Top 20 swimming recruits in the girls high school class of 2016

July 1st marks the opening of the NCAA’s recruiting season for swimming, with coaches finally allowed to pick up the phone and start recruiting the nation’s top high school seniors to their respective college programs.

July 1st also marks the publishing of our annual Top 20 Recruit rankings, always an informative (and controversial) event in swimming coverage.

As we do in these rankings every season, we’ll begin with an explanation/disclaimer.

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:

  • Sprints over distance – 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.
  • Conference scoring ability – yes, freshmen who score at NCAA’s, especially on the men’s side, are incredibly valuable. But college coaches know that their Athletics Directors also want to see success at conference meets, so we’ve factored that in as well.
  • 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. For example, the women’s backstrokes have been loaded with stars in the NCAA the past few years. Though a 52-second backstroker is still valuable, that time won’t get you near as far as it would have in years past. In the same vein, if a recruiting class is loaded with swimmers in the same event, they all are devalued a little, relatively speaking. This year’s class of boys features a horde of backstrokers in the 48/1:45-range, which leaves them all jockeying with each other for position in the rankings.

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

Our boys rankings are here.

Disclosure: 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 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.

Top 10 Swimmers from the Class of 2016

(All best times are in short course yards.)

1. Meghan Small – York YMCA – Lineboro, MD **Verbally committed to Tennessee**
Best times: 200 IM – 1:54.25, 400 IM – 4:03.96, 100 back – 52.19, 200 back – 1:51.74, 200 free – 1:45.48

Meghan Small was the star of YMCA Nationals this past season, and it would be no large surprise to see her become the star of college nationals in the near future. Small should come in the door with shots at NCAA titles in both IM races, and she’s also an accomplished backstroker. On top of that, her 200 free is fast enough to make her a relay threat on at least the 800 free relay. Versatility, a couple standout events, great endurance and relay capabilities – what more can you look for in a top-tier recruit?

2. Elizabeth (Beata) Nelson – Madison Aquatic Club – Madison, WI **Verbally committed to Wisconsin**
Best times: 100 fly – 51.08, 100 back – 51.67, 200 back – 1:55.68, 200 IM – 1:57.88, 100 free – 49.02, 50 free – 22.51

Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson is a machine underwater, which makes her a dangerous NCAA swimmer from the get-go. Nelson is the national public high school record-holder in the 100 fly and could easily turn out to be one of the top few butterflyers in the nation as a freshman. Her backstroke is nothing to scoff at, either, and she’s got enough speed in the sprint freestyles to be a free relay factor as well as a potential game-changer on the medleys.

3. Becca Mann North Baltimore Aquatic Club – Homer Glen, IL **Verbally committed to USC**
Best times: 1650 free – 15:45.33, 500 free – 4:34.77, 400 IM – 4:05.52, 200 free – 1:47.73, 200 IM – 1:58.46

Mann’s status here gets hurt slightly by her distance swimmer status, but she’s the rare distance swimmer who can still procure a top-3 ranking despite not being much of a relay threat. Mann’s lifetime-best would have been second at last year’s NCAAs in the 1650, and she’ll instantly be one of the top distance swimmers in the college ranks. A killer 400 IM only adds value, and the hope will be that her 200 free can improve enough to make a relay splash in the 800.

4. Constanze (Stanzi) Moseley – Roadrunner Aquatics – Bakersfield, CA **Verbally committed to USC**
Best times: 200 free – 1:44.55, 100 free – 48.14, 50 free – 22.11

The California-based Junior National champ is a dream relay piece. Fast from the 50 to the 200, Moseley could turn out to be a plug-and-play relay swimmer in any of the 5 relay events – or all of them – from her freshman season onwards. Her 200 free is most impressive, leading a class that includes some top-tier 200 freestylers.

5. Claire Adams – Carmel Swim Club – Carmel, IN **Verbally committed to Texas**
Best times: 100 back – 51.99, 200 back – 1:51.87, 50 free – 22.97, 100 free – 49.19, 200 free – 1:45.09

Part of a dominant group at the Carmel Swim Club, Adams is a multi-event star. She’s got outstanding backstroke times that will put her in the thick of a brutal NCAA stroke discipline, and she’s also got legitimate potential as a developmental relay swimmer – maybe more than that in the 200 free, where she’s among the best in her recruiting class.

6. Katie Drabot – Ozaukee Aquatics – Mequon, WI **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best times: 200 free – 1:45.22, 100 free – 48.96, 500 free – 4:43.09, 50 free – 22.75, 200 IM – 1:57.97, 400 IM – 4:09.43

It seems a bit odd putting U.S. Short Course World Champs team member Katie Drabot all the way at #6, but this is a very tough class, particularly in the freestyle events where Drabot excels. Still, she’s a rangy talent who will give coaches lineup versatility and relay options. An underrated part of Drabot’s skill-set is her IM prowess – she could be an NCAA point-scorer in either IM her freshman season, depending on what events she winds up swimming in college.

7. Veronica Burchill – Carmel Swim Club – Carmel, IN **Verbally committed to Georgia**
Best times: 50 free – 22.29, 100 free – 48.48, 100 fly – 52.26

Another stud from the Carmel Swim Club. Burchill is more of a pure sprinter than her teammate Adams, but that could work in her favor as a relay swimmer. Burchill is knocking on the door of a 21-second 50 free, and is also just outside of NCAA scoring range in the 100 fly.

8. Allie Szekely – Central Bucks Swim Team – Doylestown, PA **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best times: 400 IM – 4:06.33, 200 IM – 1:57.68, 200 back – 1:53.36, 100 back – 53.37, 200 breast – 2:10.22, 100 breast – 1:01.34

Pennsylvania’s Allie Szekely has had a very unique development. A high-profile young breaststroker, Szekely has really broken out in backstroke lately, to the point where it’s those events that might attract the brunt of college recruiters. Still, it’s her 400 IM that would have scored at last year’s NCAAs. Szekely is a Swiss Army knife of a swimmer that should give one college coach a wealth of lineup options.

9. Grace Oglesby – Cardinal Aquatics – Louisville, KY **Verbally committed to Louisville**
Best times: 100 fly – 51.75, 200 fly – 1:56.32

Oglesby doesn’t have the event versatility of some of the names above her, but what she does, she does well. Very well. Swimming out of Louisville, Kentucky, Oglesby is one of the nation’s best high school butterflyers over both distances, and could be a huge medley relay option down the road. She’s already committed to her hometown team, the Louisville Cardinals, and will follow in the footsteps of American record-holder Kelsi Worrell.

10. Lindsey Horejsi – Mantas Swim Team – Albert Lea, MN **Verbally committed to Minnesota**
Best times: 100 breast – 59.56, 200 breast – 2:11.05, 200 IM – 1:59.77

The only breaststroker to make our list, Minnesota’s Lindsey Horejsi is already under a minute in the 100 – an NCAA scoring time in 2015 – and is close to NCAA points in the 200. She’s got some potential in the 200 IM that could be developed as well. Breaststroke can often be a hole that sinks an otherwise-sound medley relay, and Horejsi is a head above the rest of her class, which should intrigue any team with a breaststroke hole heading into 2016-2017.

Honorable Mention (#11-20)

11. Erin Voss – Greater Holyoke YMCA – Northampton, MA **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best times: 200 back – 1:51.95, 100 back – 53.37

12. Savanna Faulconer – Y-Spartaquatics – Simpsonville, SC **Verbally committed to Florida**
Best times: 400 IM – 4:08.59, 200 breast – 2:10.79, 100 breast – 1:02.00

13. Keaton Blovad – Tualatin Hills Swim Club – Lake Oswego, OR **Verbally committed to Cal**
Best times: 100 back – 53.51, 50 back – 24.93, 200 IM – 1:58.71, 100 free – 49.01, 50 free – 22.75, 200 free – 1:46.65, 100 breast – 1:01.02, 200 back – 1:57.38

14. Megan Byrnes – Nation’s Capital Swim Club – Fairfax, VA **Verbally committed to Stanford**
Best times: 1650 free – 16:01.83, 500 free – 4:43.43, 200 free – 1:48.61

15. Kirsten Jacobsen – Barrington Swim Club – Barrington, IL – **Verbally committed to Arizona**
Best times: 1650 free – 16:06.66, 500 free – 4:42.31, 200 free – 1:46.98, 100 free – 49.66

16. Ali Galyer – Y-Spartaquatics – Greer, SC **Verbally committed to Kentucky**
Best times: 200 back – 1:53.76, 100 back – 53.66, 200 free – 1:48.01

17. Tatum Wade – Nashville Aquatic Club – Nashville, TN **Verbally committed to USC**
Best times: 200 free – 1:45.59, 200 breast – 2:12.73, 200 fly – 1:58.34, 200 IM – 1:57.53

18. Lauren Case – Chattahoochee Gold – Woodstock, GA **Verbally committed to Texas**
Best times: 100 fly – 52.81, 200 fly – 1:56.31, 200 free – 1:45.96

19. Asia Seidt – Lakeside Swim Team – Peewee Valley, KY **Verbally committed to Kentucky**
Best times: 100 back – 53.06, 200 back – 1:55.14, 200 IM – 1:58.53, 200 fly – 1:57.11

20. Kennedy Lohman – Lakeside Swim Team – Prospect, KY **Verbally committed to Arizona**
Best times: 100 breast – 1:00.51, 200 breast – 2:10.87

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7 years ago

I know this is an old article but Hannah Cox with a 4:37 in 500 free and a 1:44 in the 200 free will definitely be valuable to the Wildcats next year.

Another Wisco Swim Fan
8 years ago

So, Beta chose to swim “All City”, the outdoor rec league in Madison for her summer championship meet this past weekend. She could have chosen other meets as there were many going on this past weekend, Wisconsin State, Futures, NCSA, Juniors. I get it “All City” gets the major press coverage in Madison- heck they’ve been at it over 50 years but it still is summer league. The times won’t be found anywhere but the Wisconsin State Journal or the meet website:

Reply to  Another Wisco Swim Fan
8 years ago

Your argument seems kind of silly. You seem to be implying that Beata wants the Madison press coverage but if she wants publicity then doesn’t it make more sense for a swimmer of her caliber to go to one of the bigger meets that you mentioned? Maybe she wants to go to this “all city” meet because her friends are there/it is fun/like most people, it is what got her started in swimming in the first place…..I do not know beata at all but it seems like a lot of people here have some animosity towards her or maybe even jealousy, but if I were her I would use it as motivation to do even better! Let her go to… Read more »

8 years ago

Uh. No Wisconsin swimmers that are up and coming? seriously. How about Emma Lasecki, Kaylyn Schoof or Gabriela Pierobon Mays

Wisco Swims
8 years ago

Great list however Drabot should be up above Nelson. Drabot has a resume a mile long. And she can swim anything from the 50 free to the mile.

Reply to  Wisco Swims
8 years ago

Beata can swim 50-100 back/fly/free. She’s able to contribute in 2-3 individual events and 4 relays. Katie is more of a 200 free/400 IM swimmer. She can swim 2-3 events and maybe 2 relays (400/800 fr). Of course if NCAA was lcm, then Drabot would be the favorite.

Wisco Swims
Reply to  WiscoSwim
8 years ago

Ehhh, If you look at the college recruiting website, Drabot is first in the Nation. Plus, Drabot has mental toughness. I have NEVER seen Drabot pack up her toys and go home if she is beaten. I have seen Nelson scratch the rest of the meet if she gets beaten. I have seen her crying at the end of the pool and timers helping her out because she was so upset that she was beaten in prelims. I think those kinds of displays are why some of us from Wisconsin think Drabot should be ranked higher. It may not really be mathmatical, it’s just that we know them and we’ve seen how they act. When you’re in college, you have… Read more »

Madison swim parent
Reply to  Wisco Swims
8 years ago

Unless you know all the details related to injuries she has swam through over the years you should not be so quick to judge why someone leaves a meet. I cannot think of many races she has lost in the state of WI and for someone to think she would be upset at losing in prelims is laughable. Why can’ we just enjoy that WI has two of the top swimmers in the county in this class and quit with the downgrading of either of these phenomenal swimmers.

Madison Swim Parent 2
Reply to  Madison swim parent
8 years ago

I agree! We have two of the top and many others in the making! Some of the faster college swimming graduates this year were NOT in the top 20 when they were juniors and look at them now! It’s pretty early in their careers. Let’s put this all I perspective. It’s nice that made this list. Go Wisconsin!

8 years ago

Allie has a grand future potential ahead of her. Always been a fav. Good luck to all these gals.

8 years ago

Cannot wait to watch Meghan Small and Ella Eastin battle it out in the IMs! Hoping Ally Szekely can challenge them too. I’ve always been a Szekely fan when I first noticed her in 2012. While so many criticize her breast, I think it just looks so powerful. She strays from the traditional technique and it works for her. Just look at Rebecca Soni, so many said she could never do well with her breast, but look what she accomplished! And considering Szekely also does track part of the year, so she doesn’t swim year round (I don’t know if that is still true), she is an extremely impressive young women. Also, I think Keaton Blovad should be ranked a… Read more »

#13 fan
Reply to  Sophie
8 years ago

Agreed on Blovad! She was out of the country for over half a year at 14 and also had 6 coaching changes from 14-16. The switch ups seem to have improved her versatility overall and are proving to be positives in the long run. She seems to be back even stronger now- and she just committed to Cal for 2016. Good things to come for this swimmer in the next year and then in college!

8 years ago

Two in the top ten from Wisconsin! There are few more emerging Wisconsin swimmers worth watching for in the coming years.

8 years ago

Which of these recruits are looking at Stanford and have the grades to be admitted?

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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