SwimSwam Pulse: 1/3 Think Aiden Hayes Will Be Highest Impact Freshman Sprinter

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to pick the incoming recruit that will make the greatest impact in their freshman season:


Question: Which of these incoming freshmen will make the greatest impact in the NCAA this season?

Right off the bat it’s important to point out that this wasn’t an exhaustive poll asking which male freshman will have the biggest impact this season, but rather, which of these U.S.-based sprinter-types would.

All four of the swimmers included in the poll will likely find themselves racing at least one if not both of the 50 and 100 freestyle come the NCAA postseason, and primarily specialize in the 100 back/100 fly outside of the sprint frees. Therefore, some of the top names from our re-rank, including Josh MathenyJack Aikins and Matt Fallon weren’t included with their specialties lying elsewhere. We also left out any international recruits for the poll.

The poll also didn’t specifically ask which swimmer would score the most NCAA points, but rather, have the biggest impact, factoring in relays at both the NCAA and Conference Championships.

It ended up being a tight battle at the top, but ultimately top-ranked recruit Aiden Hayes led the way with just over one-third of votes.

Hayes, who heads up a stacked recruiting class for NC State, is coming off of breaking Joseph Schooling’s National High School Record in the boys’ 100 butterfly last season (45.47), a time that instantly puts him in NCAA scoring position. Hayes is also the fastest the class has to offer in the 200 fly (1:41.34), also a top-16 NCAA time, and has shown improvement across the sprint free events with best times of 19.2 and 43-flat (plus a 46.3 100 back).

His package of individual events and sprint free ability makes him a potential three-event NCAA scorer that can swim on four relays for the Wolfpack.

One of his new teammates, David Curtiss, was a close second in the poll with 26.9 percent of votes.

Curtiss is the fastest 50 freestyler pre-college outside of Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Hoffer, boasting a time just under Hayes’ PB at 19.11. Curtiss has also improved his 100 down to 42.8, and his 50 alone will be immensely valuable for NC State right from the hop.

Curtiss, who was placed ninth in the class re-rank, edged out #4 Anthony Grimm, who is set to join the defending NCAA champion Texas Longhorns. Grimm has a wide array of talents in the 50/100 free, 100 back, 100 breast and 100 fly, but perhaps will have less of an opportunity to make an instant impact (especially on relays) with Texas so loaded at the moment.

Jack Alexy, set to join Cal, also received his fair share of picks as the fastest 100 freestyler in the class at 42.63, and he’s coming off of lowering Dressel’s 17-18 100 free LCM NAG at the Olympic Trials. With the graduation of Hoffer, Alexy will be given plenty of opportunity to race on the Golden Bear relays and vie for Pac-12 and NCAA glory.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks which female U.S. Olympian will score the most points as a freshman at the 2022 NCAA Championships:

Which female U.S. Olympian will score the most points as a freshman at the 2022 NCAA Championships?

View Results

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.

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Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
1 month ago

It’s gotta be Regan smith that scores the most points. American record holder in the 200 back, Olympic silver medalist in the 200 fly, great 100 back. She could do the 100 back on day 3 and the 200 back/fly double and realistically win both, or try to do the 500 free on day 2, with a best time that would have gotten 4th at this year’s champs.

Reply to  Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
1 month ago

Idk man Torri Huske could win 50,100 free, 100 fly, 200 Free. Relays 200 free relay, medley, 400 free

1 month ago

Is this poll intentionally leaving out international freshmen? I think Minakov and Ponti will have huge seasons. Would have said Sates as well, but he isn’t listed on UGA’s roster

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimm
NC Fan
Reply to  Swimm
1 month ago

It does explicitly say domestic recruits only.

1 month ago

I think regan more for individuals tori more for relays

Reply to  MX4x50relay
1 month ago

Regan will be on the 8FR relay and likely not the 2FR relay, whereas Torri could go either way with those 2 relays. It is easy to see them just load up on the 8FR relay and go for a win with Regan, Torri, Ruck, and Forde. If they add Torri and Ruck to their 2FR relay, they still are looking at 3rd or 4th on paper. So no difference if they have the same 4 relays.

Terry Watts
1 month ago

Go Pack!

1 month ago

Individually, Grimm. Factoring in relays, Hayes.

Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

I’m still unsure of what events Grimm ends up swimming, and I imagine Eddie & co. are as well. 50 free/100 fly/100 back seems like the most natural fit, but he’s also got a lethal breaststroke and that schedule would leave him out of events on the final day. Grimm’s definitely going to factor in to the 200 medley relay for the Longhorns, given his 50 back is among the fastest in history already, but may not find himself on any others.

Hayes has a bit more free potential at 19.2/43.0 which definitely brings him into the mix for the Wolfpack free relays, but I doubt he swims fly on the medleys with Ponti in there. His events are also… Read more »

Reply to  NCSwimFan
1 month ago

On the team roster they list him as “fly/back” which logically, like you said, makes sense, but the allure of doubling up on back/breast would be too much if I were Grimm. Plus, Texas can line up Jiang and Connery (too many 200 freestylers imo for him to do 2 free) in the 100 fly but only Corbeau in the 100 breast. From what I’ve seen in interviews, Grimm does not exactly have super high endurance, like I remember him mentioning his club team trained more for the faster races versus the longer ones, so I’m thinking a change in how he’s trained will impact him well. He’s definitely going to be on the 200 medley, but I think that… Read more »

1 month ago

Just wait until my boy Arsenio drops a 1:40. IM and 42 on the free relay. Relay of all freshmen could score top heat ACCs

1 month ago

Regan’s has a pretty solid margin coming in for both backstrokes and the 2FL. Meanwhile, Torri is looking at taking on MacNeil and Douglass in the 50, the 100 FL, and the 100 FR (as well as a few others). If she goes after the 2IM instead of the 2FR, she’s not beating Alex Walsh. 2FR may actually be Torri’s best shot to take an individual event, but you have to let the Olympian race her best event.

Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

200 back / 200 fly would be quite a double… who’s the last one to pull that off?

Dark Horse
1 month ago

The Big Cheese

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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