Laura Rodríguez Cao, who took 2nd place at the 2014 European Junior Championships in the 1500m free, will leave the continent in 2016 to train and study in the United States.
The swimmer from Sabadell, Spain, born in 1998, will study an train on the University of Florida, with coach Gregg Troy, who finished 9th earlier this year in the Division I (NCAA) Championships and whose last victory is from 2010, with Spaniard Melani Costa as one of the team members.
The Gators have also been the team of another Spanish swimmer, Eduardo Solaeche, from Madrid, during his college career.
Rodriguez has chosen Florida over suitors Lousville and North Carolina, the other options she examined.
As for her choosing the US to study she said “I have some friends in the United States and they always said that it’s a great experience and a fantastic chance. For example, here in Spain is too difficult be a swimmer while you are studying in the university. In the US there are teams at each one! I don’t know why but I have always loved Florida! I will begin the school and the competition season in August 2016.”
Laura Rodriguez, as mentioned, won the silver in the 1500m free in the European Junior Championships last year with a personal best 16:34.04 (16:14.54 in yards). This year she had a 16:44.32, her second best and Spain’s 6th-best time of the year, at the Junior World Championships in Singapore, where she came out 10th.
She raced again at the Junior World Championships and in the 800 free timed final placed 8th in 8:44.00. Her personal best of 8:40.12 is from the Malaga Open, in Malaga this year.
For the sake of comparison, Cao’s long course best times in those races are slightly better than the ones of American Joy Field, who collegeswimming.com ranks as the 13th-best recruit in next year’s class (2017). Cao will be the heir-apparent to a Florida distance group that after this season will lose the services of Britain’s Jess Thielmann – the 3rd-place finisher at the 2015 NCAA Championships in the 1650 free.