The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets added some good conference-level depth to their roster for the spring semester with the addition of two ACC-scoring level swimmers from the country of Israel: one freestyler each for their men’s and women’s squads.
On the women’s side, that is in the form of Efrat Rotsztejn, a 20-year old from Negev Israel. She brings in long course bests of 2:04.25 and 4:23.59 in the 200 and 400 frees, respectively. Those convert to roughly a 1:49 in the 200 yard free and a 4:55 in the 500 free. The 200 is where her best chance is in ACC scoring as a freshman; last year it only took a 1:50-low to make the B-Final.
The Georgia Tech women’s team, which placed 8th at last year’s ACC Championships, is really looking for ACC scoring at this point, so this will be a valuable addition for them. Their middle-distance freestyle group is really strong already, and their 800 free relay was the big scorers at ACC’s with a 4th-place finish in 2012 (7:15.43).
Yuval Safra is 19-years old, and carries a similar specialty as Rotsztejn, though he tends a bit longer. He has been a 3:59.00 in the 400 LCM free; an 8:19 in the 800 LCM free; and a 16:02.36 in the 1500. That 400 is his best event, and converts to about a 4:26 or 4:27 in the 500 free in yards. That would have put him high in the B-Final at last year’s ACC Championships.
Ideally, Safra’s future probably lies in open water. At the 2011 World Aquatics Championships, he finished 18th (out of 50 finishers) in the 5km race, which was just a few seconds out of the top 10. He was 37th in the 10km.
This Georgia Tech men’s team, moreso than their female counterparts, is starting to turn the corner toward an NCAA team. With swimmers like Andrew Kosic and Nico van Duijn in this very-young stable of sprinters, they have a shot at getting a few to Indy this season. Safra has the times and experience in open water to become an NCAA qualifier in the future.
Both swimmers will be facing an uphill battle, as all mid-season internationals do. There is a big adjustment both to the strains of being a student-athlete as well as to swimming in a short course yards pool. With roughly 20% of their roster being internationals, though (9 out of 44), this coaching staff has some experience with those transitions.