The best part about college athletics is the recruiting system. Every year, every team has a chance at landing that one, special recruit that can reshape an entire program. This is what separates college sports from pro sports. The Tampa Bay Rays are never going to shell out the cash to sign Albert Pujols, but San Diego State University, a program with a solid, but nowhere near major, program, signed the #11 recruit in the country Chelsea Bailey who has a 22.8 50 and a 49.5 100 free to her name already.
Now that all of the high school state meets are about wrapped up, it’s time to start visiting the recruits and see where the classes shook out. Most Americans have committed, and so now eyes will turn north to Canada, where commitments aren’t as easily accessible.
Collegeswimming.com does a fantastic job of ranking the country’s swimming recruits every year based on purely objective methods, but there are still a few holes in the top 100 rankings. We’re here to fill in those holes, and see who (appears to) have truly not committed. A lot of these swimmers are internationals, who may have committed but not publicly. We focused on American recruits, because they’re the ones who are most likely to swim in college, but we’ll also look at the top few internationals, and do our best to speculate on where they might be headed.
If you’ve got any inside info on where these swimmers are headed, please leave it in the comments!
#14 Tianna Rissling (Canada) – Rissling is a Canadian swimmer with a bright international future (she already goes a 1:07.9 in the 100 breast LCM). There’s a good chance that she won’t swim in (American) college, but if she does, tell me if you can think of a program with a history of developing great Canadian breaststrokers that might had a scholarship open up after this year? Maybe a future Minnesota Golden Gopher?
#15 Ashley McGregor (Canada) – Ashley McGregor is another great Canadian breaststroker, with a 1:09.7 best in textile. I can’t find any commitments, but she seems to have the most interest in swimming in the NCAA amongst the swimmers on the list. She’s from Quebec, and has enrolled in “college” there, which is the equivalent of the 12th grade in the US. Don’t be surprised to see her in a college pool next year (Minnesota and Texas A&M are two popular destinations for Canadians in the past).
#17 Amanda Lim (Singapore) – Lim is a sprinter from Singapore who may have already made her college decision. The Youth Olympics vet is currently attending the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. She’s already done some endorsements overseas, and barring the NCAA looking past those, I think this is probably another international who stays international. That’s too bad: she’s already gone a 22.1 in the 50 free and a 49.0 in the 100. Those are times that colleges would be drooling over.
#30 Noelle Tarazona (California) – Tarazona was the 2010 Jr. Pan Pac Champion in the 200 fly, and along with #35 Allison Gargalikis will give the Bruins an outstanding foundation for the next four years. Given their geographic location, it was only a matter of time before UCLA started pulling in recruits like these.
#35 Allison Gargalikis (California) – Gargalikis recently was a part of the Carondelet High School squad that broke the National High School 200 medley relay record for the second year in a row, and will be headed to UCLA in the fall. She’s a 1:00.8 breaststroker who will take over the role that the graduating Brittany Beauchan is leaving in the program, and will already be almost as fast. This is a big pickup for the Bruins in a brutal Pac-10.
#37 Hannah Bowen (Minnesota) – Bowen will be taking her talents to South Bend in the fall. The Notre Dame commit posted a 22.7 in the 50 and a 49.7 in the 100 free as a 15-year old, and though she hasn’t matched those times since, in 2010 she went a sub-23 and sub-50 in the freestyle sprints, respectively. Her real challenge in college will be developing a solid third event. She’s an above-average 100 breaststroker and 100 butterflier.
#43 Kaitlin Pawlowicz (Maryland) – Pawlowicz will head to the University of Texas in the fall. She’s quite versatile, though seems to fit in best as a distance freestyler/IM’er. She recently swam a 4:47.2 in the 500 free, as well as a decent 4:13.51 in the 400 IM. If those races don’t pan out, however, she’s also got a great 200 fly (1:59.1) as well. She’s very reminiscent of Longhorn junior Leah Gingrich.
#52 Shelby Webber – (California) – Webber, who swims for the same Gold West Swim Club that produced Cindy Tran, will head to Oregon State to lead a Beaver squad that has been down for a few times (including taking a shot last year when one of the best swimmers the program has produced, Anna Heller, transfered to Texas A&M). As a freshman, she has NCAA scoring potential in both the 100 free (49.90) and 200 IM (2:00.28), both of which times were set as the CIF Southern Section champ two weeks ago.
#54 Arden Pitman (Tennessee) – Pitman, who was a part of the Baylor School’s National Record setting 200 free relay, will follower her sister Sloane to the University of Tennessee in the fall. Pitman is a 23.0 50 freestyler and a 53.8 100 backstroker.
#55 Ellen Williamson (Kentucky) – Williamson will swim at Virginia next year, and will be a welcome addition to their backstroke group. She already has gone a 53.57 in the 100 and 1:55.74 in the 200. Not only that, she’ll be a strong addition to the butterfly scoring, with her 53.9/2:00.4 bests. After Lauren Smart transfered prior to last season, the Cavaliers scored only 4 points in those events combined (thanks to a 13th-place finish from Meredith Cavalier in the 200 back).
#64 Juanita Barreto (Iowa/Colombia) – Barreto has as much experience as anybody in this year’s top 100, including a spot at the 2009 World Championships and 2010 Youth Olympics representing Colombia. She’s the Canadian National Record holder in the 200 free and 200 back, but swims high school in West Des Moines, Iowa. Thus far, there’s no indications that she’s signed anywhere. Perhaps she is exploring her options as a member of the Colombian National Team.
#65 Rhiannon Sheets (Indiana) – This Carmel High product will be swimming at Purdue in the fall. Sheets is a very good freestyler (50.2/1:47.0) and butterflier (55.0/2:02.1).
#86 Molly Dubrasky (Florida) – Dubrasky was one of the last additions to Gregg Troy’s class at the University of Florida. She won 3-straight state titles in the 500 free, and two-straight in the 200 free, which makes her a perfect fit for the middle-distance group at Florida. She goes a 1:48 in the 200 and 4:45 in the 500, and is another nice freestyle/butterfly combination.
#88 Eva Chen (California) – Chen, who hails from within the Stanford sphere of influence, one of the country’s top Universities, has chosen to fly across the country to attend another top school: Brown. Chen was the CIF Central Section Champ in the 100 breast (1:02.32), and adds to a banner year for Ivy League recruiting. The conference, usually known more for its academics than athletics, has no fewer than 9 out of the country’s top 100 recruits. That’s more than the Big Ten.
#89 Tori Bagan (Indiana) – Bagan, from Northeast Indiana, amassed an impressive 16-straight medals during her high school career, and has a multitude of “Swimmer of the Year” honors. She will be swimming at the University of Ohio in the fall, as one of the better recruits in program history there. She’s got a 1:01.2 100 breaststroke and a 23.3 50 freestyle, but will need to work hard to develop her overall swimming abilities and versatility to be truly program-altering for Ohio
#93 Emma Reaney (Kansas) – Reaney is another mystery commit headed to Notre Dame in the fall after choosing the Irish over Virginia. The move makes sense, given that Notre Dame’s head coach (Brian Barnes) was the head coach of Reaney’s Lawrence squad from 1998-2002. Reaney is a middle-distance star, with a 2:00.86 in the 200 IM, a 2:15.85 in the 200 breast, and a 2:02.21 in the 200 fly. She also comes in with a 1:02.5 100 breast.
(Note: The #34 ranked recruit, Becca Mann from Illinois, is not even in high school yet, but is on track for a top-10 recruit when she gets there).