The Louisville women have added a last-minute signee for 2013-2014. The Netherlands’ Andrea Kneppers, 19, landed in Louisville on Thursday (after a flight delay) and will join the team for the upcoming season, where she should have a huge and immediate impact. Kneppers was in the water for a captains-led practice on Friday morning.
Kneppers is primarily a freestyler, where she’s been as good in short course as long course at this point of her career. At the 2012 Eindhoven Swim Cup in April, she had the best meet of her career where she was 56.0 and 2:00.6 in the 100 and 200 long course meter freestyles. Those times convert to 49.0 and 1:45-high, respectively, in yards.
For the Cardinals, who ranked 22nd at NCAA’s last year overall, that should be a huge boost to their relays, which failed to score at NCAA’s last year. Taking over a spot on the 800 free relay, she should improve that relay by four seconds (though they’ll still need to swim better at NCAA’s this year than they did last year to move into the top 16), and should take the sprint relay spots of Grite Apanaviciute, who was the only NCAA relay swimmer that the Cardinals graduated last season (she was on both the 200 and 400 free relay). That relay finished 18th at NCAA’s.
She’ll also battle senior Breann McDowell for the anchor spot on the 400 free relay, allowing super-soph Kelsi Worrell to be focused on the butterfly leg.
With her addition, and now little competition at the conference level, the Cardinals should be able to time their taper a bit better for NCAA’s and move into the top 20 in the country at NCAA’s in 2014.