Illinois State Gains Commitment From Backstroker Avery Watson (2024)

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Avery Watson has announced her commitment to continue her education and swimming career at Illinois State University this fall. Watson’s decision keeps her in-state, as she is currently a senior at Crystal Lake South High School in Lake In The Hills, Illinois. 

Watson’s twin brother, Drew Watson, is committed to swim at Miami University in Ohio this fall. 

“I’m super excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic careers at Illinois State University! Huge thank you to my family, coaches and teammates who have supported me throughout this journey. I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years have in store! GO REDBIRDS” 

Watson trains and competes year-round with the Reach Aquatics Swim Club. She swims a range of events, including sprint free, fly, back, and IM. Her best event is the 100 backstroke as she’s a Futures qualifier in the short course and long course version of the event.

Watson wrapped up her high school career in November at the Illinois High School State Championship meet. She competed individually in the 100 fly, where she clocked a season best time of 57.39 to take 18th overall. Watson was also a member of her team’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays, contributing splits of 24.28 and 52.88, respectively.

Highlighting Watson’s summer long course season this year was the Illinois Swimming Senior Championships. She dropped almost a second in the 200 backstroke to finish 14th (2:26.78), while in the 400 IM she earned 16th with a season best time of 5:22.51. Her 200 backstroke saw massive improvement over the course of the season, as she entered the summer with a best time of 2:37.89.

Top SCY Times

  • 100 free – 52.68
  • 100 back – 57.63
  • 200 back – 2:05.77
  • 100 fly – 57.39
  • 200 fly – 2:06.95
  • 200 IM – 2:09.63

Illinois State finished 3rd at the 2023 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championships with a total of 997 points. The team has undergone some coaching changes since then, with Sean Sullivan taking over the role of interim head coach following Caitlin Hamilton’s move to Kentucky. 

Watson’s best time in the 200 backstroke would make her the team’s 4th-fastest performer in the event this year. Leading the way so far is senior Cassidy Carey, who posted a 2:00.19 at the Indiana State dual meet. 

With her commitment, Watson joins Hailey Fris, Amelia Murphy, Hope Westphal, Payton Dorman, and Alex Davis in the Redbirds’ incoming class this fall. 

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