Lia Neal Visits USC This Weekend

  35 Braden Keith | September 21st, 2012 | College, College Recruiting, News

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.

From Left to Right – Lia Neal, Ashley Brewer, Andrea Kropp, and fellow recruit Emily Cameron enjoy breakfast on Friday morning in LA. (Photo via Kropp’s Twitter account)

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35 Comments on "Lia Neal Visits USC This Weekend"

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I think Lia is going to end up being the biggest pick of all. Her frame now and the ability she has to put on more muscle is going to make her deadly in short course racing where walls are so much more important. I would bet she ends up at Stanford.


Lia is already “jacked” so I’m not sure why she would want to get even bigger. Based solely upon her body build, I’d say that she has the least room to improve of all the top recruits. Needless to say, she’s fast as can be, and I’m sure she’s going to improve and be one of the top sprint/mid freestylers the US has for awhile.

She’s muscular, but she’s still not a big as a truly world-elite swimmer like Kromowidjojo. I’d say things have worked out pretty well for her when it comes to bulking up.

I agree with Art. I think most of our elite level female sprinters are much more slender (with incredible strength to weight ratios) than jacked.

I don’t personally know Lia, but I have a feeling that in addition to swimming, she also cares a lot about academics (same with Missy and Katie Ledecky…granted she still has a few years). This is why I think she’ll most likely end up at USC, Cal, or Stanford. I really wish the Ivy League will reverse their policy against offering full scholarships to athletes. Princeton and Penn both have great swim programs, but these elite athletes won’t go to these schools because it’s pretty much impossible to turn down a full scholarship. Additionally, it also limits their choices of choosing a school that excels in both athletics and swimming.


I don’t understand why the Ivies aren’t better in swimming. They don’t offer scholarships, but recent court ruling have forced them to spend down their endowments, so their financial aid packages are now very generous. If a swimmer is academically inclined and not good enough to swim at a major power at or near full scholarship, why not use their swimming ability to be one of the 7-8% admitted to an excellent school with a reasonable financial aid package?

Financial aid is certainly better, but tuition is also growing at extraordinary/ridiculous rates, so any added “financial aid” doesn’t really help the net amount needed to be paid. Also….and unfortunately realistically, most swimmers (at ivy leagues especially) come from upper middle class backgrounds—which essentially means little to no financial aid. $57,000+/year is quite a bit to swallow for even well-off families. On top of that the swimmers who do attend these schools very often place academics as their top priority–it’s why they chose to attend these schools and pay the tuition instead of accepting scholarship at “lesser” academic institutions. I know at least two swimmers who quit the team in order to focus on their academics/preparing for graduate/professional school.

Princeton and Penn? sure, great programs, but you cant exclude the Ivy-League champs from last year, Harvard.

How about the guys? Murphy, Conger,Malone, Pinion, where are they looking?


Max Williamson has visited Virginia (his sister swims there), Cal, and Texas.

John Sampson

Ive seen that ryan has visited cal, texas and auburn so far. and that i know of, reed malone has visited georgia and USC. no clue where conger has been.

I know Pinion visited Tennessee. Things have been very quiet with the men.


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The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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