Top 20 NCAA Swimming Recruits in the Girls High School Class of 2020

It’s that time of year again where we at SwimSwam rank out the top 20 high school swimming prospects in the upcoming NCAA recruiting class.

As college recruiting has reached earlier and earlier into high school classes, we’ve continually expanded our recruiting ranks and coverage. Last spring, we ranked out the then-sophomore class for the first time. This is essentially a re-rank of that class, taking into account a year of improvements. Stay tuned to our recruiting channel for more additions to our yearly recruiting coverage:

  • Boys & Girls ranks for current juniors – high school class of 2020 (updated rankings from our “Way Too Early” rankings last spring)
  • Way Too Early ranks for current sophomore boys & girls – high school class of 2021
  • Re-Rank of outgoing senior boys & girls – high school class of 2019

Further reading:

So without further ado, let’s take a look at this class as a whole, then review our ranking methodology (please read it before you get upset about how low the top miler is ranked!) and get into our rankings.


  • Still one of the best classes in years
  • Extremely deep in fly/back types
  • Quite a bit thinner in distance freestyle
  • Some fast-rising breaststrokers

A year ago, we compared this class to the high school class of 2014 that featured Katie Ledecky, Abbey Weitzeil, Kathleen Baker, Katie McLaughlin, Amy Bilquist and Ella Eastin in the top 6, and also had Lilly King in the top 10. We’ll stand by that analysis, as the top five in this class can go blow-for-blow with the top of that class, at least in best times as high school juniors.

While that class was more stacked up in freestyles, this class is built on backstrokers. Regan Smith, Isabelle Stadden and Phoebe Bacon are three of the best backstroke prospects we’ve ever ranked, and all three are much faster in both backstrokes than Baker was at this point in her career. So is Alex Walshthough she probably projects better as a breaststroker/IMer, where, oh yeah, she’s miles better than King was as a high school junior (King was 59.6/2:11.1, for reference).

That doesn’t mean this class will outperform that one. But it’s certainly possible. And the two groups are definitely the best recruiting classes we’ve ever ranked, stretching back to 2013.

Back and fly are really stacked up, and a lot of the top swimmers swim both strokes. It’s hard to say what that does for the future – do all of them focus in on fly/back combos? Do some opportunistically switch events or start to improve elsewhere? The glut of fly/back types does mess with their relative value some, but most of this group is so unbelievably good that they still rank highly, even amidst a crowd.

The big change from our previous rankings is that the breaststrokers have risen rapidly. We had two breaststrokers (counting Walsh) in our top 10 at this time last year; now we have four breaststrokers inside the top 10. They’ve all been dropping time like mad, and forced our hand.

Distance freestylers are pretty thin in this class, and even at the top, there’s no one coming in with NCAA scoring times, or range enough to have relay impact. So they’ve slid down even a little bit further than they were in our original ranks. Before you get too upset, remember that this isn’t a ranking of “best swimmers,” it’s a ranking of “best NCAA prospects.” And the NCAA format severely devalues anyone who can’t contribute on relays.

This was our first experiment with ranking classes as sophomores, and in this re-rank, we didn’t see as much drastic movement as we expected. There were certainly plenty of swimmers who improved a lot, but most of our ranks stayed pretty close to where they were a year ago. There’s always chatter about swimmers who develop “too early” and risk plateauing late in high school. But we didn’t really have many swimmers visibly plateau across the board – even those who didn’t drop time in their primary events mostly found drops in other races, or at least shaved a tenth or two in their top times. When a class is coming in with this many times already at NCAA scoring level (14 swimmers have already hit 2019 NCAA scoring times), it doesn’t take much of a time drop to remain relevant as a potential scorer in the class.

Top Times in the Class of 2020
50 Free Alex Walsh 22.08
100 Free Regan Smith 48.07
200 Free Regan Smith 1:43.27
500 Free Regan Smith 4:37.10
1000 Free** Chase Travis 9:31.84
1650 Free Chase Travis 16:05.44
100 Back Regan Smith 49.66
200 Back Regan Smith 1:47.16
100 Breast Alex Walsh 58.19
200 Breast Alex Walsh 2:05.87
100 Fly Olivia Bray 50.19
200 Fly Regan Smith 1:51.24
200 IM Alex Walsh 1:53.69
400 IM Emma Weyant 4:07.63

**The 1000 free isn’t an event at the Division I NCAA Championships, but is swum instead of the 1650 in many Division I dual meets and is part of the NCAA program in Division II.


Our goal in these rankings is to reflect what college coaches look for in recruits, based on many years of conversations and coverage.

We focus only on American-based athletes, simply because there is so much uncertainty with international recruits – if they’ll come to the states, when they’ll come to the states and with what graduating class they should be ranked. Projecting international recruits often becomes more a discussion of when they’ll first join a college program and not which program they’ll join.

A few other factors that weigh heavily in our rankings:

  • Relay Value – Relay points count double in college swimming, and any program needs a strong stable of quality sprinters to fill out all 5 relays with studs. Obviously, a special distance swimmer can easily rank ahead of a very good 100 freestyler, but college swimming generally values a sprint freestyler over a distance swimmer, all other factors being equal.
  • Improvements – Actual times are a the trump card, but any big improvements in quality can make a difference as well. For example, a swimmer who only took up year-round swimming as a junior in high school going the same time as a swimmer whose been swimming year-round since they were 8 will probably get the edge in our rankings. Think Breeja Larson.
  • Short Course over Long Course – we recognize that some programs, many programs, put their focus with their high school aged swimmers on long course, especially depending on when the high school championships may fall. That said, college swimming is short course, so a swimmer who is great in short course but struggles in long course will have the advantage over the reverse.
  • NCAA scoring ability – NCAAs are the big show for college teams, so we’ve weighted NCAA scoring potential very highly. Swimmers who already have NCAA scoring times wind up mostly filling out the top our of rankings. Since college athletic directors – and by extension coaches – also place high value on conference championships, scoring ability at conference meets is also a factor in our rankings.
  • Relative depth in the NCAA and recruiting class – a wealth of elite depth nationwide in one stroke discipline makes a big difference in what times are considered more valuable in that event. Events rise at different rates in the NCAA, but when one event gets extremely deep and fast at the college level, it makes high school prospects in those events a little less valuable, relatively, with lots of other veteran options. In the same way, a recruiting class stacked with swimmers in butterfly, for example, would make each butterflyer a little less sought-after in the market, with lots of other recruiting options able to provide similar production.

Of course, there’s no way to predict the future, and the most concrete data we have to go on are cold, hard times. These rankings in no way mean that all of these 20 swimmers will be NCAA standouts, and they certainly don’t mean that no swimmer left off this list will make big contributions at the NCAA level.

With that out of the way, let’s get to our rankings.

Disclaimer: there are a lot of high school seniors in the country, and no really good, complete, 100% accurate listing of them all. If you don’t see your favorite swimmer on the list, feel free to politely point them out in the comments. There’s a chance that we disagree with your assessment of their spot in the top 20, and so long as it’s done civilly, there’s no problem with differences of opinions. There’s also a chance that we’ve simply missed a no-brainer (we’ve taken every precaution to avoid that), and if that happens, we want to make sure we correct it.


1. Regan Smith (Previous Rank: #1) – Riptide – Lakeville North High School – Lakeville, MN
Best Times: 100 back – 49.66, 200 back – 1:47.16, 200 free – 1:43.27, 100 fly – 50.45, 200 fly – 1:51.24, 100 free – 48.07, 50 free – 22.51, 500 free – 4:37.10, 200 IM – 1:56.58, 400 IM – 4:14.03

Smith got the slight edge for #1 in the class a year ago, and she’s only gotten better. Both backstrokes have improved more than a second: so have her 200 free (1.2), 200 fly (2.3), 100 fly (1.2) and 500 free (4.5). Smith is a true monster of a prospect who should be a three-event scorer and four-relay contributor to even the deepest teams as a freshman. If you took away her backstrokes, Smith would still probably rank top two with her class-best 100/200/500 frees. Take away those, and she’s still probably top 10 by virtue of her butterfly times alone. She’s also one of just two swimmers in our top 10 uncommitted as of this ranking.

2. Alex Walsh (Previous Rank: #2) – Nashville Aquatic Club – Harpeth Hall High School – Nashville, TN **Verbally committed to Virginia**
Best Times: 100 breast – 58.19, 200 breast – 2:05.87, 100 back – 50.88, 200 back – 1:51.42, 200 IM – 1:53.69, 400 IM – 4:07.98, 100 fly – 51.31, 50 free – 22.08, 100 free – 48.90, 200 free – 1:45.05

Walsh is another all-around star who actually comes in with more NCAA scoring times (8 events) than Smith (6 events), though that doesn’t mean a ton when swimmers are capped at three NCAA races. Walsh is the best breaststroker in the class and it’s not close: her 2:05.87 in the 200 breast would’ve been 3rd at NCAAs this spring, and the top two graduate. Walsh is one of the best high school backstroke prospects we’ve ever ranked, but is one of four girls in this class about whom you could say that. Walsh also has the class’s best 200 IM and is three tenths behind the class 400 IM leader. Maybe most impactful is her class-best 22.08 in the 50 free – she could be a factor on all three free relays (and probably both medleys) as a freshman.

3. Olivia Bray (Previous Rank: #4) – Virginia Gators – Lord Botetourt School – Roanoke, VA **Verbally committed to Texas**
Best Times: 100 fly – 50.19, 200 fly – 1:53.72, 100 back – 52.02, 200 back – 1:54.26, 200 IM – 1:58.56

Bray moves up a spot in our rankings after cutting her already-class-best 51.4 in the 100 fly all the way to an absurd 50.19. That would’ve been 4th at NCAAs this spring. Considering Smith is likely to focus more on both backstrokes, Bray is easily the best true flyer in the class. She’s 1:53.72 in the 200 fly, and has great times in the 100/200 back and 400 IM to boot. Bray isn’t yet as big a threat to free relays, but since last year’s rankings, she’s dropped her freestyles from 23.0/51.1 to 22.7/49.2.

4. Isabelle Stadden (Previous Rank: #3) – Aquajets Swim Team – Blaine High School – Blaine, MN **Verbally committed to Cal**
Best Times: 200 back – 1:50.37, 100 back – 51.23, 200 IM – 1:59.56, 400 IM – 4:15.77, 100 fly – 54.39

Stadden moves down one spot, but only for a few pretty minor reasons. She’s seen big improvements to her endurance (from 1:52.0 to 1:50.3 in the 200 back), but pretty slim ones in her sprints (51.3 to 51.2 in the 100 back). This class is incredibly stacked with backstrokers, and Stadden doesn’t yet have a great third event or big free relay value. Still, she’s a really elite talent to be sitting at #4. Stadden had a big long course summer, too, going from 2:11 to 2:08 in the 200 meter backstroke (though her 100 has remained the same as it was at this point last year). Stadden comes out of the same Aquajets club that produced 2012 Olympian and multi-time NCAA champ Rachel Bootsma, and she’s picked the same school – Cal – where Bootsma won her titles.

5. Phoebe Bacon (Previous Rank: #6) – Nation’s Capital Swim Club – Stone Ridge School – Herndon, VA **Verbally committed to Wisconsin**
Best Times: 200 back – 1:50.71, 100 back – 51.18, 400 IM – 4:09.82, 200 IM – 1:57.31, 100 fly – 52.33, 100 breast – 1:01.27, 50 free – 22.86, 100 free – 49.28

Are you catching the backstroke drift yet? Everyone in our top five has a shot to score in at least one backstroke event, and Bacon joins Smith and Stadden as likely two-event backstroke entrants. If you put those three into this year’s NCAA Championships, they’d take 1st, 5th and 6th in the 200 back – as high school juniors. Bacon is another fast riser in the 200, going from 1:52.8 last year to 1:50.7 this year. She’s also cut a half-second in the 100 back and has NCAA A final potential there as a rookie. Bacon is also a great IM prospect, and comes in near scoring range in the 400 IM as she’s just starting to figure that event out: her best time at this point last year was 4:23; now she’s a 4:09.

6. Lillie Nordmann (Previous Rank: #18) – Magnolia Aquatic Club – The Woodlands High School – The Woodlands, TX
Best Times: 200 fly – 1:53.62, 100 fly – 52.08, 200 IM – 1:58.14, 200 free – 1:45.55, 100 free – 49.60, 50 free – 22.89

Nordmann gets major momentum points for her improvement from last ranks. The Texan cut from 1:56.2 to 1:53.6 in the 200 fly – that time would’ve been 8th at NCAAs this year. She’s also cut eight tenths in the 100 fly, two full seconds in the 200 free and nearly two seconds in the 200 IM. The younger sister of Stanford’s freshman All-American Lucie, Lillie Nordmann makes the biggest jumps up our ranks, surging to the top of the second tier of prospects – and her current improvement curve could have her pushing the top 5 by next spring.

7. Emma Sticklen (Previous Rank: #7) – Katy Aquatic Team for Youth– Taylor High School – Katy, TX **Verbally committed to Texas**
Best Times: 100 fly – 51.88, 200 fly – 1:54.55, 100 back – 53.01, 50 free – 22.54, 100 free – 49.68, 200 free – 1:47.86

After we noted in last year’s ranks that Sticklen was improving her 200 fast, she’s now focusing in on the shorter end of the distance spectrum. Her 100 fly has dropped half a second and is into NCAA scoring range, and she’s cut solid time in sprint free as well. Down the road, she could be a factor in almost any of the five relays. Sticklen is also well-equipped to swim the 100 fly/100 back double on day 3 of NCAAs – her lifetime-bests in both events came on the same day, at the Texas 6A State meet.

8. Abby Arens (Previous Rank: #15) – Marlins of Raleigh – Saint Mary’s College Prep School – Raleigh, NC **Verbally committed to NC State**
Best Times: 200 breast – 2:08.06, 100 breast – 59.76, 400 IM – 4:11.49, 200 IM – 1:58.64, 100 fly – 53.21, 200 free – 1:47.94, 100 free – 50.25, 50 free – 22.96

Arens starts a little mini-run on breaststrokers in our updated rankings. She surges to the top of this breaststroke trio with a massive drop from 2:10.0 to 2:08.0 in the 200 breast – that’s good enough for an A final appearance this past year. Arens also took her 100 breast under a minute, and saw a four-second drop in her 400 IM since our last rankings. She was also 1:08 and 2:29 in long course breaststroke last summer.

9. Anna Keating (Previous Rank: #17) – Machine Aquatics – James Madison School – Vienna, VA **Verbally committed to Virginia**
Best Times: 100 breast – 59.04, 200 breast – 2:09.26, 200 IM – 2:00.15, 400 IM – 4:15.30

Keating was also over a minute in the 100 breast when we first ranked this class; now she’s a 59.04 and within last year’s NCAA scoring range. She’s got a little more speed than Arens, but doesn’t have the same endurance or versatility. Keating’s 200 probably has more potential than 2:09-low though – she went 2:28.4 long course last summer, the best of anyone in this class. She’ll have to improve her IMs to have a third scoring event, but should bring good value to both medley relays with her sheer speed.

10. Kaitlyn Dobler (Previous Rank: #5) – The Dolphins Portland Swimming – Aloha High School – Aloha, OR **Verbally committed to USC**
Best Times: 100 breast – 59.17, 200 breast – 2:11.25, 50 free – 22.35, 100 free – 49.50, 100 fly – 53.86

Dobler did improve her 200 breaststroke by two tenths, but didn’t see drops in her 100 breast or 50 free since our first rankings. Her versatility, though, is improving, as she went lifetime-bests in the 100 fly and 200 IM in early 2019. Dobler also may have put a premium on long course meters during her junior year: she hit lifetime-bests in the 100 breast (1:08.9), 200 breast (2:31.32), 50 free (25.5), 100 free (56.4), 100 fly (1:00.8) and 200 IM (2:18.9) last summer. Like Keating, she’s got great relay value with her 59-low speed, and a 22.3 sprint free time should make her a free relay factor as well, even if her 200 breast needs some improvements to crack NCAA scoring.

11. Emma Weyant (Previous Rank: N/A) – Sarasota YMCA Sharks – Riverview High School  – Sarasota, FL **Verbally committed to Virginia**
Best Times: 400 IM – 4:07.63, 200 IM – 1:58.07, 1650 free – 16:30.02, 1000 free – 9:39.41, 500 free – 4:43.80, 200 free – 1:47.34, 100 free – 50.00

A new addition to our top 20, Weyant has had really nice drops as a junior, notably from 4:11 to a class-best 4:07.6 in the 400 IM and from 2:02 to 1:58.0 in the 200 IM. Maybe her most eye-catching swim, though, is a wicked 4:40.64 in the 400 long course meter IM – she did that while winning gold at Junior Pan Pacs last summer. It stacks up as the 12th-fastest 400 IM by an American woman of any age last season. Weyant is probably a better swimmer than an NCAA value in some respects. Her 400 IM should score NCAA points, but she’ll need good drops in either her 200 IM or 500 free for a day 2 scoring event, and is about 27 seconds away from scoring in the mile. But the versatility and toughness of the class’s best 400 IMer is tough to pass up, and Weyant is still a huge value as one of only a few uncommitted athletes on our list.

12. Abby Harter (Previous Rank: #20) – Nation’s Capital Club – Briar Woods High School – Ashburn, VA **Verbally committed to Virginia**
Best Times: 200 fly – 1:54.71, 100 fly – 52.31, 400 IM -4:12.64, 200 IM – 1:59.79, 100 breast – 1:01.25, 200 breast – 2:13.67, 200 free – 1:49.74, 100 free – 50.49

Harter has had massive butterfly drops since our last rankings, when she was 1:56.0 and 53.5. She’s already within scoring range in the 200 fly and a few tenths away in the 100. She’s also nearing the one minute barrier in long course meter butterfly. Harter has pretty impressive range, swimming down to 1:01/2:13 in the breaststrokes, and that probably sets her up to be a really good IMer/flyer at the college level.

13. Kathryn Ackerman (Previous Rank: #11) – Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics – Grand Haven High School – Grand Haven, MI **Verbally committed to Michigan**
Best Times: 400 IM – 4:07.70, 200 IM – 1:57.35, 200 free – 1:47.17, 200 back – 1:54.37, 100 back – 54.27, 100 fly – 54.42

Ackerman was the class’s best 400 IMer in our last ranking, and even though she’s cut two and a half seconds, she was passed up by Weyant in that event. Ackerman moving down this list really isn’t a good representation of the junior year she had – she dropped five seconds to become a developmental relay prospect in the 200 free, and she cut two seconds in the 200 back to give her a pretty viable third event, though her 200 back and 200 IM will still need big drops to make NCAA scoring level.

14. Chase Travis (Previous Rank: #10) – Nation’s Capital Swim Club – Newark, DE **Verbally committed to Virginia Tech**
Best Times: 1650 free – 16:05.44, 1000 free – 9:31.84, 500 free – 4:41.75, 200 free – 1:49.38

Travis is the best miler in the class, and this feels like a low rank for her. Some of that, like with Ackerman, is a product of some fast risers into our top 10. The other half is that Travis is still pretty well confined to the 500 and 1650 free – she doesn’t quite have the speed yet to factor into a 200 free or 800 free relay. Still, her mile is only two seconds out of NCAA scoring range, and is the best in the class by a huge margin – something like seven seconds. Travis is also very good in long course: 4:13 in the 400, 8:37 in the 800 and 16:21 in the mile.

15. Maxine Parker (Previous Rank: #9) – Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club – New Canaan, CT  **Verbally committed to Georgia**
Best Times: 50 free – 22.20, 100 free – 48.99, 200 free – 1:46.21

It’s an odd class when the first true sprint freestyler doesn’t come until #15. But the fly/back types in this class are so good at sprint free that things get crowded at the top. Parker has made fairly minor drops in her sprints (22.4 to 22.2 in the 50; 49.2 to 48.9 in the 100), but made a big leap in the 200 with a drop from 1:48.0 to 1:46.2. Parker has a great chance to score in the 50 early in her career (it took 22.09 to make the B final last year), and has a chance to be a massive relay factor if her 100/200 develop well.

16. Gabi Albiero (Previous Rank: #13) – Cardinal Aquatics – Christian Academy – Louisville, KY **Verbally committed to Louisville**
Best Times: 100 fly – 51.97, 200 fly – 1:57.72, 50 free – 22.63, 100 free – 49.68, 200 free – 1:48.13, 200 IM – 2:00.82

Albiero is a bit of a one-trick pony at this point. Her 100 fly is far-and-away her best time, and is already within NCAA scoring range. That drop of six tenths was one of her bigger time cuts since our last rankings – she’s had modest improvement in the freestyles and only managed to repeat her 200 fly time exactly, down to the hundredth. A two-second IM drop is promising, though she’s still four seconds out of NCAA scoring range there. Albiero probably doesn’t project to have the same kind of multi-event impact her brother did as a freshman, but if she can make that 100 fly into an A final type weapon (it took 51.2 to make top 8 last year), she can make up for it with big top-event points and relay value.

17. Paige Hetrick (Previous Rank: #14) – Bradford Family YMCA–  Bradford, PA **Verbally committed to Louisville**
Best Times: 200 back – 1:53.09, 100 back – 52.83, 200 free – 1:45.73, 100 free – 49.13, 50 free – 22.80, 500 free – 4:47.68

Hetrick has outstanding range through the relay-distance freestyles, and what really sets her apart are her huge improvements in backstroke. She’s going to give a college program a ton of options, and it remains to be seen exactly where she’ll develop best. Her 200 back dropped 1.7 seconds since our first ranks, and is now .02 out of NCAA scoring range. Her 100 back has also cut over a second. Her freestyle improvements have been a bit thinner, though she did but about seven tenths in the 200 free and looks like one of the class’s better options there.

18. Tristen Ulett (Previous Rank: #12) – Dynamo Swim Club – Georgia Connections Academy – Brookhaven, GA **Verbally committed to Louisville**
Best Times:200 fly – 1:55.77, 100 fly – 52.82, 200 IM – 1:58.50, 200 back – 1:54.46, 100 back – 53.86, 200 free – 1:46.18, 100 free – 49.67

Ulett is becoming a true 200 specialist, with outstanding times in the 200 fly, back, IM and free. Based on the NCAA meet lineup, she may wind up projecting as a 200 IM/200 free/200 flyer, though it’s her backstrokes that seem to be dropping fastest. (She was 54.3/1:58.5 in back when we first ranked; now she’s 53.8/1:54.4). This class is overcrowded with these fly/back types, but Ulett’s versatility suggests she can find a spot to fit into scoring range somewhere in that mix. 1:46.18 in the 200 free is no joke, either, and constitutes a drop of 1.2 seconds since our original rankings.

19. Janelle Rudolph (Previous Rank: N/A) – Pro Swimming Bellevue High School – Bellevue, WA
Best Times: 50 free – 22.47, 100 free – 48.93, 200 free – 1:46.91, 100 back – 52.92, 200 back – 1:54.02, 100 breast – 1:01.75, 200 IM – 1:58.43

These are the stories we figured would arise more as we started to rank recruits earlier and earlier. Rudolph, still uncommitted, has surged out of the crowd of sprint types into the top of the class. (For reference, she was 22.7/49.3/1:48.3 at the time of our last ranks – good, but not quite enough to differentiate herself from the field). Now, she’s one of the class’s better 50/100 freestylers, with good range to the 200 and awesome backstroke improvements. her 200 back has cut almost four and a half seconds in the last year, and her 100 almost two.

20. Emma Atkinson (Previous Rank: N/A) – Germantown Academy Aquatic Club – Germantown Academy – Brookhaven, PA **Verbally committed to Virginia Tech**
Best Times: 200 back – 1:53.77, 100 back – 52.80, 200 free – 1:46.59, 100 free – 49.73

Did somebody ask for another backstroker? Atkinson is rising fast, with a drop of 1.6 seconds in her 100 back since last ranks and almost a second in her 200 back. She’s also taken two seconds off her 200 free and is starting to look like a developmental relay prospect in the 100/200 frees as well. The backstrokes stand to get absurdly fast in the NCAA when this class starts to come of age, but Atkinson has as good a shot as anybody to crack scoring early on in her career.


Paring the list down to 20 always feels like pulling teeth. This isn’t an exhaustive list of others we considered, but the top few left off the list who made the decisions on 18-20 very difficult.

  • Quinn Schaedler (Previous Rank: #8) – (Austin Swim Club – Austin, TX) – **Verbally committed to Michigan** – still one of the better sprint freestylers in the class, Schaedler slips out of the top 20 after going backwards a little in her 50 and 100 frees as a junior. (Her lifetime-bests are 22.8/48.8, but she was just 23.3/49.4 this season). She did take a tenth off her 200 free to go 1:45.9, and carries nice 56.0/2:01 long course speed.
  • Grace Cooper (Previous Rank: #16) – (Delta Aquatics – Oswego East High School – Oswego, IL) – **Verbally committed to Texas** – Another good sprinter who slips down our list a little. She’s got great pure speed in the 50 (22.3) and solid 100 talent as well (49.0). Doesn’t have a great third event yet, somewhere between a 1:48.2 200 free and a 54.1 butterfly.
  • Isabel Gormley (Asphalt Green Aquatics – New York, NY) – Gormley is a fast-rising IMer who was a really tough call to keep out of the top 20. She went from 4:13 to 4:08.8 in the 400 IM since being left out of our original rankings. Her 200 IM (1:59.0) needs a big drop to score, and her mid-distance freestyles (1:48.0/4:45.5) are intriguing. It remains to be seen exactly what her college event lineup is. Maybe 500 free/400 IM/200 fly (1:58.3)?
  • Ella Ristic (Irvine Novaquatics / Santa Margarita Catholic High School / Laguna Niguel, CA) – **Verbally committed to Indiana** – a pretty good mid-distance free type (49.5/1:45.7/4:48.2) with developmental IM potential (2:02.9). Ristic also has her junior year state meet still upcoming, and could improve a few of these times.
  • Samantha Pearson (Unattached / Foothill High School – Irvine, CA) – another good freestyler (22.8/48.9/1:46.2) who gets a little crowded out in the Rudolph/Hetrick/Schaedler/Cooper group. She’s a great relay value and wouldn’t need much of a drop to jump straight into the top 10 by next year.


Feeling nostalgic? Here’s a look back at our recruiting class rankings over the past 6 recruiting classes, plus our retrospective of the first class we ranked after 4 years in the NCAA:

Recruiting Class
High School Class of 2020 Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores Ranks as Juniors
High School Class of 2019 Ranks as Juniors
High School Class of 2018 Ranks as Juniors Re-Rank As Seniors
High School Class of 2017 Ranks as Juniors
High School Class of 2016 Ranks as Juniors
High School Class of 2015 Ranks as Juniors Post-college retrospective
High School Class of 2014 Ranks as Juniors Post-college retrospective
High School Class of 2013 Ranks as Juniors Post-college retrospective

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Great article, thank you for the update. I’m confused a little bit. You say Smith has only 6 NCAA scoring events. That seems wrong. She’d score in 100/200/500 free, 100/200 back, 100/200 Fly and 200im. She hasn’t swam a 200/400im in a long time and even with her weak breaststroke can easily be a 1:54 something which moves her way up the scoring. And there’s no doubt her 400im time would be much faster. She’s incredibly fit. I know ur not scoring “ifs” so even without the 400im she scores in 8 events, right? Thank you again for the great research.

Hint of Lime

Really cool to see this type of analysis, both in the “Way Too Early” ranking and this one, especially in comparing times/the changes in rankings after another season. Crazy to think about how the first (only) edition of previous years’ rankings were released in this late-spring period, while these juniors are almost all committed already — that vs. how I’m remembering Abbey not even announcing her Cal commitment until the signing period in Nov. of her senior year.

Thanks for the hard work, SwimSwam!


Bacon faster than Stadden in every event expect 200 back (only 0.34) but is ranked lower, what is the reasoning there?


I also want to hear an answer about this. Seems only logical for Bacon and Stadden to be switched.


^^yes. And their lcm is about even with bacon being better in the 100 and stadden the 200

2 Cents

You’re right, that does not add up. Even the explanation given above does not make sense. Clearly versatility and options were devalued here, as why Walsh was #2 and not #1. Is Walsh the only one who has a top “returning” best time next year from this class? Just to play devil’s advocate here, I can see only one viable reason why Stadden is listed over Bacon…. and that is that Stadden will probably be on relays that score higher than Bacon. There is only ONE event where Stadden is faster and it is not by much, and its not the 50 or100 free (which are arguably the most important events in the NCAA as you can swim that event… Read more »

2 Cents

Oops, I forgot Smith has the AR in the back, so she has the “returning” best time there as well… never mind.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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