Collegiate swimming star Ryan Hoffer confirmed to SwimSwam on Friday that he does plan to turn pro and race in the International Swimming League this fall, forgoing a final year of eligibility at Cal.
Hoffer swam for 4 seasons at Cal, but like all NCAA Division I swimmers during the 2020-2021 season, he is eligible for a 5th year because of challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
During his Cal career, he won 7 NCAA titles. In 2021, as a senior, he won the 50 free, 100 fly, and 100 free, and was also on the winning 200 and 400 free relays. In 2019, as a sophomore, he won the 50 free and was on the winning Cal 200 free relay. He held top 3 seeds in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly heading into the 2020 NCAA Championship meet, which was ultimately canceled.
In total, Hoffer earned 27 out of a possible 28 All-America certificates in his collegiate career and won 18 Pac-12 titles. He was named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year in 2020 and 2021.
A short course specialist known for monster underwaters, Hoffer is widely-expected to be one of the top two picks in the ISL rookie draft, which will take place on June 28.
In the first round of new additions, where only league newcomers are eligible to be drafted, each team receives one selection in reverse order of league finish from last season. This means that Aqua Centurions, DC Trident, and New York Breakers will get the top 3 choices.
Hoffer and Dutch breaststroker Arno Kamminga are the top two rookie entrants in the league. If the general managers see things that way, Hoffer should end up with aqua – a team that already is retaining male breaststrokers Nicolo Martinenghi and Fabio Scozzoli from last season.
That would leave Kamminga for the Trident at pick #2.
Hoffer is the prototype of the kind of swimmer who will benefit most from the ISL’s format. His best finish at the Olympic Trials was 19th place in the 50 free. He still is a ways away from making a major long course U.S. international team, which for most swimmers makes it challenging to extend a career. In the ISL, however, where the 8 top earners last season cleared more than $100,000, Hoffer could keep up a viable living in the sport thanks to his short course abilities.