#18 Rachel Stege Announces Verbal Commitment to Georgia for 2021

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Rachel Stege, the 18th-ranked swimmer on our early top 20 rankings for the high school class of 2021, has announced her verbal commitment to join the Georgia Bulldogs next fall. Stege trains club with Fox Valley Swim Team and is a junior at Neuqua Valley High School outside of Chicago.

“I am extremely excited to announce my commitment to swim and study at the University of Georgia!! I want to thank my coaches, friends, and family for helping me get here! GO DAWGS!!!#committotheg 🐾❤️


  • 100y free – 50.22
  • 200y free – 1:47.62
  • 500y free – 4:43.24
  • 1000y free – 9:43.09
  • 1650y free – 16:21.50
  • 100m free – 58.38
  • 200m free – 1:59.90
  • 400m free – 4:08.30
  • 800m free – 8:38.42
  • 1500m free – 16:33.94

A mid-distance specialist with range from the 100 to the mile, Stege is one of the fast-rising talents in the class of 2025. In the 200 free, for example, she went from 1:53.52 in 2017 to 1:49.53 in 2018 to 1:47.62 in 2019. In the 500 free, she went from 4:59.27 to 4:44.52 to 4:43.24 over the same timespan.

Stege went on to have a huge summer of 2019, finishing 12th in the 400 free (4:10.05) and 19th in the 800 free (8:38.42) at the 2019 U.S. Summer National Championships. There, she qualified for the 2019 World Junior Championships with her performance in the 400 free, and she’d go on to win a bronze medal with a 4:08.30 in that race.

Based on her LCM improvements, Stege is due for another time drop in yards. She is the defending Illinois HS champion in the 500 free and placed fourth in the 200 free at the meet last fall, and she’ll be favored to win the 500 again next month at the 2019 IHSA Championships.

Stege is the first top 20 snag for the Bulldogs in this class.



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3 years ago

The haters made me lose sight of why I came here in the first place:
Congratulations, Rachel!
Great school and great swim program!!!

3 years ago

All kids should ask themselves, “Would I still attend this school if the coaching staff is gone when I arrive?”
No program is immune to coaching changes.
A lot can happen in two years.

3 years ago

Im curious as to why Georgia is attractive to recruits knowing Jack will likely not be there in 2025/26 when this class graduates? Same thing at TX men with Eddie. These guys can’t coach forever.

Reply to  Blaize
3 years ago

Wise or not, high schoolers pick their college based on a lot of factors other than the coach. They base it on how well they get along with the team, the campus feel, and the school academically. At top schools like Texas and Georgia, I think recruits can trust the athletic department to hire another top notch coach in the event of a retirement.

Reply to  Blaize
3 years ago

pretty sure its the combination of academics and athletics,,,yes sir,,academics and…..

Reply to  Blaize
3 years ago

Different people have different priorities. For most swimmers, there really is not future after college in swimming unless you are elite so coach should only be one part of the decision and there are a ton of other things to consider- academics, general student life at chosen school, team atmosphere, alumni connections, etc. UGA is a great town, good school, great atmosphere; it is a great choice!

Reply to  DravenOP
3 years ago

Not buying it. Team culture? Most of the team will be gone by the time these 2021’s get there. Not knowing who the coach will be is a massive risk despite the academics and team culture. Kids can know who the coach will be (to a high degree of certainty) at other schools and get all of the aforementioned (academics/team culture/alumni).

Reply to  Blaize
3 years ago

I am really going off my own personal experience. I swam all 4 years at a D1 school that I chose due to enjoying the energy and atmosphere of the team and the fact that it was a top notch academic school. I never even met my primary coach (I did not swim for the head coach) until the day I stepped onto campus for orientation the summer of my freshman year. Before that, I knew his name and that was about it.

I look at it in the regards that most athletes coming to swim are coming to get an education first and then swimming is either a means of getting that education through needed scholarships or as… Read more »

Wait What?
Reply to  Blaize
3 years ago

Blaize – if that’s the case, these athletes shouldn’t even look at;
Texas (m)
Tex A&M (w)
Cal (w)

and when those coaches leave, you can be sure current UVA, NCST, IU, UL, Wisconsin, Cal (m), Tenn, Kentucky will all get serious looks. Throw in the head asst coaches, and basically in 6 years the entire landscape is different.

3 years ago

#18 but she’s a world jr medalist?!

Reply to  Guy
3 years ago

to be fair, these rankings were done before the summer.

Rachel Wander
Reply to  Guy
3 years ago

Also, her long course is a lot better than her short course right now, which likely means that she is due for more drops

Lane 8
3 years ago

She could be a Courtney Harnish type. Go Dawgs and congrats Rachel!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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