Top 10 Women's Classes After Early Signing Period

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 19

November 17th, 2011 College

After the early signing season officially ends today, the women’s race is pretty-well sealed up by the Cal women. The bigger question is their place in history. Given the strength of the class as a whole, nation-wide, and the fact that the Golden Bears were able to nab 3 of the top 5, I feel much more comfortable discussing them among the “best ever” than the Georgia men. This Cal group certainly outranks last year’s, that had similarly lofty rankings.

Like we saw with the USC men, the USC women have made a big transfer impact to push them up the rankings. What is overall striking about this class is that the coaches, as a group, did a fantastic job of filling needs. It seems like every swimmer ended up exactly where they can benefit the program the most, which is not always the case.

Full top 10, and a few other superlatives, below. Let us know if there’s anyone we missed in any of the classes.

1. Cal

What more is there to say about this Cal women’s class that hasn’t already been said? The names are huge – when rattling off this list you could just as easily be naming the 2016 Olympic Team and nobody would think twice about it. They’ve even brought in a potentially-great diver, something they didn’t have in their NCAA title run, which gives them a whole new dimension. The relays that this freshman class alone can put together are unbelievable.

Liz Pelton
Rachel Bootsma
Lauren Driscoll
Kelly Naze
Rachel Acker
Alicia Grima
Annie Kastler (diving)

2. USC

When Jasmine Tosky chose USC over Stanford, it really brought this class together. In Stewart and Stenkvist, they’ve added a pair of backstrokers who will at least keep the Trojans in the hunt after Cal runs out (insert national record holding backstroker here) on the medley relays. Andrea Kropp is phenomenal in long course, though in her first year of college at Princeton she failed to even qualify for NCAA’s. Her ability to round into form in yards will make a huge impact on this class’ success.

Jasmine Tosky
Kendyl Stewart
Henriette Stenkvist
Nikki Chang
Brianna Weinstein
TR – Andrea Kropp (Princeton)
Natalie Kalibat (Diver)

3. Stanford

Small class, but they turned their key needs into key strengths. Julia Anderson had a breakout season in the sprint freestyles, and Haase and Moss are Junior National Team breaststrokers. The late addition of Allison Brown was big for the Cardinal. She hails from a Pleasanton Seahawks program that’s been doing great work as of late.

Allison Brown
Sarah Haase
Julia Anderson
Kaylin Moss
Julia Ama

4. Georgia

Georgia got off to a hot recruiting start, and though they cooled off towards the end of the early signing period, they were left with 4 awesome names. That includes van Landeghem and MacLean, who are two of the best young Canadian swimmers in years and could be major, major relay pieces immediately.

Chantal van Landeghem
Brittany MacLean
Annie Zhu
Hali Flickinger

5. Florida

Another program that got exactly what it needed to fill its biggest holes. McKnight is a great breaststroker, and Hinds is a phenomenal freestyler who has a long-frame that will only get better. Ashlee Linn is a 53-backstroker who, in any other class, would have been an even huger signing than she was relative to the backstroke superstars in this class.

Lindsey McKnight
Ashlee Linn
Natalie Hinds
Sierra Kuhn
Taylor Roy

6. Tennessee

This Tennessee class is huge. They’re bringing in a slew of freestylers, and in two-to-three years it should pay off hugely in their relays. I think when all is said-and-done, Faith Johnson will be one of the top 6 or 7 swimmers in this class – she’s an awesome sprint freestyler, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down her progression at all. The sheer quantity of talent coming in bumps this Tennessee class up a few rungs. This class is not likely to be done, either, so expect at least 1 more big signing.

Faith Johnson
Mary Griffith
Amanda Carner
Madison Hahn
Anna DeMonte
Harper Bruens
Caroline Finkbeiner
Samantha Lera (diving)

7. Arizona

Amongst the top-5 recruits in the country, Brandon gets the least national attention, so some will be surprised when she shows up and scores big points at NCAA’s. Don’t be though – she’s got the potential for a pair of top-5 finishes in the distance freestyles at least in year 1. Schoettmer will serve as a great one-year understudy for Ellyn Baumgardner (sort of like Baumgardner was for Annie Chandler) and should emerge as a sophomore as an NCAA contender in the breaststrokes. You get the feeling that the Wildcats aren’t done with this class yet.

Bonnie Brandon
Emma Schoettmer
Leticia Lelli
Taylor Schick

8. Virginia

With all of the great backstrokers in this class, Bartholomew’s 52.2 is easily overlooked. This year, however, she will probably come very close to breaking the National Record held by Natalie Coughlin as it stood just over a year ago. Rachel Moore is a 53- butterflier, and altogether this should be a big impact class for the Cavaliers.

Rachel Moore
Courtney Bartholomew
Hanne Borgerson
Samantha James
Whitney Allen
Haley Durmer
Katie Warburg (Diver)
Becca Corbett (Diver)

9. North Carolina

Another “quantity” class, the headliner is Canadian sprinter Lauren Earp. A good nucleus class to fill out relays is what the Tar Heels needed after some big graduations left them thin and a bit topheavy.

Lauren Earp
Emma Nunn
Annie Harrison
Madison Burns
Rachel Canty
Ally Hardesty
Charlotte Ruby
Kendall Surhoff

10. Michigan

With the addition of Jessica Wolf, who previously gave a verbal committment to Iowa, the Wolverines sealed up a very strong class. Wolf is the 2nd-best distance freestyler in the class, which is probably a shock to some given her low rankings.

Marni Oldershaw
Marie Georger
Jessica Wolf
Zoe Mattingly
Ali DeLoof
Sharalynn Missiuna
Emmy Orrico (Diver)


Other Strong Classes (in no particular order)


This class could very well end up being very good, but it’s sort of a hard group to get a grasp on. Snodgrass doesn’t seem to have come close to her short course potential yet, and O’Brien is coming off of major back surgery.

Taylor O’Brien
Brooklyn Snodgrass
Hannah Lips
Alexis Bullard

Texas A&M

A&M adds more breaststrokers, and most importantly some sprint freestylers. This is another incomplete class, as the Aggies are notorious for announcing big signings in the spring.

Ashley McGregor
Claire Brandt
Katherine Huff
Meredith Oliver
Romy Landeck


Auburn has a small but powerful class, including a whole lot of backstrokers – too much redundancy kept the Tigers out of the top 10. Merritt is the change-up in the class as a freestyler and a butterflier, who will be a big piece for the Tigers down the road. (Update: Auburn has officially announced their class, which grows it significantly in size.)

Jillian Vitarius
Caitlin Forman
Alex Merritt
Sarah Reynolds
Caroline Bryant
Katherine Criter
Ashley Roberson
Carley Scheper
Morgan Mullins

Program Changing Classes

Ohio State

This class has the potential to be sneaky-good. Every swimmer in the class is still making huge improvements, and Jongekrijg (who’s only been swimming club for about 2 years) broke out a 26.4 LCM at the Minneapolis Grand Prix. From a more subjective point of view, the Buckeyes nabbed Molly Hazelbaker as the top recruit out of the state of Ohio. That’s the first time in Bill Dorkendott’s four years at the program that he’s accomplished that feat.

Annie Gillig
Annie Lazor
Annie Jongekrijg
Molly Hazelbaker
Katy Luchansky
Carney Rabold

James Madison

James Madison did a great job to land a very strong class that could push the women’s program over the top in the CAA (they finished 2nd last year). This is a mid-major program on the rise.

Camilla Czulada
Erica Reifinger
Lindsay Bosek
Jacqueline Crawford


The Tigers may have lost Kropp to transfer, but they jumped right back into the recruiting pool to bring in the next big class of Ivy recruits. This Princeton program is building for the long-term.

Sada Stewart
Megan Lydzinski
Morgan Karetnick
Nicole Larson
Mallory Remick
India Boland

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UF fan
12 years ago

I’ve heard Sinead Russell has signed with UF

Donald Duck to Water
12 years ago

Jayne Pulte(MI) – Stanford.

12 years ago

Virginia also got 2 good divers…Katie Warburg and Becca Corbett!

12 years ago

Hannah Lincoln for Chapel Hill!

12 years ago

From the Michigan HS state meets: Incoming Virginia freshman Bartholomew just went 51.99 in the 100 Back and Tennessee’s DeMonte went 1:59.67 in the 200IM. Sweet!

12 years ago

I do think it is strange that Texas women are nowhere on this list. They are the only team that finished in the top 15 that don’t seem to be reaping the benifits of their # 6 ranking.

12 years ago

Harvard Women not getting any love? They have higher ranked recruits than Princeton. Kendall Crawford is a 53 backstroke and Sherry Liu is one of the top Canadian Distance swimmers in this class.

12 years ago

After Leverenz, Cal will still have Yvette Kong who can apparently already go under 1:00 in the 100 breast. But yeah they will REALLY miss Jensen who can go 21.1 on the end of relays.

Without Olsen, Stanford is almost dead in the water this season having to use DiRado on breaststroke. They can’t really get it together with distance freestyle either. Their sprinters are the only real weapon of depth that they have after DiRado and Lee.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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