Olympic Trials Finalist Celina Li Commits to Cal

  106 Braden Keith | September 23rd, 2012 | College, College Recruiting, News

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Celina Li from the Pleasanton Seahawks and Foothill High School (less than an hour’s drive away) has committed to Cal, giving the two-time defending champion Cal Bears their second mega-recruit in the last week.

Li is a member of the United States Junior National Team for the 2012-2013 season after finishing 6th in the 200 IM at the Olympic Trials in June.

The high school senior, who is on the younger end of this class, comes in with IM bests of 1:58.34/4:06.94. That makes her the #2-ranked 200 IM’er in the class and easily the best 400 IM’er (this year’s 400 IM class is pretty weak nationwide after a few great ones in a row).

That time in the 400 would have left her 11th at NCAA’s last season. The opportunity to train with senior Olympian Caitlin Leverenz (who will likely be a Cal postgrad after this season) will be invaluable to Li’s development, though the two swim very different races. Whereas Leverenz has an explosive breaststroke, Li has taken a much more balanced approach to her race.

It will be interesting to see if like she did early Leverenz’s career, Cal head coach Teri McKeever encourages Li to focus on attacking her primary stroke. Li comes in with bests of 52.7/1:56.8 in the 100 and 200 flys, both of which would have put her very close to B-Finals last year at NCAA’s as well.

Li has some international experience already, having traveled to the FINA World Cup Series in both 2010 and 2011, and is the California North Coast Section record holder in the 100 fly. She joins Kristen Vredeveld in giving a verbal commitment to McKeever and the Golden Bears. Interesting to note is that Li and Vredeveld both visited Cal on the same weekend as the biggest high school recruit ever: Missy Franklin.

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106 Comments on "Olympic Trials Finalist Celina Li Commits to Cal"

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And Janardan Burns to Cal…….

More recruiting news, sprinter Eric Risolvato just committed to the University of Arizona

I kind of feel sorry for Celina Li. Shouldn’t our comments be something along the lines of Congratulations Celina?

Why feel sorry for Celina? She will be a stud for CAL. Swimming with Olympians.Congrats to her!

All the “my college is better” comments are fun too. Especially from the UC-Missy Guy.

Braden- Maybe you should consider starting a “Why my (swim) college is superior” blog.

Happy for Celina! I agree that it would be funny to see a blog like that. Can you imagine…UNC vs. NC State, Texas vs. A&M, UGA vs. GT, and Cal vs. Stanford or another school! Great idea Anonymous.

I feel bad for her because an article announcing such an important part of her life has been littered with 75+ comments of where Missy Franklin is going to school and why the job potential/ economies in TX and GA are better than in CAL.

Obviously the comparative strengths of places & programs are important to readers.

Surely she would be freaked out if she garnered 100 + comments herself. No?

John Sampson

Completly agree. great swimmer who deserves much praise. she will hop in and do exceedingly well in overtaking the IM baton from caitlin leverenz. cant wait to track her progress!

no doubt. been watching her for years back as far as when she lived and swam in Arizona. Great swimmer and competitor. She’ll do very well in college.


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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