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Correction: A prior version of this story indicated that Runnels was a junior. She is a senior and will join Florida in the class of 2021.
The University of Florida women have shot out of the gates with their 2021 recruiting class, and they’ve just added another big one with NCAP’s Aris Runnels, a senior at Colgan High School.
I’m so excited and extremely blessed to announce my verbal commitment to further my swimming and academic career at the University of Florida. I want to thank all my coaches, teammates, family, and friends for their continuous support! GO GATORS!🐊
TOP TIMES (SCY)
- 50 free – 23.85
- 100 free – 51.97
- 200 free – 1:52.81 *
- 500 free – 4:54.01
- 50 back – 25.57
- 100 back – 53.80
- 200 back – 2:00.38
- 100 breast – 1:04.17
- 200 breast – 2:18.26
- 100 fly – 54.96
- 200 IM – 2:05.01
- 400 IM – 4:26.95
Runnels is solid across the board, though backstroke is where she’s been strongest so far. In the 200 free, Runnels hit a lifetime best of 1:52.81 in October of 2020, a post-quarantine improvement.
Runnels is the defending Virginia HS 6A Champion in the 100 back, where she won the 2020 title in a 54.16. She was also fourth at that meet in the 100 fly (55.50).
In 2019, Runnels was the 50m back champion at the 2019 NCSA Summer Championships, hitting a 29.13 in long course. At that meet, she was also seventh in the 50m fly (28.00) and 10th in the 100m fly (1:02.40), and she popped a lifetime best 29.06 leading off NCAP’s winning 200m medley relay.
The Gators just graduated top backstrokers and NCAA qualifiers Sherridon Dressel (50.6/1:50.9) and Emma Ball (51.3), and their top returner this season is Rosie Zavaros, a junior (53.2/1:54.8). NC State transfer and NCAP alum Katie Mack (53.8/1:54.1) and freshman Lain Shahboz (54.1/1:59.8) are also on the roster this year. Runnels will help the Gators bulk their backstroke group up again starting in fall 2021.
While Florida already has several swimmers in the class of 2022 committed, they’re still working on their class of 2021, including Runnels. She joins Russian Ekaterina Nikonova, North Carolinian Brooke Zettel, and a herd of fellow Floridians like Georgia Bates, Mary Kate Kelley, Olivia Peoples, and Anna Auld in a deep class of 2021 for the Gators.
There are a lot of good swimmers in that class, with highlights being Nikonova, who was a medalist at the European Junior Swimming Championships, US Junior National Teamer Micayla Cronk, and Winter Juniors East finalist Brooke Zettel.
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