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Brecken Merkel from Edina, Minnesota has committed to the Iowa Hawkeyes as part of the high school class of 2021. Her commitment came just before her Edina High School team won its 4th-straight Minnesota AA High School State Championship meet.
“I am beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and swimming career at the University of Iowa! Iowa’s academics, sports program and the team culture made it the natural decision for me. Thank you to my friends, family and coaches who have supported me through everything! Go Hawks!”
At that meet, Merkel individually finished 3rd in the 200 IM (2:04.26), 6th in the 100 fly (56.19), and was on the team’s runner-up 200 free relay (splitting 24.00 on a leadoff) and 400 free relay (splitting 52.43 on a leadoff).
Best Times in Yards:
- 50 free – 23.95
- 100 free – 51.54
- 200 free – 1:53.91
- 100 back – 58.12
- 100 breast – 1:05.30
- 200 breast – 2:24.13
- 100 fly – 55.66
- 200 fly – 2:00.97
- 200 IM – 2:03.58
- 400 IM – 4:24.96
Merkel has a lot of versatility, and could be a contributor for Iowa in nearly every event, but her focus recently has been on the butterfly and IM races (with the latter being the payoff for her versatility).
The butterfly group was a relative strength of Iowa’s last season as they finished 10th out of 13 teams at the Big Ten Championships. They scored 25 Big Ten points in the 100 fly. On the flipside, they scored 0 points at the Big Ten Championships in the IM races. While Merkel’s best times aren’t quite yet in Big Ten scoring range, midway through her junior season her 200 fly time, for example, is already just 3-tenths short of what it took to make the C final last season.
Merkel trained with the Edina Gators Swim Club until this fall, when she recently the Aquajets Swim Club – a club that boasts among its members US National Team swimmer Isabelle Stadden. Iowa hasn’t had much recruiting success in the fertile grounds of their northern neighbors – no current members of the Iowa women’s roster are from Minnesota. That could be shifting, however, thanks to the annual A+ Swim Pink Invitational meet hosted on the University of Iowa campus. In 2018, the Edina Gators were among the participants, and in 2019 the Aquajets were. If club teams from Minnesota continue to make the trip to the Iowa campus for that meet, which is a fairly high-level meet competitively, that could open up a lot of recruiting avenues for Iowa.
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