There are few programs in the country who seem to be better at exploiting their recruiting history than Minnesota. Some of the connections are obvious – the Aquajets program, which has sent several to the Golden Gophers, is located in suburban Minneapolis. Some are pretty broad, but there’s no doubt that the presence of Canada’s best breaststroker, Jillian Tyler, influenced the commitment of Kierra Smith. Some are a bit more random: The Steenvoorden sisters come from East Brunswick, NJ of all places, which is the same high school that produced 2011 freshman Christie Clarke.
Their latest signing falls into the latter category, where you know that swimmers on the current roster must have had some effect, even if by reputation only.
The Gophers have received a verbal commitment from Lauren Votava, who is the top-ranked recruit out of the state of Missouri in the class of 2011. The freestyler and butterflier hails from the same Rockwood Swim Club in suburban St. Louis that produced 2011 200 breaststroke National Champion Haley Spencer.
Votava’s sprint bests through her junior season are 23.3/50.2, both of which will be big for the Minnesota sprint free relays that both finished 19th at NCAA’s last year (and even with that, all four of the swimmers on both of those relays will be graduated by the time Votava arrives on campus next fall. She’s also very good in the 200 free, with a best of 1:48.88.
She’s also a good butterflier, with a best in the 100 of 55.33.
It says a lot about a program that can recruit the same program in different years. That’s a strong indicator of a program, and a coaching staff led by Kelly Kraemer, that makes their swimmers happy.