer in the class, just a tick ahead of Minnesota standout Bowe Becker and Alabama star Robert Howard, none of whom was ranked.

More recruiting rank analysis:

Women’s:

Men’s:

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Oldskool

Didn’t Vazaios swim at 2017 NCAA?

Jeff

Ryan Harty scored 3 pts. in B final (200 back) in 2018

Anakin

Oof Stanford’s 3 top 20 recruits scored a combined 2 points

Swimmomtoo

Hey, they might not have shined in the pool, but they got great education out of their hs swimming, not a bad outcome!

Basket-Of-Deplorable's

You are correct, not a bad outcome for the three swimmers – and maybe a great example of how overrated a Stanford education is – but an incredibly bad outcome for the team, fans and school (or perhaps Stanford is OK with no longer being a top 5 program). FACT, Stanford was one of the top scoring boys dream school and was dropped at the last minute for a completely bogus reason. However, it is all good for that swimmer too, as he ended up with the right coach, team and school.

Stanfordisokiguess

This is probably true for a lot of kids. Stanford’s admissions are notoriously difficult, even for essentially all athletes (… eg KL obviously is very academically inclined but even if she weren’t, she probably would have been let through more easily by admissions because it’s KL. As I understand it, this is only the case with very few athletes and especially few swimmers). This limits Stanford’s recruiting pool (as it sounds was the case with the boy in your ‘personal’ anecdote). Many high school students simply aren’t viable recruits. There’s also a selection bias which suggests that the guys who end up going to Stanford are more likely to pursue more “difficult” and time intensive majors than the students who… Read more »

Stanfordisokiguess

Also it’s just a fact that three important swimmers were out for the meet. Mestre was a consistent 19.0 split last season as a fast improving freshman. Shoults is always good for 20+ points. Levant could have been anywhere from 30-50 points including relay impacts. Stanford is still a great team. You just sound bitter.

tnp101

Academics aside, I think Stanford is in the decline since Skip Kenney’s departure. Besides Devines, the recruits didnt improve much with current coaches. I am a big Stanford fan and have been following the team for years. I think teams are happier now with Ted at the helmet, but performance-wise, he couldn’t really do what Durden has been doing at Cal. Different approaches, different styles.

While the women’s team has reached the top, the men’s team is heading in an opposite direction. So I hate to say but if they want to reserve the direction, the AD might have to light some fire in the coaches.

2 Cents

ADs will not do that for swimming. See: unc.

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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