What are the most popular swimming schools?
If you follow the headlines on SwimSwam or Swimming World or Twitter followers you might think powerhouses like California, Stanford and Georgia and you'd be partially correct. But a look at the college that have received the most likes among current high school seniors shows a much wider array of schools.
It also shows WHERE swimmers are taking their visits. The hiring of Bob Bowman has helped rocket the Arizona State up the rankings. The Sun Devils have become the most visited school in the country (among official and unofficial visits). That trend started well before Bowman's hiring however, when the Sun Devil Junior Days welcomed multiple visitors.
Using data from 5,735 recruits who have registered on CollegeSwimming.com, here's a look at the schools which have received the most interest. This is based solely on the NUMBER of interested swimmers in the Top 1000 of gender. It isn't reflective of the top recruits. (That's tomorrow).
Up 14 places from 2015, the word is getting out about what McGee Moody & crew are doing in Columbia. Not surprising, in light of the success of Marwan El Kamash and Ahmed Mahmoud, the Gamecocks are the top choice for Egyptian recruits (and there are more of them than you'd think). The Fighting Irish jumped up twenty-three spots from last year, much of that on the women's side where Mike Litzinger has taken over has head coach.
The Bulldogs are beginning to make things interesting in the Ivy world again. For the Ivies though, popularity isn't the issue, getting in and building a big roster to score in a deep conference is.
Rockytop is an easy sell on those beautiful Fall days. Interestingly, the Lady Vols are in the top three among the Top 50 recruits of 2016.
Harvard is always on most popular lists, and with most kids, it, like the Ivies, are a distant dream. Still, swimmers are taking notice.
BU received more applicants than the likes of Texas and Stanford and Michigan State so its not a surprise here.
Brown actually dropped eleven spots from last year - surprising given the new coaching staffs. Michigan drops one spot, but is #1 among Big Ten schools
Columbia moves up three spot ranks second among the Ivies. Like everyone but Harvard and Princeton, numbers are key and like the others, the Lions are moving up in people's mind.
Compared to the number of applicants, Auburn swimming outkicks its reputation even as it falls two spots.. The Tigers are still in the top ten in interest from Blue Chippers though.
15 North Carolina & Texas
Three flagship institutions that should be among the top in interest in any given year. The Longhorns rank third among Blue Chippers.
In the swimming community UC-Santa Barbara is oftentimes overlooked, but over 55,000 kids applied there last year making it one of the top six.
In the swimming community it isn't a big name, but BC's footprint nationally is huge. This is the ACC school where, if you can get in, you can make the team.
11 UCLA & Southern Cal
USC moves up six spots even though the days of 70+ on the roster are long gone. The Trojans can turn away more than most. UCLA's numbers are adjusted for being a single-gender program, but the Bruins are among the best in appealing to Top 300 kids.
The Wildscats are getting from pressure from ASU, but no team gets into the minds of recruits earlier than the Wildcats. (They're #3 among top Sophomores).
The Seminoles are a perennial 'destination' school. Who wouldn't like to add Tallahassee to their list of favorites?
The Cardinal ranks second behind Berkeley for the number of Blue Chippers, but the perceived cost and chance to make the team keep them off some next-level kids' lists.
The Tritons are the only Division II or III school on the list but in the non-swimming world only UCLA and Berkeley receive more applications.
One of those places that makes you say, "WTF?" But if you want your kid to go to a great school with Division I swimming, you can do worse. The Hoyas move up seven spots so don't be surprised to hear more from them.
Florida drops one spot, but their quality is among the top five. Increasingly tough admission criteria are forcing the Gator staff to work harder.
A couple of new Head Coaches position Cornell for a big move in a league where depth is vital. Moving up six spots is a big help.
The Bowman factor takes Sun Devils up eight spots. Most of that is in that second tier of top recruits, but if you make them faster, others will notice.
As impressive as the classes the Golden Bears land are the kids they can turn away. Only Stanford comes close in terms of the number of blue chippers looking who've got them on their list.
You heard right. The Blue Devils generated more 'interests' than any other school in the country for the second straight year. The quality of swimmer still isn't top-ten material, but its getting better.