National Age Group Record holder Isabella Rongione has verbally committed to the USC Trojans. Rongione is just completing her junior year of high school and will join USC in the fall of 2017.
— Isabella Rongione (@IRongione) May 19, 2016
Rongione, a member of the USA Swimming National Junior Team in open water, currently owns two National Age Group Records, both in long course meters. She was 8:55.43 in the 800 free when she was 12, and 16:48.12 in the 1500 free at the same age.
While Rongione doesn’t give much focus on short course swimming, the NCAP swimmer has already posted NCAA-qulaifying worthy times as young as 14 and 15 years old.
Her best times (yards/meters):
- 50 free – 24.43/28.02 (the latter at 12 years old)
- 100 free – 52.29/59.35 (at 13 years old)
- 200 free – 1:48.36/2:02.89
- 500y/400m free – 4:43.29/4:14.97
- 1000y/800m free – 9:41.13/8:39.09 (at 13 years old)
- 1650y/1500m free – 16:07.40/16:27.23
- 200 back – 2:00.29
- 200 fly – 1:59.83
- 400 IM – 4:16.56
While Rongione’s best time in the 800 free, her best Olympic event, is almost three years old, she was faster at 13 in that event than was her NCAP training partner – the current World Record holder Katie Ledecky. At the time, Rongione trained with the FISH.
While USC head coach is nicknamed “Sprint Salo” (which is the title of his book), USC’s credentials for producing distance swimmer are equally as impressive. 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the open water 10k Haley Anderson trains at USC, freshman Elizabeth Stinson won the Pac-12 title last year in the 1650 free, and junior Chelsea Chenault took the conference crown in the 500 free this past season.
When combined with Mann and Rongione, USC will have one of the most feared distance groups in the country, training under the guidance of Salo and his head assistant coach Catherine Vogt, who specializes in distance training.