We continue our traditional recruiting coverage with our “Way Too Early” ranks of the upcoming season’s high school junior class. As top recruits continue to give verbal commitments earlier and earlier, we’re moving up our rankings to help give better context to big recruiting announcements.
Before we run over our traditional ranking methodology, we should head off a few counterarguments at the pass:
- Isn’t this too early to have a good read on talent? Aren’t 16-year-old kids still improving? Maybe. On the other hand, coaches are clearly finding roster spots for kids who verbally commit this early. And if we and our readership want to have the most accurate picture of how the recruiting season is playing out, it’ll be useful to have some sort of ranking – even one still very much in flux – to refer to as big-name swimmers commit.
- But recruiting ranks don’t matter. It’s the fast-dropping swimmers and diamonds in the rough that really have the biggest NCAA impact. Not true. There are always fast-rising swimmers who quickly develop into NCAA stars. But there are far less of them than there are elite high school prospects that become high-impact NCAA swimmers. We all love the Cinderella stories, the unranked recruits who flourish into dominators. But even those rags-to-riches stories aren’t as fleshed out if they don’t have a clearly-defined setup. These ranks help show us who is most likely to become NCAA standouts… but also contextualize where the eventual breakout stars originally rated compared to peers. If you, your favorite swimmer or your son/daughter isn’t ranked, don’t get mad – see it as the starting point for your/their rise to stardom.
- How accurate can these be with two-plus years of development to go before any of these swimmers compete in the NCAA? Who knows? Predicting the future never has a 100% hit rate. For these ranks, we’re a little less concerned with actual NCAA scoring times than we are in our junior/senior ranks, and probably marginally more interested in “ceilings” – wide event ranges, versatility, etc. But as with any ranking, these are ultimately nothing more than a snapshot in time: what the top of this recruiting class looks like in the moment, with full admission that a lot of these ranks can and will change by the time they finish their senior years.
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 United States, when they’ll come to the States and with what graduating class they should be ranked. Projecting international recruits often becomes more of 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 stars. 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 carry the most weight by a long shot. But we also keep an eye on a swimmer’s trajectory, especially in deciding between two swimmers with relatively even times.
- Short Course over Long Course – while every club and every swimmer will have a different balance of focus between short course and long course swimming, the NCAA competes in short course yards, and that’s going to be the main factor considered in these rankings. Long course times are another data point for consideration, but we mainly view them through the lens of what a big long course swim could mean for an athlete’s future in short course.
- 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 or 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 butterflier 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.
- Very strong mid-distance freestyle class (200/500 free)
- Talented group of breaststrokers who have some IM ability
- Solid sprint freestyle potential, though not a lot of “pure” 50/100 swimmers
- Great top-end fly talent, but low on depth
- Decent backstroke depth, but few in NCAA qualifying territory
- Several swimmers with one top-tier event that already warrants NCAA qualification, but a big drop-off in their other races
TOP TIMES IN THE CLASS OF 2025
TOP TIMES IN THE CLASS
|50 Free||Alex Shackell||21.73|
|100 Free||Alex Shackell||47.44|
|200 Free||Alex Shackell||1:43.60|
|500 Free||Claire Weinstein||4:33.03|
|1000 Free**||Claire Weinstein||9:25.06|
|1650 Free||Claire Weinstein||15:52.84|
|100 Back||Teagan O’Dell||50.96|
|200 Back||Teagan O’Dell||1:51.00|
|100 Breast||Raya Mellott||59.57|
|200 Breast||Addie Robillard||2:08.40|
|100 Fly||Alex Shackell||50.89|
|200 Fly||Alex Shackell||1:53.52|
|200 IM||Teagan O’Dell||1:53.38|
|400 IM||Lilla Bognar||4:05.50|
**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.
With that out of the way, let’s get to our rankings.
Disclaimer: there are a lot of high school sophomores 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.
TOP 20 SWIMMERS FROM THE CLASS OF 2025
- 100 fly: 50.89 (best in class)
- 200 fly: 1:53.52 (best in class)
- 50 free: 21.73 (best in class)
- 100 free: 47.44 (best in class)
- 200 free: 1:43.60 (best in class)
- 200 IM: 1:54.54
Shackell is a rare talent, evidenced by the fact that she qualified for the 2023 U.S. World Championship team in what could be regarded as her fourth or fifth-best event, the 200 free (800 free relay), at the age of 16. She is perhaps the female recruit with the most similar skillset to the #1 ranked athlete in the class of 2022, Claire Curzan, minus the top-end backstroking ability. Shackell’s current times in the 200 fly (1:53.52), 50 free (21.73), 100 free (47.44) and 200 free (1:43.60) are all faster than Curzan’s after her sophomore season, and she’s not far off in the 100 fly. Arguably her best event, Shackell ranks 2nd all-time in the 15-16 age group (behind Curzan) in the 100 fly at 50.89, and she’s been very consistent with six swims sub-51.3. She’s also #2 in the 15-16 age group in both the 50 free and 100 free, and her times in the 200 free and 200 fly both would’ve made the NCAA ‘A’ final last year. We also can’t overlook the 200 IM, where her PB of 1:54.54 would’ve been just 11 one-hundredths shy of advancing in the top eight at the 2023 NCAAs. The Carmel Swim Club product figures to be a traditional 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly swimmer in terms of NCAA schedule, where she’ll challenge for national titles throughout her career, but she’s also capable of being among the best in the 200 free, 200 fly and 200 IM. We also can’t ignore the fact that she’ll be an ace on relays, with the ability to provide blistering free splits to go along with fly or free abilities on medley.
2. Teagan O’Dell – Mission Viejo Nadadores – Santa Margarita Catholic High School – Chino Hills, CA
- 100 back: 50.96 (best in class)
- 200 back: 1:51.00 (best in class)
- 200 IM: 1:53.38 (best in class)
- 400 IM: 4:06.99
- 200 free: 1:43.94
- 100 free: 48.47
- 50 free: 22.40
- 500 free: 4:39.29
- 100 breast: 59.73
- 200 breast: 2:10.69
- 100 fly: 52.21
- 200 fly: 1:57.51
The best all-around swimmer in the class, O’Dell is a truly elite talent across all four strokes, which is fairly obvious given she holds the National High School and 15-16 U.S. Age Group Record in the 200 IM at 1:53.38. We saw the most competitive field in NCAA history this past season in the 200 IM, but a 16-year-old O’Dell still would’ve been fifth. In terms of individual strokes, O’Dell is a backstroker, owning ‘A’ final worthy times of 50.96 and 1:51.00 in the 100 and 200-yard distances. That gives O’Dell a clear three-event schedule for NCAAs, though she’s also capable of scoring (already) in the 400 IM (4:06.99) and 200 free (1:43.94). That 200 free makes her a valuable asset on the 800 free relay, and she’s also good enough in the 50/100 free (22.4/48.4) that she can be a contributor there. And similar to other elite IMers such as Alex Walsh, O’Dell is also very strong in her ‘off’ 100 strokes, holding one of the two sub-1:00 100 breast times in the class to go along with a 52.2 100 fly time. O’Dell has really dialed in her underwaters, which you can see here in her 200 IM record swim, which makes her a threat in any SCY event she takes on.
- 500 free: 4:33.03 (best in class)
- 1000 free: 9:25.06 (best in class)
- 1650 free: 15:52.84 (best in class)
- 200 free: 1:43.93
- 100 free: 48.76
- 400 IM: 4:07.72
- 200 fly: 1:58.63
- 200 back: 1:58.80
- 50 free: 23.00
Weinstein’s freestyle ability alone could easily make her the top recruit in other classes, but lands at #3 here simply due to the level Shackell and O’Dell have shown in a variety of events. Weinstein has already made an impact on the international stage in long course, leading off the World Championship-winning 800 free relay in 2022, and her abilities in SCY aren’t far behind. Similar to her Sandpipers of Nevada teammates Bella Sims (#1 HS class of 2023) and Katie Grimes (#1 HS class of 2024), Weinstein owns a 500 free best time (4:33.03) that’s miles ahead of what won the NCAA title last season (4:36.62). She might have to contend with both by the time she enters college, but beyond them, she’s the best 500 freestyler we’ve seen in recent memory as a recruit. After a stunning comeback victory over Katie Ledecky in the 200 free at U.S. Nationals this summer in a time of 1:55.26, Weinstein surely has more to give in the SCY 200 free, with her PB sitting at 1:43.93. In most years, a sub-1:44 200 free for a high school sophomore would be the fastest in the class (last year’s top time was 1:44.10), but this year there’s incredibly four, which makes Weinstein’s time blend in a bit with Shackell, O’Dell and Madi Mintenko. But it shouldn’t, given what she’s already done in long course and the ceiling for improvement she has in the small pool. In terms of a third event, Weinstein will more than likely swim up to the 1650 in college, with her 13-14 NAG record of 15:52.84 good for an top-8 NCAA points in 2023 and faster than anyone else in the class by 23 seconds. She neared that mark this past December at 15:53.83, and she’s also a very strong 400 IMer at 4:07.72, one second shy of ‘A’ final territory. Weinstein also has relay value with her 48.7 100 free.
#4. Madi Mintenko – Pikes Peak Athletics – Pine Creek High School – Colorado Springs, CO
- 500 free: 4:39.24
- 200 free: 1:43.92
- 100 free: 48.02
- 1650 free: 16:19.47
- 1000 free: 9:54.74
- 100 fly: 54.74
- 200 IM: 2:01.41
Mintenko is the fourth member of this class who has already broken 1:44 in the 200 free, an absurd stat when we consider 1:43.90 was the cut-off for the NCAA ‘A’ final last season. Mintenko has experienced rapid improvement over the last year and a half, as she held best times of 1:47.0/4:47.7 in the 200/500 free in December 2021, and got down to 1:45.6/4:42.5 12 months later. Then, this past March, she took another giant leap forward by clocking 1:43.92 in the 200 free and 4:39.24 in the 500 free at the Speedo Sectionals in Austin. Similar to a 1:43 200 free, it’s incredibly rare to see a high school sophomore sub-4:40 in thr 500 free, it might just seem like the norm in recent years due to the presence of the Sandpipers. Mintenko’s time would’ve made the ‘A’ final last year, and she’s nearly got a third scoring event in her repertoire with the 100 free, where her 48.02 PB is three one-hundredths shy of the 47.99 that took 16th in the 2023 NCAA prelims. And for as good as Mintenko has proven to be in short course, she’s perhaps equally (or even better) in LC, having won the U.S. junior title in the 200 free (1:58.07), placed second in the 100 free (55.34) and won the ‘C’ final at Senior Nationals in the 400 free (4:10.34).
#5. Lilla Bognar – Team Greenville – Eastside High School – Travelers Rest, SC
- 400 IM: 4:05.50 (best in class)
- 200 back: 1:53.29
- 100 back: 53.63
- 200 IM: 1:58.09
- 200 free 1:46.68
- 500 free: 4:45.39
- 1650 free: 16:39.34
Bognar might not have the shiny, ultra-elite times we see from the top three, but she’s a well-rounded swimmer who leads the class in the 400 IM. Bognar set her best time of 4:05.50 in March of 2022, with her fastest time this past season coming in at 4:07.49. However, she is coming off a breakout 4th-place finish at U.S. Nationals in the LCM event (4:40.97), so she’s clearly still improving, and though her 200 back PB also comes from early 2022, she was just .04 shy last season. That 4:05.5 time is already NCAA ‘A’ final worthy, and is the fastest among high school sophomores outside of World Championship silver medalist Katie Grimes since we started doing Way Too Early recruit ranks in 2018 (class of 2020). Looking at the 200 back, Bognar’s 1:53.29 is the #2 in the class behind O’Dell, and is just shy of NCAA scoring last season. Bognar also broke 2:10 for the first time in long course this summer (2:09.85), and she’s consistently shown an ability to close the event well, including a 31.77 final 50 at U.S. Nationals which was faster than any swimmer in the field. The next step in Bognar’s progression will be to develop a bit more speed, which will pay dividends in the 200 IM (1:58.09) and 100 back (53.63), while she could also end up racing the 500 free in college, hitting a 4:45.39 PB at NCSAs in March.
#6. Addie Robillard – Mason Manta Rays – Saint Ursula High School – Mason, OH
- 200 breast: 2:08.40 (best in class)
- 100 breast: 1:00.07
- 400 IM: 4:13.55
- 200 IM: 2:00.05
- 200 free: 1:49.48
- 100 free: 51.71
- 50 free: 23.72
It feels as though it’s been quite some time since we’ve had any truly high-end breaststroking recruits, and this class has two of them in Robillard and Raya Mellott. Pushing Robillard over the edge is her unmatched ability in the 200, where she’s the fastest high school sophomore we’ve seen since Alex Walsh at 2:08.40. It’s become rare to see any sophomores sub-2:10, and Robillard’s time is already within a tenth of NCAA scoring based on 2023 (2:08.30), while the ‘A’ final is only one second away (2:07.32). In the 100 breast, Robillard is strong at 1:00.07, and went 1:00-point five times before her 16th birthday—she’ll blow by the minute barrier once she develops a little more speed. And while Robillard gives up half a second to Mellott in the 100 breast, she ranks ahead of her due to her other events. Robillard is a 2:00/4:13 IMer, showing a lot of potential for improvement, and her freestyle times tell us she could be a future relay contributor, which is certainly not usually the case for breaststrokers.
#7. Annie Jia – Upper Dublin Aquatic Club – Hatboro Horsham Sr High School – Ambler, PA
- 100 fly: 51.95
- 50 free: 22.54
- 100 free: 49.00
- 200 IM: 1:58.60
- 200 fly: 2:00.78
Jia is the traditional fly sprinter who is also elite in the 50 and 100 freestyle, which is a very valuable skillset in the NCAA. Her 100 fly time of 51.95, set at Winter Juniors in December, ranks 2nd to Shackell in the class, and would’ve been #1 in the previous two sophomore classes. Prior to that 51.95, she had already been 52.04 in the 100 fly from her freshman season in March 2022, and she now has six sub-53 swims on her resume. Despite the fact she specializes in the sprints, Jia’s 100 fly splits indicate she can easily knock off more time once she develops some more speed, as she’s already got strong closing ability coupled with elite underwaters. That back half strength was on full display at U.S. Junior Nationals (LCM) in August, when she set a new 100 fly best of 59.20, closing in 30.85. For context, seven of the 16 semi-finalists in the 100 fly at the 2023 World Championships didn’t come home faster than that. Jia also has four 22-point 50 free swims on her resume, led by her PB of 22.54, and a 49.00 100 free puts her within reach of the NCAA cut (48.37) within the next year. This trio of events makes her a relay ace for any program, plus her individual NCAA schedule is figured out. In addition to that, she’s got an impressive 200 IM (1:58.60) which adds to her value.
#8. Raya Mellott – Crow Canyon Country Club Sharks – San Ramon Valley High School – Danville, CA
- 100 breast: 59.57 (best in class)
- 200 breast: 2:09.53
- 200 IM: 2:00.63
- 400 IM: 4:19.59
Mellott has become a top-tier breaststroke talent in this class, having clocked 1:00.60 in the 100 breast as a high school freshman to rank #3 all-time in the girls’ 13-14 age group. In the 16 months since, she’s been faster on seven occasions, including four sub-1:00, led by the 59.57 she clocked to place second to Olympic and NCAA champion Lydia Jacoby at Winter Juniors – West. In addition to being the fastest 100 breaststroker in the class, Mellott is also one of the two sub-2:10 in the 200 (despite being disqualified at Winter Juniors, where she set numerous PBs in other events), having had a steady rise from 2:11.2 in September, to 2:10.1 in November, and then 2:09.53 this past May. Many programs will live and die with the breaststroke leg of their medley relays, making Mellott a highly sought after recruit as she’s showing signs of being a future NCAA champion in the 100 breast. The 200 IM is often a “throw-in” race for breaststrokers at NCAAs, but she has some potential there as well with a PB of 2:00.63, set in April, which was a two-second drop from the month prior.
- 500 free: 4:40.69
- 200 free: 1:45.30
- 1650 free: 16:19.60
- 200 back: 1:58.61
Bowen has been on our radar as one of the top 500 freestylers in the junior ranks for several years, and her progress has been on full display over the last 24 months. After going 4:49.1 as a 13-year-old in 2021, she went 4:45.14 in her freshman year of high school and then this past season, went 4:40.69 at Winter Juniors – East. In this class full of strong mid-distance freestylers, Bowen ranks 4th in the event behind Weinstein and Mintenko, and her time puts her under what it took to score at NCAAs last season (4:40.81). Bowen is also a strong 200 freestyler at 1:45.30, a swim from December that she backed up in February (1:45.49), and she’s also got a future in the mile. Despite only having three of them on her resume, Bowen swam the 1650 for the first time in two years in January, clocking 16:19.60 to come within striking distance of the 2023 NCAA cutline (16:13.73).
#10. Chloe Kim – Scarlet Aquatic Club – Glen Rock, NJ
- 1650 free: 16:16.21
- 500 free: 4:46.80
- 400 IM: 4:13.13
- 1000 free: 9:42.69
- 200 IM: 2:00.01
- 200 back: 1:57.22
- 200 free: 1:48.70
Kim projects as a pure distance swimmer who will take on the 500 free, 400 IM and mile in college, with the base and versatility to take on a variety of other events during the dual meet season. Kim didn’t race the 1650 this past season, but still owns the 2nd-fastest time in the class from when she was 14, clocking 16:16.21 back in March 2022. Her best time in the 500 free (4:46.80) also stems from the 2021-22 season, but she did fire off a blistering 9:42.69 1000 free this past October (on pace for 16:01 in the mile). The Scarlet Aquatic Club product also has promising medley times at 2:00.0/4:13.1, though with the majority of her PBs coming in 2022, we’ll have to keep an eye on her progress this season.
#11. Lily King – Mount Pleasant Aqua Club – Mount Pleasant Area Jr/Sr High School – Latrobe, PA
- 100 free: 48.58
- 50 free: 22.58
- 200 free: 1:46.86
Not to be confused with the breaststroking superstar of the same name (though spelled differently), King has started to make a name for herself as a burgeoning sprint freestyler over the last year and a half, kicked off by her sweep of the 50 and 100 free at the 2022 PIAA 2A State Championships as a freshman with respective times of 22.66 and 49.78. Her 50 free time held firm this past season at 22.58, but she dropped significantly in the 100, getting all the way down to 48.58, and she also made massive progress in the 200, going from 1:55-flat to 1:46.86. Those times make King an excellent relay asset to go along with her individual potential, and the fact that she’s already 25.4 in the long course 50 tells us she’s got the raw speed that will turn into a sub-22 SCY sprinter down the line.
#12. Alana Berlin – Schroeder YMCA Swim Team – Schroeder YMCA Swim Team
- 100 back: 52.31
- 100 fly: 52.58
- 100 breast: 1:02.23
- 100 free: 50.69
- 50 free: 23.04
- 200 back: 1:59.12
- 200 IM: 2:01.26
Berlin has all the tools of being an elite 200 IM swimmer, though it remains to be seen if she’ll take that route in the coming years. She put up an elite time of 52.31 in the 100 back at YMCA Nationals, the second-fastest in the class behind O’Dell, putting her under the NCAA cutline in one of the most competitive events in college swimming last season. At the same meet in April, Berlin went 52.58 in the 100 fly, 1:02.23 in the 100 breast and split 49.80 on Schroeder YMCA’s 400 free relay, giving her a solid base of 100-yard times to build off of. Her 100 fly is also in the upper echelon of the class and just shy of the NCAA cutline (52.20), making her a likely candidate to tackle the classic 100 fly/100 back double on Day 3 of NCAAs in the future. The 200 IM (2:01.26) is a future option, but she’s also got the ability to be a future player in the 50 free (23.04). We also can’t overlook the fact that she has numerous 23-point 50 fly splits under her belt in various 200 medley relays, including a 23.27 which is faster than the split five of the top 16 teams at NCAAs got last season.
13. Elle Scott – NOVA of Virginia Aquatics, Inc. – The Collegiate School – Richmond, VA
- 100 breast: 1:00.19
- 200 breast: 2:10.04
- 200 IM: 1:57.39
- 400 IM: 4:14.57
- 200 free: 1:47.82
- 100 free: 49.73
- 50 free: 23.36
- 100 fly: 53.41
Scott is the class’s best breaststroker who has a clear-cut third event that’s already competitive, as she’s nearing the times of Robillard and Mellott in breast while also owning the #3 200 IM in the class. Scott is on the verge of cracking the 1:00 barrier in the 100 breast (1:00.19) and the 2:10 barrier in the 200 breast (2:10.04), which in some years, would’ve ranked her #1 in the class among sophomores. On top of that, she’s got a very solid 200 IM of 1:57.39, within half a second of the 2023 NCAA cutline (1:56.90). A product of the NOVA of Virginia pipeline, Scott is coming off a big season of improvements, dropping from 1:01.5, 2:13.1 and 1:59.9 PBs in the 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM, respectively, entering 2022-23. We also can’t disregard her potential relay value, with 49.7/1:47.8 times in the 100 and 200 free.
14. Bella Brito – Beach Cities Swimming – Santa Monica, CA
- 100 breast: 1:00.06
- 200 breast: 2:10.15
- 200 IM: 1:58.95
- 50 free: 22.88
- 100 free: 49.27
- 200 free: 1:48.86
- 100 fly: 54.16
- 100 back: 55.62
Brito brings a very similar skillset as Scott to the table, as the two swimmers own near-identical breaststroke times while also having a pedigree in the 200 IM and the sprint free events. Brito is second to only Mellott in the 100 breast, is 2:10-low in the 200 breast, and has a sub-1:59 200 IM and a sub-23 50 free to boot. She projects as an elite breaststroker who also races the 200 IM, as not only is her medley time already among the best in the class at 1:58.9, but she’s also got solid times across all four stroke 100s, indicating there’s more time to drop (and no weakness in any of the strokes). Despite that, we can’t ignore her freestyle ability, with 22.8/49.2 times a strong indication she’ll be in free relays down the line, something that’s rare for breaststrokers. A few of Brito’s best times, including the 100 breast and 200 IM, come from the 2021-22 season, which is why Scott edges her out in the rankings.
15. Nicole Zettel – TAC Titans – Apex Friendship High School – Holly Springs, NC
- 400 IM: 4:11.10
- 200 IM: 1:59.27
- 500 free: 4:46.58
- 200 free: 1:47.80
- 100 fly: 54.25
- 200 fly: 1:58.26
- 100 back: 55.87
- 200 back: 1:59.24
- 1650 free: 16:48.67
- 100 free: 50.95
Zettel’s stock climbed significantly after her performance at the Cary Sectionals in March, where she established her current best times in the 200 and 400 IM, the 100 and 200 fly, and the 500 free. The standout event is the 400 IM, as Zettel dropped more than four seconds to clock 4:11.10, under the 2023 NCAA cutline (4:11.36) and within a second and a half of scoring (4:09.61). The ability to perform at a high level in the 400 IM translates to nearly every other event in swimming, as evidenced by the rest of her PBs, as she’s also got a sound 200 IM and 500 free for Day 2 of NCAAs, and could take on the 200 fly, 200 back, 100 free or even the 1650 on Day 4 depending on how she progresses. As a recruit, coaches can look at Zettel as someone who has an elite 400 IM and endless possibilities of where she can focus outside of that in college.
16. Grace Rabb – Aquajets Swim Team – Andover High School – Chaska, MN
- 100 back: 52.78
- 200 back: 1:55.84
- 200 breast: 2:11.06
- 100 breast: 1:01.57
- 200 IM: 1:58.73
- 100 fly: 54.43
- 400 IM: 4:17.25
Yet another versatile swimmer, Rabb brings the unique back/breast combo to the table, with one of just three sub-53 100 back times in the class to go along with a 1:55.8 200 back, putting her in position to make an impact at the collegiate level in backstroke. However, her 200 breast time of 2:11.06 is on a similar level to the 200 back, two events we rarely see an overlap in, which ultimately gives her a 1:58.7 200 IM. Rabb figures to swim the 200 IM, 100 back and either the 200 back or breast in college, and in relays, she’ll be very valuable in medley, with a 24.7 50 back also on her resume.
17. Haley McDonald – Lakeside Swim Team – Sacred Heart Academy – Louisville, KY
- 200 back: 1:54.78
- 100 back: 53.80
- 400 IM: 4:12.26
- 200 IM: 1:58.08
- 200 free: 1:46.47
- 100 free: 49.64
- 50 free: 23.00
- 500 free: 4:48.37
- 100 fly: 54.36
- 100 breast: 1:02.03
- 200 breast: 2:14.21
McDonald is well-versed in free, back and IM, making her an intriguing prospect to watch over the next couple of seasons. Her best event is arguably the 400 IM, where her 4:12.26 best time puts her within a second of the NCAA cutline. It was done in December 2021 (ranking #9 all-time in 13-14 age group), however, and her fastest this past season was 4:15.00. The two-time 2023 KHSAA State champion in the 500 free and 200 IM, McDonald did fire off a number of best times at the Speedo Southern Premier in early March, including 53.8/1:54.7 backstroke times. She also went 49.6/1:46.4 in the 100 and 200 free, and was 1:58.67 in the 200 IM, just shy of her 1:58.08 PB from December 2021. At the U.S. National Championships in June, McDonald went three-for-three in best times en route to placing 10th in the 200 IM, 11th in the 400 IM and 16th in the 200 back, and although that’s a long course meet, it perhaps tells us the three events she’ll key in on in yards down the line.
18. Annam Olasewere – Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club – Staples High School – Westport, CT
- 50 free: 22.37
- 100 free: 49.50
- 200 free: 1:47.96
Olasewere has the pure speed that thrives in the NCAA format, with the 2nd-fastest 50 free time in the class at 22.37 (behind Shackell), a time she managed to produce in March 2022 at the age of 14 (#5 all-time in 13-14 age group) and then matched it 12 months later. She’s been sub-23 in the 50 more than a dozen times, showing consistency, and in the 100 free, she made impressive progress last season, dropping from 50.05 in March 2022 down to 49.50 the following year. Perhaps even more intriguing about Olasewere in the eyes of a collegiate program will be her relay performances, as she already has 21.71 and 48.50 splits under her belt. Her 200 free has also made strides in the past year, coming all the way from 1:50.76 to 1:47.96 from March to November 2022.
19. Kennedi Dobson – Eastern Express Swim Team – Levittown, PA
- 200 free: 1:46.19
- 100 free: 49.07
- 50 free: 22.69
- 500 free: 4:45.45
- 200 back: 1:57.80
- 100 back: 55.14
- 200 IM: 2:02.68
- 400 IM: 4:17.31
Dobson demolished December last year, setting best times in the 100, 200 and 500 free (and 100 back, 200 back and 200 IM) at Winter Juniors – East before establishing a new mark in the 50 free (and 100 breast, 100 fly, 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM) one week later. She brings the 50/100/200 freestyle base that every college program yearns for, with the 200 perhaps being her strongest of the three at 1:46.19. In the sprints, 22.6/49.0 is top-tier at this stage of a swimmer’s career, and she arguably is even better in the 500, where her 4:45.45 PB perhaps is overshadowed by the fact that three swimmers in this class are already in NCAA scoring position. And perhaps an indicator that she’ll lean more towards the 500 over the 50 in the future is the fact that she raced the 200 and 400 free at the U.S. Pro Championships in late July, earning Olympic Trials cuts and respective lifetime bests of 2:00.28 and 4:12.92 in the long course pool.
20. Emily Hamill – Germantown Academy Aquatic – Germantown Academy – Fort Washington, PA
- 200 back: 1:53.89
- 100 back: 54.26
- 200 free: 1:47.91
- 100 free: 50.13
- 50 free: 23.52
- 1650 free: 16:50.42
Hamill has one truly elite event in her repertoire in the 200 back, where her 1:53.89 ranks right at the top of the class, trailing only #2 Teagan O’Dell and #5 Lilla Bognar. That time for Hamill nears the NCAA cutline of 1:53.34 (and just over a second shy of scoring range – 1:52.76), and marked a nearly four-and-a-half-second drop when she produced it in March. However, that significant improvement was more her short course time catching up to what she had already done in long course, having been 2:11.36 in the big pool in the summer of 2022. She backed that up this year, clocking 2:11.34 at NCSAs in July—beating Bognar head-to-head. The rest of Hamill’s event aren’t quite at the same level, though she’s solid in the 100 back (54.26) and 200 free (1:47.91), both events she set new PBs in this year.
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.
Ella Jablonski – Seattle Metropolitan Aquatic Club – Lakeside High School – Seattle, WA
- 100 fly: 52.05
- 100 back: 54.00
- 50 free: 23.23
- 100 free: 50.48
- 200 free: 1:49.71
- 200 back: 1:59.11
- 200 IM: 2:02.47
Jablonski has one top-tier event at this stage of her career with the 100 fly, where she dropped a time of 52.05 to win the Wisconsin 3A state title last November. The time puts her under the NCAA cutline and just four-tenths outside of scoring position, and she’s been sub-52.6 two times since, showing some good consistency. If you watch her 52.05 race video here, you can see she’s got exceptional underwaters, which has clearly benefitted her in the 100 back, which would have to be regarded as her #2 event at this point at 54-flat. Her ability on the underwaters should make her an excellent addition to any medley relay on either fly or back, and she’s also got some pedigree in the sprints that can be built off of, with 23.2/50.4 best times.
Sophia Umstead – Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics – Jenison High School – Jenison, MI
- 200 IM: 1:57.60
- 100 fly: 53.35
- 100 breast: 1:01.11
- 200 breast: 2:13.31
- 400 IM: 4:16.04
- 200 free: 1:49.03
Umstead is one of just four swimmers with a sub-1:58 200 IM in this class, with her 1:57.60 putting her within seven-tenths of last year’s NCAA cutline. She’s got a legit 53.3 100 fly and a solid 1:01.1 100 breast, and also has endurance in the form of a 4:16.0 400 IM along with a 1:49.0 200 free and 2:13.3 200 breast to build off of. The 200 IM is a great jumping off point, and her trajectory really could go any which way with the 100 fly, 100 breast and 400 IM all coinciding on the same day at NCAAs. But she’s got the talent base to make an impact wherever she chooses.
Avery Collins – Lakeside Aquatic Club – Keller High School – Keller, TX
- 200 breast: 2:10.42
- 400 IM: 4:14.03
- 200 IM: 2:00.22
- 100 breast: 1:02.47
Collins is an IM/breaststroker who leans towards the endurance side, with her best events coming in the 200 breast and 400 IM. She really rose to the occasion at Winter Juniors – West in December, bringing her PB down more than three seconds to place fourth in the 200 breast in 2:10.42, closely trailing Bella Brito and the #10 in the class of 2024, Piper Enge, as Lydia Jacoby secured the win. Collins also set a new best time in the 200 IM (2:02.09) and 400 IM (4:16.06) at that meet, and has since lowered those marks down to 2:00.22 and 4:14.03. In the 400 IM, she went 4:14.04 in the prelims (Speedo Southern Premier in March) before dropping .01 in the final, showing consistency, and she’s coming off an impressive showing at Junior Nationals in long course, placing third in the 200 breast (2:29.44) and sixth in the 100 breast (1:09.74).
Jada Duncan – Wolverine Aquatics – Whitney High School – Rocklin, CA
- 100 fly: 53.12
- 100 back: 53.14
- 50 free: 22.71
- 100 free: 50.15
- 200 free: 1:49.74
- 200 back: 2:00.24
Duncan has the classic 100 fly/100 back double in her future based on her current best times, and she’s also got a nice 50 free in her repertoire. At 53.1 in both the 100-yard events, she’s within a second of NCAA qualification with two seasons of high school to go, and 22.7 in the 50 free makes her a future relay player. She’s also nearing sub-50 in the 100 free.
Sarah Rodrigues – North Jersey Bluestreaks YMCA – Wayne Valley High School – Wayne, NJ
- 200 back: 1:54.18
- 100 back: 53.12
- 200 free: 1:50.72
- 200 IM: 2:02.77
Rodrigues has progressively been taking time off in the 200 back over the last nine months, first bringing her PB down from 1:55.9 to 1:55.2 in December, clocking 1:54.44 in April at YMCA Nats, and then in August, dropping a time of 1:54.18. Given that only three swimmers in the class have been sub-1:54, Rodrigues is among the best in the event, and she’s also near the top of the heap in the 100 back at 53.12.
BEST OF THE REST
Some more names that came up in our research. For the purposes of space, we won’t include every top event for these athletes, but just a few of their standouts. Verbal commitments are listed where they’ve been reported. Each of these athletes is still an extremely high-level recruit:
- Sprint free:
- Julie Mishler (22.6/49.7, 54.5 BK)
- Katie Lawrence (22.8/49.3, 53.8 FLY, 54.4 BK)
- Sophia Sunwoo (22.6/49.2/1:48.2, 54.1 BK, 54.8 FLY)
- Marin Clem (22.9/49.0)
- Sidney Arcella (22.9/49.8/1:47.4)
- Mere Whelehan (22.6/49.7, 54.5 BK)
- Gracyn Aquino (22.6/50.3)
- Isabella Chow (22.7/49.8, 54.4 FLY)
- Ella Mongenel (22.6/49.7)
- Distance free:
Feeling nostalgic? Here’s a look back at our historic recruiting class rankings, plus our retrospectives of those classes after four NCAA seasons:
High School Class of 2025
|Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores|
|High School Class of 2024||Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores|
|High School Class of 2023||Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores||Ranks As Juniors|
|High School Class of 2022||Way Too Early Ranks As Sophomores||Ranks as Juniors|
|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|
High School Class of 2019
|Ranks as Juniors||Re-Rank As Seniors||Post-college retrospective|
High School Class of 2018
|Ranks as Juniors||Re-Rank As Seniors|
High School Class of 2017
High School Class of 2016
High School Class of 2015
High School Class of 2014
High School Class of 2013