Backstroker Haley Rowley of the University of Denver Hilltoppers club program has verbally committed to Purdue University.
Rowley is primarily a backstroker, with yards bests of 56.40 and 1:58.08 in the 100 and 200, respectively. That 200 yard time makes her a Summer Junior Nationals qualifier. She also adds quality in the 200 fly (2:01.72) and 400 IM (4:15.57).
She’s even better in long course – at the 2012 Olympic Trials, she swam a 2:14.9 in the 200 back, a 2:18.1 in the 200 fly, and a 2:18.7 in the 200 IM – all at just 15 years old. That 200 back time placed her 26th out of 186 finishing competitors in that field.
In a conference where their in-state rivals Indiana have a dominant backstroke group (they had the four best 200 backstrokers in the Big Ten last year, for example), this will be a big lift to the Boilermakers. Rowley’s best times would put her 2nd on the school’s all-time list in the 200 backstroke already, for example, and her IM time would place her 3rd.
Her sprint backstroke isn’t going to be quite as impactful immediately, given that Purdue has a sophomore named Hannah Manger that was a 54.7 last season, but individually Rowley shoudl be an immediate scorer in the Big Ten from day one. She’s trained with the Hilltoppers program in the Winter of 2012, but swam with the Boulder Swim Club when she swam at the Olympic Trials. With Denver, she’s improved her long course times in the distance freestyles and 400 IM, though hasn’t yet been able to match those long course backstroke times that she swam with Boulder at the Olympic Trials.