Caroline Aikins, out of SwimAtlanta, is the latest verbal commitment to join the Lady Bulldogs as part of the Class of 2022, bringing the total incoming class to six. While she’ll rub shoulders with lots of familiar faces in her native Georgia, none will be more so than her sister Katherine, who has just begun her sophomore year at the University of Georgia.
While Katherine is primarily a sprint freestyler (22.94 in the 50 free), Caroline is best in the backstroke events. Caroline emerged onto Georgia’s club swimming scene at the age of 13, and was one of the top 13-14 age group swimmers in the state. At 14, she already had four short course Winter Juniors cuts, including the 100 back (56.36), 200 back (1:59.98), 200 IM (2:03.60), and 400 IM (4:23.28). She also had a very impressive 200 free (1:50.58).
Caroline swims for Lambert High School, which previously won the girls’ state title four years in a row from 2013 to 2016, and was runner-up last year. During her junior campaign, Caroline finaled in both of her individual events at the 2017 GHSA 6A-7A State Championship, as well as capturing the state title in the 200 medley relay. As a sophomore, Caroline was instrumental in the Longhorns’ fourth state title, finishing third in both the 200 IM (2:02.56) and the 100 back (56.06), and leading off the 200 free relay (24.02) and 200 medley relay (26.55).
After chipping away at a few of her personal best short course times over the last few years, Caroline had a massive long course season this past summer, dropping over 3 seconds off her best 100 back (1:02.97), and more than 4 seconds from her 200 back (2:16.44). Both swims earned her state titles and were her first Summer Nationals qualifications. Her best times are:
In light of Sam Fazio’s transfer to Arizona State, Ashley Mallon’s retirement, and Annie Williamson missing from the 2017-2018 lineup, the Lady Bulldogs’ roster has recently opened up for the incoming class. In addition to having two years of overlap with sister Katherine, Caroline will join a class loaded with talent (although still looking for a breaststroker, sorry to beat the dead horse), including SwimSwam’s #1 ranked recruit Eva Merrell, World Team Member Dakota Luther, National Junior Team Captain Madison Homovich, Olivia Carter, and Tatum Smith. Caroline will also get three years to compete and train alongside last year’s #1 recruit Courtney Harnish, who had a stellar first dual meet of her collegiate career.
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