52.5 Backstroker Téa Laughlin Verbally Commits to Cal (Class of 2020)

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Ventura High school junior Téa Laughlin has verbally committed to join the Cal women in the fall of 2020.

“I am incredibly excited to announce my verbal commitment to UC Berkeley to further pursue my athletic and academic career. Thank you to my family, friends, and coaches who have helped me along the way. Can’t wait to be a golden bear!💙🐻 #Gobears”

She is primarily a backstroker, and will be the latest in the long Cal backstroke legacy that includes names like Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin, Rachel Bootsma, Kathleen Baker, and the 2019 NCAA runner-up in the 100 yard back Amy Bilquist. Laughlin finished 4th at the 2018 Winter Junior Championships – West in both the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes. She was also the CIF Division 3 Section Champion in the 100 yard back and the runner-up in the 200 IM.

Her long course best of 1:02.49 in the 100 back is also two-tenths under the Olympic Trials standard, though she hasn’t repeated the time since the qualifying period opened late last year.

Best Times in Yards:

  • 50 free – 23.79
  • 100 free – 51.06
  • 200 free – 1:49.84
  • 100 back – 52.58
  • 200 back – 1:56.38
  • 100 fly – 54.97
  • 200 IM – 2:00.23

Laughlin is one of the best 100 yard backstrokers in the class, and already has an NCAA qualifying time in that event (her best would have finished 31st at NCAAs last year). She’s part of a class of 2020 that is loaded in the backstrokes, and arguably the best backstroking class in history. That class includes names like Regan Smith, Alex Walsh, Isabelle Stadden, and Phoebe Bacon – 4 of the top 5 recruits in the class – are primarily backstrokers. The other swimmer in that top 5, Olivia Bray, has been 52.0, but she’s a better butterflier. Stadden is also verbally committed to Cal.

Laughlin trains with the Buenaventura Swim Club. Buenaventura and Ventura High School alum Ali Harrison is currently a sophomore at Cal.

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Swim dad, with 2 daughters
3 years ago

Braden, recheck time on 200 free. Went a 1:49.55 at conference champs, an event she doesn’t swim very often.

Pat Laughlin
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Yes, 49.84 is correct, my bad. Thanks.

3 years ago

Don’t forget Rachel Bootsma! 😁 congratulations! Cal is great!

3 years ago

Congratulations Tea! Roll on you Bears! 💙💛🐻

3 years ago

Welcome to Cal, Tea!!

3 years ago

Congratulations Téa! A great pickup for the Bears

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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