The Michigan Wolverines have signed Singapore National Record holder Samantha Yeo to join the team in the fall of 2014, marking a late, but very valuable, addition to one of the top recruiting classes in the country.
Yeo, who attends the Raffles Girls’ School in Singapore, is a member of the country’s delegation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and primarily a breaststroker. Her lifetime bests in long course meters are a 1:10.49 in the 100 and a 2:32.34 in the 200.
She also holds several Singapore National Records over a short course meters pool with a 1:09.28 in the 100 and a 2:29.74 in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
Her best meters times translate to around a 1:01.7 in in the 100 yard breaststroke and a 2:13.6 in the 200 yard breaststroke.
While conversions are always fickle, Singapore swimmers in the past (who have mostly swum in the NCAA) have had good success in making the transition. Those converted times above, even without improvement, would put her in position to score double-digit points at Big Tens next season, with an immediate NCAA qualification within reach.
Michigan has done great work in shoring up what was one of the two weakest parts of their class between the fall and the spring. They graduated a great breaststroker, a tough breaststroker, and a two-year captain in Angie Chokran at the end of last season. In total, they lost three of their four best breaststrokers, meaning that their best returner is Marni Oldershaw – a versatile IM’er, but certainly not a breaststroker by trade (1:03.4/2:16.6 season-bests, both outside of championships).
But with Yeo added into this class, Michigan now will rely on freshmen as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in their depth chart in some order. They’ve also signed 1:00.9/2:14.3 breaststroker Carolyn McCann out of Gig Harbor High in Washington, and 1:01.9/2:12.5 Emily Kopas from the University School in south Florida.
Mike Bottom, who has had great recruiting and training success as the head coach of the Michigan men, has now really kicked his women’s recruiting into another gear in his second full season of chasing freshmen. In addition to the breaststrokers above, he’s also signed one of the best distance swimmers in the country at any age, Gillian Ryan; one of the fastest high school backstrokers ever Clara Smiddy; Hannah Moore out of North Carolina who is on the USA Swimming Youth Olympic Games team for 2014; Gabby DeLoof, who is the younger sister of current Wolverine Ali DeLoof and could be just as big of a contributor; and diver Juliette Corboy from Illinois.
With only 8 swimmers announced so far, one can’t help but feel like by Bottom’s standards, this is a class on the small-ish side, but every single member of it is going to contribute immediately. With 8 contributing freshmen, size of class can be overrated.