Ranking the Top-10 Men’s Collegiate Swimmers Outside of Division I


Ranking the Top-10 Men’s Collegiate Swimmers Outside of Division I

The talent in collegiate swimming is ridiculous, and it is the norm for the best college swimmers to go onto the Olympics to represent their country. But sometimes, swim fans forget that the best also includes swimmers participating in Division II, III, and NAIA. To shed some light on the incredible talent in collegiate swimming, I made a list of the top-10 collegiate swimmers outside of Division I. While “top” is a broad term, I ranked these swimmers based on their versatility and event ranking across all divisions.

#10 – Diego Mas: Division II, University of Indianapolis

While Mas may lack versatility compared to other swimmers on this list, his 19.32 50 free and 18.63 relay split were too good to leave the fifth-year senior off the list. Mas’ 18.63 leg that led Indianapolis to a 200 free relay title at the Division II NCAA Championships actually outperformed some of the nation’s best at the Division I Championships, including out-splitting swimmers in the 200 free relay final in Minneapolis. Mas, a key contributor to Indianapolis’ 2023 NCAA team title, will help lead the charge for the Greyhounds this season as they look to repeat as Division II champs for the first time in school history.

#9 – Santiago Corredor: Division II, University of Tampa

If you’re familiar with the Florida swimming scene, you’ve probably heard the name Santiago Corredor, and you might be surprised that he’s still swimming collegiately. Corredor was actually a freshman for the Florida Gators in 2017-2018. But after multiple transfers to other Division I programs and some years in between not swimming collegiately, Corredor wound up transferring to Tampa last spring. Corredor is now 24 and in his senior year for the Spartans. Despite Corredor’s elongated collegiate career, he’s remained in top form, and last season, he finished the year with best times of: 200 back (1:42.09); 200 free (1:34.87); 200 fly (1:45.18). This past season, Corredor also swam a 3:45.30 in the 400 IM and a 4:19.96 in the 500 free.

#8 – Cedric Buessing: Division II, University of Indianapolis

In his two years with the Greyhounds, Buessing has been a distance-free machine and holds best times of 15:02.54 in the 1650 freestyle, 8:55.88 in the 1000 and 4:19.34 in the 500 free. Buessing has also shown he can swim the 400 IM, where he’s been 3:45.41. Buessing’s 1650, 1000, and 400IM all ranked in the top 60 collegiately last season. Buessing is only a Junior this year, so he could just be clicking into his potential.

#7 – Tim Stollings: Division II, University of Findlay

Tim Stollings findlay

Photo Courtesy: Tim Stollings

Stollings, a West Virginia native, has done nothing but impress since arriving at Findlay in the fall of 2019. Believe it or not, Stollings came into Findlay as an underrated recruit, ranking 463rd in the Class of 2019. Before joining the Oilers, Stollings was a 50.18 100 backstroker, a 48.11 100 flyer, and a 20.74 50 freestyler. In Stollings’ four years as an Oiler, he has turned himself into a 46.34 100 backstroker, a 19.64 50 freestyler, and a 45.57 100 flyer. Stolling’s 45.57 was from 2021, which is why he isn’t ranked higher on this list, but regardless, the ceiling and talent is there for this fifth-year graduate student.

#6 – Jeron Thompson: Division II, University of Indianapolis

Another Indianapolis Greyhound joins the list. This time, it’s the fifth-year senior from Trinidad and Tobago. The sprints are a clear strong suit of Division II swimming, and Thompson backs up this theory. Thompson was 20.99 in the 50 backstroke last year on the Greyhounds’ 200 medley relay, which ranked him as the 20th-fastest performer in the nation last season. His 100 back and 100 free are 46.31 and 43.35, while his 100 fly is 46.29. Thompson tops it off with a 19.37 50 free.

#5 – Jack Armstrong: Division II, Henderson State

Armstrong’s path to Division II is similar to that of Corredor’s. Armstrong was a highly touted recruit out of high school and ranked 44th in the Class of 2019. Armstrong represented Auburn in 2019-2020, sat out 2020-2021, and transferred to Grand Canyon University in 2021-2022 before transferring to Henderson State last season. Armstrong graduated in the Summer of 2022, so he cited academics to pursue an MBA in data science as one of the main reasons for picking Henderson State. Since arriving at Henderson State, Armstrong has found his way to three new personal bests: a 19.21 50 free, a 42.55 100 free, and a 46.39 100 Fly. Armstrong’s 19.21 would have been good enough to make the cutline at Division I NCAA Championships this past season.
This year, Armstrong is already off to a good start and is currently ranked fourth across all divisions in the 50 free with a 19.57 and third in the 100 free with a 42.77.

#4 – Lamar Taylor, Division II: Henderson State University

Senior Lamar Taylor spearheads an unbelievable sprint duo with Jack Armstrong for the Henderson State Reddies. Since departing the Bahamas for a town of 10,00 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Taylor has become the best sprinter in Division II and one of the best in the country. At last year’s Division II Nationals, Taylor went three for three and delivered when it mattered most. Taylor clocked a 19.04 50 free, a 42.30 100 free, and a 45.95 100 back, taking home gold in all three. Taylor’s 19.04 50 free and 42.30 100 free both would have been good enough to make the cutlines at the Division I NCAA championship, and a 19.04 could have made the B final. The Division II 50 free record stands at 18.88, and it seems Taylor will make a push.

#3 – Jackson Lustig, Division II: McKendree University

While sifting through the top times in Division II, there was one performance that jumped out: Jackson Lustig’s 1:40.75 200 fly as a sophomore. Lustig’s swim smashed the Division II record as he destroyed the competition, winning by more than four seconds. A 1:40.75 would have placed sixth at Division 1 NCAAs last year. There isn’t a team in the country that wouldn’t benefit from Lustig’s speed. In addition to the 200 fly, Lustig is a 46.17 in the 100 fly. Lustig walked onto Campus at Mckendree with a 1:47.24 200 fly and a 49.66 100 Fly, and one can only imagine what he’ll be at when his time at McKendree ends.

#2 – Ben Sampson, Division II: Colorado Mesa University

Despite exploring his options in the transfer portal this offseason, Sampson chose to remain at Colorada Mesa. Sampson is a 1:39.53 200 backstroker, a 45.96 100 backstroker, a 1:43.76 in the 200 IM, and a 3:45.23 400 IMer. Sampson crushed all four of those times at the Colorado Mesa Invitational, which is why they are altitude-adjusted times. Sampson’s 1:39.53 would have been good enough to sneak into the A final at NCAAs last year. Sampson’s versatility, paired with one of the nation’s best 200 backs collegiately, solidifies his spot at No. 2 on the list.

#1 – Derek Maas, Division III: New York University

Derek Maas swims for Alabama, though, right? Wrong. The Alabama graduate is heading to NYU for medical school and will use his COVID year to compete for the Bobcats in the 2023-2024 season. The two-time individual SEC champion is a 50.78 in the 100 breaststroke and a 1:51.53 in the 200 breaststroke. Maas qualified for NCAAs in each of his four years at Alabama. In 2022, Maas finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke, and in 2023, Maas finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke and 10th in the 200 breaststroke NCAAs. In addition to his breaststroke skill, Maas is also 1:42.59 in the 200 IM.


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4 months ago

might not be relevant to ncaa but buessing also goes a 4:14 lcm 400 IM which he won at LEN U23 champs (as first european) as well

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