Jr. National Champion Bilquist Planning 4 Official Visits; 3 in Pac-12

While star junior sprinter Amy Bilquist broke through with Junior National Championships as a member of the Carmel Swim Club in Indiana in the last year, her list of four official visits shared in an interview with IndyStar.com a month ago shows that her roots still lie on the West Coast.

Bilquist told IndyStar’s lead swimming reporter David Woods that she had narrowed down her list of visits to Cal, USC, Arizona, and Georgia.

The 50 and 100 free, and 100 back, Junior National Champion moved from Arizona to Indiana in the summer of 2013, and her progression didn’t miss a beat. She’s now trained with two of the country’s top age group sprint programs, at the Scottsdale Aquatic Club and now the Carmel Swim Club.

Bilquist measures in at 6 foot 2 inches, and just turned 17 in August, which will leave coaches of those four programs salivating. We recently ranked her #5 in the nation in our Class of 2015 recruiting rankings, and that was before her Junior National Championship last month.

Bilquist’s best times:

  • 50 yard free – 22.15
  • 100 yard free – 48.93
  • 200 yard free – 1:47.44
  • 100 yard back – 52.58
  • 200 yard back – 1:56.33 (mid-season time)
  • 100 yard fly – 54.33
  • 200 yard IM – 2:02.52
  • 50 meter free – 25.04
  • 100 meter free – 54.85
  • 200 meter free – 2:00.63
  • 100 meter back – 1:01.00
  • 200 meter back – 2:13.25
  • 100 meter fly – 1:01.98
  • 200 meter IM – 2:22.48 (at age 14)

The reality is that every program in the country can use a swimmer of that caliber. If, over the next two seasons, she didn’t make even one bit of improvement (unlikely based on her height and age), she is worst case a 10-point individual scorer, four-relay swimmer at NCAA’s as a freshman.

In the NCAA format, a sprinter even at 10 individual points as a freshman is immensely valuable.

With that being said, the three Pac-12 schools, Cal, USC, and Arizona, would have the most to be gained with her addition.

The University of Arizona, back in her prior home state, graduated NCAA Champion Margo Geer last season, and don’t have an obvious replacement on their relay anchors. The Wildcats, who are in big-time rebuilding mode, are the country’s early leaders for top recruiting class in the country, including early signings of Sam SenczyszynMackenzie Rumrill, and Quinn Carrozza.

If Bilquist wound up in Tucson, that’s the nucleus of a team that by 2016 or 2017 could be competing for NCAA team championships.

USC also graduated their top sprinter from last season Kasey Carlson, but with backstroker Henriette Stenkvist and sprinters Evan Swenson (just a freshman last year) and Kasia Wilk, who all have at least two years of eligibility remaining, the impact wouldn’t be quite as significant in year one.

It’s odd to think that Cal might be having trouble with their depth, but in two years, that could be the case in Bilquist’s specialties. Cindy Tran is graduated, and by the time Bilquist begins her first season of college swimming, Missy Franklin and Kaylin Bing will both be done racing for the varsity program, and Rachel Bootsma and Liz Pelton will just have one year left for Cal’s varsity program.

While those programs have the biggest needs for a swimmer like Bilquist, Georgia, who is stacked with freestylers has an undeniable draw. Olivia Smoliga was the NCAA Champion in the 50 free as just a freshman last year, and the program has been the top women’s college freestyle program for at least the last decade.

Individually, Bilquist won Junior National Championships this summer in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 backi, and was also on Junior National Championship relays in the 400 free, 400 medley, and 800 free relays.

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8 years ago

A little annoyed at some people making suggestions of schools not on the list and accusing Amy making the “safe” choice. As a friend of Amy, I know she has LOVED some of these schools since she was a freshman in high school. At that point she was still a great talent, but not a national name as she is now. She has developed so much since moving to Indiana that now she is on their radar, and I think it is totally acceptable that her hard work is being rewarded by getting visits to these great schools. She had followed these schools and their results for several years, so I think she’s done her homework on schools that would… Read more »

8 years ago

Hope she chooses Cal. GO BEARS!

swim fan
8 years ago

If you look at those four choices from a pure academics standpoint, they are all great schools and she would get an excellent education from any of them.

8 years ago

What about NC State? They’ve done a great job with the men’s team and have developed great sprinters on the women side as well. She could be the game changer for program like this! Todd DeSorbo has done a great job with the sprint group.

Although, I would love to see him back at UNCW sometime in the future! ha….

8 years ago

Don’t know where else to post this. But a big congrats in store for Manuel, Ledecky and all who are great high school student athlete swimmers in our country

8 years ago

At times it seems to me many of our fine swimmers are limited in their looking at schools around the country.

Reply to  CoachGB
8 years ago

I agree, especially in women’s swimming. Outside of the schools she is looking at there are not many that bring in these types of recruits consistently. Maybe Stanford and Florida. Not UCLA, Texas, Michigan, or even Auburn. Thought Michigan or Indiana might be on her list as at least one mid-west option.

Reply to  CoachGB
8 years ago

i see the point and can agree to it somewhat.

i think what you see now in the “a group” of recruits is a more purposeful selection on what they think will get them on a national team, int’l squad and olympics.

there’s a big difference between a great school with a great program (IU) vs. a great school with a history of olympians (Cal, UGA, Florida).

the catch-22 is that all these great schools didn’t start out that way and they molded kids to those ranks. look at Texas A&U in 2012 for example!

but i think it shows less willingness amongst recruits to trust in a program vs. seeing the proof already.

Reply to  CoachGB
8 years ago

I think it will come down to:
Do these athletes do their homework rather? or they would rather take the EASY way by picking ‘established’ program?

I mentioned about program like NC State (no I dont have any affiliation with NC State, I just swam at UNCW and I do believe Todd DeSorbo is the real deal!) should be looked at by these type of athletes. Yes she is very good, but she would be ‘one of those girls’ at programs like Stanford, Cal, USC, or UGA.

8 years ago

What about Texas A&M? Bultman does more with less than any program you are steering her to.

8 years ago

I believe Bootsma & Pelton will still be around?

They are currently Juniors…

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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