Revisiting NCAA Recruiting Class Rankings: Women’s Class of 2014-2017

We’re now four years past our first shot at ranking each team’s NCAA recruiting class, and it’s time to look back at how each of our top 12 teams fared in the years since.

We looked back on our rankings of the top 10 individual athletes in the class here:

Back in the summer of 2013, we looked at that same class of swimmers, this time ranking out the top 12 recruiting classes for individual NCAA schools. Now, we look back at how those recruiting classes impacted each school along the way.

You can find our recruiting class rankings from July of 2013 below:

We’ve republished each class below, verbatim from how they were listed in our 2013 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. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

Headliners: Nina Schiffer (Germany), Kira Toussaint (Netherlands),
Rest of the class: Evita Leter (Suriname), Caroline Hamilton, Sandra Wilk, Trisha Centeno (Auburn transfer/Puerto Rico), Hannah Soutar (Scotland), Maria Paola Munoz (IRSC transfer/Colombia), Solyvette Lizardi (IRSC transfer/Puerto Rico), Claudia Reyes, Kristina Figureoa, Marcella Marinherio (Florida/Brazil), Victoria Ho (Florida transfer), Lani Cabrera (Barbados), Emily Slater (diving), Mikaila Buening (diving)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #32, #26, #47, #41
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 1/14 (Toussaint)

This international-heavy class didn’t quite have the national power, but did help Florida Gulf Coast win 3 CCSA titles in its four years. Kira Toussaint was the star of the class, and made NCAA A final appearances in both of her FGCU seasons before transferring out to Tennessee.

11. Texas Longhorns

Headliners: Tasija Karosas, Madisyn Cox, Brynne Wong, Samantha Bromberg (diving)
Rest of the class: Makayla Markey, Cheyenne Low, Rebecca Baxley, Vanessa Duran, Smacker Miles

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #9, #7, #15, #5
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/9 (Karosas, Cox and Bromberg plus Jordan Surhoff)

Carol Capitani’s first recruiting class turned out to be a great one for Texas. Madisyn Cox was far and away the most productive swimmer not ranked in our top 10 during recruiting season, and Tasija Karosas was a regular scorer in the pool. For whatever reason, we didn’t have Jordan Surhoff listed as a member of the recruiting class when we ranked the teams, but she also turned out to be an NCAA scorer.

10. Virginia Tech

Headliners: Klaudia Nazieblo (Poland), Auriane de Premilhat (France), Maggie Gruber
Rest of the class: Caroline Buscaglia, Taylor Ellis, Jessica Hespeler, Fiona Donnelly (UK), Laura Schwartz, Leah Piemonte (diving)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #24, #27, #25, #31
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 2/9 (Nazieblo and Hespeler)

Klaudia Nazieblo was every bit the star Virginia Tech hoped she’d be. Auriane de Premilhat never got into NCAAs, but was a solid ACC contributor. Maggie Gruber was also a conference-level scorer who did qualify for NCAAs and contributed on several relays.

The two big breakouts were Jessica Hespeler and Fiona Donnelly. Hespeler scored at NCAAs and Donnelly qualified and competed at the meet.

9. UCLA Bruins

Headliners: Madison White, Linnea Mack, Maggie Burton, Annika Lenz (diving)
Rest of the class: Emily Hammond, Nina Hayes, Michaela Merlihan, Danni Repper (diving), Ashley Tse

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #21, #23, #17, #20
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/9 (White, Mack and Lenz)

Madison White and Linnea Mack made up a pretty formidable duo for UCLA, and Annika Lenz also chipped in some diving points in a solid class for the Bruins.

8. Florida Gators

Headliners: Georgia Hohmann (UK), Taylor Katz, Danielle Valley, Megan Rankin (sophomore transfer – UCLA)
Rest of the class: Autumn Finke, Alyssa Yambor-Maul

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #6, #9, #19, N/A
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 1/6 (Katz)

This was a rough class for Florida. The only swimmer in this group to score NCAA points for the Gators was Taylor Katzwho was a B finalist in the 200 fly in 2016. Danielle Valley turned out to be an NCAA scorer for Wisconsin, but didn’t put up any points before she transferred away from Florida. Of the six, only three finished their senior seasons on Florida’s roster: Finke, Katz and Yambor-Maul.

7. Alabama Crimson Tide

Headliners: Bonnie MacDonald (Australia), Karolina Szczepaniak (Poland),
Rest of the class: Taneka Kovchenko (Australia/Diving)), Leah Bird (Australia), Bailey Scott, Maddie Kamman, Sarah Musselman (diving), Bridget Blood, Caroline Korst, Emily Zapinski, Taylor Zablocki (diving)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #39, #29, #28, #43
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 2/11 (Scott and Blood)

They key swimmer in this class was Australian open water specialist Bonnie MacDonald, who only swam two seasons for Alabama and didn’t qualify for NCAAs in either one. Bailey Scott ended up scoring as a sprint freestyler and Bridget Blood turned into a very solid breaststroker.

6. USC Trojans

Headliners: Chelsea Chenault, Lexie Malazdrewicz
Also in the class: Blair Carnes, Jamie Christy, Sidney Cooke, Maggie D’Innocenzo, Riley Hayward, Kelsey Kafka, Evan Swenson

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #5, #8, #6, #9
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 1/9 (Chenault plus San Diego State transfer Anika Apostalon)

Chelsea Chenault had a nice career, though capped off by her absence at this year’s NCAA Championships. The rest of the class never quite broke through at the national level. Maggie D’Innocenzo wound up transferring out to Texas. Evan Swenson was a valuable relay piece for several years and came close to scoring individually.

5. Virginia Cavaliers

Top Additions: Kaitlyn Jones, Leah Smith, Laura Simon (Germany)
Also in the class: Ellen Thomas (UK), Maddy Smart, Kaleigh Rosenburg, Shannon Rauth, Erin McElfresh, Morgan Flynn

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #11, #5, #5, #12
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/9 (Jones, Smith, Simon)

This class held up as one of the NCAA’s best, pushing the Cavaliers into the top 5 for two years. Leah Smith turned out to be the highest-scoring individual in the entire class, and Kaitlyn Jones more than held her own. Of the non-individual NCAA scorers, Ellen Thomas and Shannon Rauth were still extremely valuable from a relay perspective.

4. Stanford Cardinal

Headliners: Lia Neal, Nicole Stafford, Grace Carlson, Kassidy Cook (diving)
Rest of the class: Bridget Boushka, Tara Halsted

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #2, #3, #2, #1
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/6 (Neal, Stafford, Cook)

This was the start of a special recruiting run for Stanford. Lia Neal was one of the best individuals in the class, and Stanford won one team NCAA title and came within a hair of another in 2016.

3. Georgia Bulldogs

Top Additions: Olivia Smoliga, Emily Cameron, Rachel Zilinskas
Rest of the Class: Kimberlee John-Williams, Anna Kolanowski, Elizabeth Ann Kirkland (diving)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #1, #2, #1, #4
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/6 (Smoliga, Cameron, Zilinskas, plus Chantal van Landeghem)

This turned out to be a monster class for Georgia, especially after adding Canada’s Chantal van Landeghem. Olivia Smoliga was one of the single most productive swimmers in the class, and Georgia won a pair of national titles over this group’s four-year run.

2. Tennessee Volunteers

Headliners: Michelle Cefal, Camryne Morris, Christina Leander, Colleen Callahan, Lauren Driscoll (sophomore transfer from Cal)
Rest of the class: Trisha Forrester, Heather Lundstrom, Morgan Dickson, Gaffney Taylor (diving), Madeline Tegner, Bailey Wind (diving)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #7, #11, #13, #22
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 2/11 (Driscoll, Tegner, plus transfer Kira Toussaint)

This looked like a big, deep class at the time, but could never make the jump to regular NCAA scoring contention, scoring just 4 NCAA points between the 11 of them on twin 15th place finishes from Lauren Driscoll and Maddy Tegner back in 2016. On the other hand, this was a pretty reliable group at the SEC level, and Tennessee got its biggest contributions in this class from Kira Toussaint, who transferred in from Florida Gulf Coast.

1. Cal Golden Bears

Headline additions: Missy Franklin, Celina Li, Kristen Vredeveld, Farida Osman (Egypt), Sophia Batchelor (New Zealand), Marina Garcia (Spain)
Rest of the class: Taylor Young, Abi Speers

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #3, #1, #3, #2
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 6/8 (Franklin, Li, Vredeveld, Osman, Batchelor, Garcia)

Missy Franklin was the queen of the class, and even though she only stayed two years, it appeared Cal knew that was the deal all along. This group was the core of 2015’s NCAA title run and never finished outside of the top 3 at NCAAs during their careers.

Marina Garcia was never quite the star breaststroker she projected as, but probably took too much flack for a steady, productive contributor if only because her long course times were so excellent. Sophia Batchelor transferred away, but did score her freshman year.

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5 years ago

For USC, you write that Evan Swenson was a valuable relay swimmer for 4 years, but she did not appear on the roster her senior season.

5 years ago

I am confused. If Taylor Katz from #7 Florida scored in the 200 Fly B Final, then why Florida ended up with scoreless in this recent NCAA Championship? Did you get DQ’ed?

SYS Parent
Reply to  ADSF
5 years ago

Taylor Katz had ankle reconstruction surgery right after trials. From what I hear she had multiple setbacks that affected her swimming.

5 years ago

the aggies weren’t even included? another way to show how underrated they always are. let’s start giving them some credit.

5 years ago

Good content, always interesting to look back and see how things develop and play out at the next level. Will there be any analysis of teams that were not ranked, similar to the article on individuals which included a section on unranked recruits from the same year who performed well at NCAA’s?

PK boo I\'m sad my name is too short now
Reply to  1anda2
5 years ago

Won’t it generally be the same content? Clary/Gibson/Cottrell/Moffitt/Galyer were all good swimmers who scored nationally in 3+ A finals and thus made their recruiting classes stronger than anyone else who isn’t listed.

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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