Ranking the Classes (M): #5 Virginia

In describing his incoming class, Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino begins, “We did a wonderful job of addressing our middle distance and distance freestyle needs."

Needs? Um, ‘Dino, we hate to be the ones to tell you this, you’ve got Matt McLean and Scot Robson – two of the best on the college scene – for still another year. What Virginia did however, was attract a class that will have a year to get up to speed under the stewardship of UVA’s ten seniors while extending its stranglehold on the Middle Atlantic.

Jon Buerger, Brad Phillips and Mission Viejo’s Jon Daniec are the players most likely to benefit from the presence of seniors like McLean and Robson. They each bring something to the table and combined have a toughness that can contribute to and shape the team culture that Bernardino has developed in Charlottesville.

That chemistry helped attract Parker Camp. “Before my trip,” Parker told us, “I had never seen a closer group of 70 plus people.” In Camp, UVA hopes they’ve found someone who can move their medleys closer to the top step of the NCAA podium. For that to happen though, UVA needs Taylor Grey to step forward in a big way. He’s the lone breaststroke signee on a team where the best time last year was just a 54.22.

Pat Sullivan arrives in Virginia after signing with UC-Irvine shortly before the Anteaters eliminated swimming. He, along with Jack Murfee will provide immediate depth in the sprint area. The Cavaliers’ final fall signee, Nathan Hart, is turning into their biggest bargain, having enjoyed big drops since signing. They’ll need Hart and the rest of this crew to continue developing before LeBron, err, we mean the seniors leave the Cavs.

1.29Hart, NathanNC
1.75Daniec, JonCA
1.8Camp, ParkerTN
2.29Buerger, JonathanPA
3.3Phillips, BradleyVA
3.94Grey, TaylorVT
5.45Sullivan, PatrickVA
5.91Murfee, JackTN
7.89Brunette, CodyAK
8.88Gould, SergeMD
14.44Crawford, Freddy GVA
#1 Michigan
#2 Auburn
#3 Southern Cal
#4 Stanford
#5 Virginia
#6 Arizona
#7 Tennessee
#8 North Carolina
#9 California
#10 Purdue
#11 Georgia
#12 Texas
#13 Texas A&M
#14 Florida
#15 SMU
#16 Ohio State
#17 Iowa
#18 Indiana
#19 Northwestern
#20 Harvard
#21 Louisville
#22 Maryland
#23 Minnesota
#24 Navy