National Age Group Record Holder Isabella Rongione Commits to USC

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.

She will join fellow phenom, international-caliber swimmer, and class of 2016 commit Becca Mann, who joins USC this fall.

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.


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4 years ago

“She will join fellow phenom, international-caliber swimmer, and class of 2017 commit Becca Mann, who joins USC this fall.” Becca Mann is a Class of 2016 commit, not 2017.

4 years ago

I remember the first time I saw her swim. I think she was 10 and swimming against and beating 12 year olds (fast 12 year olds). Then when she was 12 I saw her swim the 400 free and it was like she was shot out of a cannon. Her 1st 50 looked like she was only swimming a 50 but she kept going at the same speed. Amazing.

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Miss Rongione has stalled for a few years now. I thought she would improve a lot while training at NCAP with Katie Ledecky but it didn’t happen like that so far.
Hopefully she has not peaked when she was 13 or 14 and can surprise us with good olympic trials.

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

she has been an outstanding swimmer her entire career. It’s very difficult to stay at the top during the age group years and continue into the high school years. You have to handle many things like puberty and how your body handles it, avoid or deal with injuries plus the pressures of sometimes just wanting to be a “normal” kid and not have to go to bed early because you have practice in the morning. Everyone’s career has ups and downs and challenges. I don’t know the girl but to get an offer from USC tells me she is still on the right track.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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