By The Class: Top 5 DI Female Sophomores To Watch

By The Class: Top 5 DI Female Sophomores To Watch
Photo: © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to the next installment of our newest series, By The Class. In this series, we will analyze the top five Division I swimmers -- both male and female -- to watch out for in the upcoming 2017-2018 NCAA season.

While there are certain sure bets, things don't always shake out in March as we expect them to in September.


Scouting The Field


2017-18 Top 5 Sophomores -- Women


1.) Katie Ledecky (Stanford)
 
Katie Ledecky Lifetime Best 2017 NCAA Finish
200 Freestyle 1:40.36 T-1st
500 Freestyle 4:24.06 1st
1650 Freestyle 15:03.92 1st
400 IM 3:57.68 Did Not Swim
Welp. This one is pretty self-explanatory. But, in the same category of irony as captioning your cliche Instagram posts "no caption needed" -- we are going to give it a brief explanation anyway. Heading into her sophomore year, ​Katie Ledecky ​is the favorite in the 200 freestyle and up, although not without competition from ​Louisville's ​Mallory Comerford ​in the 200. Among returning NCAA scorers, Ledecky is the top seed in the 500 by 12 seconds and the top seed in the 1650 by 44 seconds. That is ​not​ a typo. Regardless of Ledecky's dominance, that doesn't magically make first-place points any more valuable. We saw the G.O.A.T. dabble in the 400 IM last season at Pac-12s (because why not?) before deciding to drop it in favor of the 200 at NCAAs. What will we see from her this season?​

Katie Ledecky Under The Rope

2.) Abbey Weitzeil (Cal-Berkeley)
 
Abbey Weitzeil Lifetime Best 2017 NCAA Finish
50 Freestyle 21.12 5th
100 Freestyle 46.29 18th
200 Freestyle 1:43.25 8th
Coming into her freshman year, Cal's ​Abbey Weitzeil ​was expected to set the pool ablaze. She was a 2016 U.S. Olympian and the American-record holder in the 50 freestyle (still is) with a 21.12 and her 46.29 ​was ​a U.S. record before ​Simone Manuel​ lowered it a few times times to its current 45.56. However, Weitzeil struggled to meet her best times during her first year in Berkeley. Even though she had a rough ride -- relatively speaking, of course -- Weitzeil still amassed significant points for the Golden Bears at NCAAs, making two championship finals and contributing to just about every relay she could possibly swim. If the sophomore can get back to top form in 2017-18, she will be ​scary fast​ and a serious threat on all cylinders come March.​

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3.) Louise Hansson (Southern Cal)

Louise Hansson Lifetime Best 2017 NCAA Finish
100 Freestyle 47.03 9th
200 Freestyle 1:42.10 Did Not Swim
100 Butterfly 50.39 3rd
200 IM 1:53.72 7th
The freshman from Sweden racked up monster points for ​Dave Salo ​and the Trojans at NCAAs last season. On top of her high finishes in the 200 IM, 100 butterfly, and 100 freestyle, ​Louise Hansson​ contributed significantly on four scoring relays as well. She is the fifth-fastest returner in the 200 IM, second-fastest returner in the 100 butterfly, third-fastest returner in the 100 freestyle, and fifth-fastest performer in the 200 freestyle. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Watch for Hansson to do even bigger things during her sophomore season.​

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4.) Maddie Murphy (Cal-Berkeley)

Maddie Murphy Lifetime Best 2017 NCAA Finish
50 Freestyle 21.76 6th
100 Freestyle 48.22 19th
100 Butterfly 51.15 10th
​Maddie Murphy​ was ​an unsung hero for the Golden Bears last season -- picking up major points in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, along with the NCAA record-breaking 200 freestyle relay. With ​Farida Osman​ exhausting her eligibility, Murphy will likely be a new addition to both medley relays as well -- solidifying her ​value for ​Teri McKeever​ and Cal. If she can bring her 100 down to the 47 mid-low range, she will be truly dangerous at NCAAs in March.

5.) Asia Seidt (Kentucky)

Asia Seidt Lifetime Best 2017 NCAA Finish
200 IM 1:55.02 8th
100 Backstroke 51.40 12th
200 Backstroke 1:49.63 3rd
Kentucky's ​Asia Seidt​ made a massive impact for the Wildcats during her freshman campaign in Lexington. After picking up major points in both backstrokes and the 200 IM at NCAAs, Seidt looks to be even more dangerous going into her sophomore year. The Louisville native is coming off a successful summer, which included competing at the World University Games in Taiwan. Among returners, she currently has the eighth-fastest time in the 200 IM, 10th-fastest time in the 100 backstroke, and third-fastest time in the 200 backstroke. Along with those three individual events, Seidt will certainly be on both of UK head coach ​Lars Jorgensen's​ medley relays and the 800 freestyle relay. She could also potentially make an appearance on the 400 freestyle relay.

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