Just as I was expecting that the Auburn women’s class of 2012 was going to be nothing but backstrokers, coach Brett Hawke added some versatility to the class with the signing of Alex Merritt out of Tallahassee.
Merritt is exactly what this class needs as a great freestyler and butterflier. In the sprint freestyles, she goes 23.8/50.8, which are starting times that Hawke will be able to get down in a hurry. She’s also a great butterflier, with bests of 54.9/1:59.8. She’ll come to campus as the team’s best 200 butterflier, and will be the heir apparent to Olivia Scott in the 100.
She’ll probably be in contention for relay spots as a freshman, especially in the 800 free relay.
Something that you don’t hear about as much in swimming recruiting as you do in other sports is an athlete’s physical attributes. In football or basketball, the first thing you hear is an athlete’s height and weight. If Merritt were playing another sport, you might hear that she definitely passes the “eyeball test” in that she looks like an elite college swimmer – very strong to compliment good length.
Auburn’s previous three recruits this year have all been primarily backstrokers – Jillian Vitarius, Caitlyn Forman, and Sarah Reynolds.
The Tigers did well to snag her out from under the noses of the Florida State Seminoles, who have been on a tear in recruiting this year.