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LSU coach Dave Geyer has lost a lot of pieces in the last two seasons from his women’s team, but today he began reloading in a big way with his first two verbal commitments of the fall: Kara Kopcso from Fontainebleauh High School and the Franco Fins in Mandeville, Louisiana; and Colleen O’Neil from Abington High and the Waymouth Waves in Massachussetts.
In Kopcso, the Tigers have kept Louisiana’s best female recruit close to home: still an important factor in college recruiting. That’s especially true in a state like Louisiana, where it’s been years since they’ve seen a swimmer of Kopcso’s level (perhaps Eegan Groome, who swims for Missouri, in the class of 2011 on the men’s side was of same stature).
Kopcso is primarily a butterflier/IM’er. She already has bests of 54.48 from last year’s Louisiana State Championship meet and a 1:59.06 in the 200 fly from Sectionals a month later. She’s still improving too, having dropped a full second in that 100 from her sophomore to her junior seasons (and a more modest three-tenths in the 200 fly). LSU has quietly developed a very good women’s butterfly group, maybe their best group on the women’s side, led by Amber Carter, Sara Haley, and Rainey White. That group, especially Carter, is already off to a very good start this season.
Kopcso also comes in with bests of 2:01.18 and 4:16.03 in the 200 and 400 IM’s.
She is a holder of no fewer than 43 Louisiana LSC State Records, and as anecdote of just how good she is, when she was 12 she broke the state record in the 400 IM by 9 seconds. I don’t think it’s a reach to say that she’s the best female swimmer to come from the state since Shelby Ripple in the late 80′s and early 90′s. She still holds a stunning 80 State Records through the age groups in long course and short course combined.
Kopcso’s older sister Jessica is currently a junior on LSU’s team.
The other verbal came from Colleen O’Neil, who had to travel a bit further to get to Louisiana. She, like Kopcso, is a very good IM’er, with a best of 2:01.38 in the 200.
She, however, specializes in the breaststroke leg of the race. As individual events, she’s got bests of 1:03.07 and 2:16.19.
Something else the pair has in common aside from their accumen for the IM is that O’Neil too is still making big improvements. Last year alone, in the 100 breast, she improved her time by almost a second-and-a-half. As the two swimmers advance through their senior years, keep an eye on where they sit in February and March as an even better measure of how significant their recruiting value is, as both could move far up the ranks if trends continue.