Revisiting NCAA Recruiting Class Rankings: Women’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.

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. DUKE BLUE DEVILS

Top-Tier Additions: Hanna House, Leah Goldman, Isabella Paez, Maria Sheridan
Rest of class: Catie Miller, Verity Abel, Abby Artman, Lizzie Devitt, Mary Ellen Targonski (diver)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: N/A, N/A, #47, #42
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 2/9 (Goldman, Targonski)

At the time, we noted this class was outside our top 20 before adding House late. (Some might remember House, who verbally committed to Virginia, de-committed and signed with Notre Dame, then ‘re-explored’ her options and fell in love with Duke, getting a full release from Notre Dame without swimming a day in South Bend. She would go on to swim one year with Duke and then transfer). So when House transferred out to Purdue within the first year, it’s no surprise this class fell back to earth.  Leah Goldman did score at NCAAs as a senior, and Targonski scored as a diver during her career.

11. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS

Top-Tier Additions: Emily Slabe, Caroline Baldwin, Megan Bestor, Madison Boswell
Rest of class: Elissa Dawson (diver), Michole Timm (diver – transfer)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #19, #18, #17, #25
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/6 (Baldwin, Dawson, Timm)

Baldwin didn’t score until her junior year, but ultimately ended up one of the more productive swimmers in her class nation-wide. Both divers added some points, but the rest of the swimming class ultimately didn’t make any NCAA waves individually.

10. TEXAS LONGHORNS

Top-Tier Additions: Bethany Leap, Sammie Hashbarger, Mary Schneider, Samantha Sutton, Rebecca Millard, Sydney Couch (diver)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #7, #15, #5, #6
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 1/6 (Millard)

Rebecca Millard was a three-year individual scorer who powered Texas into the top 10 in three of her four years. Mimi Schneider was a valuable relay swimmer. Leap, one of the best breaststrokers in this recruiting class, ended up transferring out to Gardner-Webb. Couch transferred to Purdue, where she did qualify for NCAAs one season.

9. UCLA BRUINS

Top-Tier Additions: Katie Grover, Anna Quinn, Sarah Kaunitz, Carly Reid, Marie-Pierre Delisle
Rest of class: Jax Shoults

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #23, #17, #20, #26
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 1/6 (Grover)

Grover ultimately scored at NCAAs her senior year. She and Kaunitz were part of several relays that set school records and scored at NCAAs. Quinn transferred to Duke, where she was an ACC scorer.

8. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS

Top-Tier Additions: Brooke Zeiger, Brooke Lorentzen, Danielle Nack
Rest of class: Isabel Wyer, McKenna Lynch, Aislin Rose, Bridget Grobe, Rae Bullinger, Beth Etterman (diver)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #12, #16, #10, #10
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 1/9 (Zeiger)

Zeiger was on pace to be one of the class’s best swimmers, scoring 39 points through two years before struggling with medical issues later in her career. Nack never scored individually (though she finished 17th at least once), but finished as the fastest flyer in school history and ran up a lot of NCAA relay points. Lorentzen dropped off the roster after a few seasons.

7. TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Top-Tier Additions: Bethany Galat, Lisa Bratton, Kristin Malone, Esther Gonzalez
Rest of Class: Caitlynn Moon, Laura Norman, Nancy Shuchhardt, Jessica Sloan

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #4, #4, #3, #3
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 4/8 (Galat, Bratton, Malone, Gonzalez) plus Beryl Gastaldello and Jorie Caneta

This class yielded some massive NCAA points, transitioning A&M from the Breeja Larson years into an era of sustained success. Galat was the 2nd-highest scorer in the entire class. Bratton was the highest scorer outside our top 20 ranked recruits. A&M also got almost 100 individual points out of French addition Beryl Gastaldello, who turned out to be one of the most productive swimmers in the class. They would also get scorer Jorie Caneta in as a transfer from Arizona State.

6. INDIANA HOOSIERS

Top-Tier Additions: Grace Vertigans, Marie Chamberlain, Kennedy Goss, Ali Rockett, Kaitlin Kitchens, Delaney Barnard, Reagan Cook
Rest of Class: Samatha Lisy, Rachel Matsumura, Gabi Rajic, Holly Spears, Taylor Truex

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #10, #7, #8, #8
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 2/12 (Goss, Rockett)

Goss was one of the more productive international additions. Rockett ultimately scored double-digit points as a senior and was a key relay swimmers. The rest of this class did have a pretty good relay impact: Vertigans, Chamberlain, Barnard and Spears were all NCAA relay scorers.

5. PRINCETON TIGERS

Top-Tier Additions: Alisabeth Marsteller, Heidi Miller, Elsa Welshofer, Madelyn Veith, Claire McIlmail, Emily Jiang, Lindsay Temple
Rest of Class: Lily Reisinger, Mary Kate Davis, Colleen McHugh (diver), Larkin Papa (diver)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 0/11

Miller was the centerpiece of this class, and she ultimately didn’t wind up swimming a yard in competition for the Tigers. She competed at the club level the summer after her freshman year, and hasn’t competed since. Welshofer improved some of her times, but not the fly times that really made her a standout recruit. Marsteller struggled with injuries most of her career, but did finish out all four years of competition, as did a large portion of this big class.

4. CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

Top Tier Additions: #6 Jasmine Mau, Cierra Runge, Noemie Thomas, Maija Roses, Catherine Ladd

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #1, #3, #2, #2
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/5 (Mau, Runge, Thomas)

More than half of this class turned out to be very high-level NCAA swimmers, but only one continued to score through her senior year. Canadian flyer Noemie Thomas was as advertised in recruiting, scoring 79 total points and contributing about 20 points like clockwork each of her sophomore, junior and senior years. She was part of an NCAA title-winning relay and helped Cal win the NCAA crown as a team in 2015. Runge was a huge part of that title effort, scoring 49 points, but she later transferred out to Wisconsin and is now transferring again to Arizona State, where she’ll have one year of eligiblity remaining. Mau scored 10 points as a freshman but regressed each year after that.

3. GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Top Tier Additions: #3 Kylie Stewart, #7 Meaghan Raab, Megan Kingsley, Courtney Weaver, Anna McKenzie, Stephanie Peters

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #2, #1, #4, #11
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 4/6 (Stewart, Raab, Kingsley, Peters)

Here’s a crazy stat: Kylie Stewart ultimately never bettered the amazing 1:49.8 200 back she put up as a high schooler in 2014… and she still wound up one of the most productive swimmers in the class with 63 NCAA points and a national relay title. Just more proof that even if they plateau, recruiting elite high school swimmers is the best way to build a roster of elite college swimmers. Raab and Kingsley each scored points in all four of their college years as well. Peters qualified for NCAAs as a freshman but was left home when Georgia was up against its 18-athlete roster cap. She came back the next year to score a point in Georgia’s upset NCAA win over Stanford.

2. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

Top Tier Additions: #4 G Ryan, Clara Smiddy, Emily Kopas, Carolyn McCann, Hannah Moore

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #22, #10, #11, #4
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 3/5 (Ryan, Smiddy, Moore, Kopas) plus Gabby Deloof

G Ryan scored 65 points over her four years, and Clara Smiddy scored 56. And we didn’t even include late class addition Gabby Deloof, who would score 28 over the course of her junior and senior years. Kopas scored as a freshman. Moore would go on to be the most productive of any of these swimmers, but she did it for NC State, where she transferred after her freshman season.

1. STANFORD CARDINAL

Top Tier Additions: #1 Simone Manuel, #2 Janet Hu, #5 Lindsey Engel, #8 Ally Howe, Alexandra Meyers, Heidi Poppe, Gracia Leydon-Mahoney (diving)

  • NCAA Finishes Over 4 Years: #3, #2, #1, #1
  • Number of NCAA Scorers In Class: 5/7

The trio of Manuel, Hu and Howe combined for the most NCAA titles of any swimmers in this class. Manuel won 6 individually and 8 on relays, Howe 1 individually and 7 on relays and Hu won 10 relay titles. Engel also chipped in one. (The diver Leydon-Mahoney also won a national title on the boards, though she missed much of her junior year and all of her senior year with injuries.) Over the course of their four-year careers, that foursome of Manuel, Hu, Howe and Engel scored massive individual points, too: 169 for Manuel, 112 for Hu, 88 for Howe and 32 for Engel. Combine all of those and spread out over four years, that quartet of women scored an average of 100.2 points per season – that’s enough to finish inside the top 14 with just the four of them and no relay points considered.

 

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 Stanford 401
2 Texas A&M 352
3 Michigan 158
4 Cal 138
5 Georgia 130
6 Missouri 93
7 Indiana 91
8 NC State 89
9 Ohio State 87
10 Virginia 68
11 Minnesota 39
12 UNC 35
13 Purdue 28
14 Texas 27
15 FSU 21
16 Auburn 20
17 Virginia Tech 16
18 Kentucky 13
19 Hawaii 12
20 USC 11
21 Alabama 8.5
22 Tennessee 8
23 Akron 6
23 Arizona 6
25 Pitt 4
26 Duke 2
26 UCLA 2

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: Stanford

1 Simone Manuel Stanford 169
2 Janet Hu Stanford 112
5 Lindsey Engel Stanford 32
8 Ally Howe Stanford 88

#2: Texas A&M

10 Bethany Galat Texas A&M 137
UNR Lisa Bratton Texas A&M 80.5
UNR Jorie Caneta Texas A&M 12
UNR Kristen Malone Texas A&M 1
INTL Beryl Gastaldello Texas A&M 98.5
INTL Esther Gonzalez Texas A&M 23

#3: Michigan

4 G Ryan Michigan 65
HM Carolyn McCann Michigan 0
HM Clara Smiddy Michigan 56
UNR Gabby DeLoof Michigan 28
UNR Emily Kopas Michigan 9

#4: Cal

6 Jasmine Mau Cal 10
HM Cierra Runge Cal 49
INTL Noemie Thomas Cal 79

#5: Georgia

3 Kylie Stewart Georgia 63
7 Meaghan Raab Georgia 27
HM Courtney Weaver Georgia 0
HM Megan Kingsley Georgia 39
UNR Stephanie Peters Georgia 1

#6: Missouri

UNR Sharli Brady Missouri 51
UNR Hannah Stevens Missouri 39
UNR Kira Zubar Missouri 3

#7: Indiana

UNR Ally Rockett Indiana 13
INTL Kennedy Goss* Indiana 78

#8: NC State

HM Hannah Moore NC State 89

#9: Ohio State

INTL Liz Li Ohio State 75
INTL Meg Bailey Ohio State 12

#10: Virginia

UNR Jen Marrkand Virginia 49
UNR Caitlin Cooper Virginia 12.5
UNR Laine Reed Virginia 6.5

#11: Minnesota

9 Danielle Nack Minnesota 0
HM Brooke Zieger Minnesota 39
HM Brooke Lorentzen Minnesota 0

#12: UNC

UNR Caroline Baldwin UNC 35

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Tnfan

It would be interesting to see the class re-ranked based on ncaa points. Would Texas A&M have had the number 2 class of 2014?

Hint of Lime

What about Valerie Hull as a transfer to Cal?

Coach

This illustrates why I do not understand how Steve Bultman does not win coach of the year. He doesn’t get the top recruiting class, and he is at a huge disadvantage being in College Station (no offense to the aggies, but almost anyone would choose sunny California or even Austin over a small rural college town).

Steve’s recruiting classes don’t get the headlines or hype that other top schools get, yet A&M is consistently one of the top 4 programs at NCAAs. That’s not by luck; that’s by coaching, and the numbers show that Steve Bultman is simply outcoaching “hyped” programs year after year.

JudgeNot

Agree in good part; the success there is remarkable. Just a nit-pick: Bryan-College station population is 255,519. For a lot of us that’s a long way from a “small rural college town”.

OldArmy

And, this class was Texas A&M’s highest ranked recruiting class in years. Look at the Juniors this year. That recruiting class wasn’t even ranked by swimswam in 2014 but they were the 3rd highest scoring class at NCAAs this year.

Double Arm Freestyle

Because Meehan developed Eastin, Drabot, Manuel, Hu, Howe, and many others very well. Yes they were all elite recruits, but that doesn’t take away from the absurdity of some of the times they’ve posted. Look at Kylie Stewart, an elite recruit who didn’t develop and got outperformed by developed recruits. Just because Meehan starts with talent doesn’t mean it’s easy to get them to improve. Bultman is good, but Meehan and Stanford this year were phenomenal.

swimtroll

Great coach, great assistant coach, excellent team dynamics, and not recruiting divas.

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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