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New Zealand’s Laura Littlejohn has verbally committed to the University of Tennessee for the fall of 2023.
“I chose Tennessee because of their creative and fun coaching environment, their awesome support for international athletes and their programs that help athletes develop beyond the swimming pool. I feel so grateful to get the opportunity to work with Coach Matt and this amazing team.”
Littlejohn currently holds New Zealand National age records in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 IM, 200IM and 50 fly. In April, she took half a second off her 100 LCM free lifetime best time to secure the age record and win the event at the New Zealand Championships. She also won the 50 free.
The 2021 World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi was Littlejohn’s first international meet where she was the only representative for New Zealand. There, she placed highest in the 100 free in 18th place (53.96), .04 within her lifetime best time. She also competed in the 50 free, 200 free and 100IM. Littlejohn is a senior at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton, New Zealand and she trains with Saint Paul’s Swimming Club.
Top SCM times:
- 50 free – 24.85 – – -> (22.38 SCY)
- 100 free – 53.92 – – > (48.57 SCY)
- 200 IM – 2:10.61 – – > (1:57.66 SCY)
- 50 fly – 26.53 – – > (23.90 SCY)
Littlejohn’s converted lifetime best times above would have made the B final of the 200 IM, 100 free, and 50 free at the 2022 SEC Conference Championships. She would have been placed 11th, 12th, and 15th overall, respectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic made her road to the 2021 World Short Course Championships challenging. “New Zealand has gone through extensive lockdowns in 2020/21 so racing opportunities have been scarce and training interrupted with weeks out of the pool at a time,” she told SwimSwam. “However, I spent 2 months away from home (due to lockdowns) training in any pool I could find with the support of various coaches and clubs to prepare.”
Littlejohn is the third sibling in her family to compete in the NCAA. Her brother Ben Littlejohn swims for Harvard and her older sister Kate Littlejohn rows for Stanford. She began focusing on swimming less than two years ago at age 16. This was the same year that she nabbed age records in the 100 free (three times), 200 free, and 100 IM. Before age 16, she also played water polo, athletics, adventure racing and netball.
Littlejohn is entering strong training groups at Tennessee, most prominently the 200 IM squad led by defending SEC champion Ellen Walshe, a rising sophomore. Upperclassmen AJ Kutsch and Jasmine Rumley placed 2-3 in the 50 free last season while Rumley also leads the Vols’ 100 free squad.
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