Four of the more high-profile mid-major programs have picked up key verbal commitments for their 2014 recruiting classes this week.
Miami (OH) Nabs Kuhl
Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is looking to defend its MAC Championship this year when they open their season against traditional first-weekend opponents Purdue on October 18th. Before that, though, they’ve picked up a big verbal commitment for the fall of 2014: Katherine Kuhl from the Edwardsville YMCA in Illinois.
Kuhl is primarily a speedster (though she can stretch to the 200’s as well) that is rarely bound by stroke. She finisher her junior year with a 23.85 in the 50 yard free at the YMCA National Championships, and the year before was a best time of 52.63 in the 100 yard race. Miami has some good history in these sprint freestyles, but graduated their two best (Bekka Westrick and Maddie Kete) after the 2012-2013 season, so Kuhl has a chance for relay spots as a freshman.
She could also serve as additional depth in both the 100 back (56.93) and the 100 fly (55.99), the latter of which was the program’s biggest need this fall. They graduated five of their six best swimmers from last year, with the lone exception being sophomore Gabby Veri and her 57.14. Expect the Redhawks to go after at least one more butterflier in the early signing period.
Canaan Campbell Goes to Missouri State
University of Kansas head coach Clark Campbell has three children. Two of them (Cierra and Claire) are eligible to swim at Kansas. Without a men’s program, though, his son Canaan Campbell had to look elsewhere, and so he will head across state lines to Missouri State.
As one might expect from the coach’s kid, Canaan is a very, very versatile swimmer. He’s got a little bit of sprint speed, but in the freestyles his success really kicks in through the middle distance, with bests of 1:42.35 and 4:37.66 in the 200 and 500 yard races.
He’s also been 52.5 and 1:53.8 in the 100 and 200 yard flys; 53.2/1:52.4 in the 100 and 200 yard backs; 1:03.9 in the 100 yard breast, and finally a 4:02.03 in the 400 yard IM. Those events are among the weaker ones in the MAC where Missouri State currently swims, and so he should be an immediate point-scorer at the conference level. He currently trains with Ad Astra Area Aquatics in the Lawrence, Kansas area.
Alston to Radford
Quest Aquatics’ Morgan Alston has verbally committed to Radford. She’s been 59.9 in the 100 yard back, 1:10.7 in the 100 yard breast, and 1:00.0 in the 100 yard fly. That all added up to a 2:12.9 in the 200 yard IM.
These may not initially seem like huge times, but in the CCSA where Radford competes, depth counts for a lot. They finished 10th last year in a 13-team conference, and is close to being a B-finalist already in multiple events. The conference continues to get faster though (an overwhelming proportion of the scorers were underclassmen at last year’s meet), so Radford needs to continue to stand tall in recruiting.
UNC-Asheville Continues to Beef up Roster for New Program
UNC-Asheville is working with a small roster of 14 swimmers this season, but being in only their second year of existence, just two of them are seniors, one a junior, and three sophmores. Last fall, the Bulldogs under coach Elizabeth Lykins went to work and signed 8 freshman, and this year they’re back at it.
What this team needs now is to find able-bodies, willing-bodies, and enthusiastic bodies ina hurry, and they got at least that in Allie Snyder from the YMCA of the Triangle Area.
She’s primarily a middle-distance freestyler, with best times of 1:56.42 in the 200 and 5:07.53 in the 500 yard freestyles. That’s actually an impressive signing for Asheville, as last year they had just one swimmer (then-freshman Galen Broido) break two minutes in the 200 free, and none under 5 minutes in the 500 free.
The reality is that Snyder would’ve placed in the top 3-4 Bulldogs in almost every single event last season, including the 100 breast where she’s been 1:08.97. Though their times this season, with a full recruiting class in, will look very, very different than they did last season, at this point in the timeline of a new program, getting in swimmers like Snyder who have some amount of versatility and can contribute to a lot of relays is important. It also may help establish critical new recruiting ties in their home state, and especially with one of the state’s top programs YOTA.