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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Stanford and USC are going to be lit next season. (Even more than they are now)


USC always has big recruiting classes that seem to never amount to anything. This past year with them winning pac-12s is probably as good as it could realistically get


Baseless negative comments like this, hinder enjoyment of this resourceful website. At least to bypass the comment section all together.


No Cal?


Of course not, they’ve seen what happened to Missy.(jk)


I watched Missy at the 2015 NCAA Champs win 3 events and have great relay splits. 1:39 200 free is most impressive!

The Grand Inquisitor

Cal’s verbals this year so far (that I am aware of) are Alicia Harrison (1:01 100 Breast), Dannie Dilsaver (1:02 100 Breast), and Alexandra Skorus-Neely (2:00 200IM). Relative to Cal’s recent norms, their resumes are solid as complementary contributors, but they will need to improve significantly if they are to become NCAA scorers (or even individual qualifiers). So this recruiting class will test Teri’s ability to develop swimmers (particularly breaststrokers). One wonders whether Cal is suffering through a recruiting dry patch or rather has decided to strategically save up scholarships for next year’s big targets. I believe that Zhao and Volpenhein were both recruited by Cal and visited, but ended up elsewhere.


On Zhao, she is a legacy (believe mom teaches there), lives close by, and her childhood dream school. Think Cal probably offered more money but for her it wasn’t money but her being accepted at Stanford.


She’s from China, no legacy here.


I meant her mom has some ties to Stanford. I was told she teaches there. Is this incorrect.


no tie.


my bad..I thought the mom was an instructor at Stanford. My apologies.

The Grand Inquisitor

In comment above, I missed Elizabeth Bailey (1:59 200 Fly) as the fourth Cal verbal.

Fly errrrrr

I actually think this is good for cal, because Teri can get back to her roots – making good swimmers into GREAT swimmers and even maybe some into STAR swimmers

It is really a challenging job to make those that are already STARS into bigger and brighter ones.


I’d say this year is a test to how the new assistant was as a recruiter…even if they were “saving” their recruiting money, you’d think they’d get some better kids than they did–its Cal after all. Stanford is crushing them in the recruiting game. I’m a big Teri fan and don’t agree with much of the Teri-bashing that goes on, but I do think they’re dropping the ball here…

The Grand Inquisitor

Perhaps another way of saying this is that Kristen Cunnane seems to have been a bigger part of Cal’s (and Teri’s) success than many gave her credit for. Very hard to find someone equally capable who is willing to step into that situation now.


After Cunnane left, the “assistant coach” was the team “psychiatrist” Wickstrand. Not that great for the young women and their swim careers.


Where is #16 Anna Belousova considering? Wing uncommitted this late in the process, it might seem like she is waiting for admission at a top school like Stanford. If so, does Stanford have any more scholar to give? Stanford has been successful with NCAP swimmers lately like Ledecky, Hirshberger, etc.


Janet Hu and Megyn Byrnes aswel.


Texas AM is where she’ll go


She’s at A&M this weekend.

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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