Elite backstroker, wide-ranging freestyles, and probable future IM’er Clara Smiddy from the AK Sharks in Florida has verbally committed to the University of Michigan.
This gives Michigan their second big verbal commitment of the fall on the women’s side in what is Mike Bottom’s first full year of recruiting as the head coach of the women’s team (he got a late start in the fall).
Smiddy comes in with freestyle bests of 23.7/ 50.6/1:50.5/4:54.19 in the 50 through 500 yard frees.
With those times, she probably has a chance to join at least the 400 and the 800 free relays as a freshman, though the 400 specifically looks like it will be a dogfight of young talent.
Her biggest immediate value, though, is as a backstroker. Smiddy has best times of 54.31 and 1:56.71 in the 100 and 200 yard races.
Michigan has a lot of very, very good backstrokers, including sophomores Marie Georger, Ali DeLoof, and Zoe Mattingly, but that’s the sort of depth they’ll need to keep pace with Indiana, one of their primary Big Ten rivals.
Smiddy comes in with a lot of versatility though, which is something that Bottom has highly valued for his men’s team. She goes a respectable 1:07.3 in the 100 breast and 57.4 in the 100 fly, which as a high school freshman, she combined to make a 2:01.30 in the 200 yard fly. With that versatility, expect her to get back to her IM roots and be a future Big Ten, if not NCAA, scorer in that discipline.
Smiddy joins Gillian Ryan as part of a Michigan women’s class that looks like it might be one of the better ones the Wolverines have put together. In fact, Michigan, even before Bottom took over, is on a multi-year recruiting run for their women’s team that is lifting them back toward the top of the Big Ten.
Not to be overlooked is the fact that Smiddy is a stud in long course. She’s on the US Junior National team for 2013-2014, and was on the 2013 US World Junior Championships squad where she took 4th in the 100 meter backstroke. She’s been 1:00.5 and 2:10.6 in the long course backstrokes, which are both right among the top in this recruiting class.
Smiddy is home schooled, and that means that in Florida she comptes for a team called South Florida HEAT scholastically. Her brother Samuel Smiddy is also a national-level swimmer who is currently a freshman at Princeton.