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 Matheny, Jack 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 Poll, which asks which female U.S. Olympian will score the most points as a freshman at the 2022 NCAA Championships:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.