Disclaimer: Blueseventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The blueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
It was just 11 days ago that we released our annual NCAA recruiting class rankings for the current crop of juniors. We ranked Newport Harbor’s Ayla Spitz 20th.
11 days later, she made that rank irrelevant.
To be fair, modern trends in college recruiting are putting recruit rankings in a no-win situation. Our old policy was to rank recruits on July 1 after their junior year – when recruiting season officially opened. But with more and more swimmers not only starting, but finishing the recruiting process early with verbal commitments in the spring of junior years and even during sophomore years in some cases, we were forced to adjust, moving up our ranks to late April.
The downside is that some swimmers don’t wrap up their high school seasons until May, and can use those high school postseason meets to drastically alter their lifetime-bests.
That’s what Spitz did.
A 49.2/1:46.4 freestyler when we ranked her 20th, Spitz was more notable for a 1:58 IM and a 53.4 backstroke. But at the CIF Sunset League Championships, Spitz blasted a 1:45.44 in the 200 free to pair with a 48.88 in the 100 free, which should launch her well above 20th in the current recruiting landscape.
It only took 1:44.86 to score at NCAAs in the 200 free this past season, and plenty of scoring 800 free relays fielded legs much slower than that. In fact, we count 9 legs from NCAA scoring 800 free relays that were slower than Spitz’s 1:45.44, many of them with relay exchanges.
Comparing to the rest of the high school Class of 2019, Spitz’s free times alone now put her in line with #7 Alexandra Crisera (22.4/48.8/1:47.0) and #10 Kelly Pash (22.7/48.5/1:45.2), though she doesn’t yet have the 50 (23.19) to match them. (And, of course, the rankings do still take into account versatility, other time drops and relay value, which is why Crisera and Pash’s 50s weigh so heavily).
If Spitz is continuing her high school season into California’s section and state meets, she could lower those times further, or swap events and look to better her solid IM and backstroke times. Either way, Spitz is on the rise at just the right time to climb up the recruiting lists of NCAA coaches.
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