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#5 Ashley Strouse of the Scottsdale Aquatic Club has sent her verbal commitment to Northwestern University. A junior at Chapparal High School in Arizona, Strouse is the second-fastest 200 and 500 freestyler in the entire high school class of 2021 right now. She kicks off NU’s recruiting push for the class of 2025.
I am extremely humbled and excited to announce my verbal commitment to Northwestern University!! Thank you to my family, friends, and Scottsdale Aquatic Club for being with me since the beginning. Time to buy a jacket!! Go ‘Cats💜💜
- 50y free – 23.32
- 100y free – 49.24
- 200y free – 1:45.44
- 500y free – 4:41.41
- 1000y free – 9:40.58
- 1650y free – 16:01.20
- 100y fly – 54.89
Strouse won the 200 and 500 free at the 2017 Arizona (AIA) Girls State Champs as a freshman, then won both of those events again at the 2018 AIA Meet of Champions. At the latter meet, her 23.18 anchor on the 200 free relay and 49.90 lead-off on the 400 free relay helped Chapparal to state titles and state records in both.
At the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals – West, Strouse was the runner-up in the mile, placed third in the 500, sixth in the 100 free, and ninth in the 200 free. This past summer, she broke 2:00 in the 200 free in long course, going 1:59.77 at 2019 U.S. Nationals to finish 12th and qualify for the 2019 World Junior Champs. In Budapest at World Juniors, she touched 12th in the 200 free prelims, missing the final. She also swam on the morning 4×200 free relay which went on to win gold at night.
This is a massive gain for the Wildcats, who have kicked up their recruiting since head coach Jeremy Kipp and staff took over the program in 2018. On Northwestern’s all-time list, Strouse, with her high school sophomore year times, ranks #2 in the mile, 100 free, and 200 free, #3 in the 500 free, and #5 in the 100 free.
Last year, it took 48.5/1:45.1/4:40.9/16:14.2 to qualify for NCAAs in the 100/200/500/1650 free, respectively– Strouse is already good enough to qualify in the mile. In fact, she would’ve placed 15th at 2019 NCAAs in the mile with her lifetime best.
Northwestern had a heavy-hitting distance swimmer a few years ago in Guatemalan record-holder Valerie Gruest, who swam during the 2016-17 season where she qualified for NCAAs and placed ninth in the mile. She set NU records in the 500 free and mile in that freshman season, but hasn’t logged a time since summer of 2017. The Wildcats have a big distance swimmer incoming with the class of 2024 before Strouse, though, in Michigan native Lola Mull (4:43.3/16:12.2).
In any case, Strouse would’ve been top 8 at 2019 Big Tens in the 200, 500, and 1650 free; events in which Northwestern only scored two points total.
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