ABSC’s Karen Zhao Will Bring NCAA-Scorable Times to UChicago Class of 2025

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Karen Zhao from Bogart, Georgia will swim at the University of Chicago beginning in the 2021-22 season.

“First of all, I would like to thank my Mom and Dad for their unyielding love and support and for inspiring me to be myself, always. I love y’all. Next, I want to thank @abscdogs for being an irreplaceable second family to me for the past 10 years. Thank you to the Senior group: the guys who always push and challenge me and my girls who always have my back. To my ABSC coaches: Martin for all your German jokes and pep talks and Harvey for always believing in me even through my low points. Lastly, thank you to coach Jason and the UChicago swim team for this extraordinary opportunity. I am truly humbled. I am so excited to announce my commitment to swim and study at the University of Chicago! GO MAROONS!!”

Zhao, a two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American senior at North Oconee High School, is a sprint free specialist who trains with Athens Bulldogs Swim Club. She is a Winter Juniors qualifier in the 50/100 free and a Futures qualifier in the 200/500 free and 200 IM. Zhao won both the 4A-5A 100 free (50.93) and 200 free (1:50.31) at the 2020 Georgia High School 1A-5A State Championships. She clocked the second-fastest 100 free in the meet and the third 200 free. She also anchored the 5th-place 200 free relay (24.25) and the 3rd-place 400 free relay (51.19).

In club swimming, she earned PBs in the 50 free and 200 free at 2019 Winter Juniors East. Her Winter Juniors cuts in the 50/100m free date from the summer of 2018’s Georgia LSC Long Course Championships and Zone Age Group Championships, where she placed 2nd in the 50 free, 2nd in the 100 free, 3rd in the 200 free, 4th in the 400 free, and 6th in the 200 IM.

Best SCY times:

  • 50 free – 23.89
  • 100 free – 50.93
  • 200 free – 1:50.26
  • 100 back – 59.49
  • 200 back – 2:05.58
  • 200 IM – 2:07.76
  • 100 fly – 58.01

Zhao’s best times would have landed her spots in the A final of the 200 free and the B final of the 100 free at the 2019 NCAA Division III Championships, where the Chicago women finished in 6th place. Zhao will suit up for the Maroons with Samantha Bertschi, also from Georgia.

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2 years ago

My favorite all time post of announcement from a swimmer!!! What a humble and generous lady. In today’s climate it is refreshing to read a swimmer offer thanks to parents, teammates and coaches in such a manner. Best wishes to you Karen. I hope your parents are drafting the book “How to raise a daughter who is a CHAMPION!” Godspeed.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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