Jacob Pebley, who won four medals at the recent FINA Junior World Championships, has made a verbal commitment to swim for Cal next fall. Here’s what Pebley had to say about his commitment:
“I ultimately chose Cal for ithe way it has risen to an elite level. That has a lot to do with Coach Durden. He is a fairly young coach and is showing success earlier than I think most schools expected. I trust that he will be able to pinpoint my weaknesses and make them stronger, some of which are my underwaters, starts, turns, and front half speed. These guys here obviously know how to sprint, but there are a bunch of guys here that have proven they have endurance as well. This is a place I feel comfortable with saying that it will strengthen my weaknesses. It’s a place where I feel the happiest being, it offers an excellent education, and will be a place where I can develop into an Olympian.”
Pebley, who collegeswimming.com ranks as the #3 recruit in the class, will bring great versatility to the Golden Bears program, but is primarily a backstroker. In yards, he’s got bests of 47.6/1:42.7, the latter of which would have put him into a B final at NCAA’s and ranks him easily at the top of the class (by over a second).
He is also a fantatstic IM’er, with bests of 1:47.4/3:51.9 in the 200 and 400 (the 200 is also best in the class), and a very good middle-distance freesyler (1:37.94).
Pebley is a very good sprint backstroker, but his real strength is through the middle-distance races. This continues the trend of the Cal men’s program this year to shift away from a full-blown sprint program towards a better balanced, slightly more endurance program.
Pebley probably steps into the backstroke legs for both Cal medley relays as a freshman, which will allow superstar Tom Shields to shift to his true-love: the butterfly legs. That gives Pebley’s commitment sort of a double-value for the Golden Bears. If I was a wagering man, I’d put good money that in four years, Pebley will stand out as one of the top-two swimmers in this class.
At the recent Junior World Championships, Pebley picked up golds in the 100 LCM back (55.01), 200 back (1:58.73 – meet record), and 400 medley relay, along with a silver in the 50 back (25.75).