Laine Reed, a very strong sprint and middle distance freestyler from Longhorn Aquatics/Austin High School has confirmed via e-mail that she will be joining the Cavaliers next fall. Reed’s best times in short course are 24.4/51.4/1:49.0/4:51.3 in the 50-100-200-500 freestyles, and she has also been 57.6/2:00.5 in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. However, she is arguably a stronger long course swimmer with personal bests of 56.7/2:03.2/4:20.2 in her 100/200/400 freestyles and she has also been 1:06/2:18 in her long course backstroke events.
The 2012-13 Virginia women’s team enjoyed a very successful season with a dominant showing at the 2013 ACC Championships, where they captured the overall title over in-state rivals Virginia Tech 832-536. This near-300 point margin was largely due to the Cavaliers triumphs in the freestyle events and relays under the leadership of 2012 Olympian Lauren Perdue. However, with Perdue’s graduation, head coach Augie Busch will look to fortify his team’s positioning in the sprint and middle distance freestyles come the 2014-2015 season.
Luckily for Coach Busch, the Cavaliers return current senior Emily Lloyd in the 100 freestyle and five scorers in the 200 freestyle from last year’s ACC Championships, including senior Rachel Naurath and junior Kelly Offutt. In the 500 freestyle, Virginia was absolutely dominant with five of the eight A-finalists, and all five of these girls would receive bids for NCAAs. Offutt won the ACC title with a sterling time of 4:39.05, while Naurath, current junior Allison Haulsee, current sophomore Hanne Borgensen, and current senior Hillary Petersen filled out the rest of the A-final for the Cavaliers. However, as always, the team will always need a constant supply of sprint and middle distance freestylers to maintain their stranglehold on top of the conference as they continue to lose swimmers to graduation.
Laine Reed fits the position perfectly as her best 200 and 500 times would have both scored points at last year’s conference meet, as it took a 1:49.1 and a 4:52.7 to make the B-final. Reed was a 1:50.3 as a sophomore, so if she can continue to show improvement in her 200, it is not unreasonable to think that she could threaten an A-final spot as a freshman (it took a 1:47.1 to do so last year). In the 500, she will need to drop about 4.5 seconds to contend for a big heat spot as it took a 4:46.9 at last year’s meet to get a top-8 finish. As for the 100 freestyle, Reed’s best long course time of 56.7 converts roughly to a 49 high, and if she can replicate her performance from Junior Nationals in a short course pool, she may surprise Coach Busch with a big-time swim in the 100 (it took a 49.8 to A-final, 50.4 to B-final).
Additionally, as it took a 2:01.0 to score points in the 200 back at last year’s meet, the longer backstroke event could factor into Reed’s schedule as well. At the moment though, it would appear that she will primarily focus on the freestyle events, and she will be a strong candidate for a relay position if she can show adequate improvement during her senior year of high school and during her freshman year of college. She was the runner-up at last year’s Texas 5A Championship meet, so she will surely have a state title in her sights.