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Rising high school senior Stella Copeland, a senior at San Clemente High School and with the Mission Viejo Nadadores, has verbally committed to the University of Arizona.
In her last big meet before lockdowns began, Copeland placed 7th in the 1500 free at the College Station Sectional Championships in February.
She qualified for the 2019 Winter Junior Championships in the 400 meter free thanks to a 4:23.07 from the LA Invite in the summer of 2019.
She didn’t swim at Winter Juniors, but instead went to the Husky Invitational in Seattle as her winter taper and swam a lifetime best in the yards equivalent, the 500 free, in 4:54.01. That marked a two-second improvement upon her best time from her sophomore season.
Best Times in Yards:
- 100 free – 53.36
- 200 free – 1:51.90
- 500 free – 4:54.01
- 1000 free – 10:11.31
- 1650 free – 17:23.90
- 100 breast – 1:07.95
- 200 breast – 2:21.98
Bold = 2019 Futures Championships qualifying times
While at least 10 swimmers in the storied history of the Mission Viejo Nadadores have gone on to become Wildcats, none of those have been recent. In fact, Arizona had a few years where they did very little recruiting out of their neighboring state of California: there are 9 swimmers from California on the Arizona 2020-2021 roster, including just 3 women. Of those 3 women, 2 are sophomores and 1 is a freshman.
There seems to be a focus as part of head coach Augie Busch’s rebuilding efforts in Tucson to recruit more heavily from the fertile talent pools of California. The Arizona class of 2025 has 3 Californians committed so far, including Steffi Beisel for the women’s team.
Copeland has some versatility that lends potential to develop as a breaststroker or IMer, but the distance freestyles are a strength for Arizona. Last season, en route to a 6th-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships, the Wildcats scored 67 points in the 1650 free and 48 points in the 500 free. Those were 2 of the team’s 3 top-scoring individual events at that meet.
The Wildcats, though, graduated their top 3 distance swimmers, Kristen Jacobsen, Ayumi Macias, and Hannah Cox. Those 3 combined for 154 out of Arizona’s 352 individual points at the meet.
Beisel and Copeland join North Dakota native Lexi Duchsherer as 2021 commits for the Arizona women.
If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].
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