National High School Record Holder Rachel Bootsma Commits to California

Shortly after attending the USA Swimming National Championships across town, the National High School Record Holder made her verbal committment to swim for Teri McKeever and the Cal Golden Bears, beginning in the fall of 2012.

Among the impressive accomplishments of this high school senior-to-be is her National High School Record in the 100 back of 51.53, set last year at the Minnesota State Championship meet. At the NCSA Junior Nationals meet in March, she was even faster in 50.76. She swims for the Aquatjets club team and Edens Prarie High School in suburban Minneapolis.

Bootsma earned a bronze-medal at the 2010 Pan Pac Championships in 2010, and a 2nd-place finish (behind only Missy Franklin) at USA Nationals in 59.65 (long course). She is also the National Age Group Record holder in the 100 (SCY) backstroke for both the 15-16 and 17-18 age groups, and she still has another year to lower her mark in the latter. She is also a part of 6 NAG Short Course Relay Records.

Cal has earned a serious reputation for developing top backstrokers (beginning, of course, with the legendayr Natalie Coughlin) over the last decade, and are becoming the USC of women’s backstroking, of sorts. At last year’s NCAA Championships, two Cal Freshman (Cindy Tran and Deborah Roth) went 1-2 at the NCAA Championships in the 100 back, and Bootsma would have run the race running away. (Cal also had the consolation champion in the 200, Stephanie Au, who is also a freshman.)

In addition to Bootsma, Cal will bring in World Championship team member Liz Pelton in the class of 2012, who like Bootsma made an early announcement to focus on Olympic training. This means that beginning in the fall of 2012, the Golden Bears will likely have the four-fastest collegiate 100 backstrokers in the country, along with Liz Pelton as potentially the best 200 backstroker.

Bootsma brings a bit of a different element to Cal, however, than their current backstroke crew. Her 52.64 100 butterflier already almost makes her an NCAA A-Finalist, as does her 1:55 200 fly, and her 48.99 100 free will make her a potential contributor on multiple Cal relays. Bootsma will bring plenty of flexibility to the pending Cal backstroke logjam.

There’s still a slew of great backstrokers (notably Bonnie Brandon out of Colorado) left in the class of 2012, but the cherry on top will be Missy Franklin in the class of 2013. As one of the best backstrokers in the world already, everyone’s going to have her going to Cal as well, but it really now becomes a balancing act of whether or not Cal can afford to spend that much scholarship money on backstrokers. If they do, in 2014 (mark it down), Cal will have the potential, if they choose, to finish 1-5 at NCAA’s.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Sampson
9 years ago

The golden bears are going to be ferocious not only in the backstrokes but all around for the next few years. You forgot to mention that next year they have melanie klaren coming in who along with her expected mission viejo distance haul she has been 53 and 1:55 in the backstrokes, and with the training group of backstrokers you have to believe she will improve those marks. To a lesser extent they also have catherine breed as a backsroke option(most likely an occasional duel meet) she has been 1:57 low in the 200, but with her recent phenominal swims teri would be crazy not to keep her in the 100-200-500 middistance combo. im looking forward to seeing how she… Read more »

9 years ago

Missy should go to Cal

bobo gigi
9 years ago

The future of backstroke in USA is fantastic with Missy Franklin, Rachel Bootsma, Elizabeth Pelton or Elizabeth Beisel. It’s a great choice for Rachel Bootsma to work with Teri McKeever. But for Missy Franklin, I know she wants to swim in NCAA, but I think she’s now the best female swimmer in the world, and she works with her fantastic coach Todd Schmitz for long years, so it would be perhaps dangerous for her to change her training environment.

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, …

Read More »