The recruiting trips of Missy Franklin have been under a tight telescope this fall, but her fellow class of 2013 Olympian Lia Neal has flown relatively under-the-radar, but she begins her official trips this weekend in Southern California with Dave Salo’s USC Trojans.
Out of the rumored lead suitors for Neal’s services (USC, Cal, Texas, Stanford), the Trojans could probably most use the services of a sprinter of her caliber. Neal had bests of 22.5/48.1 as just a sophomore in high school in 2010, both of which would have placed her 2nd on the USC team last season. We don’t know exactly how fast she is at a peak in yards; though her improvement in yards times slowed last season, she was clearly focused on making the Olympic Team – which she did and with huge success, earning a bronze medal with a finals swim on the 400 free relay.
Of course, there’s not a team in the country that wouldn’t fall all over themselves to grab a swimmer of Neal’s talents, but a sprinter of that level is what this team was missing each of the last two seasons as they finished 3rd both years, respectively. This would also help the Trojans keep pace with their California counterparts in Berkeley, who have already earned a verbal from the #2 sprinter in the class, Kristen Vredeveld.