2020 Women's Swimming Recruiting

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Yeah, it's a way earlier, but the recruiting landscape has changed drastically in a shorter period of time, so we'll have to change as well! Here's a rough overview of some recruits that we may be targeting for this recruiting season. In 2020, we're losing Keaton Blovad, Alexa Buckley, Chenoa Devine, Aislinn Light, Maddie Murphy, Courtney Mykkanen, and Abbey Weitzeil.

- Backstroke (replace the loss of Keaton, Aislinn, Coco, and assuming we don't get Berkoff)
- Sprint Free (Abbey as well as Maddie)
- Sprint Fly (or just fly in general)

Ironically, we aren't low in breaststroke (Ema, Ali, Izzie) or distance (our 2019 distance quartet of Ashlyn, SD3, Rachel, and Anna should be good for duals), but instead, we are low in our typical specialties of sprint free, fly, and back.

Alright, so #2 Alex and #1 Regan have been discussed since the 2016 board, but it's finally their turn to be recruited!

Alex, of course, not only helps in breaststroke and backstroke, but also boasts a class-best time of 22.0/48.9/1:45.2 freestyle times, making her a 5-relay swimmer. Plus, she has an impressive 1:54.0 IM time, which would have placed 8th at the past NCAA's (the 200 IM heat was loaded this past NCAA's, by the way.) Not to mention, she would have placed 4th in both breaststrokes as a HS sophomore. Poses as a 100/200 breast and 200 IM scorer.

Meanwhile, Regan is not quite as versatile, but still has the best 100/200/500 free times in the class (48.8/1:44.4/4:41.6) as well as the best backstroke times I've ever seen coming out of high school (50.8/1:48.3), which would have placed 6th and 2nd at NCAA's. Poses as a 100 fly and 100/200 back scorer, though she could also swim the 500 free.

Not to be forgotten, of course (if we don't get Regan), is another Minnesotean, #3 Isabelle Stadden, who has been dropping time like crazy, and boasts times of 51.3 and 1:52.0 in the backstrokes. She doesn't quite have a third event, but based on her 100 IM time, she should be able to improve in the 200 IM.

For fly, VA native #4 Olivia Bray is the NAG record holder in the 100 fly, with 51.48/1:54.2 fly times, as well as a 52.0 100 back. Poses as a 100/200 fly and 100 back scorer, and brings some pretty good mid-distance free times as well to help combat the loss of Maddie. Out of Texas, #7 Emma Sticklen has a strong 200 fly time (1:54.88) as well as a great 100 fly time, and has already shown that she's a huge Dana Vollmer fan. We know where another Dana Vollmer fan decided to verbal (looking at you, Cass )

For sprint free, #8 Quinn Schaedler and #9 Maxine Parker stand out with 50 free times of 22.8 and 22.4, respectively, though Schaedler also boasts a near class best 100 free time of 48.84.

Other Recruits:
The 2020 class is loaded with studs, so here are a few more that I didn't mention:
- #5 Kaitlyn Dobler: breast (59.1/2:11.4) and sprint free (22.3/49.5), from Oregon (I think Keaton is also from Oregon?) Dropped 3 seconds in a year in the breaststroke, and that 50 free is one of the best in the class, and is better than many of the sprint specialists. Poses as 50 free and 100/200 breast swimmer at NCAA's.
- #6 Phoebe Bacon: backstroke (51.6/1:52.8), fly (52.9), also quite good at breaststroke (1:01) She's also from the same team as Cass, though not at the same site (NCAP has multiple sites across Maryland and Virginia - Cass is from VA, while Phoebe trains in MD)
- #12 Tristen Ulett: sprint fly (52.9/1:56.0), though her long course times are way better (1:00.2/2:13.6), also has a pretty good 200 free time (1:47.3). Comes from Dynamo in Georgia.
- #16 Grace Cooper: sprint free (22.3/49.6). A drop-dead sprinter (think Amalie Fackenthal, though her 100 free isn't quite at that level yet), trains in Illinois with Delta Aquatics.
- #20 Abby Harter: fly (53.5/1:56.0). From the same club as Cass, though I think she trains in a VA site (not quite sure which one). Has already been seen wearing some Cal gear, so I might be a bit biased, but she has great upside and has been improving steadily.

Some Locals:
- #19 Anicka Delgado: 100 free/back (49.4/53.4), has lots of potential in both. Goes to Santa Margarita, the same school Katie McL went to.
- HM Ella Ristic: 2017 World Junior Champs team member, with a great 200 free (1:45.6) Also from Irvine Novaquatics and Santa Margarita (Katie McL). Her other times aren't quite at the same level at her 200 free, but she still has two years left to improve them.
- Tea Laughlin (#33 Nat): Had a huge CIF champs, with new PBs in the 100 back (52.7) and 200 IM.

Note: The rankings given are their SS rankings in SS's "Way Too Early NCAA Recruit Ranks for 2020", which was posted on April 30, 2018. If they have no SS ranking, I'll use their CS ranking, even if their CS ranking is higher than those with SS rankings.
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The high school Class of 2020 is the best recruiting class we've seen since the historic 2015 crew, led by World Juniors champ Regan Smith.


  • Best women's class in years
  • Major controversy for #1
  • Very, very deep in butterfly
  • Distance swimmers crowded out
This is an unbelievable recruiting class. It's easily the best class we've ranked since the stellar 2015 crew that included Katie Ledecky, Abbey Weitzeil, Kathleen Baker, Katie McLaughlin, Amy Bilquist, Ella Eastin and Lilly King. And outside of Ledecky and Weitzeil, the times from the Class of 2020 are pretty much across the board faster as sophomores than that class's were as juniors.

The big question will be what to do at #1, where we've got two swimmers who would have been the consensus #1 in our last four recruiting classes. It's the age old question of what's more valuable: a 1:48.3 backstroker or a 2:06.4 breaststroker? How about a 50.8 backstroker or a 58.1 breaststroker? Or a 1:53.5 flyer or a 1:54.0 IMer?

The answer, of course, is "yes." There really isn't a wrong way to rank these two, and any team would be thrilled with either of them. It'll be interesting to see if our pick changes when we revisit these rankings down the road.

In terms of specifics, this class is loaded in every discipline. No kidding. Butterfly is particularly deep we had at least 7 flyers pushing for spots in our rankings, and the latter four of them are currently so close it's almost not worth trying to justify ranking one above another. Junior and senior years will go a long way in distinguishing that group from one another.

There are three elite backstrokers at the top but a fairly big dropoff after that. Outside of Walsh, there's a crowd of about six breaststrokers who could all be in the hunt for top 20 ranks. The class isn't super outstanding in the 100 and 200 frees, but has depth and should develop, as there's a good amount of 22-second speed in the splash and dash.

The two spots that get crowded out a little bit in this stacked class are distance swimmers and IMers, particularly 400 IMers. It's not so much that it's a weak class, but that the class is so loaded with stroke specialists that there isn't a lot of room for milers or developing IMers. Keep an eye on the IM field, though, where there are at least six swimmers not on our list between 4:11 and 4:15 who could develop into top-10 type swimmers.


50 Free | #2 Alex Walsh | 22.08
100 Free | #1 Regan Smith | 48.81
200 Free | #1 Regan Smith | 1:44.49
500 Free | #1 Regan Smith | 4:41.69
1000 Free** | #10 Chase Travis | 9:42.32
1650 Free | #10 Chase Travis | 16:06.01
100 Back | #1 Regan Smith | 50.84
200 Back | #1 Regan Smith | 1:48.30
100 Breast | #2 Alex Walsh | 58.19
200 Breast | #2 Alex Walsh | 2:06.45
100 Fly | #4 Olivia Bray | 51.48
200 Fly | #1 Regan Smith | 1:53.50
200 IM | #2 Alex Walsh | 1:54.02
400 IM | #11 Kathryn Ackerman | 4:10.20


1. Regan Smith Riptide - Lakeville North High School - Lakeville, MN
Best Times: 200 back 1:48.30, 100 back 50.84, 200 fly 1:53.50, 100 fly 51.63, 200 free 1:44.49, 100 free 48.81, 500 free 4:41.69, 200 IM 1:56.58, 400 IM 4:14.03
Those backstroke times are too insane to rank anywhere but #1. We've never seen a recruit near that level in their junior years, even dating back to Missy Franklin (who was part of the first recruiting class we ranked and was 52.3/1:51.0 at that time). Missy was of course a little more slanted to long course (58.8/2:05.1 after her junior year), but Smith is still faster than Missy was coming out of her sophomore year in long course: Smith is 58.9/2:07.1 while Franklin was 59.5/2:07.9. Long course detour aside, Smith is the best swimmer in this class in six events, including two of the relay-distance freestyles (100/200) and could realistically swim back or fly on an elite tier medley relay. 500 free and 200 IM times are just bonus, if a college program wants to split her events up instead of doing a 100 back/100 fly double at NCAAs.

2. Alex Walsh Nashville Aquatic Club - Harpeth Hall High School - Nashville, TN
Best Times: 100 breast 58.19, 200 breast 2:06.45, 200 IM 1:54.02, 50 free 22.08, 100 free 48.90, 200 free 1:45.24, 100 back 51.45, 200 back 1:51.42
We know: how in the world could these times not rank #1? It's a true 1A and 1B situation with this class at present. Walsh is the best breaststroker we've ever ranked, and has the fastest 200 IM in the history of our recruit rankings. All three times would have made NCAA A finals this past spring. Walsh also boasts the class's best 50 free, and could be our first 21-second sprint recruit since Abbey Weitzeil. Walsh isn't far behind Smith in the 100 or 200, and should be a 4-5-relay threat in the NCAA almost immediately.

3. Isabelle Stadden Aquajets Swim Team - Blaine High School - Blaine, MN
Best Times: 100 back 51.33, 200 back 1:52.04, 200 IM 1:59.56, 50 free 22.96, 100 fly 54.39
The second Minnesotan in our top 3, Stadden has been surging over the past year or so. Since November, she's dropped her 100 back from 54.8 to 51.3 and her 200 from 1:58.7 to 1:52.0. She doesn't have a stellar third event yet, but keeps dropping in everything seemingly every time she swims she dropped time at Minnesota's high school state meet in November, then added another round of lifetime-bests at Winter Juniors in December, and blew out even those times at NCSAs in March. Stadden is going to need massive drops to rise any higher in this class (she can Minnesota nice-ly thank her state-mate Smith for that), but is tremendous value at #3. She comes from the same club that produced Rachel Bootsma.

4. Olivia Bray Virginia Gators - Lord Botetourt School - Roanoke, VA
Best Times: 100 fly 51.48, 200 fly 1:54.21, 100 back 52.02, 200 back 1:55.74, 200 free 1:46.37
Currently the best sprint flyer in the class, Bray is also an impact backstroker for any team that doesn't get one of the top two prospects. Her 100 fly would have made the NCAA's A final last year. The downside with Bray is that her fly and back went pretty far backwards this spring, with her bests coming from March of 2017. There's still plenty of time to turn that around over the next two years, but it is a red flag. On the other hand, Bray went lifetime-bests in her 50 (23.0) and 100 (51.1) frees this spring, so maybe she's developing into a more rounded relay threat. Her 200 free (1:46.3) feels significantly better than those two, so there should be time to drop in the sprints.

5. Kaitlyn Dobler The Dolphins Portland Swimming - Aloha High School - Aloha, OR
Best Times: 100 breast 59.17, 200 breast 2:11.49, 50 free 22.35, 100 free 49.50
The theme for this second tier of recruits should be that they would be first-tier recruits in any other class, but are displaced by a generational-type talent in their best event. Dobler is a fast-rising 59.1 breaststroker with lots of upside. She was 1:01.1 a little over a year ago and pushed into the 1:00-mids at the end of 2017. Since then, she's broken a minute four times, including that 59.1 from February. That came in high school competition, so Dobler hasn't really had a chance yet to let her 200 catch up to that speed. Her sprint freesytles are also high-caliber and have dropped significantly (23.3 to 22.3, 51.4 to 49.5) in the past year.

6. Phoebe Bacon Nation's Capital Swim Club - Stone Ridge School - Herndon, VA
Best Times: 100 back 51.60, 200 back 1:52.84, 100 fly 52.91, 200 IM 1:59.89
Say hello to another rapidly-improving backstroke talent who has already surged into NCAA scoring territory. Bacon is sizzling (sorry, had to) in 2018, already hitting all four of the lifetime-bests listed between February and March. She's also a 1:01 breaststroker, which makes her IM really intriguing as a prospect, probably better than 1:59.8 suggests. Bacon is also a very good long course swimmer, almost sub-minute in the 100 back.

7. Emma Sticklen Katy Aquatic Team for Youth -Taylor High School - Katy, TX
Best Times: 200 fly 1:54.88, 100 fly 52.38, 100 back 53.36, 50 free 23.06, 100 free 50.03
Sticklen is already around NCAA scoring time in the 200 fly with a very solid 100 to boot. She's on a great improvement curve, especially in the 200, where she went from 2:01 to 1:57.8 between 2016 and 2017 and has already cut to 1:54.8 in early 2018. She's also going to look a lot more imposing from a relay standpoint when her 50 and 100 times crack 23 and 50, respectively, which shouldn't be a huge stretch in the near future.

8. Quinn Schaedler Austin Swim Club - Austin, TX
Best Times: 200 free 1:46.02, 100 free 48.84, 50 free 22.89
An awesome relay pickup, and the only one inside our top 10 who projects as a pure mid-sprint freestyle type. Very good time progression: her 200 was 1:50.8 until late 2017 when she went 1:47.7. And the 1:46.0 came just two months go. The 100 is even more impressive her lifetime-best was 51.5 last October before a whole slew of time drops. This one is a high-ceiling pick. Schaedler is currently a very good relay piece, but if she drops solid amounts over the next two years, she could be a major difference-maker in all five relays for the right program.

9. Maxine Parker Cats Aquatic Team- Bannockburn, IL
Best Times: 50 free 22.46, 100 free 49.24, 200 free 1:48.07
Another high-ceiling relay threat, Parker has a lot of avenues to contribute in the NCAA. Good improvement, especially in the 50, where she's only two tenths from 2018 NCAA scoring level.

10. Chase Travis Nation's Capital Swim Club - Newark, DE
Best Times: 1650 free 16:06.01, 1000 free 9:42.32, 500 free 4:44.34, 200 free 1:49.43
Travis is the best miler in the class by a good margin and looks to have just enough speed to project as a developmental option down to the 200. She had lifetime-bests in the 500 and 1000 in late 2017 and has only swum the mile twice in the past year. Time tends to drop off in big chunks in the mile, so Travis could be into NCAA scoring range (or even below 16) in a hurry if she continues to progress.

11. Kathryn Ackerman Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics - Grand Haven High School - Grand Haven, MI
Best Times: 400 IM 4:10.20, 200 IM 1:57.92, 100 fly 54.76, 100 back 54.71, 200 back 1:56.36
It seems like the IMers in this class could use a little more development, and are good candidates to rise when we look back on these rankings next year. Ackerman dropped from 4:15 down to 4:10 in the 400 IM over the last year and has the top time in the class. Her third event is still fairly open. Good long course swimmer (2:17/4:49 in the IMs).

12. Tristen Ulett Dynamo Swim Club - Brookhaven, GA
Best Times: 200 fly 1:56.07, 100 fly 52.94, 200 IM 1:58.50, 100 free 49.75, 200 free 1:47.38
Maybe a better long course swimmer (1:00.2/2:13.6 fly) than she is in short course. Ulett has a great 200 fly that's near NCAA scoring, plus good 100 speed and 100/200 free talent for relays. Two things hurt her value: Ulett hasn't had a great sophomore year in her main events (though she did improve her 200 pretty significantly) and there are so many great butterflyers in this class, they all drag down each others' value.

13. Gabi Albiero Cardinal Aquatics - Christian Academy Louisville, KY
Best Times: 100 fly 52.59, 200 fly 1:57.72, 50 free 22.64, 100 free 49.91, 200 free 1:48.92
A good sprint butterflyer who is improving well (54.3 to 52.5 in butterfly in December) and seems to be just figuring out the 200 after dropping from 2:01 to 1:57 last month. Her brother was an NCAA standout as a freshman. Solid times for eventual free relay consideration.

14. Paige Hetrick Unattached - Bradford, PA
Best Times: 200 free 1:46.48, 100 free 49.17, 50 free 22.80, 500 free 4:47.68, 100 back 53.99, 100 fly 54.76
These relay-distance free types can be hard to rank. On the one hand, Hetrick is a ways out of individual scoring range in all her events. But some marginal drops across the board and she's a potential three-relay-or-more factor. Her improvements haven't been mind-blowing but very solid over the past year. With her freestyle range and talent in fly and back, she's got upside to be a relay monster. Let's keep an eye on how she develops over the next two years.

15. Abby Arens Marlins of Raleigh - Saint Mary's College Prep School - Raleigh, NC
Best Times: 100 breast 1:00.00, 200 breast 2:10.04, 200 IM 1:59.93, 400 IM 4:15.90
This is a deep class of breaststrokers between 1:00-1:01 and 2:11-2:12, and Arens has risen to the front of that group with solid drops at NCSAs in March. It also doesn't hurt that she's had awesome IM drops in the past year (2:02 to 1:59 in the 200, 4:21 to 4:15 in the 400) to close in on the equally deep IM class.

16. Grace Cooper Delta Aquatics - Oswego East High School - Oswego, IL
Best Times: 50 free 22.37, 100 free 49.60, 200 free 1:50.13, 100 fly 54.44
Put Cooper in roughly the same boat as Hetrick a couple steps away from leapfrogging "great" and going from a good recruit to a gamechanger. Her 50 free isn't far off of NCAA scoring level and dropped more than half a second between last March and last December. She doesn't have a ton of range or a great third event yet, but there's still plenty of time for that to change. A high-ceiling relay pickup for the right program.

17. Anna Keating Machine Aquatics - James Madison School - Vienna, VA
Best Times: 200 breast 2:09.63, 100 breast 1:00.58, 200 IM 2:01.72
Very good breaststroker only a half-second off of 2018 NCAA scoring level in the 200 without much of a tertiary event. She's got a huge improvement arc though, dropping from 2:13 to 2:09 and 1:01.8 to 1:00.5 over the last year, culminating in both lifetime-bests at NCSAs in March.

18. Lillie Nordmann Magnolia Aquatic Club - The Woodlands High School - The Woodlands, TX
Best Times: 200 fly 1:56.28, 100 fly 52.81, 200 free 1:47.58, 200 IM 1:59.58
Did we say yet that this class is thick with flyers? Nordmann is another fast riser (1:58.3 to 1:56.2 in the 200 in December) who might be in line for more, based on two stellar swims at the Atlanta Pro Swim Series in March (long course 59.6/2:12.6 in butterfly).

19. Anicka Delgado Gators Swim Club - Santa Margarita Catholic High School - Laguna Hills, CA
Best Times: 100 free 49.43, 100 fly 53.49, 50 free 22.90, 200 free 1:48.26
It's hard to say if Delgado projects better as a freestyler or a flyer at this point. She's had good improvements in both recently, and her relay value gives her an avenue to move up quickly on this list if the improvements continue.

20. Abby Harter Nation's Capital Club - Briar Woods High School - Ashburn, VA
Best Times: 200 fly 1:56.04, 100 fly 53.51, 200 IM 2:00.26, 400 IM 4:14.88
Good butterfly improvements have put her in the thick of the class there just needs a blowout swim to separate herself from the field. IMs went backwards a little as a sophomore, but she's not far from being one of the better in the class there too.

We're throwing in one more short list a handful of swimmers who piqued our interest. They didn't yet have the full complement of times to make our top 20, but seemed to have enough intrigue that we've earmarked them as names to keep an eye on over the next year, where they could develop into top threats for one reason or another.
  • Ella Ristic (Irvine Novaquatics / Santa Margarita Catholic High School / Laguna Niguel, CA) her 200 free (1:45.76) feels a lot better than any of her times in adjacent events (23.2/49.7//4:48.2), so it's worth keeping an eye on whether she can bring any other events to that level. That 200 free also took place last May in California's high school season when she was a freshman, so she could still improve her sophomore year standing with a drop next month.
  • Jasmine Rumley (Ankeny Family YMCA / Ankeny Senior High School / Ankeny, IA) Rumley has one of the class's best 50 frees (22.29) but hasn't shown range to back it up (50.3 free, 56.1 fly). Why? Because she's such a good athlete that as of last summer, she was still splitting her time between three sports. Rumley is a track and softball star, though a Des Moines Register story last fall seemed to imply swimming was her true passion. 22.2 is bordering on elite speed, so if a full-time focus on swimming in college could extend that speed, Rumley has some serious upside. She's gone backwards as a sophomore, but was also coming off of stress fractures in both shins. At the very least, she's a prospect to keep an eye on.
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I almost vomited at Regan's latest IG pic with Daniel Roy. #stanfurdsucks!
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After the next swimming year we will be losing 2 of our divers including our top diver Phoebe LaMay. Anyone knows of any divers we might be going after or who are the elite divers that are still available?
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bearz012 said:

- HM Ella Ristic: 2017 World Junior Champs team member, with a great 200 free (1:45.6) Also from Irvine Novaquatics and Santa Margarita (Katie McL). Her other times aren't quite at the same level at her 200 free, but she still has two years left to improve them.
Don't think Ella (SS HM, CA #1. CS #20 Nat) is destined for Cal; think she may be interested in a program that would provide a package deal for her and her sister, Mia (#45 CA, CS #453 Nat).

Programs she's looking into include Duke, UMich, Cal, Alabama, Arizona, Penn State, Ohio State, Auburn, UofL amongst others.
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Nice article on two of Minnesota's finest.
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Sweet to spot 2019 Baby Bear Izzy next to 2020 #3 recruit Isabelle Stadden @ 2018 Jr. Pan Pacs training camp, whilst kicking with her friend & 2020 #2 Alex Walsh on the other side

Hmmm, may have to watch out tho for 2018 sapling Allie Raab who no doubt's trying to work on the Walsh siblings here would be a blinking shame if Alex & Gretchen ended up being put out to pasture on the Farm (unlikely scenario in my biased opinion lol):


Iz next to Alex again @ the airport:




Several women's recruiting threads from previous cycles, for historical reference...tons of lively discussion on the top prospects from this killer 2020 class, esp towards the tail end of the 2019 thread!

UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:

Women's Swim Recruits (2015)

Women's Swim Recruiting: Class of 2016

Women's Swim Recruiting: Class of 2017

2018 Women's Swimming Recruiting

2019 Women's Swimming Recruiting

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Spotted Emma Sticklen at A&M with other 2019 commits (via IG story)...
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bearz012 said:

Spotted Emma Sticklen at A&M with other 2019 commits (via IG story)...

L-R: Kaloyan Bratanov (2018 A&M), Emma Sticklen (2020 recruit), William Coakley (2019 recruit)

Wouldn't be too surprised to see her commit there early, especially since I think she's been brainwashed at a young age:

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