Honoring & Celebrating the NCAA Men’s Swimming Senior Class of 2020

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Maxime Rooney at the 2015 US Nationals. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Swimming World celebrates the NCAA men’s swimming senior class of 2020.

The cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships caused many careers of senior student athletes to go unfinished as a lot of swimmers will have an asterisk next to their names in the history books due to the fact they could not end their careers on their own terms. A disease pandemic cancelling an NCAA championships is unheard of, especially in this modern world. So having no NCAAs this season was a huge blow to fans of the sport of swimming as well as the athletes that worked so hard to finish their amateur careers this year.

We at Swimming World wanted to honor this year’s senior class by applauding their accomplishments in the pool as well as revisit their commitments from when they were in high school.

Rather than play a “what-if” game, we wanted to acknowledge the achievements these various seniors accomplished in their three full seasons.

Here is our celebration of the women’s senior class.

Celebrating the NCAA Men’s Swimming Class of 2020

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Maxime Rooney. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Four years ago, the top prospect in the class was Maxime Rooney out of Livermore, California. Rooney spent three years at the University of Florida before transferring to the University of Texas for his senior year. He was also a gold medalist at the 2015 World Juniors, taking the 200 free that year, and also won a silver in the 100 free. Rooney swam on the gold medal winning 4×200 free relay team alongside fellow Californian Grant Shoults at that meet that set a world junior record. In 2015 as a 17-year-old, he was ranked third in the nation in the 200 freestyle, a favorite to make the Olympic team.

Rooney ultimately finished ninth at Trials in the 200 free in 2016 and hit a rough patch in his career afterwards. But in 2019 we saw a glimpse of Rooney’s potential we saw out of him in 2015, when he swam a 47.61 100 freestyle and 50.68 100 butterfly at the US Nationals in August, putting him fifth and second in the world respectively. Rooney had a solid senior season with the Longhorns but we were unable to see what he could have done in short course coming off such a great summer for him. He was the top seed in the 100 butterfly for the Longhorns but did not get the chance to swim in his final NCAAs.

“On March 12 before entering the water for afternoon practice, I found out that the NCAA Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships had been officially canceled,” Rooney said in a personal essay. “Out of immediate frustration, I dove into the pool and as I surfaced I slapped the water as hard as I could. I was heated. I believed all of the hard work my teammates and I put in was a waste. All the obstacles and pain we endured were in vain. We had finally arrived to championship season – a time where we would be able to celebrate the fruits of our labor with our loved ones while enjoying the special and victorious moments we earned. Sadly however, the best part of the season ended early. All these thoughts aggravated me. I needed to cool off so I began swimming laps. Stopping every so often at the wall, I recognized the disbelief and devastation in my teammates’ eyes. We were all going through it together though, and we chose to keep swimming and keep moving forward.”

Heading into next season, Rooney is again a favorite to make the Olympic team in the 100, 200 free and 100 fly.

Grant Shoults went on to swim at Stanford and had a good career, but injuries got in the way and he had to sit out the second half of his junior year. He has since been rewarded with another year of eligibility so he will have a chance to end his career in 2021 with the Cardinal.

Coleman Stewart at the 2014 YMCA Nationals. Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/ProSwimVisuals.com

NC State’s Coleman Stewart, originally out of York YMCA before moving to North Baltimore Aquatic Club has transformed into one of the top guys in the country. He did not reach an A-Final at long course Juniors in 2015 but improved greatly in his first year with NC State in 2017, reaching the B-Final in the 100 back. As a sophomore in 2018, he was the NCAA champ out of lane 1, and also swam on NC State’s American Record setting 400 free relay to close out the meet. In 2019, he was the runner-up in both the 100 fly and 100 back in the same night, getting oh-so-close to what could have been a historic double victory for him.

Out of high school he was a 47 in the 100 back and a 48 in the 100 fly, and has since gone down to a 43.9 in the 100 back and a 44.4 in the 100 fly.

Stewart was poised for a big senior year, coming in as our top guy in the NCAA this season, but lost an opportunity to swim at NCAAs. He and Rooney were both instrumental in having their voices heard as they plead for some clarity from the NCAA regarding an opportunity to swim at NCAAs one more time.

Regardless of the “what if’s” Stewart is one of the most decorated swimmers in NC State history and is a big reason why that program will consistently be fighting for top four finishes at NCAAs in the years to come. When Stewart first came to campus, NC State was primarily known as just a sprint program, but have since evolved into a well-rounded machine that has won six straight ACC team titles and finished in the top four nationally four years in a row.

Ryan Harty wins the 100 backstroke.

Ryan Harty at the 2013 Junior Nationals. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

One of the other top recruits in this class was Ryan Harty out of Massachusetts. A member of the Junior Worlds team in 2013, Harty was one of the best backstrokers and IM’ers in the class of 2015. He contributed immediately to Texas, reaching the A-Final in the 200 back at the 2016 NCAAs in finishing seventh. Harty also scored in the B-Final in both IM’s, helping Texas win the national title that year.

In his sophomore year however, Harty suffered an elbow injury in the fall of 2016 and he redshirted. Things were looking bleak for Harty on the road to recovery.

“I remember days I would literally get out of the pool because I was so tired and in so much pain that I would go to the locker room and just cry,” Harty said in an interview with Swimming World last year.

“It was so miserable what I had to go through. I seriously thought about quitting because at that time it didn’t seem feasible I would get back to swimming just because of the shape of my elbows. How am I ever going to recover?”

But after a long fight, Harty was able to lower his best time in the 200 back in his redshirt junior season two years after the injury. He reached the B-Final in the 200 back in 2018 & 19 NCAAs, and also reached the NCAA A-Final in the 100 back in 2019. The injury did come with some good, as Harty was able to still compete in his fifth year of school for the Longhorns while still pursuing a Master’s degree in business analytics.

“(That) probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t fallen out of a tree,” he remarks on his opportunity to earn a Master’s and still compete for Texas.

He sat out the 2020 Big 12 Championships this season to avoid missing any school, with the intention of finishing out with the NCAAs as his big finale. He didn’t get that opportunity but he was still a part of two national title teams at Texas in 2016 and 2018, and was also on deck to watch the team win in 2017 during his redshirt year.

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Felix Auböck. Photo Courtesy: Dan D’Addona

There were a plethora of international names in this year’s class that provided national titles for their schools. Felix Auböck out of Austria came to the University of Michigan and did not miss a beat, winning eight individual Big Ten titles in sweeping the 500 and 1650 all four years. He added on to Michigan’s legacy in the distance freestyle when he won the 1650 in 2019 for Michigan’s ninth NCAA title in the event.

That ended up being the only NCAA title he would win after he was second in the 1650 in his freshman and sophomore years as well as second in the 500 in 2018 and third in 2017. Auböck had a solid international career as well, reaching the final of the 400 and 800 free at the 2017 World Championships.

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Zheng Quah at the 2016 Indianapolis Pro Series. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Zheng Quah out of Singapore and Pawel Sendyk out of Poland came in the same year to Cal Berkeley and instantly provided a spark. Neither of them won individual titles in their time with the Golden Bears, but they did help the team win a national championship in 2019. Sendyk also swam on Cal’s winning 200 free relay team that year while Quah reached the A-Final in the 100 and 200 fly. In fact, Quah reached the 200 fly A-Final all three years he competed at NCAAs and also did so in the 100 fly in 2017 and 2019.

Sendyk also reached three NCAA A-Finals in the 50 free in his career, finishing second behind teammate Ryan Hoffer in 2019. He also was a key component on six Cal relays that earned All-America status. Sendyk was also on three Pac-12 championship teams while at Cal.

Swimming World wanted to throw it back to when this year’s seniors announced their verbal commitments as well as highlight some of their best accomplishments in the pool over the last four years.

Here is the list of all the seniors that qualified for Men’s Division I NCAAs this year:

  1. Zachary Nelson – Air Force
  2. Zane Waddell – Alabama
  3. Thomas Anderson – Arizona
  4. Etay Gurevich – Arizona
  5. Jorge Iga – Arizona
  6. Ben Olszewski – Arizona State
  7. Zachary Poti – Arizona State
  8. Santiago Grassi – Auburn
  9. Paul Rogers – Cal Poly
  10. Karl Arvidsson – Cal
  11. Michael Jensen – Cal
  12. Zheng Quah – Cal
  13. Pawel Sendyk – Cal
  14. Ethan Young – Cal
  15. William Kearsey – Connecticut
  16. Miles Williams – Duke
  17. Gustavo Santos – East Carolina
  18. Khader Baqlah – Florida
  19. Marco Guarente – Florida
  20. Grant Sanders – Florida
  21. Griffin Alaniz – Florida State
  22. Maxim Polianski – Florida State
  23. Clayton Forde – Georgia
  24. Walker Higgins – Georgia
  25. Kevin Miller – Georgia
  26. Olli Kokko – Hawaii
  27. Mohamed Samy – Indiana
  28. Wyatt Amdor – Kentucky
  29. Connor Blandford – Kentucky
  30. Glen Brown – Kentucky
  31. John Mitchell – Kentucky
  32. Peter Wetzlar – Kentucky
  33. Andrej Barna – Louisville
  34. Karl Luht – LSU
  35. Felix Auböck – Michigan
  36. Jeremy Babinet – Michigan
  37. Thomas Cope – Michigan
  38. Miles Smachlo – Michigan
  39. Charlie Swanson – Michigan
  40. Robert Zofchak – Michigan
  41. Nick Alexander – Missouri
  42. Daniel Hein – Missouri
  43. Micah Slaton – Missouri
  44. Noah Hensley – NC State
  45. Coleman Stewart – NC State
  46. Jack Montesi – Notre Dame
  47. Aaron Schultz – Notre Dame
  48. Noah Lense – Ohio State
  49. Andrew Loy – Ohio State
  50. Itay Goldfaden – South Carolina
  51. James Murphy – Stanford
  52. Hank Poppe – Stanford
  53. Taylor Abbott – Tennessee
  54. Alec Connolly – Tennessee
  55. Matthew Garcia – Tennessee
  56. Marc Hinawi – Tennessee
  57. Joshua Artmann – Texas
  58. Jack Collins – Texas
  59. Ryan Harty – Texas
  60. Maxime Rooney – Texas
  61. Adam Koster – Texas A&M
  62. Ben Walker – Texas A&M
  63. Rahil De Vos – Utah
  64. Liam O’Haimhirgin – Utah
  65. Joe Clark – Virginia
  66. Ted Schubert – Virginia
  67. Colin Wright – William & Mary
  68. Cameron Tysoe – Wisconsin

Coleman Stewart

NCAA Titles: 2

Maxime Rooney

NCAA Titles: 0

  • 100 fly: 16th all-time
  • 200 free: 24th all-time

Pawel Sendyk

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

NCAA Titles: 1

Felix Auböck

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A post shared by Felix Auböck (@felixauboeck) on

NCAA Titles: 1

  • 2019: 1650 free
  • 1650 free: 4th all-time
  • 500 free: 8th all-time

Zheng Quah

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

NCAA Titles: 0

  • 200 fly: 6th all-time

Ryan Harty

NCAA Titles: 0

  • 200 back: 17th all-time

Zane Waddell

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Photo Courtesy: Robert Sutton/Alabama Athletics

NCAA Titles: 1

Michael Jensen

Michael Jensen

Michael Jensen; Photo Courtesy: Michael Jensen/Twitter

NCAA Titles: 1