To see all of the latest news on recruiting, check out the category listing here.
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.