Temarie Tomley, Paige Matherson, and Mia Nonnenberg have all verbally committed to the University of Alabama in the last two weeks.
After a year of grabbing some big international signings to put a jolt of excitement back into the Crimson Tide program, second-year head coach Dennis Pursley has quickly turned his sights on this year’s deep American class, and has had some big success there as well.
His latest group of signings includes the above three women, all of whom are immediate-impact additions to a rising Alabama squad.
Tomley, of the Mercy Healthplex Sea Wolves in Ohio, is a sprint freestyler. In yards, she had her breakout meet at last summer’s Winter Junior Nationals, where she was a 23.11, 50.82, and 1:49.78 in the 50, 100, and 200 yard freestyles.
Tomley has been fortunate enough to swim for the same coach since she was 9 years old, a relative rarity in the modern era of swimming. Aaron Dorfman, the programs head coach and 2009 Ohio Age Group Coach of the Year, has moved up the ladder along with Tomley, and together the two have had great success.
Where Tomley specializes in the sprints, Matherson is more of a distance freestyler. The Terrapins Swim Team (CA) product has yards bests of 4:51.83 in the 500 and 10:02.66 in the 1000 freestyle. In the intersection race, the 200 free, Matherson is almost as good as her future teammate, having been 1:50.44.
On paper, they should both, as freshman, end up on the school’s 800 free relay, where they’ll join the new school record holder Emma Saunders and rising sophomore Brittany Gilbert, and it looks like that 800 free relay could very well be where these Crimson Tide get their big breakthrough and return to the NCAA Championships. (The 2014 qualifying time in that relay is a 7:07.31, which comes out to about a 1:46.8 on average).
Also hunting for a spot on that relay will be Mia Nonnenberg from Blue Dolphin Aquatics in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In the freestyle races, she has yards bests of 1:50.10 and 4:48.18 in the 200 and 500, including the latter of which made her the Pennsylvania AAA (big school) state champion.
But her versatility runs well deeper than the other two girls. She’s also been 2:01.9 in the 200 fly, 2:00.41 in the 200 IM, and 4:16.21 in the 400 IM.
Those IM times absolutely blow away anything that Alabama had last season, and she should be an immediate scorer in both at SEC’s as a freshman, as well as in that 500 free.
After finishing 10th out of 12 teams at last year’s SEC Championships, the only direction for Alabama is up. As their international additions continue to gel in their new surroundings, and as Pursley adds classes like this one, the Crimson Tide could be jumping up and competing for perhaps the top 7 at the 2015 SEC Championships, and continue building from there.