How did our top 20 rookies fare in first year?
We’ve already taken a deep dive into our recruiting archives, looking at how the top 20 recruits in the high school class of 2018 fared after four NCAA seasons. Now it’s time to look back at a more recent rookie rankings: current year freshmen:
Naturally, this analysis has a much smaller sample size than the look back at how the Class of 2018 fared throughout their careers, so it’s much harder to read too much into these numbers. Still, it’s worth looking at which NCAA freshman swimmers have had the best performance relative to their recruiting ranks.
As always, our notes on this data:
- Data included is for individual NCAA scores only. This is not an exact measure of an athlete’s contribution to a program: many of these swimmers (and others not listed) have been NCAA relay scorers, scored significant points in conference and provided excellent leadership and developed the culture of their programs. This data is not a perfect analysis of the best recruits – it is just a quick snapshot of the data we can compile.
- A college swimming career includes four years of eligibility, and sometimes longer. Revisiting the scoring after a year is an incomplete analysis of a swimmer’s career – it’s not the final word on any of these prospects, and we’ll be revisiting this data over the next three seasons for a fuller assessment. .
The rankings listed below are from our re-ranking from last summer – they are not the current NCAA athlete rankings. We also do not classify international athletes as rookies, as it is difficult to predict if and when they will come to the United States, and in which class to include them.
TOP 20 RECRUITS
|Rank||name||College team||Total NCAA points||NCAA Points 2022|
|1||Aiden Hayes||NC status||15||15|
|7||Arsene Bustos||NC status||0||no invitation|
|9||David Curtis||NC status||2||2|
|11||Luke Barr||Indiana||0||no invitation|
|12||Sam Hoover||NC status||0||0|
|13||Matthew Fenlon||Stanford||0||no invitation|
|14||Henry Bethel||Auburn||0||no invitation|
|16||Ziyad Saleem||cal||0||no invitation|
|17||Brady Samuel||Purdue||0||0 (relay only)|
|18||Trent Franson||cal||0||no invitation|
|SM||Max Iida||Virginia||0||no invitation|
|SM||Connor Hunt||Michigan||0||no invitation|
|SM||Tyler Lu||North West||0||no invitation|
|SM||Hayden Zheng||Stanford||0||no invitation|
|SM||Garrett Boone||NC status||0||no invitation|
|SM||Tyler Hulet||Texas A&M||0||no invitation|
|SM||Alex McMahon||Arizona||0||no invitation|
|SM||Mateo Miceli||Alabama||0||no invitation|
*Matheson entered the transfer portal.
- The top freshman scorer in this class ranked fifth matt fallon, who followed that up with a second fall of more than 2 times in her best event, the 200 breaststroke, to place third in her first NCAA. Fallon also came up on the board in the 100 breaststroke to score 22.5 points for Penn.
- The highest ranked rookie arrives Aiden Hayes had a very impressive opening campaign with NC State, finishing seventh in the 100 butterfly and 14th in the 200 butterfly at the NCAA. It shows how difficult it is for a freshman to score in the men’s NCAA considering Hayes was ranked No. 1 on the finish, wasted time and still had just 15 points. He ended up breaking the NAG 17-18 in both flight events during the playoffs, setting the 200 mark at the ACC where he took third place.
- The top-20 ranked swimmer who truly exceeded expectations as a rookie was Luke Hobson, who lost eight seconds on the season in the 500 freestyle to rank third in the NCAA and lower the NAG record to 17-18. Hobson also lowered the NAG record in the 1000 freestyle during the season and also scored in the 200 and 1650 freestyles at the Nationals. Additionally, he shared 1:30.84 as Texas won the 800 freestyle relay and set a new NCAA, US Open and US record.
- NCAA point totals don’t do the performances some of those freshmen did justice, especially in the relays. Jack Alexis was a critical no-sprint relay asset for Cal, Anthony Grimm was 20.6 leading the second Texas 200 medley relay, and David Curtis was 18.74 to win the 50 free individually at the ACC (the fourth fastest time ever by a freshman).
- #2 Josh Matheny underperformed individually at the NCAA, scoring zero points, but had a big swim in the 400m medley relay (50.93 split chest) as Indiana placed second to Cal. In the Big Tens, he set personal bests en route to placing second in the 200 breaststroke and third in the 100 breaststroke.
- Arsene Bustos was the only top-10 ranked swimmer who failed to earn an NCAA invite. The versatile Bustos had his best ACC performance at the 200 IM, where he finished sixth.
- Top 20 Ziyad Saleem and Trent Franson from Cal were both cut from the team’s Pac-12 scoring list, even though both were at or near their best times. The same goes for NC State Garrett Boonewho did not race at the ACC championships.
- Overall, this class performed better than the numbers indicate. Although none of the honorable mentions earned an NCAA Invitational, the majority saw improvements over the season and scored some conference championship points. from arizona Alex McMahon was the only member on the roster who didn’t complete the entire season, swimming his last meet for the Wildcats in early November.
And of course, we’ll include everyone’s favorite part: which unranked rookies have earned NCAA invites and scored points this season — both domestic newcomers and international players.
|Rank||name||College team||Total NCAA Points||NCAA Points 2022|
- Gabriel Jet was on fire for Cal at the start of the season, posting fast times in the 200 and 500 freestyles. And despite missing the top 16 in both NCAA events, Jett qualified on the final day by clocking 1:40 twice in the 200 butterfly to finish sixth overall.
- Chris O’Grady lost nearly eight seconds in the 200 breaststroke during the season for USC, going from 1:59.5 to 1:51.6 and finishing fifth in the Pac-12. He then won a second NCAA race.
- from Virginia Connor Boyle was in the The best of the rest section in the reclassification and had an impressive season despite not scoring individually, highlighted by his contribution to the UVA American record 200 freestyle relay.
|name||College team||Total NCAA Points||NCAA Points 2022|
|Leon Marchand||Arizona State||57||57|
|Gal Cohen Groumi||Michigan||15||15|
|Mert Kilavuz||Georgia Technology||6||6|
|Alex Quach||ohio state||6||6|
- Leon Marchand came even better than expected for Arizona State, breaking Caeleb Dressel’s US Open record en route to winning the 200 IM, upsetting defending champion Max McHugh in the 200 breaststroke and adding a second-place finish in the 400 IM. This gave the Frenchman 57 individual points, the highest of any swimmer in the competition. He was also amazing on the relays, including a sizzling 18.41 split in the 200m freestyle.
- Matt SatesHis career in Georgia only lasted half a semester, as he arrived at the end of January and recently announced that he was returning to South Africa to turn professional. Nonetheless, his time in Athens was short and sweet as the South African won the NCAA title in the 500 freestyle, placed third in the 200 freestyle and swam a critical first leg as the Bulldogs finished second in the relay. 800 free.
- The biggest surprise among the first years this season was Tennessee jordan crooks, as the Cayman Islands native became the fastest rookie ever in the 50 free clocking 18.53, winning the SEC title. Crooks followed by tying for third place in the NCAA in the event, and added a fifth in the 100 freestyle for 29.5 points.
- Native Israelis Gal Cohen Groumi (Michigan) and Ron Polonsky (Stanford) both had great seasons, each scoring in two NCAA singles events. Polonsky showcased his versatility, splitting the under-51 in breaststroke on Stanford’s 400 IM relay despite racing the 400 IM on the 100 breaststroke individually.
|name||College team||Total NCAA Points||NCAA Points 2022|
|Shang Fei Wang||USC||6||6|
- It was no surprise to see the American Olympian Tyler Downs lead the freshman diving class this season, as the Purdue Boilermaker won the platform event, placed fifth in the 3 meter and topped the 1 meter consolation final for 43 points overall.
- His teammate Jordan Rzepka added 19 points for Purdue, while Indiana Quentin Henninger was right behind with 16.
- Given that we’ve historically seen divers score more in the latter half of their careers, having eight freshman scores in 2022 indicates this will be a strong class across the board.