Swimming

Revisiting NCAA Recruit Rankings: Women’s High School Class of 2019

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By James Sutherland on SwimSwam

Each summer, college swimming fans look forward to recruiting – the lifeblood of any NCAA swim program. Since 2012, we’ve been ranking down the top NCAA prospects in the nation from each recruiting class. But sports are inherently unpredictable, and even the most sure-fire prospect can go awry or completely change their role over four years.

As we do each year, we’ll look back at the high school class of 2018, which just finished four years of college eligibility this spring.

First, a few notes:

  • Most of the data we’re tracking here deals with NCAA scoring. Obviously, some swimmers are great assets for their teams in dual meets and conference competition without ever being national factors. While we don’t discount the impact of those types of swimmers, the difference in competition between various teams’ dual meet schedules and conference meets makes NCAA scoring the best “apples to apples” comparisons between swimmers.
  • Relays are another point of contention, as a swimmer in a strong program has more opportunity for NCAA relays, though they also have more competition for those relay spots. We’ve left relay results out of the data below, except where specifically indicated. That, too, gives us a more fair comparison between athletes.
  • We don’t rank diving recruits, but we have started to track individual diving scoring, which is helpful in determining how much of an impact a diver is likely to have on NCAA finish.
  • We did our best to scour NCAA results over the past four-plus years, but it’s certainly possible we made a mistake in compiling our data. If you spot an error, please respectfully let us know in the comment section so we can update our work!

2023 Note: Due to swimmers being granted an extra year of eligibility after the 2020 NCAA cancelation, some of these athletes may still have years of scoring still to come.

We only include domestic recruits in our recruit rankings, as it’s often harder to predict if and when an international recruit will join the NCAA, and which class they should be ranked with. However, we’ve gone back through and tallied up all individual scorers that roughly fit into this class – international and domestic.

REVISITING OUR TOP 20

Check out this post for our analysis of the top 20 recruits in the high school class of 2019. This class was just the second in which we did a re-rank for the swimmers when they were high school seniors (previously the final rankings were done during their junior years only). Since the re-rank gives us the best gauge of where the athletes were coming into the NCAA, and therefore we get a better idea of who improved the most during their time in college, we’re using the re-ranked top-20 rather than the original rankings from their junior seasons.

Here’s a look at our top 10 recruits, plus how many individual points they scored at NCAAs in each of their four years:

Note: we’ve made an effort to put a dash (–) in a season in which an athlete didn’t compete (or was cut short due to injury) rather than “no invite”. If you see an error please let us know in the comments.

Rank Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points 2023 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
1 Kate Douglass Virginia 174 54 60 60 51
2 Zoie Hartman Georgia 73.5 41 20.5 12 45
3 Katharine Berkoff NC State 137 44 48 45 16
4 Emily Weiss Indiana 0 0 18
5 Coleen Gillilan Notre Dame 8 8 no invite 0
6 Ella Nelson Virginia 138 48 42 48 33
7 Kaitlynn Sims Michigan 14 14 0 no invite 17
8 Caitlin Brooks Kentucky 10 6 2 2 15
9 Ayla Spitz Cal 24 20 4 0
10 Kelly Pash Texas 115.5 42.5 44 29 4
11 Zephy Koh Princeton 0 redshirt no invite
12 Alexandra Crisera Stanford 0 0 0 0 6
13 Hannah Bach Ohio State 40 14 13 13 13
14 Madelyn Donohoe Virginia 36 8 15 13
15 Cora Dupre Indiana/Alabama 41 12 29 17
16 Lexi Cuomo Virginia 31 11 5 15 7
17 Ashley Turak Indiana 7 0 0 7
18 Lindsay Looney Arizona State 26 redshirt 7 19
19 Ellie VanNote UNC 6 0 1 5
20 Mary Smutny Texas 0 no invite no invite no invite no invite
HM Caroline Bentz Virginia Tech 3 defer 0 0 3 no invite
HM Talia Bates Florida 30 24 6 0 no invite
HM Chloe Clark Cal 0 no invite no invite no invite
HM Caroline Cooper UNC 0 no invite no invite no invite no invite

The Hits:

  • Kate Douglass was nearly flawless in her three NCAA appearances, scoring 174 out of the maximum 180 individual points. Douglass had two runner-up finishes in 2021, but was unstoppable beyond that. She won the 50 free as a sophomore, swept the 50 free, 100 fly and 200 breast as a junior, and then defended her 100 fly and 200 breast titles as a senior, adding the 200 IM national title to her resume. She ended her collegiate career holding ownership of individual NCAA, U.S. Open and American Records in the 200 breast, 100 fly and 200 IM, and was a driving force behind Virginia winning three straight titles.
  • Douglass’ Cavalier teammate Ella Nelson was another strong performer throughout her career, scoring 40+ points in all three NCAA appearances. Nelson was an ‘A’ finalist in all nine of her individual events over three seasons, including three runner-up finishes.
  • Finishing one spot back of Nelson’s cumulative point total was NC State’s Katharine Berkoff, who scored 137 in three seasons, highlighted by her national title victory and (now former) U.S. Open Record in the 100 backstroke in 2022.
  • Texas’ Kelly Pash also eclipsed 100 points in three seasons, scoring 115.5 with seven ‘A’ final appearances.
  • Zoie Hartman, the #2 ranked recruit in the class, might not have put up the same numbers as Douglass, Nelson, or Berkoff, but still had a strong career at UGA with 73.5 points. Hartman won six individual SEC titles during in four seasons with the Bulldogs and earned four ‘A’ final appearances at NCAAs.
  • Hannah Bach (OSU) and Madelyn Donohoe (UVA) were consistent scorers throughout their career, while another Cavalier, Lexi Cuomo, really came into her own as her career progressed, though that’s not entirely reflected in her individual point total as she was a star for UVA on the relays, especially this past season. Cora Dupre scored 41 points over two NCAA appearances but opted out of this year’s championships to focus on her health.

The Misses:

  • Indiana’s Emily Weiss, ranked #4, isn’t necessarily a ‘miss’, she just ended her career early, medically retiring during the 2021-22 season. Weiss was seeded to score in 2020, and was close in 2021, placing 22nd in the 100 breast and 24th in the 200 breast in her lone NCAA appearance.
  • Colleen Gillilan swam well for Notre Dame as a sophomore, scoring in both fly events at the 2021 NCAAs, but didn’t qualify in 2022 and her highest finish this year was 26th (100 fly). She was also seeded 28th or better in three events in 2020.
  • Stanford’s Alexandra Crisera and Texas’ Mary Smutny are two swimmers that never quite lived up their recruit rankings, failing to score any individual NCAA points.

OTHER IMPACTFUL RECRUITS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2019

Of course, not every contributor comes from our top 20 list. Some swimmers develop extremely well in college. Some swimmers slip under our radar, or don’t prove to be late bloomers once they hit the NCAA.

We dug through NCAA results to find the best American swimmers from this class to not appear on our top 20 list. Again, it’s not always easy to account for redshirt years, gap years or mistakes in an athlete’s listed class each season. So if we forgot anyone, please let us know in the comments.

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points 2023 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
Abby Hay Louisville 65 15 20 30
Lauren Poole Kentucky 56 22 23 11
Kristen Stege ECU/Tennessee 50 24 11 15
Gillian Davey Kentucky 29 9 15 5 4
Rachel Klinker Cal 29 10 13 6 9
Amy Fulmer Ohio State 29 0 6 23
Christiana Regenauer Louisville 27.5 0 0 27.5
Tylor Mathieu Florida 19 6 11 2
Heather MacCausland NC State 15 no invite 0 15
Josie Panitz Ohio State 12 no invite 0 12
Emma Wheal Stanford 11 11 0 relay-only
Anna Kalandadze Cal/Penn 7 0 7
Felicia Pasadyn Harvard/Ohio State 6 2 4 2
AJ Kutsch Tennessee/Auburn 5 5
Beth McNeese Kentucky 4 4 no invite 0
Kathleen Golding Florida 4 4 0 0
Meredith Rees Missouri 4 3 1 0 1
Mia Motekaitis UC Davis/Cal 4 no invite 0 4
Emma Shuppert Duke 2 2 no invite 0
Katie Mack Florida 1.5 1.5 relay-only 0
Kaitlynn Wheeler Kentucky 1 1 relay-only 0
Averee Preble Auburn 1 0 0 1
Ellie Marquardt Princeton 0 no invite no invite 12

Standouts:

  • Louisville’s Abby Hay built year-over-year during her career—after being seeded to earn an invite (but not inside scoring position) in 2020, she put up 15 points as a sophomore, 20 as a junior, and then had a very impressive 30-point performance this past season. That included two ‘A’ final appearances in the 200 IM and 200 fly.
  • Kentucky’s Lauren Poole and Tennessee’s Kristen Stege (by way of ECU) also scored double-digit points in all three years and came out with more than 50 total points. Stege notably had a career-best swim in the 500 free at this year’s SECs, taking second behind sister Rachel, but wasn’t able to recreate that at NCAAs and finished 18th. Her SEC time was faster than what it ultimately took to win the NCAA title, so she easily could’ve scored 30+ points this past season.
  • Gillian Davey and Rachel Klinker scored in all three years to come out with 29 total points, while Amy Fulmer got to the same number with the vast majority (23) coming this past season.
  • Louisville’s Christiana Regenauer scored for the first time in her senior season, piling up 27.5 points which included a pair of seventh-place finishes in the 50 and 100 free. The same went for Heather MacCausland, who was a key relay player for NC State in the past but stepped things up individually this season.

INTERNATIONAL

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2020 NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points 2023 NCAA Points
2020 NCAA Psych Sheet Points
Hannah Brunzell Northwestern 16 16 0 relay-only 3
Mariella Venter Michigan 5 5 no invite no invite
Weronika Gorecka Akron 4 no invite 0 4

This year’s class wasn’t as deep internationally as we’ve seen in previous years. Per our research, Akron’s Weronika Gorecka was the only one to score individually this past season, while Northwestern’s Hannah Brunzell led the way with 16 points, all coming in her sophomore campaign.

DIVING

Name College Team Total NCAA Points 2021 NCAA Points 2022 NCAA Points
2023 NCAA Points
Mia Vallee Miami (FL) 82.5 18 34.5 30
Jordan Skilken Texas 43 7 23 13
Nike Agunbiade USC 43 12 13 18
Maycey Vieta Purdue 28 16 12
Joy Zhu Minnesota 23 23
Janie Boyle Texas 20 5 15 0
Melissa Mirafuentes Wyoming 13 4 4 5
Markie Hopkins Northwestern 5 5
Mackenzie Crawford Ohio State 4 4
Anne Tuxen LSU 1 1
Aliyah Watson Duke 1 1

Standouts

  • Mia Vallee was a consistent high-end scorer for Miami (FL), including winning the 1-meter national title as a junior. This season, her 30 points helped propel the Hurricanes to a 22nd-place finish.
  • Jordan Skilken contributed a combined 36 points over the last two seasons to help the Texas Longhorns to consecutive runner-up finishes at NCAAs.
  • USC’s Nike Agunbiade performed well for the Trojans in all three seasons, building from 12 points as a sophomore up to 18 this season.
  • After missing the points in 2021 and 2022, Minnesota’s Joy Zhu made ‘A’ finals in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events in her senior year, scoring 23 points for the Golden Gophers.

ALL INDIVIDUAL SCORERS IN THE CLASS

(Ranked recruits are listed with their 2018 rank. International recruits are listed with “INTL” and unranked recruits with “NR.” Diving recruits are listed with “DIVE”)

FINAL RANK 2018 RANK NAME COLLEGE TEAM TOTAL NCAA POINTS 2020 NCAA POINTS 2021 NCAA POINTS 2022 NCAA POINTS 2023 NCAA POINTS
2020 NCAA PSYCH SHEET POINTS
1 1 Kate Douglass Virginia 174 54 60 60 51
2 6 Ella Nelson Virginia 138 48 42 48 33
3 3 Katharine Berkoff NC State 137 44 48 45 16
4 10 Kelly Pash Texas 115.5 42.5 44 29 4
5 DIVE Mia Vallee Miami (FL) 82.5 18 34.5 30
6 2 Zoie Hartman Georgia 73.5 41 20.5 12 45
7 NR Abby Hay Louisville 65 15 20 30
8 NR Lauren Poole Kentucky 56 22 23 11
9 NR Kristen Stege ECU/Tennessee 50 24 11 15
10 DIVE Jordan Skilken Texas 43 7 23 13
10 DIVE Nike Agunbiade USC 43 12 13 18
12 15 Cora Dupre Indiana/Alabama 41 12 29 17
13 13 Hannah Bach Ohio State 40 14 13 13 13
14 14 Madelyn Donohoe Virginia 36 8 15 13
15 16 Lexi Cuomo Virginia 31 11 5 15 7
16 HM Talia Bates Florida 30 24 6 0 no invite
17 NR Gillian Davey Kentucky 29 9 15 5 4
17 NR Rachel Klinker Cal 29 10 13 6 9
17 NR Amy Fulmer Ohio State 29 0 6 23
20 DIVE Maycey Vieta Purdue 28 16 12
21 NR Christiana Regenauer Louisville 27.5 0 0 27.5
22 18 Lindsay Looney Arizona State 26 redshirt 7 19
23 9 Ayla Spitz Cal 24 20 4 0
24 DIVE Joy Zhu Minnesota 23 23
25 DIVE Janie Boyle Texas 20 5 15 0
26 NR Tylor Mathieu Florida 19 6 11 2
27 INTL Hannah Brunzell Northwestern 16 16 0 relay-only 3
28 NR Heather MacCausland NC State 15 no invite 0 15
29 7 Kaitlynn Sims Michigan 14 14 0 no invite 17
30 DIVE Melissa Mirafuentes Wyoming 13 4 4 5
31 NR Josie Panitz Ohio State 12 no invite 0 12
32 NR Emma Wheal Stanford 11 11 0 relay-only
33 8 Caitlin Brooks Kentucky 10 6 2 2 15
34 5 Coleen Gillilan Notre Dame 8 8 no invite 0
35 NR Anna Kalandadze Cal/Penn 7 0 7
35 17 Ashley Turak Indiana 7 0 0 7
37 NR Felicia Pasadyn Harvard/Ohio State 6 2 4 2
37 19 Ellie VanNote UNC 6 0 1 5
39 NR AJ Kutsch Tennessee/Auburn 5 5
39 INTL Mariella Venter Michigan 5 5 no invite no invite
39 DIVE Markie Hopkins Northwestern 5 5
42 DIVE Mackenzie Crawford Ohio State 4 4
42 INTL Weronika Gorecka Akron 4 no invite 0 4
42 NR Mia Motekaitis UC Davis/Cal 4 no invite 0 4
42 NR Beth McNeese Kentucky 4 4 no invite 0
42 NR Kathleen Golding Florida 4 4 0 0
42 NR Meredith Rees Missouri 4 3 1 0 1
48 HM Caroline Bentz Virginia Tech 3 defer 0 0 3 no invite
49 NR Emma Shuppert Duke 2 2 no invite 0
50 NR Katie Mack Florida 1.5 1.5 relay-only 0
51 NR Kaitlynn Wheeler Kentucky 1 1 relay-only 0
51 DIVE Anne Tuxen LSU 1 1
51 DIVE Aliyah Watson Duke 1 1
51 NR Averee Preble Auburn 1 0 0 1
55 4 Emily Weiss Indiana 0 0 18
56 NR Ellie Marquardt Princeton 0 no invite no invite 12
57 12 Alexandra Crisera Stanford 0 0 0 0 6

ARCHIVES: REVISITING RECRUIT RANKS

ANALYSIS AS OF: SPRING 2023 SPRING 2022 SPRING 2021 SPRING 2020 SPRING 2019 SPRING 2018 SPRING 2017
Class of 2022 After Freshman Year
Class of 2021 After Sophomore Year
Class of 2020 After Junior Year After Sophomore Year
Class of 2019 After Senior Year After Junior Year After Sophomore Year
Class of 2018 After Senior Year After Junior Year After Sophomore Year
Class of 2017 After Senior Year After Junior Year After Sophomore Year
Class of 2016 After Senior Year
Class of 2015
Class of 2014
Class of 2013

SwimSwam: Revisiting NCAA Recruit Rankings: Women’s High School Class of 2019

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