Elite Israeli sprinter Zohar Shikler, who had initially verbally committed to swim for the Florida Gators, has had a change of heart and de-committed from Gregg Troy’s program. She’ll head to the University of Arizona instead, joining a dynamic sprint group under head coach Rick DeMont. Shikler is a 2016 Olympian, having competed in Rio for Israel’s Olympic team. Additionally, she adds the 2015 World Championships to her high-profile international repertoire.
TOP TIMES (LCM/SCY CONVERTED)
- 50 free – 25.18/21.96
- 100 free – 56.18/49.17
- 200 free – 2:06.63/1:51.19
Shikler is a pure sprinter, with high-impact potential in the 50 free, primarily. She swam that event individually at the 2016 Olympic Games, placing 33rd overall with a 25.38, just off of her lifetime best. Notably, she had Israel’s fastest split (55.29) on their national record-setting 400 free relay in Rio, which finished 16th overall. Her 55.29 is nearly a full second faster than her lifetime best, albeit with a flying start, and it converts to a competitive 48.36 in yards.
It’s fairly difficult to predict how international swimmers will translate their LCM success into SCY firepower, but should Shikler be able to replicate her speed in the smaller pool, she’ll be a very big addition for the Wildcats. With converted times, she would have finished 4th in the 50 free and in the B final of the 100 free at last year’s Pac-12 Championships. Nationally, Shikler would have scored in the 50 free A final at last year’s NCAA’s, and she’ll probably add immediate upside to their 200 free relay and possibly their 400 free relay.
Arizona’s young sprint group, led by Olympic Trials 50 free finalist Katrina Konopka, have incoming depth with the additions of top high school sprinters Jamie Stone (22.68/49.46) and Kayla Filipek (22.50/50.29). Mixing in Shikler could provide the Wildcats with plenty of sprint speed to continue their tradition of formidable sprint relays at the national level. As is common with most international additions, it’s not yet known when Shikler will join the Wildcat roster, but this article will be updated to reflect new information when it’s been released.
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