Top Class Of 2025 Recruiting Storylines (So Far)

It’s only been a few months since recruiting really kicked off, yet many members of the class of 2025, including many of SwimSwam’s top-ranked girls and boys, have already made their verbal commitments. Here are some of the biggest recruiting storylines that have emerged so far.

Virginia Men Go Off

One of the most surprising aspects of this year’s recruiting cycle is that the Virginia men are so far leading the way in terms of securing commitments from top-ranking recruits, putting them at the front and center of the conversation.

In a coordinated effort, at 9am on Saturday, October 21st, On the same day in late October, five boys simultaneously announced their verbal commitment to the Cavaliers. Four of those were top-20 recruits, something very few teams have been able to pull off. 

Among the five were the top two swimmers in the class: Thomas Heilman and Maximus Williamson. Both are extremely versatile, however, Heilman’s best events are fly, while Williamson focuses on backstroke and mid-distance freestyle.

In addition Heilman and Williamson, the Cavaliers also picked up commitments from #8 Thomas Mercer, #12 Josh Howat, and Grant Murphy. Mercer and Murphy are both IM’ers, with Mercer owning the 3rd best 200 IM time and 4th best 400 IM time of the class. Howat is the lone pure sprinter of the group with best times of 19.92/44.05.

Since October 21st, Virginia has picked up another commitment from Jackson Tishler. Tishler is a Virginia native, and swims events ranging from the 500 free (4:33.80) to the 400 IM (3:58.49) and 200 back (1:48.38).

Public Commitments: #1 Thomas Heilman, #2 Maximus Williamson, #8 Thomas Mercer, #12 Josh Howat, Grant Murphy, and Jackson Tishler.

Cal Women Stack Superstars

On the flip side of the Virginia men is the Cal women, who are in a rebuilding phase after the termination of their longtime head coach Teri McKeever

The Bears kicked off their recruiting efforts with a verbal commitment from the top-ranked girl in the class, Alex Shackell. She’ll be on campus with her twin brother, Andrew Shackell, and older brother Aaron Shackell, a current freshman. 

Just hours after Shackell’s commitment came #3 Claire Weinstein, the best distance swimmer in the class of 2025. Between Shackell and Weinstein, they own the eight of the fourteen top times across all the events. 

The Golden Bears have also scored a verbal commitment from BOTR sprinter Gracyn Aquino (22.68/50.82), and BOTR distance swimmer Ella Cosgrove (4:44.67/16:30.93). Cosgrove represents Canada internationally, and earned 7th in the 800m free (8:39.44) at World Juniors in September.

They’ve hinted that there are more big names coming, but so far, nothing has been made public.

In all, the Cal men and women have been very aggressive this season. The combination of the success that Durden has built along with two recruiting powerhouse coaches in Dave Marsh and Josh Huger, that’s not a surprise. It’s easy to forget about Cal because they’ve been good for so long and there are lots of new programs rising to the challenge, but the Golden Bears are not dimming either.

Public Commitments: #1 Alex Shackell, #3 Claire Weinstein, BOTR Gracyn Aquino, BOTR Ella Cosgrove

Georgia Women Score Eight Commitments In A Month

Relative to the others, this storyline has flown somewhat under the radar. The Georgia Bulldogs have secured eight verbal commitments since recruiting kicked off just a few months ago, with five of them being either ranked or noted in one of the Best of the Rest sections.

This group is nearly double the size of the previous two classes. The Georgia women have only four freshmen on their roster this fall, one of whom is a diver. For the class of 2024, they’ve secured five verbal commitments so far, a number which could potentially increase with the remaining time in the 2024 cycle. 

Highlighting the class thus far are Pennsylvania natives Kennedi Dobson and Emily Hamill, who are ranked 19th and 20th, respectively. Dobson is extremely versatile making it difficult to point to one event group as a speciality, while Hamill leans towards backstroke and mid-distance free. 

Breaststroker Elizabeth Nawrocki, distance specialist Kylie McMurray, and sprinter Marin Clem were all featured in their respective BOTR groups and hail from all different areas of the country.

Rounding out the class (so far) is Izzy Beu, an IM’er, and Hailey Dopson, a backstroker. Dopson is notably the only member of this group to be a Georgia native. 

Public Commitments: #19 Kennedi Dobson, #20 Emily Hamill, BOTR Elizabeth Nawrocki, BOTR Kylie McMurray, BOTR Marin Clem, Izzy Beu, and Hailey Dopson.

How Many Top-20s Remain?

As of today, there are five top-ranked boys who have not made a public verbal commitment, while six recruits remain on the girls’ side. 

On October 31st, 2023, there were 8 top-20 recruits outstanding for the girls and 12 for the boys, meaning the girls are on a relatively similar timeline this year, while the higher ranked boys are making their announcing slightly earlier. 

Marvin Johnson, a sprinter from Tennessee, is the highest ranking boy remaining at #6. He’s joined by Jason Zhao (#10), Ryan Erisman (#11), Jake McCoy (#17), and Ethan Ekk (#19) who also have not made a commitment. 

#2 Teagan O’Dell is the top-ranked girl that has not made her selection. O’Dell owns the top backstroke and 200 IM times in the class, but is truly elite in all four strokes. So far, she’s taken visits to Texas, UVA, Cal, Florida, USC, and NC State, meaning her commitment will likely go to one of those programs (could this be the big get that Cal faithful are hinting has happened?).

Also remaining for the girls is Addie Robillard (#6), Annie Jia (#7), Chloe Kim (#10), Alana Berlin (#12), and Annam Olasewere (#18). 

Arizona State Women Catching Heat, Men Off to a Slow Start

The Arizona State men are the hot program in college swimming right now, but are off to a bit of a slow start so far in the class of 2025, with commitments so far from Hudson Evans and Trevor Boodt so far. If Leon Marchand goes pro, the Sun Devils should have money to spend, but so far, no Top 20 swimmers, no honorable mentions, and just Boodt among BOTR.

Perhaps Bob Bowman and staff have a big international name in the hopper waiting to announce? It seems like the Sun Devils should be hitting bigger in this class.

Meanwhile, the Arizona State women are starting to get looks from big names, including Alexia Sotomayor and Hungarian Nikoletta Padar in the class of 2025. A big Hungary-to-Tempe pipeline is developing, which makes sense because the events where Bowman has built his career are the events where Hungary has historically been so strong.

Timing of the Class

It can be hard to tell exactly how fast a class is committing, because there are matters of ‘data lag’ in these issues from the time they’re committing to the time they’re announcing that commitment.

That being said, this class *feels* a bit earlier than last year’s. Through October 2023, there had been 6 Top 20 boys committed and 12 top 20 girls. This year, those numbers are 15 and 14, respectively.

Plus it feels like more-and-more programs outside of the top 15 teams are getting in on early commits, with lots of mid-majors already picking up 2025s as well.

Notre Dame Picking Up Steam

Notre Dame is a few years in to their new, Louisville-tinged, coaching staff headed by Chris Lindauer, and that top-tier recruiting is really starting to kick in thanks to #4 on the boys’ side Nathan Szobota.

Along with Carli Cronk (BOTR) in the class of 2024, Notre Dame is a slow burn toward the top recruiting classes, but with a few internationals mixed in, they’re working their way there.

Sometimes when new coaches take over programs, there is a recruiting explosion. Other times, it’s more of a slow burn.

Other programs with big head coaching changes this year include Michigan (Matt Bowe), Northwestern (Rachel Stratton-Mills), Duke (Brian Barnes), and Kentucky (Bret Lungaard).

It seems that in recent years, top recruits have become more wary of committing to new head coaches as compared to a few years back, where it was a bit of a gold rush of momentum, of sorts.

Of those new programs, Bowe has had the most early success. BOTR butterflier Montserrat Spielman is one of only two SwimSwam-ranked 2025’er to commit to a program with a new head coach so far. AnneMarie Vlaic (SMU) is also headed to a new program, coached by Ozzie Quevedo.

Stratton-Mills is still working on shoring up the class of 2024, and Northwestern has no public 2025 commits yet. Duke and Kentucky are somewhere in between.

Is Uncertainty Hurting Texas Men?

The Texas men, who have oscillated with Cal as the top program in the NCAA for over a decade, are starting to face the reality of a 82-year-old head coach, albeit a legendary one, who has already retired once, and has now announced a new retirement at the end of this season.

The uncertainty seems to be catching up in recruiting, with the Texas men so far having no top 20s, no Honorable Mentions, and just one Best of the Rest – backstroker Evan Conti (50.21/1:46.3).

A successor to Resee won’t probably be named until after the season (especially if it’s someone outside of the current Texas family), but it’s likely that recruits are being given some idea of where the program is looking sooner than that.

Commitment Summaries

Top 20s

Boys’ Rank School Boy Swimmer Girls’ Rank School Girl Swimmer
1 Virginia Thomas Heilman 1 Cal Alex Shackell
2 Virginia Maximus Williamson 2 Teagan O’Dell
3 Indiana Luke Ellis 3 Cal Claire Weinstein
4 Notre Dame Nathan Szobota 4 Virginia Madi Mintenko
5 Georgia Sean Green 5 Florida Lilla Bognar
6 Marvin Johnson 6 Addie Robillard
7 Cal Norvin Clontz 7 Annie Jia
8 Virginia Thomas Mercer 8 Virginia Rya Mellott
9 Indiana Josh Bey 9 Florida Lynsey Bowen
10 Jason Zhao 10 Chloe Kim
11 Ryan Erisman 11 NC State Lily King
12 Virginia Josh Howat 12 Alana Berlin
13 Georgia Wyatt Porch 13 Cal Elle Scott
14 USC Campbell McKean 14 USC Bella Brito
15 Cal Caiden Bowers 15 Tennessee Nicole Zettel
16 Auburn Luke Bedsole 16 Florida Grace Rabb
17 Jake McCoy 17 Texas Haley McDonald
18 North Carolina Granger Bartee 18
19 Ethan Ekk 19 Georgia
20 Cal Kenneth Barnicle 20 Georgia Emily Hamill

Girls class breakdown (by school)

School Top 20s HM BOTR
Cal 3 1 2
Florida 3
Virginia 2 3
Georgia 2 3
NC State 1
USC 1 1 1
Texas 1 1
Tennessee 1
UCLA 1 2
Louisville 2
North Carolina 1
Indiana 1
South Carolina 1
Notre Dame 1
Michigan 1
SMU 1

Boys class breakdown (by school)

School Top 20s HMs BOTR
Virginia 4
Cal 3
Indiana 2
Georgia 2
Notre Dame 1 1
USC 1
Auburn 1
North Carolina 1
Princeton 1
Florida 1
Texas A&M 1
Louisville 1
Texas 1
Auburn 1
Arizona State 1

 

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ScovaNotiaSwimmer
3 months ago

Annie Jia (#7) to Cal 😳

Beginner Swimmer at 25
3 months ago

Women be loving cal

Last edited 3 months ago by Beginner Swimmer at 25
Dawg Fan
3 months ago

According to UGA’s social media, I’ve got the 2025 women’s class currently at 11 commitments. The write-up is missing Hayden Hollingsworth (OH), Mia Jeltema (NC), Clarke Neace (NC), and Maeve Eckerman (FL).

Florida fan
3 months ago

Jordan Willis still remains Florida’s only male commit so far. Pretty surprising that more haven’t committed yet. I wonder why they’re off to a slow start?

Ervin
3 months ago

So what was the “Savage 7” if they only had 5 commits?

thhdf
Reply to  Ervin
3 months ago

maybe two backed out lmao

swimmerswammer
3 months ago

ohhhhh my god teagan o’dell to cal

whoisthis
3 months ago

o’dell committed to cal now they got the top 3 recruits in the class of 2025…

SwimmyJimmy
3 months ago

I only see 1 top 20 recruit for ND.