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Rising high school seniors Abbie Alvarez and Mary Catherine Jurica have verbally committed to the University of Houston as a member of the high school class of 2021.
Neither swimmer will have to travel very far: Alvarez lives in Katy, Texas, where she attends Taylor High School, which is less than 30 miles from campus. Jurica is a former member of COOG Aquatics, based out of the University of Houston campus, and now trains with the Houston Swim Club.
Both swimmers are USA Swimming Scholastic All-AMericans.
As a junior last season, Alvarez was the Texas Class 6A Region 5 champion in the 200 IM, swimming 2:03.00. She also finished 2nd in the 100 breaststroke at that meet in 1:03.96.
At the Texas State Championship meet, she won the B finals in both the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke, placing 9th in both events. She also swam on the team’s runner-up 200 medley relay (along with Jr. National Teamer and Texas commit Emma Sticklen), and also anchored the team’s 4th-place 400 free relay.
That contributed to an 8th-place team finish for Taylor High School.
Alvarez has electric versatility – breaststroke might not even be her best stroke, as she’s also a 55-second 100 butterflier.
Alvarez’s Best Times in Yards:
- 100 free – 52.44
- 200 free – 1:52.29
- 100 fly – 55.41
- 200 fly – 2:02.09
- 100 breast – 1:03.66
- 200 breast – 2:18.24
- 200 IM – 2:03.00
Jurica didn’t swim the high school season, but last summer she was the Southern Zone Senior Champion in the 800 meter free.
Primarily a distance swimmer, Jurica already has best times in the 200 and 1650 freestylers that would have scored top 8 points for the Cougars at last season’s AAC conference championship meet.
She also has the range to develop into a potential 400 free relay swimmer for Houston down the line – her best time in the 200 free is already fast enough to have made the school’s 800 free relay last season.
Jurica’s Best Times in Yards:
- 100 free – 50.92
- 200 free – 1:48.87
- 500 free – 4:51.98
- 1000 free – 10:02.46
- 1650 free – 16:44.62
- 100 breast – 1:05.03
- 200 breast – 2:22.17
Earlier this season, Houston won its 4th-consecutive AAC Championships. The 2019-2020 season, though truncated by the oncoming coronavirus pandemic, was a major step forward for the program in their 5th season under head coach Ryan Wochomurka. The program had 5 swimmers qualify for the NCAA Championships in individual events, which matched the number of qualifiers by their renowned cross-state colleagues at the University of Texas.
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Taking her talents to the University of Houston! One of HSC’s very own has verbally committed to the UH Swimming program and we couldn’t be more proud! ♥️ MC (more formally known as Mary Catherine 😊) began lessons at HSC Sharpstown when she was 3 years old. She eventually moved on to swim summer league where her love for competitive swimming began. At the age of 10, she moved on to swim year round with COOG Aquatics, and was recently selected to be on the USA Swimming Scholastic All-American Team for the 2019-2020 school year. This recognition is for having a GPA of 3.5 or higher and for her qualifying times in the 200, 500, 1000 and 1650 Free events. 🏊🏼♀️ She returned to HSC this summer as a lifeguard and has been such an awesome addition to our team! She stays after every shift to swim and pushes herself to get extra workouts in. MC is proof that with hard work and a good camp behind you (including her super supportive parents and 7 older brothers and sisters), anything is possible! 🤩🏊🏼♀️♥️#gocoogs #classof2025 #swimmergoals #dreambigworkhard
Houston is a former powerhouse in swimming and especially diving, having placed as high as 10th at the 1984 NCAA Championship meet, but for the modern incarnation of the team, the 5 qualifiers was a high water mark.
Alvarez and Jurica join a class of 2021 that also includes:
- another Houston-area native Keely Rollinson (56.6 butterflier/51.5 freestyler),
- plus Alyssa Bloser from Little Rock (23.5/50.8 freestyler),
- and Indiana sprinter Emma Wright (23.2/49.9 freestyler).
5 domestic recruits, including 3 from Houston, serve as the foundation of a reshaping of the Cougars’ roster. Last year’s roster had only 5 Houston-area swimmers and 7 Texans among 30 on the roster.
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