Top NCAA Men’s Swimming Recruits Of The Past Decade

Each spring/summer since 2012, SwimSwam has been ranking out the top NCAA swimming recruits in the nation, and the high school class of 2022 now marks the 10th class we’ve scouted.

By popular demand (and the general craving for swimming nerd content during quarantine), we’re taking a look back over those ten classes, ranking out the top NCAA swimming recruits of the past decade. Here are a few parameters for our rankings:

  • As always, these rankings view the athletes through the NCAA prism: sprinters are more highly-valued for their relay contributions, short course yards take precedence over long course meters, and special value is given to having three solid scoring events over a bunch of solid events that have to be pared down to an NCAA lineup.
  • The times we’ve pulled are all as of June 1 after the athlete’s junior year. That’s about the time we’ve usually done our rankings (we originally did them when recruiting opened on July 1, but have moved up to April in recent years to account for earlier recruiting cycles).
  • Though the sport has undeniably gotten faster since 2012, we’re trying not to use graduation year as much of a factor, keeping our ranks based on specific times. An athlete with times that were outstanding relative to their 2013 graduating class might get a small bump when we’re splitting hairs for ranks, but we’re not re-contextualizing times based on era, for the simple reason that the research work would just get overwhelming.
  • We’ve done our best to pull all the top prospects from our previous recruiting ranks, but it’s certainly possible we missed someone. If you have a submission, please let us know in the comments – but do keep in mind that we’re only ranking based on times as of June 1, junior year, and nothing beyond that.
  • This is purely about recruiting value – we’re not using the lens of hindsight to knock down any recruits who ‘busted’ or to include any college-level breakouts. Our goal here is to get a sense of these swimmers from when they were prospects – we’re not ranking the top NCAA swimmers or scorers of history.
  • In some cases, the order of recruits within specific classes has changed. That could be for any number of reasons. We may have changed a little in how we value certain times and events. Viewing one athlete within the context of their recruiting class may have skewed our valuations at the time, or viewing them in the context of all these elite recruits may have skewed our new values the opposite direction. At the end of the day, this is a purely subjective exercise, as it always is.

We started ranking with the high school class of 2013, which does have a few very notable recruits. The current high school sophomores (class of 2022) is our 10th class ranked – those swimmers still have another year to better their times, relative to everyone else on this list.

Without further ado, let’s get to our ranks:

Top 50 NCAA Men’s Swimming Recruits, High School Classes of 2013-2022

Included: Athlete (home state), High School Class (Rank within that class) – College program(s)

1. Ryan Hoffer (AZ), Class of 2017 (#1) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 100 free: 41.23
  • 50 free: 19.06
  • 100 fly: 45.46
  • 100 back: 45.58

Hoffer was an unreal recruit who also fit perfectly in the NCAA format. No junior has even come close to his 50/100 free times since, and he holds four #1-ranked times among swimmers on this list.

2. Carson Foster (OH), Class of 2020 (#1) – Texas Longhorns

  • 400 IM: 3:40.86
  • 200 IM: 1:42.54
  • 200 back: 1:40.07
  • 200 free: 1:32.99
  • 200 fly: 1:44.11
  • 100 back: 46.28

Foster is extremely versatile and great in short course and long course. The best 200 free of this field adds much-needed relay impact.

3. Andrew Seliskar (VA), Class of 2015 (#1) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 200 breast: 1:52.21
  • 400 IM: 3:41.19
  • 200 IM: 1:43.22
  • 200 fly: 1:42.55
  • 200 back: 1:42.23
  • 100 fly: 46.50

Seliskar was an otherworldly prospect who would probably make this top 50 with any three-event combination outside of distance free. It took until the class of 2020 for anyone to better Seliskar’s IM times as a prospect.

4. Luca Urlando (CA), Class of 2020 (#2) – Georgia Bulldogs

  • 200 fly: 1:40.91
  • 100 fly: 45.62
  • 100 back: 45.66
  • 200 IM: 1:42.99

An elite flyer, Urlando was also 52.0/1:54.3 in long course fly as of our cutoff dates.

5. Reece Whitley (PA), Class of 2018 (#1) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 100 breast: 51.84
  • 200 breast: 1:52.37
  • 200 IM: 1:43.93

The top overall breaststroker we’ve ever ranked by a longshot.

6. Sean Grieshop (TX), Class of 2017 (#2) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 1650 free: 14:45.40
  • 1000 free: 8:51.27
  • 500 free: 4:15.53
  • 400 IM: 3:44.30

Overshadowed a little by Hoffer in his own recruiting class, Grieshop was a major talent who was also 4:15.6 in the long course 400 IM.

7. Jack Conger (MD), Class of 2013 (#1) – Texas Longhorns

  • 200 back: 1:40.41
  • 500 free: 4:17.51
  • 50 free: 19.85
  • 100 back: 46.98

Conger was our first-ever #1 recruit on the men’s side, and it took seven more recruiting classes before anyone bettered his junior-year 200 back.

8. Drew Kibler (IN), Class of 2018 (#2) – Texas Longhorns

  • 200 free: 1:33.30
  • 500 free: 4:15.36
  • 100 free: 42.99
  • 50 free: 19.66

9. Aiden Hayes (OK), Class of 2021 (#1) – NC State Wolfpack

  • 200 fly: 1:41.34
  • 100 fly: 46.01
  • 50 free: 19.58
  • 100 back: 46.31

10. Anthony Grimm (VA), Class of 2021 (#2) – Texas Longhorns

  • 100 back: 45.60
  • 100 breast: 52.51
  • 50 free: 19.67

11. Ryan Murphy (FL), Class of 2013 (#2) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 200 back: 1:40.90
  • 100 back: 46.72
  • 200 IM: 1:45.77

Murphy dropped to 54.9/1:57.8 in long course backstroke in the spring of his junior year. The summer after our cutoff, he would really announce himself on the national stage with times of 53.7 and 1:57.3 at Olympic Trials.

12. Jake Magahey (GA), Class of 2020 (#5) – Georgia Bulldogs

  • 1650 free: 14:51.54
  • 1000 free: 8:55.33
  • 500 free: 4:14.61
  • 200 free: 1:35.13

It doesn’t show up as well in an elite field like this, but Magahey’s freestyle range is unparalleled. In long course, he swam down to 1:48.6 and 50.5 as of our cutoff.

13. Josh Matheny (PA), Class of 2021 (#3) – Indiana Hoosiers

  • 200 breast: 1:52.12
  • 100 breast: 52.52

A 2:09.4 long course 200 breast is the easily best we’ve seen among top recruits within our time frame.

14. Destin Lasco (NJ), Class of 2020 (#3) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 100 back: 45.93
  • 200 back: 1:41.77
  • 200 IM: 1:44.59

15. Adam Chaney (OH), Class of 2020 (#4) – Florida Gators

  • 50 free: 19.64
  • 100 free: 43.00
  • 200 free: 1:35.99

16. Alexei Sancov (CA), Class of 2018 (#3) – USC Trojans

  • 200 free: 1:33.93
  • 500 free: 4:19.85
  • 100 free: 43.46

Sancov put a lot of focus on long course in high school, highlighted by a 1:48.5 in the 200 free.

17. Jake Foster (OH), Class of 2019 (#1) – Texas Longhorns

  • 200 IM: 1:44.15
  • 400 IM: 3:45.46
  • 200 breast: 1:55.40

18. Brendan Burns (PA), Class of 2019 (#2) – Indiana Hoosiers

  • 200 fly: 1:42.94
  • 200 back: 1:42.17
  • 100 back: 46.24
  • 100 fly: 46.61

Burns had a big senior-year breakout to 46-lows in both fly and back.

19. Patrick Callan (OK), Class of 2018 (#6) – Michigan Wolverines

  • 500 free: 4:14.66
  • 200 free: 1:34.06

20. Townley Haas (VA), Class of 2015 (#2) – Texas Longhorns

  • 200 free: 1:35.19
  • 500 free: 4:17.45
  • 1000 free: 8:53.31
  • 1650 free: 14:59.94

Haas had a ton of range as a junior, and was probably better in long course at 50.6/1:50.3/3:51.9.

21. Joseph Schooling (FL), Class of 2014 (#1) – Texas Longhorns

  • 100 fly: 46.50
  • 200 fly: 1:45.00

A 46-second butterfly as a junior in high school was outlandish back in 2013. Schooling was also 1:56.6 in the long course 200 fly.

22. Alex Valente (CA), Class of 2015 (#10) – USC Trojans

  • 200 fly: 1:44.10
  • 100 fly: 46.69

23. Camden Murphy (MI), Class of 2017 (#4) – Georgia Bulldogs

  • 100 fly: 46.25
  • 200 fly: 1:44.31

24. Bobby Finke (FL), Class of 2018 (#7) – Florida Gators

  • 1650 free: 14:37.71
  • 1000 free: 8:49.71
  • 400 IM: 3:47.65

25. Jack Aikins (GA), Class of 2021 (#5) – Virginia Cavaliers

  • 200 back: 1:41.73
  • 100 free: 43.27
  • 50 free: 19.68

26. Jack Dolan (MO), Class of 2019 (#3) – Arizona State Sun Devils

  • 200 free: 1:34.78
  • 200 back: 1:43.42
  • 100 fly: 46.81
  • 50 free: 19.62

27. Jack Walker (NC), Class of 2019 (#4) – Virginia Cavaliers

  • 200 free: 1:33.73
  • 100 free: 43.52

28. Tim Connery (NC), Class of 2021 (#4) – Michigan Wolverines

  • 200 IM: 1:44.05
  • 200 free: 1:34.77
  • 100 fly: 46.73

Connery has a ton of versatility without a major standout event to climb this list, but 1:44.0/2:01.5 in the short course/long course 200 IM is a nice resume headline.

29. Trey Freeman (TN), Class of 2018 (#9) – Florida Gators

  • 200 free: 1:34.92
  • 500 free: 4:16.99
  • 1000 free: 8:56.30
  • 1650 free:14:59.33

30. Matt Fallon (NJ), Class of 2021 (#8)

  • 400 IM: 3:44.08
  • 200 breast: 1:54.18

31. Daniel Krueger (WI), Class of 2018 (#10) – Texas Longhorns

  • 50 free: 19.84
  • 100 free: 43.38
  • 200 free: 1:35.58

32. Caeleb Dressel (FL), Class of 2014 (#2) – Florida Gators

  • 50 free: 19.82
  • 100 free: 43.29
  • 200 free: 1:35.51

People will probably be shocked to see Dressel this low, but he didn’t really have his major breakout until his senior year of high school (18.98/42.8/1:34.6 and 45.8 in fly).

33. Max McHugh (WI), Class of 2018 (#5) – Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • 100 breast: 52.46
  • 200 breast: 1:55.38

34. Matthew Hirschberger (MD), Class of 2017 (#3) – Stanford Cardinal

  • 1650 free: 14:51.81
  • 1000 free: 8:45.11
  • 500 free: 4:16.43

Hirschberger was an age-group standout who held multiple NAG records in high school.

35. Forrest Frazier (IA), Class of 2020 (#7) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 100 breast: 52.51
  • 200 breast: 1:55.33

36. Carsten Vissering (MD), Class of 2015 (#4) – USC Trojans

  • 100 breast: 52.83
  • 200 breast: 1:55.44

37. Jake Mitchell (IN), Class of 2020 (#8) – Michigan Wolverines

  • 200 free: 1:34.24
  • 500 free: 4:16.72
  • 1650 free: 15:09.39

38. David Curtiss (PA), Class of 2021 (#11) – NC State Wolfpack

  • 50 free: 19.42
  • 100 free: 43.77

Elite speed, but not as much range. 21.9 in the long course 50 is incredible.

39. Ethan Heasley (OR), Class of 2020 (#10) – Texas Longhorns

  • 400 IM: 3:44.25
  • 1650 free: 15:03.24
  • 1000 free: 8:50.51

40. Maxime Rooney (CA), Class of 2016 (#1) – Florida Gators/Texas Longhorns

  • 200 free: 1:34.57
  • 100 free: 43.58

Rooney was a lot more versatile than these times suggest, with long course 53.8/1:59.2 butterflys and a 1:49.5 long course freestyle as of our cutoff date.

41. Michael Taylor (GA), Class of 2017 (#5) – Florida Gators

  • 200 back: 1:41.94
  • 100 back: 47.17

The summer after our cutoff, Taylor went 1:56 and 53.7 in long course backstroke, which probably would have vaulted him up the board significantly.

42. Austin Katz (FL), Class of 2017 (#6) – Texas Longhorns

  • 200 back: 1:41.48
  • 100 back: 47.23

Just like Taylor, he had a big breakout at Olympic Trials right after our cutoff, going 1:57.2 long course back.

43. Kyle Gornay (CA), Class of 2014 (#3) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 200 free: 1:34.99
  • 100 fly: 46.83
  • 100 back: 47.04

Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard in awhile. Gornay looked like a relay monster coming out of high school.

44. Ethan Hu (CA), Class of 2020 (#11) – Stanford Cardinal

  • 100 fly: 46.25
  • 200 fly: 1:45.11

53.6 in the long course 100 fly is also outstanding.

45. Curtis Ogren (CA), Class of 2014 (#5) – Stanford Cardinal

  • 400 IM: 3:44.87
  • 200 IM: 1:45.01

Ogren had already set a national independent high school record as a junior in high school, and was 2:03.7 in the long course 200 IM.

46. Jack LeVant (TX), Class of 2018 (#11) – Stanford Cardinal

  • 200 free: 1:35.42
  • 500 free: 4:18.20
  • 200 fly: 1:45.20

LeVant was just starting his rise with a 1:59.5 long course butterfly a few months before the end of his junior year.

47. Mark Jurek (AZ), Class of 2016 (#6) – USC Trojans

  • 200 fly: 1:43.72
  • 400 IM: 3:48.32

Too easy to forget how good Jurek was out of high school, including a 1:59.4 long course butterfly.

48. Daniel Roy (WA), Class of 2018 (#14) – Stanford Cardinal

  • 200 breast: 1:54.47
  • 100 breast: 54.10

Roy had a lot of recruiting buzz for a huge 2:12.1 long course breaststroke.

49. Jack Alexy (NJ), Class of 2021 (#6) – Cal Golden Bears

  • 100 free: 42.87
  • 200 free: 1:35.52

50. Gunnar Bentz (GA), Class of 2014 (#6) – Georgia Bulldogs

  • 400 IM: 3:45.80
  • 200 IM: 1:45.17
  • 200 fly: 1:45.66

Bentz was always a bigger long course producer than he was in short course. He was 2:02.7/4:17.4 in long course IM at this point.

 

Top Swimmers By Event

Top Junior/Sophomore Times Since Class of 2013
50 Free Ryan Hoffer 19.06
100 Free Ryan Hoffer 41.23
200 Free Carson Foster 1:32.99
500 Free Jake Magahey 4:14.61
1000 Free** Matthew Hirschberger 8:45.11
1650 Free Bobby Finke 14:37.71
100 Back Ryan Hoffer 45.58
200 Back Carson Foster 1:40.07
100 Breast Reece Whitley 51.84
200 Breast Josh Matheny 1:52.12
100 Fly Ryan Hoffer 45.46
200 Fly Luca Urlando 1:40.91
200 IM Carson Foster 1:42.54
400 IM Carson Foster 3:40.86

We’ve done our best to pull out the top times as juniors from the past decade. It’s possible we’ve missed swimmers in here – if you see one, please let us know in the comments and we’ll update if we can verify:

50 Free

Rank Name Class Time
1 Ryan Hoffer 2017 19.06
2 Matt Brownstead 2020 19.55
3 David Curtiss 2021 19.42
4 Aiden Hayes 2021 19.58
5 Jack Dolan 2019 19.62

100 Free

Rank Name Class Time
1 Ryan Hoffer 2017 41.23
2 Jack Alexy 2021 42.87
3 Drew Kibler 2018 42.99
4 Adam Chaney 2020 43.00
5 Sam Hoover 2021 43.10

200 Free

Rank Name Class Time
1 Carson Foster 2020 1:32.99
2 Drew Kibler 2018 1:33.30
3 Jack Walker 2019 1:33.73
4 Alexei Sancov 2018 1:33.93
5 Patrick Callan 2018 1:34.06

500 Free

Rank Name Class Time
1 Jake Magahey 2020 4:14.61
2 Patrick Callan 2018 4:14.66
3 Drew Kibler 2018 4:15.36
4 Sean Grieshop 2017 4:15.53
5 Grant Shoults 2016 4:15.56

1000 Free

Rank Name Class Time
1 Matthew Hirschberger 2017 8:45.11
2 Bobby Finke 2018 8:49.71
3 Ethan Heasley 2020 8:50.51
4 Sean Grieshop 2017 8:51.27
5 Aidan Burns 2015 8:51.80

1650 Free

Rank Name Class Time
1 Bobby Finke 2018 14:37.71
2 Sean Grieshop 2017 14:45.40
3 True Sweetser 2016 14:49.43
4 Ross Dant 2019 14:50.97
5 Jake Magahey 2020 14:51.54

100 Back

Rank Name Class Time
1 Ryan Hoffer 2017 45.58
2 Anthony Grimm 2021 45.60
3 Luca Urlando 2020 45.66
4 Destin Lasco 2020 45.93
5 Brendan Burns 2019 46.25

200 Back

Rank Name Class Time
1 Carson Foster 2020 1:40.07
2 Jack Conger 2013 1:40.41
3 Ryan Murphy 2013 1:40.90
4 Austin Katz 2017 1:41.48
5 Jack Aikins 2021 1:41.73

100 Breast

Rank Name Class Time
1 Reece Whitley 2018 51.84
2 Max McHugh 2018 52.46
3 Forrest Frazier 2020 52.51
3 Anthony Grimm 2021 52.51
5 Josh Matheny 2021 52.52

200 Breast

Rank Name Class Time
1 Josh Matheny 2021 1:52.12
2 Andrew Seliskar 2015 1:52.21
3 Reece Whitley 2018 1:52.37
4 Matt Fallon 2021 1:54.18
5 Daniel Roy 2018 1:54.47

100 Fly

Rank Name Class Time
1 Ryan Hoffer 2017 45.46
2 Luca Urlando 2020 45.62
3 Aiden Hayes 2021 46.01
4 Camden Murphy 2017 46.25
4 Ethan Hu 2020 46.25

200 Fly

Rank Name Class Time
1 Luca Urlando 2020 1:40.91
2 Aiden Hayes 2021 1:41.34
3 Matthew Fenlon 2021 1:42.53
4 Andrew Seliskar 2015 1:42.55
5 Brendan Burns 2019 1:42.94

200 IM

Rank Name Class Time
1 Carson Foster 2020 1:42.54
2 Luca Urlando 2020 1:42.99
3 Andrew Seliskar 2015 1:43.22
4 Reece Whitley 2018 1:43.93
5 Tim Connery 2021 1:44.05

400 IM

Rank Name Class Time
1 Carson Foster 2020 3:40.86
2 Andrew Seliskar 2015 3:41.19
3 Matt Fallon 2021 3:44.08
4 Ethan Heasley 2020 3:44.25
5 Sean Grieshop 2017 3:44.30

Bonus Lookback:

Boys
Recruiting Class
High School Class of 2022 Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores
High School Class of 2021 Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores Ranks as Juniors
High School Class of 2020 Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores Ranks as Juniors Re-Rank As Seniors
High School Class of 2019 Ranks as Juniors Re-Rank As Seniors
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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96Swim
4 months ago

Any chance you can add what Dean Farris looked like at this point? You know you want to.

GA Boy
Reply to  Jared Anderson
4 months ago

Dean was a 45 100 back at GHSA state his senior year.

GA Boy
Reply to  Jared Anderson
4 months ago

That’s on me! I was thinking Michael Taylor.

Deepsouth
Reply to  GA Boy
4 months ago

Nope. 137 200 free and 47.9 100 fly
Michael Taylor was 45 in 100 back in 2017

JP input is too short
Reply to  96Swim
4 months ago

Based on their cutoffs, he was 20.3/44.6/1:38 free, 48.6/1:47 back.

What an explosion he had.

swimswamswum
Reply to  96Swim
4 months ago

Dean made a big jump from junior to senior year, but Dean as of 6/1/2015 (his junior year):
50 FR = 20.36 (23.5 LCM)
100 FR = 44.62 (52.7 LCM)
200 FR = 1:38.70 (1:58.8 LCM)
100 BK = 48.66 (58.2 LCM)
200 BK = 1:47.31 (2:08.4 LCM)

Nonrevhoofan
4 months ago

Maturation of Men happens at significantly different times, and generally later. Though this list is definitely fun, it is much less of an indicator of ultimate success than Women at a similar age.

Tea rex
4 months ago

Would David Nolan top this list? I’m guessing not because the cutoff is only junior year, but he’d still probably be top-5.

Togger
Reply to  Tea rex
4 months ago

The other one that springs to mind, of those who actually went collegiate, is Aaron Peirsol. He ended his junior year by by taking Olympic silver in Sydney.

GA Boy
Reply to  Togger
4 months ago

Or Phelps

Togger
Reply to  GA Boy
4 months ago

Phelps had already turned pro by the end of his junior year, he wouldn’t be included like MA.

Joe
Reply to  Togger
4 months ago

For Piersol though, backstroke times have dropped ridiculously since he was young. His high school resume far exceeds anyone on this list (indeed any guy bar Phelps and Thorpe probably), but his times wouldn’t stack up as well.

Tea rex
Reply to  Togger
4 months ago

Peirsol was the best backstroker (age group or pro) I can think of… in long course. But, he was never good at short course (comparatively). Even at his prime, he wasn’t the best collegiate 100y backstroker, and a borderline finalist in the 500y free. Kind of like Ledecky – a huge PR draw, more than the actual points contributed.

swimgeek
Reply to  Tea rex
4 months ago

Ledecky contributed massive points in the 200/500/1650 and 2 relays

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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