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.