Revisiting NCAA Recruiting Class Rankings: Men’s Class of 2015-2018

Every summer, we rank down the top recruiting classes snagged by each team.But what do those rankings look like four years later, when each swimmer has had an opportunity to complete a full NCAA career of competing and scoring?

We’ve already looked back at our top 20 individual athletes in the high school graduating class of 2014, ranked when they were high school juniors in the summer of 2013. Now it’s time to look back at our team-by-team recruiting class rankings to see which teams got most from their recruiting hauls.

Further reading:

Back in July of 2014, we ranked out the top 12 recruiting classes nationwide. You can look back on our ranks here:

We’ve republished each of the 12 classes below, verbatim from how they were listed in our 2014 post. Then we tracked down some stats on each class, plus a short analysis of each class along with any extra swimmers who wound up being part of the class.

Bear in mind that international swimmers throw a wrinkle into this sort of analysis, given the difficulty in projecting ahead of time when an international recruit will join an NCAA program and officially start their eligibility.

Note: The ‘number of NCAA Scorers’ section refers only to individual scorers, and only among athletes included in our original recruiting class rankings. Late additions to the classes are noted when we can find them.

#12. HARVARD CRIMSON
TOP SIGNEES: EDWARD KIM, SHANE MCNAMARA, STEVEN TAN
REST OF THE CLASS: JACK BOYD, KOYA OSADA, WILLIAM HAEFFNER

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: N/A, 44th, 27th, 18th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 0/6

None of these guys scored individually, but Tan, McNamara and Kim were all NCAA relay contributors. Tan scored relay points and McNamara placed as high as 20th individually.

#11. FLORIDA GATORS
TOP SIGNEES: CAELEB DRESSEL, BEN LAWLESS, MARK SZARANEK
REST OF THE CLASS: JOHN FARESE, GEOFFROY GAGNON, ANDREW BRADY, BENJAMIN KENNEDY

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 5th, 3rd, 3rd, 5th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/7 (Dressel, Lawless, Szaranek, plus Jan Switkowski)

Dressel, of course, turned out to be the crown jewel of the class, and scored enough individually to be the 5th-best class in the nation in hindsight. Add in Jan Switkowski (who transferred in after one year at Virginia Tech) and you have 2 of the 6 highest individual scorers in the class. Szaranek joined those two as national champions both individually and on a relay as this class turned out to be the highest-scoring individual class of any.

#10. AUBURN TIGERS
TOP SIGNEES: JACOB MOLACEK, RENZO TJON-A-JOE, JOSH BOOTH, ZACK WARNER
REST OF THE CLASS: LOGAN SAMUELSON, GRANT SCHENK, PETE TURNHAM (DIVING), WILLIAM MCKINNEY

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 9th, 10th, 12th, 12th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 0/8 (plus Hugo Morris, Peter Holoda)

Auburn did ultimately have three productive scorers in this class, but two of them weren’t part of the class when we ranked it and the other transferred out before he scored any points. Molacek went on to score individually and win two NCAA relay titles for NC State this year, but never scored in two seasons with Auburn. Australian Hugo Morris and Hungarian Peter Holoda both joined the team midway through this class’s freshman season and scored at NCAAs as sophomores.

Tjon-A-Joe did train at Auburn but never competed collegiately. Warner transferred out to NC State along with Molacek, but only swam one season there.

#9. NC STATE WOLFPACK
TOP SIGNEES: COLIN ELLINGTON, RYAN HELD, ANTON IPSEN (DENMARK), HENNESSEY STUART
REST OF THE CLASS: JACOB SIAR (AUBURN TRANSFER), CHARLES MITCHELL (DIVING), KRISZTIAN SOMHEGYI (HUNGARY, DIVING), NOAH FRANZ, BEN CONO

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 8th, 4th, 4th, 4th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/9 (Held, Ipsen, Stuart plus Jacob Molacek)

Ellington was the top-ranked recruit when recruiting season opened, but Held quickly passed him over the course of this group’s senior years of high school. Held would go on to be the #4 individual scorer in the whole class, as well as an Olympian and 4-time NCAA relay champion. Ipsen turned out to be the top international scorer in this class (tied with Switkowski) and Stuart was a key scorer on his own.

Add in Molacek, who transferred from Auburn’s 10th-ranked class, and NC State finished with the #2-scoring group in this class individually.

#8. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
TOP SIGNEES: SAM MCHUGH, PETER JOHN STEVENS, RYAN COETZEE (SOUTH AFRICA), JOSH ROMANY (TRINIDAD & TOBAGO)
REST OF THE CLASS: BEN HENDRICKSON

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 14th, 7th, 20th, 11th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/5 (McHugh, Stevens, Coetzee)

Stevens was as advertised as a sprint breaststroke sensation and McHugh scored in all four years as a multi-purpose IM weapon. Coetzee added a point as a senior and this class ultimately held its own nationally. Romany was an SEC scorer as a freshman, then sat out the Olympic year with a redshirt and transferred to Indiana, where he was a relay scorer in 2017 and 2018 and has one more year of eligibility remaining.

#7. GEORGIA
TOP TIER ADDITIONS: GUNNAR BENTZ, JAY LITHERLAND, KEVIN LITHERLAND, IAN FORLINI (DIVING)
REST OF THE CLASS: BASIL ORR, POWELL BROOKS, MICK LITHERLAND, CRAWFORD BERRY (DIVING/JUCO TRANSFER)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 7th, 5th, 8th, 10th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 5/8 (Bentz, All 3 Litherlands and Forlini)

Bentz was one of the most quietly consistent performers in the NCAA, scoring the second-most individual points of any single swimmer and going 12/12 in A final appearances over four years of NCAA competition. All three Litherland siblings scored individually, Jay all four years, Kevin as a freshman and sophomore and Mick as a sophomore. Forlini scored in diving as a sophomore as well.

#6. PRINCETON TIGERS
TOP SIGNEES: LIAM KARAS, ALEX LEWIS, ZACH BUERGER, COREY OKUBO, BEN SCHAFER (AUSTRALIA)
REST OF THE CLASS: LIAM FITZGERALD (DIVING), TYLER SULLIVAN, DREW JUNG (DIVING)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: N/A, 37th, N/A, N/A
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 0/8

Okubo had qualified for NCAAs individually in his first two seasons and Lewis and Schafer had made relay appearances, but Princeton suspended its program for the duration of this class’s junior year. No one in this group qualified for NCAAs as seniors and only Lewis scored points, on a relay in 2016.

#5. STANFORD
TOP TIER ADDITIONS: CURTIS OGREN, ANDREW LIANG, LIAM EGAN, BROCK TURNER, WES OLMSTED
REST OF THE CLASS: SAM PERRY (NEW ZEALAND), PATRICK CONATON, PETER ARNET (BELGIUM), TAREK ABDELGHANY (DIVING), TED MICLAU (DIVING)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 6th, 14th, 5th, 7th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 6/10 (Ogren, Liang, Egan, Perry, Conaton, Miclau)

This class turned out to be an excellent, deep scoring class, with more than half of the recruits scoring points. That’s a really impressive number compared to the other programs on this list. Egan led the way with 39 individual points, but Perry (25 points) was probably more valuable when you factor in relays. Liang scored 13 and Ogren 9, with Conaton chipping in 9 and diver Miclau also scoring significantly.

Olmsted didn’t pan out the way he looked to as a top-20 recruit, and of course Turner went on to be well-known for much more dubious, non-swimming reasons.

#4. INDIANA
TOP SIGNEES: BLAKE PIERONI, ALI KHALAFALLA (EGYPT), CODY TAYLOR, RYAN GORDON, TEDDY KALP (CANADA), JAMES CONNOR (DIVING)
REST OF THE CLASS: BRANDON COLONIS, JACK WALLAR, NICK WONDER, ETHAN CURL, LEVI BROCK, CHRIS RUSSO, ANDREW KVACHKOFF, IOANNIS KONTINOPOULOS (GREECE), JONATHAN PANCHAK, ANDREJ IVANOVIC (CROATIA), MICHAEL SHABEN, CODY COLDREN (DIVING), TIMOTHY MARTIN, SAM APA

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 12th, 9th, 7th, 3rd
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 6/20 (Pieroni, Khalafalla, Taylor, Brock, Connor, Coldren)

This was a huge class that yielded a top-10 individual scorer in Blake Pieroniwho ends his college career as the 2nd-best 200 freestyler in history. Taylor was a breakout breaststroker as a sophomore, but dropped off the roster as a junior. Brock took his place, scoring at NCAAs as a senior. Khalafalla was a solid player and relay leg. Connor was one of the NCAA’s best divers despite taking an Olympic redshirt year in the middle, and Coldren also scored on the boards. Not counting divers, this class is #6 in individual scoring, and probably jumps into the top-5 with divers included.

#3. TEXAS
TOP TIER ADDITIONS: JONATHAN ROBERTS, JOE SCHOOLING, BRETT RINGGOLD, AUSTIN TEMPLE
REST OF THE CLASS: JARED BUTLER

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 4/5 (Schooling, Roberts, Ringgold, Temple)

This small class went undefeated in NCAA titles while at Texas, and had three of the top 11 individual scorers in Schooling (#3), Roberts (#10) and Ringgold (#11). Schooling ultimately won 4 individual NCAA titles and 8 relay crowns, while Ringgold won 4 relay titles. Temple dropped off some late in his career, but was a pretty key contributor as a freshman.

#2. MICHIGAN
TOP TIER ADDITIONS: PAUL POWERS, EVAN WHITE, PJ RANSFORD, ALEX KATZ, AARON WHITAKER, TRISTAN SANDERS
REST OF THE CLASS: IAN RAINEY, BRYCE KWIECIEN-DELANEY, MITCHELL GARTLAND, RYAN SEBASTIAN, XINGHAO WANG, JP FLANGOS (DIVING), MITCHELL GARTLAND, RYAN SEBASTIAN

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 3rd, 12th, 17th, 8th
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 5/14 (Powers, White, Ransford, Sanders, Whitaker)

Ransford and Powers each scored in all four seasons. Powers was a key relay leg in addition to his individual sprint production. White scored in three of his four years, but Sanders and Whitaker only scored as freshmen.

This class had pretty rough rates of attrition. Only 5 of the 14 remained on the roster by their senior seasons. Katz and Rainey transferred out early.

#1. CAL
TOP TIER ADDITIONS: KYLE GORNAY, NICK SILVERTHORN, CONNOR HOPPE, JUSTIN LYNCH, KYLE COAN, CONNOR GREEN, RYAN KAO, MATT WHITTLE, ZACH STEVENS, FINN SCRIBBICK (DIVING)
REST OF THE CLASS: NONE

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 2/10

The top of this class was rough for Cal, with Gornay dropping off the roster early and Silverthorn and Kao never scoring NCAA points. Lynch was a solid three-year scorer and Hoppe became one of the class’s best with three years of scoring himself.

 

RE-RANKING THE CLASSES

Certainly individual points don’t encapsulate everything a recruiting class brings to a program over four years. But they are the easiest way to rank the classes against each other four years later. Here’s a look at all the classes represented, ranked by individual points from all swimmers in this graduating class:

Rank Team Points
1 Florida 462.5
2 NC State 311
3 Texas 287.5
4 Georgia 213.5
5 South Carolina 190
6 Indiana 133.5
7 Michigan 123
8 Stanford 95
9 Cal 90
10 Arizona 71
11 Tennessee 62
12 USC 61
13 Texas A&M 59
14 Louisville 58
15 Alabama 52.5
16 Denver 44
17 Minnesota 39
18 Cornell 38
19 Auburn 23
20 Yale 14
21 Purdue 12
22 UNC 9.5
23 Arizona State 8
24 Missouri 4
25 BYU 3

And our new top 12, purely in terms of individual NCAA points:

The far left column tracks their individual ranking in our top 20 recruits post. HM means “honorable mention,” or those ranked between #11 and #20. UNR means “unranked” and INTL means “international”, as we don’t rank international swimmers in our top 20 post.

#1 Florida

2 Caeleb Dressel Florida 212
INTL Jan Switkowski Florida 118
INTL Mark Szaranek Florida 116.5
UNR Ben Lawless Florida 16

#2 NC State

UNR Ryan Held NC State 138
INTL Anton Ipsen NC State 118
UNR Hennessey Stuart NC State 41
HM Jacob Molacek NC State 14
HM Colin Ellington NC State 0

#3 Texas

1 Joseph Schooling Texas 141
HM Jonathan Roberts Texas 83
8 Brett Ringgold Texas 59.5
UNR Austin Temple Texas 4

#4 Georgia

6 Gunnar Bentz Georgia 148
UNR Jay Litherland Georgia 54
UNR Kevin Litherland Georgia 8.5
UNR Mick Litherland Georgia 3

#5 South Carolina

INTL Akaram Mahmoud South Carolina 97
INTL Nils Wich-Glasen South Carolina 54
UNR Tom Peribonio South Carolina 39

#6 Indiana

UNR Blake Pieroni Indiana 103.5
INTL Ali Khalafalla Indiana 12
UNR Cody Taylor Indiana 3
UNR Levi Brock Indiana 15

#7 Michigan

UNR PJ Ransford Michigan 59
7 Paul Powers Michigan 38
INTL Evan White Michigan 15
UNR Tristan Sanders Michigan 9
UNR Aaron Whitaker Michigan 2
HM Alex Katz Michigan 0

#8 Stanford

HM Liam Egan Stanford 39
INTL Sam Perry Stanford 25
HM Andrew Liang Stanford 13
5 Curtis Ogren Stanford 9
UNR Patrick Conaton Stanford 9
HM Wesley Olmsted Stanford 0

#9 California

UNR Connor Hoppe Cal 56
9 Justin Lynch Cal 34
3 Kyle Gornay Cal 0
4 Nick Silverthorn Cal 0
HM Ryan Kao Cal 0

#10 Arizona

UNR Justin Wright Arizona 32
UNR Nick Thorne Arizona 23
UNR Chris Wieser Arizona 16

#11 Tennessee

INTL Peter John Stevens Tennessee 32
HM Sam McHugh Tennessee 29
INTL Ryan Coetzee Tennessee 1

#12 USC

INTL Ralf Tribuntsov USC 54
INTL Pawel Furtek USC 7

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The Boi Swim

Stanford. That’s all I have to say.

Old Lobo

Really? Unless your math is really strong, you must not have learned much in 4 years there.

j pine

For me in terms of contribution to the team (Relays and Individual), it would be
#1 Texas
#2 NC State
#3 Florida

Right Dude Here

I’m a Texas fan as hard as they come. I’m an obnoxious Texas fan. Nobody loves the horns as much as I do.

But there’s no way, looking back, Florida wasn’t the best class here, relays included. Dressel + the brilliant performance of many others.

Dan

The drawback with relays is that the swimmers on a relay might be from different classes.
How were relay points assigned? full points from relays or percentage based?

Brock the Breastsroker

Cal seniors getting 4 straight seconds places. Rough

Hey

Also rough that only one of them ended up having a solid college career. If they’d all blown up like Indiana or Florida or Texas they’d have, at the very least, one national championship.

Hangry

Better than all those teams who don’t get top 2.

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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