Sophomores Qualify More for 2018 W. NCAAs than Jrs or Seniors

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
Freshmen 61 62 65 53 57 59.6
Sophomores 76 66 61 84 72 71.8
Juniors 71 69 84 73 64 72.2
Seniors 73 84 71 71 88 77.4

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Tea rex
2 years ago

Semi-related: looks like Brooke Zeiger (SR-minn) was on the wrong side of the qual times. Sorry to see such a talent end her college career on a not-high note. Hope she is doing well in life and physically.

Ned Ryerson
2 years ago

Since Ledecky graduated HS in 2015, you can make the argument that she’s in the class above her. Using that argument, the junior class has Ledecky, Weitzeil, Baker, Easton, and King. Quality over quantity?

Big10 Boyz
Reply to  Ned Ryerson
2 years ago

Weitzeil, like Ledecky, took 2015-16 as an Olympic red shirt. Add Comiford to that quality group that graduated in 2015.

Right Dude Here
2 years ago

Do you know if the class of 2017’s 84 people were the same 84 people for the last three years?

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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