Keaton Blovad of the Tualatin Hills Swim Club in Oregon has verbally committed to the Cal Golden Bears, giving the defending NCAA Champions their first top-20 announcement in the high school class of 2016.
“I have truly fallen in love with the school and can’t wait to be a Golden Bear,” Blovad told SwimSwam on Monday.
Blovad is ranked 13th on SwimSwam’s annual rankings, based primarily on the strength of her freestyle and backstroke exploits (though she’s versatile enough to fill almost any hole for Teri McKeever’s crew).
Her best times in yards:
- 50 free – 22.75
- 100 free – 49.01
- 200 free – 1:46.65
- 100 back – 53.51
- 200 back – 1:57.31
- 100 breast – 1:01.02
- 100 fly – 55.29
- 200 IM – 1:58.71
The short course times only tell a portion of her story, however. In 2012, Blovad, then training at the Phoenix Swim Club, was the youngest swimmer to compete at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha. At that meet, she finished 119th out of 154 swimmers in the 50 free and 63rd out of 162 finishers in the 100 back at only 13 years old.
She has been unable to improve her long course times since the summer of 2012, but after a coaching change started to see improvements in yards in the 2014-2015 season. That’s especially true in the freestyle races, where she improved her lifetime best by two-tenths of a second in the 50, 1.2 seconds in the 100, and 2.3 seconds in the 200.
Cal has had the top-ranked class in the country two out of the last three years, but very early in this summer/fall verbal commitment period, the top recruits seem to be spreading their talents around more than we’ve seen in the past. In total, Blovad is the eighth swimmer among that top 20 to make her verbal commitment publicly, and only USC has more than one pledge (#4 Stanzi Moseley and #17 Tatum Wade).