See Where SwimSwam’s Top 20 HS Girls Recruits of 2017 Have Committed

October’s almost over, which means many of the United States’ fastest high school seniors have committed to swim in college. Before we go over where everyone has ended up, we’ll remind you of our parameters for making the top 20 list:

Our goal in these rankings is to reflect what college coaches look for in recruits, based on many years of conversations and coverage.

We focus only on American-based athletes, simply because there is so much uncertainty with international recruits – if they’ll come to the states, when they’ll come to the states and with what graduating class they should be ranked. Projecting international recruits often becomes more a discussion of when they’ll first join a college program and not which program they’ll join.

A few other factors that weigh heavily in our rankings:

  • Sprints over distance – Relay points count double in college swimming, and any program needs a strong stable of quality sprinters to fill out all 5 relays with studs. Obviously, a special distance swimmer can easily rank ahead of a very good 100 freestyler, but college swimming generally values a sprint freestyler over a distance swimmer, all other factors being equal.
  • Improvements – Actual times are a the trump card, but any big improvements in quality can make a difference as well. For example, a swimmer who only took up year-round swimming as a junior in high school going the same time as a swimmer whose been swimming year-round since they were 8 will probably get the edge in our rankings. Think Breeja Larson.
  • Short Course over Long Course – we recognize that some programs, many programs, put their focus with their high school aged swimmers on long course, especially depending on when the high school championships may fall. That said, college swimming is short course, so a swimmer who is great in short course but struggles in long course will have the advantage over the reverse.
  • NCAA scoring ability – NCAAs are the big show for college teams, so we’ve weighted NCAA scoring potential very highly. Swimmers who already have NCAA scoring times wind up mostly filling out the top our of rankings. Since college athletic directors – and by extension coaches – also place high value on conference championships, scoring ability at conference meets is also a factor in our rankings.
  • Relative depth in the NCAA and recruiting class – a wealth of elite depth nationwide in one stroke discipline makes a big difference in what times are considered more valuable in that event. For example, the women’s backstrokes have been loaded with stars in the NCAA the past few years. Though a 52-second backstroker is still valuable, that time won’t get you near as far as it would have in years past. In the same vein, if a recruiting class is loaded with swimmers in the same event, they all are devalued a little, relatively speaking. This year’s class of girls, for example, is thick with 22-mid sprinters and butterfliers, which makes swimmers in those events a little less valuable than an event like backstroke, where the recruiting class has less elite options to choose from.



1. Courtney Harnish – York YMCA – West York Area High School – York, PA **Verbally committed to Georgia**
Best Times: 500 free – 4:39.13, 200 fly – 1:54.37, 200 free – 1:45.62, 1650 free – 16:08.57, 400 IM – 4:11.93, 100 fly – 52.87, 100 back – 54.04, 200 back – 1:55.41

2. Sierra Schmidt – North Baltimore Aquatic Club – Erdenheim, PA **Verbally committed to Michigan**
Best Times: 1650 free – 15:57.89, 500 free – 4:38.47, 200 free – 1:47.63, 400 IM – 4:11.64

3. Margaret Aroesty – Long Island Aquatic Club – Long Beach Senior High School – Long Beach, NY **Verbally committed to USC**
Best Times: 100 breast – 58.98, 200 breast – 2:11.67, 200 IM – 1:57.76, 400 IM – 4:12.03

4. Brooke Forde – Lakeside Swim Team – Sacred Heart Academy – Louisville, KY **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best Times: 400 IM – 4:07.49, 200 IM – 1:57.85, 200 fly – 1:57.03, 100 fly – 53.44, 200 free – 1:46.76, 200 breast – 2:11.29

5. Nikol Popov – Canyons Aquatic Club – Valencia High School – Santa Clarita, CA **Verbally committed to Tennessee**
Best Times: 100 breast – 59.64, 200 breast – 2:08.92, 200 IM – 1:58.78, 400 IM – 4:13.78

6. Lauren Pitzer – Lakeside Aquatic Club – Fossil Ridge High School – Haltom City, TX **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best Times: 50 free – 22.66, 100 free – 48.72, 200 free – 1:45.68, 500 free – 4:42.80, 100 fly – 55.01, 400 IM – 4:16.77

7. Ashlyn Schoof – Schroeder Swim Team – Muskego High School – Muskego, WI **Verbally committed to Louisville**
Best Times: 100 back – 51.98, 200 back – 1:54.35, 200 free – 1:47.76, 100 fly – 54.46, 200 fly – 2:00.65

8. Hannah Kukurugya – Crown Point Swim Club – Crown Point High School – Crown Point, IN **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best Times: 200 fly – 1:55.64, 100 fly – 53.44, 200 IM – 1:58.59, 400 IM – 4:18.56, 200 free – 1:47.10, 500 free – 4:47.83

9. Taylor Pike – Razorback Aquatic Club Aquahawgs – Bentonville High School – Bentonville, AR **Verbally committed to Texas A&M**
Best Times: 200 fly – 1:55.57, 100 fly – 53.54, 1650 free — 16:41.77

10. Grace Zhao – Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics – Palo Alto High School – Palo Alto, CA **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best Times: 200 breast – 2:09.23, 100 breast – 1:00.65, 50 free – 22.75, 100 fly – 55.87


11. Victoria Edwards –  Longhorn Aquatics – Westlake High School – Austin, TX **Verbally committed to Texas**
Best Times: 200 fly – 1:56.08, 100 fly – 52.74, 100 back – 53.30, 200 back – 1:57.79, 200 IM – 2:00.85

12. Ashley Volpenhein –  Mason Manta Rays – Mason High School – Mason, OH **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best Times: 50 free – 22.35, 100 free – 48.96, 200 free – 1:49.39, 100 fly – 54.73

13. Marta Ciesla – Pine Crest Swimming – Pine Crest School – Fort Lauderdale, FL **Verbally committed to USC**
Best Times: 50 free – 22.52, 100 free – 48.97, 200 free – 1:49.53

14. Caitlin Tycz – Long Reach Swim Club – Brunswick High School – Brunswick, ME **Verbally committed to USC**
Best Times: 100 fly – 52.43, 200 fly – 1:58.00

15. Alexis Margett – Brea Aquatics – Glendora High School – Glendora, CA **Verbally committed to Michigan**
Best Times: 100 fly – 52.59, 200 fly – 1:57.74, 200 IM – 1:59.78, 200 breast — 2:17.66

16. Anna Belousova – Nation’s Capital Swim Club – Bethesda, MD **Verbally committed to Texas A&M**
Best Times: 200 breast – 2:09.61, 100 breast – 1:00.58, 200 IM – 1:58.71, 200 back – 1:56.11, 100 back – 54.96

17. Taylor Ault – La Mirada Armada – Sonora High School – Sonora, CA **Verbally committed to Florida**
Best Times:  200 free – 1:46.07, 500 free – 4:41.73, 1650 free – 16:13.41

18. Paige Madden – City of Mobile Swim Association – UMS-Wright Preparatory School – Mobile, AL **Verbally committed to Virginia**
Best Times: 500 free – 4:42.17, 200 free – 1:45.68, 100 free – 49.75, 200 back – 1:55.57, 100 back – 53.71

19. Joy Field – Magnolia Aquatic Club – Magnolia High School – Magnolia, TX **Verbally committed to Texas A&M**
Best Times: 1650 free – 16:02.07, 500 free – 4:45.86, 200 free – 1:49.18

20. Regan Barney – Nitro Swimming/Longhorn Aquatics – Cedar Park, TX  **Verbally committed to Georgia**     **Verbally committed to Princeton**
Best Times: 400 IM – 4:10.99, 200 IM – 1:59.06, 200 back – 1:56.23, 100 back – 54.76


Georgia and Michigan snagged the #1 and #2 recruits, respectively, but it was Stanford who has clearly landed an incoming class above the rest– it’s even scarier considering theclass that the Cardinal currently have kicking off their freshman season.

USC looks to have gotten the 2nd-best haul behind Stanford, led by #3 Margaret Aroesty. She will likely be joined by Caitlin Tycz and Marta Ciesla to combine for a formidable medley relay, and Aroesty’s breaststroke potential is exciting for the Trojans.

Meanwhile, the only other teams besides Stanford and USC to snag more than 1 of our top 20 were Michigan and Texas A&M.

The Wolverines will re-stock their distance cupboards with the addition of Sierra Schmidt, while Alexis Margett addresses an area of the Michigan team that’s just starting to get on its feet with freshman Vanessa Krause: butterfly. The Aggies load up with distance swimmers Joy Field and Taylor Pike, two studs who will help A&M in their recent battles for SEC dominance with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Our update for the high school boys class of 2017 is coming up soon.


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6 years ago

It looks like the last holdout on this list, Anna Belousova, just committed to Texas A&M (according to That makes 3 on this list heading to College Station.

6 years ago

Taylor Pike is an absolute beast. If aTm keeps signing swimmers like her, they will be a contender.

Joe Carrol
6 years ago

Coaches comment about Stanford “dominating” for the next ten years is accurate. (Barring any unforseen circumstances.) NCAA needs to address this as swimming is basically non-competitive. No other team realistically has a chance to win. With the new “cost of attendance” scholarships allowed for the revenue sports look for schools to de-fund and or eliminate the non-revenue sports. Especially when the next recession hits (which will be soon). Why would any A/D fund a sport where there is no chance to finish first? Which would you fund, the swim team that has no chance to win anything for the forseeable future or the LaCrosse team which might actually have a chance to win a championship. For the next two years… Read more »

Reply to  Joe Carrol
6 years ago

Plenty of schools fund teams that probably won’t win an NCAA championships. They still win conference championships. And it probably will be fun to watch Stanford try to smash records this season.

Reply to  Joe Carrol
6 years ago

U CONN wins women’s basketball year after year. Other schools still fund WBB, don’t they?

It will be good competition for sure among the top 3. I don’t think Stanford will dominate.

Swim mom
6 years ago

Great article.

Looking forward to the article on the boy’s side, but there seem to be more non-commits there. Anyone know why that is?

Reply to  Swim mom
6 years ago

I actually made the same comment on the CS forum (back when it existed) a year or so ago. I don’t know why it is, but (purely anecdotally) it does appear to happen this way. Maybe the additional scholarship money for the women impacts the early push? Be curious to know if anyone has a better or more informed answer.

6 years ago

It would be nice if SwimSwam created their own rating system that weights the importance of what college teams are looking for versus the current system of places too much emphasis on the distant events where swimmers have a chance to really lower their total score in order to reflect a higher rating. Most USA Swim coaches know this little trick and encourage their swimmers to swim more 500’s, 200’s, in order to get a lower overall score on at least 2 events. It just goes to show you what a studs Michael Andrew/Ryan Hoffer were when most of their scoring came from 100 yd events.

Reply to  Racepaceswimming
6 years ago

I think Swimswam does acknowledge that their ranking takes into account valuing sprint over distance and that shakes up things a little vs the CS rankings. But not a whole lot. There was remarkable overlap between the SS/CS top 20. After removing the non-US swimmers from the CS lists, 18 of the SS top 20 were in the CS top 20. (Regan Barney was 21). The only real difference is that SS has Joy Field in the top 20 (CS 37) and omits Abby Richter (CS 15) and Erin Earley (CS 13).

To be clear, I’m not making any judgments on any of these girls or their placements on either list. Simply reporting what is out there.

6 years ago

This entire class is weak IMO

Reply to  Ervin
6 years ago

Why are you & others always so critical of Cal? I don’t get it….

Reply to  Sarcastic
6 years ago

I meant that the entire class of 2017 overall looks slow. Not just Cal. Hopefully they can improve in their senior year

Reply to  Ervin
6 years ago

It does honestly feel slow at the top after the last two years.

Fly errrrrr
Reply to  Ervin
6 years ago


6 years ago

kal recruited bunch of nobodys the last 2 classes how sad
maybe good students but who cares
not one single ncaa scorer there

lucky if they even make top 5 this season
rip kal
same goes for georgia

the cardinal dominating everyone else for the next decade
excited for all the records this team gonna destroy
bring it on

Reply to  coach
6 years ago

Its true atleast on the Cal side. I think they’ll be ok this year because they’re getting McLaughlin (basically wasted a year of eligibility in my opinion) and Abby Wieztel. Next year tho…that class is a dud

Reply to  coach
6 years ago

Calm down. This is the comment section of swimswam, not the written portion of the SAT’s

Reply to  coach
6 years ago

“A bunch of nobody’s the last 2 classes” hmmmm… I seem to recall a certain Amy Bilquist, last year’s freshman at Cal that had an amazing trials…finished 3rd in 100 Back and 4th in 200 back.

Reply to  coach
6 years ago

They can win this year. Not sure what swimmers you are looking at?! I agree they haven’t been great recruiting last year but still enough studs to win. Definitely Stanford and Cal’s to lose…then UGA and Texas A&M will battle for 3rd and 4th.

bobo gigi
6 years ago

Not many sprinters in your top 10.
Amazing recruiting class for Stanford already very powerful.
Zhao, Aroesty or Popov would have been very useful for Cal. I wonder why Cal struggles to recruit a very good SCY breaststroker for several years.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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