Cal loaded up on the class of 2012 early – by the middle of October, they had received verbal commitments from 4 of the top 10 recruits in of the talent that they’re bringing in after USC and Georgia took over the recruiting headlines for a few weeks.
The latest addition is Rachael Acker (CollegeSwimming.com’s #24 in the class) out of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (another Palo Alto star defecting). She’s a great sprint freestyler, though perhaps was at times overshadowed by former teammate Maddie Schaeffer, who chose to stay put and swim for the Stanford Cardinal.
Acker will be a huge addition for Cal at just the right moment as their current sprint star Liv Jensen (2010 50 free NCAA Champion) will be graduating after the current season. Acker will step in with bests of 22.7/49.0 in the 50 and 100 free. After Cal was hit in their sprint freestyles by some tough graduations (and at least one swimmer leaving the program), she probably would be on this year’s Cal relays at NCAA’s if she were eligible. With another year of seasoning in her, training with an elite club program (and with no signs that her development has stopped), she could be an NCAA scorer in the 50 year one.
At this year’s Junior Nationals, in her home pool, she took 4th in the 100 free (56.43 LCM) and a 25.95 in a 50 free time trial that would’ve put her 2nd in the regular event. She also snuck in an Olympic Trials cut in the 100 fly in 1:01.92 (with a 55.5 best in yards – though that should be a 54-low by the time she finishes her senior year).
Though Acker’s recruiting rankings aren’t as high as those of some of her Classmates (Rachel Bootsma, Liz Pelton, Kelly Naze, and Lauren Driscoll) that’s mostly because of a more-narrow focus rather than a lack of equivalent quality. She could comfortably be discussed as a top-5 sprinter in the class, and with some debate could be pushed as high as top-3.
Want to know what’s really scary about this Cal group? The freshman class alone, without any credit for relay starts, would have put up a 3:16.5 in the 400 free relay and a 3:34.1 in the 400 medley relay. Both of those times would have placed them in the top-12 at NCAA’s last year as high school juniors.