The high school class of 2016, college class of 2020, and current college sophomores lead the way in qualifying for this year’s NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Out of the 281 individual swimmers invited to the meet (see psych sheets here), more were sophomores – 76 – than any other class.
That’s more than any other class this year, and the most by a sophomore class as far back as 2015, where that year’s sophomores qualified 84 swimmers.
That class, which finished their high school careers in 2013 and their college careers (for the most part) at last year’s NCAA Championships, was a ‘super class’ that included names like Missy Franklin, Leah Smith, Lia Neal, Farida Osman, and Olivia Smoliga, among others. Amusingly, that class had exactly 84 individual NCAA Championship qualifiers as sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
The headliner of that sophomore class that has so many qualifiers is, of course, Katie Ledecky, who as a freshman last year won the 500 and 1650 frees at NCAAs and tied for the win in the 200 free. In total, sophomores have top seeds in 5 of the 13 individual events: besides Ledecky’s 3 (500 free, 1650 free, 400 IM), Tennessee’s Erika Brown is the top seed in the 100 fly and Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson is the top seed in the 100 back. Juniors also have top seeds in 5 events, while Stanford senior Simone Manuel has the other 3 top-seeds.
2018 marks the first time since 2010, which was a memorable NCAA Championship meet for many reasons, where a freshman doesn’t hold a top seed heading into the meet.
Individual Women’s NCAA Championship Swimming Qualifiers
|2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||Avg. Per Class|