Revisiting Recruit Rankings: Men’s High School Class of 2016

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 2016, which just finished four years of college eligibility this spring.

2020 Update: This year, of course, is a special case. With the NCAA Championships canceled by the coronavirus pandemic, we have one less data point for our analysis. Still, if we can’t spend this week watching some of the fastest swimming in history, we might as well spend it remembering the great swims and swimmers of the past.

For this year’s analysis, we’ll work with what we have – projected points based on the NCAA psych sheets. We’ll try to note major in-season accolades where we can.

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 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-plus 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 20

Check out this post for our analysis of the top 20 recruits in the high school class of 2016. Bear in mind that this was posted in July of 2015, 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 2015 is even less enlightening than that.

Here’s a look at our top 20 recruits, plus how many individual points they scored at NCAAs in each of their four years:

Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
1 Maxime Rooney Florida/Texas 28 13 0 15 31.5
2 Michael Jensen Cal 10 2 0 8
3 Grant Shoults Stanford 44 26 18 5
4 True Sweetser Stanford 29 6 11 12 redshirt
5 Jack Xie Cal 0 0 no invite no invite no invite
6 Mark Jurek USC 0 no invite no invite no invite no invite
7 Thomas Anderson Arizona 0 no invite no invite 0
8 Greg Brocato UNC 0 no invite no invite no invite no invite
9 James Jones Michigan 0 no invite 0 no invite no invite
10 Andrea Vergani Cal 0 no invite no invite
11 Ethan Young Cal 0 no invite no invite no invite
12 Jeremy Babinet Michigan 2.5 no invite 2.5 0 18
13 Taylor Abbott Tennessee 0 0 no invite no invite 2
14 Charlie Swanson Michigan 22 0 13 9 15
15 Thomas Cope Michigan 29 no invite 14 15 24
16 David Crossland Auburn 0 no invite no invite no invite no invite
17 Albert Gwo Cal/Columbia 0 no invite no invite no invite
18 Benjamin Ho Stanford 0 no invite 0 no invite no invite
19 James Murphy Stanford 0 no invite no invite 0
20 Ted Schubert Virginia 7 0 5 2 28

The hits:

  • #1 overall recruit Maxime Rooney looks much better than the numbers would say. Rooney had a massive summer, is a top Olympic contender, and was projected to score huge points for Texas this year. In fact, his transfer from Florida to Texas was a big reason the Longhorns were favored to win the title this year.
  • The numbers don’t look that compelling for anyone, but no one in this class scored huge points. In fact, even when you factor in internationals and unranked recruits, only five guys in this class scored 50+ points over three NCAA seasons, and only one cracked triple digits. So 44 points from #3 Grant Shoults is very solid – and Shoults could potentially get a year back after missing NCAAs as a junior with injury. Same goes for True Sweetserwho scored 29 points over three years and redshirted this year, leaving potentially one more year of eligibility remaining.
  • Michigan’s duo of Charlie Swanson and Tommy Cope both scored very well over their sophomore and junior years.
  • Ted Schubert out of Virginia was set to score major points this year, and would have jumped towards the top of the class in overall scoring had he held his seeds.

The misses:

  • This was a brutal class for the top-ranked recruits. More than half of our top 10 failed to score a single NCAA point over their careers, and only 8 of the top 20 scored over three seasons.
  • That’s not to say NCAA scoring is the extend of an athlete’s impact. Quite a few of these guys were steady relay contributors and team captains. It just appears the NCAA scoring ceiling of this class was lower than we anticipated.
  • Andrea Vergani never ultimately competed for Cal, but had some international success, most recently hitting a world-leading 50 free, but taking a doping suspension after testing positive for cannabis.

OTHER IMPACTFUL RECRUITS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITING CLASS OF 2016

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.

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
Dean Farris Harvard 101 18 30 53 redshirt
Coleman Stewart NC State 86 3 34 49 51
Walker Higgins Georgia 27 2 25 3
Zachary Poti Arizona State 19 2 17 30
Cameron Craig Arizona State/Ohio State 18 14 4
Benjamin Walker Texas A&M 17 5 12 13.33
Miles Smachlo Michigan 17 1 16 20
Jacob Montague Michigan 11 6 5
Noah Lense Ohio State 9 9 6
Hank Poppe Stanford 9 9
Jack McIntyre NC State 6 6
Andrew Loy Ohio State 5 5 35
Grant Sanders Arizona/Florida 1 1 20
Matthew Garcia Tennessee 1 1
Sid Farber Denver 0 redshirt 4.5
Colin Wright William & Mary 26
Nick Alexander Missouri 15
Adam Koster Texas A&M 11
Jack Collins Texas 9
Jack Montesi Notre Dame 6
Griffin Alaniz Florida State 5
Josh Artmann Texas 5
Marco Guarente Florida 5
Clayton Forde Georgia 3
Daniel Hein Missouri 2
Micah Slaton Missouri 2

Standouts:

  • Obviously, we’ll get at least ten meme comments about Dean Farristhe comment section favorite who leads this class in scoring with one season of eligibility still technically remaining. Farris scored in all three seasons, including 53 points as a junior. When we first ranked this class, Farris was 1:38.7 in the 200 free and 44.6 in the 100 free. He wound up going 1:29.1 and 40.8. That’s one great college career.
  • NC State’s Coleman Stewart was another standout who came a long ways in college. 48.2 back and 48.5 fly when we ranked this class, Stewart dropped straight into the 45/46 range as a freshman and finished as one of the fastest of all-time at 43.9 (back) and 44.4 (fly). Stewart was seeded to score 51 more points this year, which would have likely made him the class’s #1 scorer.
  • There are always late risers in this category. Michgan’s Miles Smachlo didn’t score at NCAAs until his sophomore year, but went from a single point that year to 16 the next year. He projected at 20 points for 2020.
  • Ohio State’s Andrew Loy would have probably seen a big rise, too, with 35 psych sheet points.

INTERNATIONAL

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
Felix Auboeck Michigan 95 40 35 20 37
Zheng Quah Cal 79 31 19 29 31
Pawel Sendyk Cal 63 13 15 35 18
Javier Acevedo Georgia 45 6 18 21 redshirt
Mohamed Samy Indiana 36.5 4 21 11.5 17
Khader Baqlah Florida 26 16 10 14
Zane Waddell Alabama 15 5 5 5 43.5
Kane Follows Hawaii 12 12
Cam Tysoe Wisconsin 7 7 2
Itay Goldfaden South Carolina 6.5 5.5 1 14
Joe Clark Virginia 6 3 3
Santiago Grassi Auburn 6 6 6
Olli Kokko Hawaii 5 5 9
Etay Gurevich Louisville 4 4
Andrej Barna Louisville/Arizona 4 1 3
Jorge Iga Arizona 4 4
Mario Koenigsperger USC 4 4
Karl Luht LSU 4

Standouts:

  • This is a pretty international-heavy class, with five of the top ten overall scorers coming from this category.
  • Felix Auboeck was in line for the #1 scorer in the class title with 37 psych sheet points, even after a rough junior NCAAs. Auboeck scored 95 over three years.
  • Cal got two great internationals to make up for some misses in the top 20 recruits. Zheng Quah and Pawel Sendyk each scored in all three seasons and projected to hit for a fourth time this year.
  • Alabama’s Zane Waddell stood to move way up the ranks this year with 45 psych sheet points. He’d only scored 15 previously in his career.

ALL INDIVIDUAL SCORERS IN THE CLASS:

(Ranked recruits are listed with their 2015 rank. International recruits are listed with “INTL” and unranked recruits with “UNR.”)

Final Rank 2015 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2017 NCAA Points 2018 NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
1 UNR Dean Farris Harvard 101 18 30 53 redshirt
2 INTL Felix Auboeck Michigan 95 40 35 20 37
3 UNR Coleman Stewart NC State 86 3 34 49 51
4 INTL Zheng Quah Cal 79 31 19 29 31
5 INTL Pawel Sendyk Cal 63 13 15 35 18
6 INTL Javier Acevedo Georgia 45 6 18 21
7 3 Grant Shoults Stanford 44 26 18 5
8 INTL Mohamed Samy Indiana 36.5 4 21 11.5 17
9 4 True Sweetser Stanford 29 6 11 12 redshirt
9 15 Thomas Cope Michigan 29 no invite 14 15 24
11 1 Maxime Rooney Florida/Texas 28 13 0 15 31.5
12 UNR Walker Higgins Georgia 27 2 25 3
13 INTL Khader Baqlah Florida 26 16 10 14
14 14 Charlie Swanson Michigan 22 0 13 9 15
15 UNR Zachary Poti Arizona State 19 2 17 30
16 UNR Cameron Craig Arizona State/Ohio State 18 14 4
17 UNR Miles Smachlo Michigan 17 1 16 20
17 UNR Benjamin Walker Texas A&M 17 5 12 13.33
19 INTL Zane Waddell Alabama 15 5 5 5 43.5
20 INTL Kane Follows Hawaii 12 12
21 UNR Jacob Montague Michigan 11 6 5
22 2 Michael Jensen Cal 10 2 0 8
23 UNR Noah Lense Ohio State 9 9 6
23 UNR Hank Poppe Stanford 9 9
25 20 Ted Schubert Virginia 7 0 5 2 28
25 INTL Cam Tysoe Wisconsin 7 7 2
27 INTL Itay Goldfaden South Carolina 6.5 5.5 1 14
28 INTL Santiago Grassi Auburn 6 6 6
28 UNR Jack McIntyre NC State 6 6
28 INTL Joe Clark Virginia 6 3 3
31 UNR Andrew Loy Ohio State 5 5 35
31 INTL Olli Kokko Hawaii 5 5 9
33 INTL Etay Gurevich Louisville 4 4
33 INTL Andrej Barna Louisville 4 1 3
33 INTL Jorge Iga Arizona 4 4
33 INTL Mario Koenigsperger USC 4 4
37 12 Jeremy Babinet Michigan 2.5 no invite 2.5 0 18
38 UNR Grant Sanders Arizona/Florida 1 1 20
38 UNR Matthew Garcia Tennessee 1 1
40 UNR Colin Wright William & Mary 0 26
40 UNR Nick Alexander Missouri 0 15
40 UNR Adam Koster Texas A&M 0 11
40 UNR Jack Collins Texas 0 9
40 UNR Jack Montesi Notre Dame 0 6
40 UNR Griffin Alaniz Florida State 0 5
40 UNR Josh Artmann Texas 0 5
40 UNR Marco Guarente Florida 0 5
40 UNR Sid Farber Denver 0 redshirt 4.5
40 INTL Karl Luht LSU 0 4
40 UNR Clayton Forde Georgia 0 3
40 13 Taylor Abbott Tennessee 0 0 no invite no invite 2
40 UNR Daniel Hein Missouri 0 2
40 UNR Micah Slaton Missouri 0 2

BONUS: THE SUPER-SENIOR

We had four big-name women from previous classes wrap up their NCAA scoring careers, but only one on the men’s side:

Harty took a redshirt during what would have been his sophomore season. He was projected to score 31 points this year, which would have pushed his career total to 82 – ranking #9 in his class. We actually ranked Harty #9 coming out of high school, though that list didn’t include two high-scoring internationals in that recruiting class.

Class of 2015 revisited (as of last year)

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QUACK
6 months ago

Yikes. A lot of flops on that top-20 domestic list…

Anonymous
Reply to  QUACK
5 months ago

Wow. Huge difference. Top 20 = grain of salt.

Waterbug
6 months ago

what a tough year for william and mary…

Swammer
6 months ago

Any word on what dean is going to do now that the olympics have been postponed? He took a redshirt to train for 2020 so will he be back at Harvard for 2021?

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Swammer
6 months ago

My bet is NO. He should quit swimming and find the cure for Covid-19.

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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