Gilliian St. John, easily the top recruit out of New Mexico in the women’s class of 2015, has verbally committed to the Utah Utes.
St. John is primarily a sprint freestyle, with some talent in the sprint butterflies and middle-distance freestyles to go with it.
St. John has been as fast as 23.13 and 50.88 in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles, plus a 1:50.02 in the 200 free (at altitude) and a 56.58 in the 100 fly.
Her experience swimming at altitude should help her adjust to training at Utah in a hurry. In fact, her native Albuquerque is about 1,000 feet higher above sea level than is Salt Lake City.
St. John didn’t swim at the New Mexico High School State Championship meet as a junior, but as a sophomore was 2nd in the 200 free and the 50 free. After sitting out a season on a transfer from Albuquerque Academy, she is expected to race for El Dorado High School as a senior again. El Dorado is the state’s dominant women’s high school program.
She’s also very good in long course; at Junior Nationals this summer, she was a 26.63 and 57.65 in the 50 and 100 meter freestyles.
The last sprinter of St. John’s caliber to come out of the state of New Mexico was Anika Apostalon, who made a huge splash at San Diego State last year as a freshman when she earned individual and relay All-American honors.
St. John should immediately step onto Utah’s free relays and will also have a chance to fight for the anchor spot on the medley relays as a freshman as well.