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.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which 2025 recruiting class is better: Virginia or Cal?
Question: Men and women combined, which team has the better recruiting class for 2025?
- Virginia – 75.5%
- Cal – 24.5%
In mid-September, the Cal Golden Bears raised eyebrows when two of the top three recruits in the girls’ class of 2025, #1 Alex Shackell and #3 Claire Weinstein, committed to head to Berkeley in two years’ time.
The two commitments came on the same day, and sparked hope for what could very well result in a return to the top of the heap after a couple of tough years for the Bears, falling out of the NCAA’s top 10 last season for the first time since 1996.
And while it may appear obvious to some that Heilman and Williamson alone make UVA’s class better than Cal’s, we have to take into account everyone else currently committed to get a full scope of things.
Cal’s Ranked Commitments
- Girls’ #1 Alex Shackell
- Girls’ #3 Claire Weinstein
- Girls’ #13 Elle Scott
- BOTR Alexa McDevitt
- Boys’ #7 Norvin Clontz
- Boys’ #15 Caiden Bowers
- Boys’ #20 Kenneth Barnicle
- Boys’ BOTR Ian Platts-Mills
Virginia’s Ranked Commitments
- Girls’ #4 Madi Mintenko
- Girls’ #8 Raya Mellott
- Girls’ HM Sophia Umstead
- Girls’ BOTR Lily Gormsen
- Girls’ BOTR Sylvia Roy
- Boys’ #1 Thomas Heilman
- Boys’ #2 Maximus Williamson
- Boys’ #8 Thomas Mercer
- Boys’ #12 Josh Howat
There’s no doubt both classes are absolutely stacked—not to mention the fact that both schools have impressive incoming classes for 2024—but more than 75 percent of readers picked Virginia, which is hard to argue with.
Not only are Heilman and Williamson the top two ranked recruits, but they’re two of the most talented junior swimmers in the U.S. we’ve seen in some time, and the Cavs also have two more ranked in the boys’ 12 and two top-eight girls.
Cal still garnered nearly a quarter of the votes, with Shackell and Weinstein joined by #13 Elle Scott on the girls’ side to go along with three top-20s for the boys.
It’s also worth noting that the Bears might’ve picked up some votes given the fact that female swimmers tend to be able to enter college and make an immediate impact, while boys tend to peak later and take further development—which is always unknown under a new coach—before becoming bonafide individual scorers.
For example, Weinstein is significantly faster in the 500 free than the time it took to win last year’s NCAA title, while Heilman (200 fly) and Williamson (400 IM) currently only have one event apiece where they’re fast enough to make the 2023 NCAA ‘A’ final. But by the time they head to Charlottesville, there’s a good chance they’ll be favored to win individual titles as freshmen, given how rapidly they’ve developed on the national scene.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: What is the best event to add to a dual meet to make it more exciting?
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.