The University of Georgia’s Eva Merrell, SwimSwam’s top recruit out of the high school class of 2018, will miss the remainder of the 2019-2020 season after sustaining a torn ACL and “a couple other minor injuries to [her] knee” last month, she told SwimSwam Thursday.
She has been advised that undergoing surgery will be the best option for her recovery.
“After being assessed by my doctor and getting a MRI, I have been told I will be out for the remainder of the season and that surgery will be the best way to ensure that I can be strong and healthy moving forward,” she wrote in an email. “Obviously this is not how I would have wanted my year to go, but I will take it in stride and move forward! As always, I can’t wait to watch the dawgs race and compete this season!”
Merrell was expected to make her collegiate debut this fall after struggles with physical and mental health kept her sidelined during what would have been her freshman season and ultimately brought her back home to California for treatment throughout the spring. She had returned to Georgia over the summer to take classes and train.
A two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American in high school, Merrell broke a total of seven CIF-Southern Section Division II records during her senior season of high school. Merrell won the 200 back in the Big Ten vs. USA College Challenge meet in the fall of 2016, dropping 5.2 seconds to go a lifetime best of 1:52.20. She also went a PB in the 100 back to finish third.
At 2016 Olympic Trials she was a finalist in both the 100 fly and 200 back, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. Merrell traveled to the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2016 with Team USA and raced at 2016 Junior Pan Pacs. Her last race official race was in August 2017 at the U.S. Open Championships in New York.