Women’s Recruiting Class Rankings Revisited: Top 12 Schools For 2018-2022

Every summer, we rank down the top recruiting classes snagged by each team. But what do those rankings look like four years later, when each swimmer has had an opportunity to complete a full NCAA career of competing and scoring?

We’ve already looked back at our top 20 individual athletes in the high school graduating class of 2018, re-ranked when they were high school seniors in the summer of 2018. Now it’s time to look back at our team-by-team recruiting class rankings to see which teams got most from their recruiting hauls.

Back in September of 2018, we ranked out the top 12 recruiting classes nationwide. You can look back on our ranks here:

We’ve re-published each of the 12 classes below, verbatim from how they were listed in our 2018 post. Then we tracked down some stats on each class, plus a short analysis of each class along with any extra swimmers who wound up being part of the class.

Bear in mind that international swimmers throw a wrinkle into this sort of analysis, given the difficulty in projecting ahead of time when an international recruit will join an NCAA program and officially start their eligibility.

Note: The ‘number of NCAA Scorers’ section refers only to individual scorers, and only among athletes included in our original recruiting class rankings. Late additions to the classes are noted when we can find them.

*Special 2022 note: with the 2020 NCAA Championships canceled, any 2020 references below refer to psych sheet scoring, including the team finish, marked with an asterisk.

#12: DUKE BLUE DEVILS

Top-tier additions: #16 Easop Lee (MD – everything), Melissa Pish (IL – free), Quinn Scannell (UPenn transfer – back)
The rest: Zoe Lusk (CA – IM/breast), Brynne O’Shea (OR – back), Cabell Ann Whitlow (VA – fly), Shae Nicolaisen (AZ – distance free), Lucy Callard (OH – distance free), Shayna Hollander (NJ – fly), Rachel Peroni (OH – fly)

  • NCAA finishes over 3* years: 23rd, *22nd*, 34th, 24th
  • Number of NCAA scorers in class: 1 (Maddi Pullinger)

The lone scorer for Duke from this class interestingly enough wasn’t listed in the class rankings back in September of 2018: diver Maddi Pullinger. The Australian native put two points on the board for the Blue Devils in 2021, but overall, this class didn’t turn out as well as the projections.

As noted in the class rankings revisit, Easop Lee made some ACC consolation finals, and was denied a chance to compete in the only NCAA Championship meet she qualified for due to the pandemic cancelation. Melissa Pish swam at the 2019 NCAAs as a freshman, and her last meet on record is the 2020 ACCs, meaning she retired in the pandemic aftermath.

#11: VIRGINIA CAVALIERS

Top-tier additions: Alexis Wenger (MI – breast), Julia Menkhaus (NC – back/IM), Kaki Christensen (CT – breast)
The rest: Jessica Nava (FL – fly), Sophie Skinner (KY – free/IM), Julia Eskew (TN – breast), Carter Bristow (VA – distance), Emma Bulger (VA – diving)

Despite having no recruit ranked inside the top 20, the Cavaliers got a big boost with the addition of Alexis Wenger, who initially verbally committed to Michigan.

Wenger scored 64 points in her three NCAA appearances and has been a key cog as the primary breaststroker for UVA in their last two national championship victories.

Kaki Christensen was an ‘A’ finalist in the 200 breast as a freshman but didn’t compete after that. Another unranked recruit, Jessica Nava, has chipped in five points over the last two seasons. Julia Menkhaus was an NCAA qualifier in her first three seasons but didn’t score.

#10: FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

Top-tier additions: Adel Juhasz (Hungary – distance), Nina Kucheran (Canada – breast), Boglarka Bonecz (Hungary – fly), Ida Hulkko (Finland – breast), Laura Glerup Jensen (Denmark – sprint free)
The rest: Kertu Ly Alnek (Estonia – sprint free), Maddie McDonald (Canada – back), Stephanie Holmes (FL – distance), Katherine Baker (FL – breast), Lauren Hew (FL – sprint free), Hannah Womer (CA – IM/fly), Grace Cable (FL – diving)

  • NCAA finishes over 3* years: 34th, *31st*, 39th (no points), 40th (no points)
  • Number of NCAA scorers in class: 1 (Ida Hulkko)

This class was rich in international flavor coming in, but never really panned out in the team standings at NCAAs.

Finnish breaststroker Ida Hulkko was the clear standout, scoring 14 points as a freshman, but that was the only season she competed in before shifting to international competition. Among the others, Canadian native Nina Kucheran was the best, making a trio of ACC ‘A’ finals in her career, but she only has had two NCAA meets due to the pandemic cancelation in 2020 and then she sat out of 2021 due to travel restrictions. She narrowly missed scoring this season, placing 22nd in the 100 breast.

#9: CAL GOLDEN BEARS

Top-tier additions: #17 Cassidy Bayer (DC – fly),  Alex Sumner (PA – back), Elise Garcia (CA – sprint free/fly), Ema Rajic (IL – breast), Alicia Wilson (Great Britain – IM/back)

Cassidy Bayer was Cal’s big addition in this class coming in, but she managed just two points with the Bears (15th in the 200 fly as a freshman) before battling injury and ultimately transferring to Tennessee.

Ema Rajic was a two-time NCAA finalist in the 100 breaststroke, also contributing on numerous medley relays, while Great Britain’s Alicia Wilson had a breakout third-place finish in the 200 IM last season to score 16 points. Wilson was also seeded to score 16 in 2020 before the cancelation.

Note: Izzy Ivey wasn’t a member of this class coming in, but graduated high school early and swam as a freshman along with these swimmers at NCAAs in 2019.

#8: USC TROJANS

Top-tier additions: #5 Erica Sullivan (NV – distance), Courtney Caldwell (NC State transfer – sprint free/back), Jemma Schlicht (Australia – sprint fly/free)
The rest: Lara Bate (Great Britain – breast), Isabelle Odgers (CA – breast), Makenna Turner (CA – fly)

With #5 Erica Sullivan ultimately never joining USC, this class underwhelmed as a whole, though the Trojans did come away with a big get in the form of New Zealand native Laticia-Leigh Transom.

Though not noted in the recruit class rankings back in 2018, Transom committed to USC in May of that year and joined the team for the spring semester in 2019. After missing two straight NCAA meets in 2020 and 2021, Transom scored 12 points a senior this past season.

Jemma Schlicht and Isabelle Odgers were both multi-time NCAA qualifiers, but never scored. Schlicht was seeded to score in 2020 (two points) before the meet was called off.

#7: TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Top-tier additions: #17 Gabrielle Kopenski (TX – distance/IM), Emma Carlton (WA – sprint fly/free), Kylie Powers (TX – breast), Caroline Theil (NE – breast/IM)
The rest: Amanda Armstrong (TX – sprint free), Amber Conrad (TX – sprint free), Claire Smith (TX – back)

  • NCAA finishes over 3* years: 13th, *25th*, 14th, 39th
  • Number of NCAA scorers in class: 0

This class didn’t pan out as well as it looked on paper, producing zero NCAA points.

Top-20-ranked Gabrielle Kopenski didn’t make the team’s SEC roster as a freshman and didn’t finish her sophomore season, while Kylie Powers was a multi-time NCAA qualifier but didn’t quite make the top 16. Emma Carlton qualified for the 2020 NCAAs before they were canceled and then transferred to Tennessee halfway through her junior year. Caroline Theil was close to scoring in 2021, placing 19th at NCAAs in the 400 IM.

#6: INDIANA HOOSIERS

Top-tier additions: Bailey Andison (Denver transfer – IM), Christin Rockway (FL – IM), Ileah Doctor (MI – sprint free), Mackenzie Looze (IN – IM/breast), Morgan Scott (PA – free)
The rest: Noelle Peplowski (IL – breast), Maggie Wallace (NJ – distance), Julia Wolf (IN – sprint free), Lauren Miller (IN – sprint free), Ashleigh Lechner (NC – fly), Savanna Spears (IN – sprint free) Kayla Luarde (IN – diving), Alyssa Wang (NC – diving)

This class comes with a few caveats, as Morgan Scott did end up to be an NCAA scorer but it wasn’t until after she transferred to Alabama. Bailey Andison wasn’t a freshman member of this class, transferring over from Denver, but did earn ‘A’ final appearances in the 200 and 400 IM at the 2019 NCAAs for the Hoosiers.

Mac Looze scored as a freshman and a senior, while Noelle Peplowski wasn’t even factored into the ‘top-tier’ additions coming in and ended up scoring 29 points in three seasons (plus she was seeded for 24 more in 2020).

#5: NC STATE WOLFPACK

Top-tier additions: #8 Emma Muzzy (VA – IM/back), HM Kylee Alons (sprint free/back), Sophie Hansson (Sweden – breast), Makayla Sargent (Florida transfer – IM/distance)
The rest: Shannon Kearney (IL – back), Felicity Buchmaier (MI – fly), Maddie Smith (NC – breast), Hailey Fisher (VA – diving), Michelle Smith (MN – diving), Sami Nickerson (WI – diving), Taylor Bennett (PA – diving)

The Wolfpack trio of Sophie HanssonKylee Alons and Emma Muzzy had incredible four-year careers, combining for 221.5 NCAA points. Hansson (104) and Alons (89.5) also ranked second in the class overall, so NC State really hit the nail on the head here.

The other top-tier member was Florida transfer Makayla Sargent, who scored seven points in the 400 IM in 2019 and was seeded in the top-16 in the 1650 free in 2020.

#4: TEXAS LONGHORNS

Top-tier additions: #3 Julia Cook (TX – sprint free/back), #14 Grace Ariola (IL – sprint free/back)
The rest: Holly Jansen (VA – breast), Kendall Shields (TX – back)

This class ended up churning out a lot of points, just maybe not from where we expected.

#3 Julia Cook scored 25 points over the three championship meets, including 20 as a junior, while #14 Grace Ariola got on the board as a freshman but her career was cut short due to medical issues.

It was diver Paola Pineda who emerged as the big point-getter in this class (even though she wasn’t noted in the original class rankings, scoring 42 points in 2021 and then adding 26 more this past season. Pineda also narrowly missed scoring as a freshman, placing 17th on platform in 2019.

#3: FLORIDA GATORS

Top-tier additions: #4 Vanessa Pearl (TX – IM/breast), #19 Leah Braswell (PA – distance), Mabel Zavaros (Canada – fly), Layla Black (Great Britain – breast)
The rest: Rosie Zavaros (Canada – back), Kirschtine Balbuena (FL – sprint free), Celi Guzman (FL – back), Ellie Hatton (Scotland – IM), Kalie Novosedliak (CA – free), Ellie Zweifel (MO – breast), Lauren Snider (FL – diving), Elizabeth Perez (Venezuela – diving)

Vanessa Pearl was a two-time SEC runner-up in the 400 IM and chipped in some points for the Gators in both of her NCAA appearances before announcing her medical retirement this past February.

Another top-20 recruit, Leah Braswell, never ended up scoring over the four-year period, though she was seeded for 20 in the 2020 psych sheets. Like many international swimmers, Mabel Zavaros only swam in two NCAA Championship meets over the four seasons, but delivered some ‘A’ final points as a senior after placing sixth in the 400 IM.

#2: GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Top-tier additions: #7 Eva Merrell (CA – back/fly/free), #9 Olivia Carter (NC – fly/IM), #12 Dakota Luther (TX – fly/free), #18 Madison Homovich (NC – distance), Sofia Carnevale (UNLV transfer – breast)
The rest: Callie Dickinson (VA – back), Portia Del Rio Brown (OH – IM), Tatum Smith (GA – free), Caroline Aikins (GA – back/IM), Ellie Crump (GA – diving), Kelliann Howell (GA – diving), Addison Kelly (GA – diving)

Georgia nabbing four of the top 18 recruits in the class didn’t end up paying off as much as it was projected to.

Eva Merrell never ended up representing the Bulldogs in competition, Olivia Carter transferred to Michigan and Madison Homovich didn’t end up scoring.

However, there were still some positives, led by Dakota Luther and her 46 NCAA points. Luther got better as her career went on, scoring nine as a freshman, 16 as a junior and 21 as a senior (also seeded to score 16 as a sophomore).

Carter was the SEC freshman of the year in 2019, scoring 17 NCAA points and winning the conference title in the 200 fly before moving on to Michigan where she had a phenomenal career that included an NCAA title in the 200 fly in 2021.

Unranked recruit Callie Dickinson was seeded to score in 2020, while UNLV transfer Sofia Carnevale put up one point for the ‘Dawgs in 2019.

#1: STANFORD CARDINAL

Top-tier additions: #1 Taylor Ruck (Canada – sprint free/back), #2 Zoe Bartel (CO – breast), #6 Morgan Tankersley (FL – free), #10 Lucie Nordmann (TX – back/free), #11 Amalie Fackenthal (CA – sprint free/fly), #20 Allie Raab (TN – breast)
The rest: HM Anya Goeders (IN – sprint free), Carolina Sculti (NY – diving), Daria Lenz (CA – diving)

Stanford’s #1 ranking was clearly warranted at the time as all nine of the athletes listed above ended up being meaningful contributors to the Cardinal and scored at NCAAs.

Despite only racing at NCAAs in 2019 and 2022, Taylor Ruck still finished as the highest scoring recruit ranked in the top-20 with 86 points, though two international swimmers and two unranked recruits scored more (all racing in three NCAAs to Ruck’s two).

Lucie Nordmann is in the same spot, scoring 37 points despite sitting out of the 2021 season, while Morgan Tankersley and Allie Raab put up 25, having standout senior and freshman performances, respectively.

Zoe Bartel and Amalie Fackenthal both scored as freshmen, and divers Carolina Sculti and Daria Lenz got on the board at multiple NCAA meets (Sculti only competing twice and scoring 20 points total).

Anya Goeders placed 12th in the 50 free as a freshman to score, and she was also seeded 17th in the event for the 2020 NCAAs and was a relay contributor throughout her career. She was also the Pac-12 champion this past season in the 50.

RE-RANKING THE CLASSES

Certainly, individual points don’t encapsulate everything a recruiting class brings to a program over four years. But they are the easiest way to rank the classes against each other four years later. Here’s a look at all the classes represented, ranked by individual points from all swimmers in this graduating class:

Two notes to factor in.

1: 2020 psych sheets points aren’t accounted for.

2: In the case of a transfer who was part of these recruiting class rankings (but not in this high school class), their points for that respective team are accounted for (example: Bailey Andison for Indiana), as are the points a swimmer in this high school class scored for a team they transferred to midway through their career (example: Morgan Scott for Alabama). Someone like Scott could come into play in this article in the future (in Alabama’s recruiting class ranking for the year of her transfer), but we felt this was the best way to display each team’s strength from this class, which is the purpose of this article. And given that transfers factor into the yearly recruit class rankings, those are included as well.

Rank Team Points Over 4 Years
1 Alabama 237
2 NC State 228.5
3 Stanford 221
4 Michigan 189.5
5 Texas 127
6 UNC 90.0
7 Kentucky 88.5
8 Virginia 79
9 Indiana 66
10 Georgia 64
11 Arkansas 36
12 Cal 32
13 Purdue 29
14 Northwestern 27
15 Ohio State 26
16 Florida 24
17 Louisville 19
18 FSU 14
19 USC 12
20 Missouri 11
20 FIU 11
22 Akron 9
23 Arizona 5
24 LSU 4
24 UCLA 4
26 Tennessee 3
26 Notre Dame 3
28 Auburn 2
28 Duke 2
30 Oakland 1
30 U.S. Navy 1

And our new top 12, purely in terms of individual NCAA points:

The far left column tracks each swimmer’s final rank within the class. The next column tracks their individual ranking in our top 20 recruits post. HM means “honorable mention.” NR means “unranked” and INTL means “international”, as we don’t rank international swimmers in our top 20 post. “DIVE” refers to divers, also not ranked in our top 20 lists.

#1 ALABAMA (+)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
T-4 NR Rhyan White Alabama 86 0 48 38 51
10 NR Kensey McMahon Alabama 60 12 20 28 17
11 NR Morgan Scott Indiana/Alabama 55 0 23 32 1
14 INTL Kalia Antoniou Alabama 36 no invite 27 9

#2 NC STATE (+3)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
2 INTL Sophie Hansson NC State 104 32 40 32 40
3 NR Kylee Alons NC State 89.5 15.5 44 30 20
20 8 Emma Muzzy NC State 28 0 12 16 21
Transfer Makayla Sargent NC State 7 7

#3 STANFORD (-2)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
T-4 1 Taylor Ruck Stanford 86 50 36
13 10 Lucie Nordmann Stanford 37 20 17 7
T-21 6 Morgan Tankersley Stanford 25 3 0 22 27
T-21 20 Allie Raab Stanford 25 21 3 1 5
T-25 DVE Carolina Sculti Stanford 20 8 12
T-33 DVE Daria Lenz Stanford 13 10 3
45 2 Zoe Bartel Stanford 6 6 0 1
T-46 HM Anya Goeders Stanford 5 5 0 0 0
T-49 11 Amalie Fackenthal Stanford 4 4 0 0

#4 MICHIGAN (+)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
1 INTL Maggie MacNeil Michigan 141 45 57 39 50
6 9 Olivia Carter Georgia/Michigan 48.5 at Georgia 33 25.5 12

#5 TEXAS (-1)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
8 DVE Paola Pineda Texas 68 42 26
15 5 Erica Sullivan USC/Texas 33 33
T-21 3 Julia Cook Texas 25 2 20 3 18
T-58 14 Grace Ariola Texas 1 1 no invite

#6 UNC (+)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
7 NR Grace Countie UNC 73 0 35 38 6
29 NR Sophie Lindner UNC 17 0 8 9 0

#7 KENTUCKY (+)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
17 NR Riley Gaines Kentucky 29.5 no invite 12 17.5 0
T-25 NR Sophie Sorenson Kentucky 20 0 16 4 4
T-25 NR Izzy Gati Kentucky 20 0 20 0 18
28 DVE Kyndal Knight Kentucky 19 4 6 9

#8 VIRGINIA (+3)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
9 NR Alexis Wenger Virginia 64 13 28 23 17
T-38 NR Kaki Christensen Virginia 11 11
T-46 NR Jessica Nava Virginia 5 0 2 3 0

#9 INDIANA (-3)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
T-18 NR Noelle Peplowski Indiana 29 13 15 1 24
T-33 Mac Looze Indiana 13 4 0 9 1
transfer Bailey Andison Indiana 24 24

#10 GEORGIA (-8)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
12 13 Dakota Luther Georgia 46 9 16 21 16
6 9 Olivia Carter Georgia/Michigan 17 17 with Michigan with Michigan 12
transfer Sophia Carnevale Georgia 1 1

#11 ARKANSAS (+)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
16 INTL Anna Hopkin Arkansas 31 31 49
T-46 NR Vanessa Hermann Arkansas 5 no invite 0 5 no invite

#12 CAL (-3)

Final Rank 2018 Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2019 NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
30 INTL Alicia Wilson Cal 16 0 16 0 16
T-31 INTL Ema Rajic Cal 14 11 3 0 1
T-54 17 Cassidy Bayer Cal/Tennessee 2 2 no invite

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Coachy
5 months ago

.
club coaches > college coaches

sam
5 months ago

so Dennis knew a talent which to recruit but needed other coaches to develop that talent

Zona
Reply to  sam
5 months ago

He wasn’t given a chance

klorn8d
5 months ago

sees like Iveys points should count for cal if you’re including people like morgan scott for bama

Taa
5 months ago

I’m not sure what to conclude except swimming is a tough sport

jlyr
5 months ago

Anya Goeders placed 12th in the 50free as a freshman

Ed Maas
5 months ago

Alabama swimmers, like the swimmers at many of these colleges, sure dropped a lot of time from HS, going from all unranked HS swimmers to this class scoring 237 individual NCAA points!

VA Steve
5 months ago

There has certainly been churn!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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