Open Season on College Recruiting; Top 10 Recruits for Women

  51 Braden Keith | July 05th, 2012 | College, Featured, News

July 1st, 2012 was the opening of the 2012-2013 college recruiting season where NCAA coaches were first able to legally call incoming seniors who they hope will attend their institutions.

Coaches are now allowed to make one phone call a week, and send an unlimited amount of mail and email, to seniors who will be graduating in the spring (or, in some cases, at the end of the fall semester).

And in Olympic years, the feeding-frenzy is even bigger. The recruiting period opens while in Omaha, and don’t think that coaches don’t take advantage. Every high school senior at that meet can expect a new watching-partner for a race or two, because if a high school senior is good enough to qualify for Trials, there’s a coach there who is going to try and recruit them.

Here’s our top10 recruits for the class of 2013, for the women. We’ll focus on Americans, because it’s never a certainty what international swimmers will end up doing. If you would like to announce a verbal committment to SwimSwam, please email us at [email protected]

Women

1. Missy Franklin, Colorado – What more really needs to be said about the world’s best teenage swimmer (if not female swimmer, period) Missy Franklin. As a freshman, she would be a near-lock to place top three in the 50/100/200 free, 100/200 back, and probably quite a few other events that she just hasn’t raced often enough to know (100 fly/200 fly, 500 free, 200/400 IM). Keep in mind that her yards swims are done largely in Colorado altitude, as well. School’s that she’s said she’ll take visits to are Stanford, Georgia, and Cal.

  • 200 y back (1:51.07/freshman)
  • 100 y back (52.30/sophomore)
  • 200 y free (1:43.15)
  • 100 y free (47.94/freshman)
  • 50 free (22.25/sophomore)

2. Lia Neal, New York – Lia Neal is the other “Olympian” in this class aside from Franklin, having placed 4th at the Olympic Trials in the 100 free and earned herself a relay spot for London. She is right along Vredeveld as the best 1-2 sprint combination we’ve ever seen coming out of high school. Her experience at the Olympics is going to be invaluable, and she still has mega-potential to improve. The only knock against her is that she’s going to be good enough to go pro before finishing her college career (and hasn’t been as adamant about finishing all four years of eligibility as Franklin has been – though she probably hasn’t been asked as much until now either).

  • 100 y free (48.13/sophomore)
  • 200 y free (1:45.99/sophomore)
  • 50 y free (22.56/sophomore)
  • 100 y fly (54.50/sophomore)
  • 200 y IM (2:03.19/sophomore)

3. Emily Cameron, Pennsylvania – In another year, Cameron might be closer to the number 4 or 5 recruit in the country. But in this year, where the breaststroke class is so thin, she carries enormous value for teams that are in need (like the Cal women). Only one other junior last year was within a second of her 1:00.54 in the 100, but she’s really demonstrated amazing versatility in the last year to rocket her stock up. She broke the Pennsylvania 50 free State Record with a 22.75, has a 49.4 in the 100 free, and a 1:57 in the 200 IM as well. She’s a 5-relay swimmer as a freshman for many programs.

  • 100 y breast (1:00.54)
  • 50 y free (22.75)
  • 100 y free (49.45/sophomore)
  • 200 y breast (2:13.60)
  • 200 y free (1:49.02/mid-season)
  • 200 y IM (1:57.7/sophomore

4. Kristen Vredeveld, Tennessee – Out of the famed Baylor program, Vredeveld gets high-honors as being the top yards-sprinter in the class, to date. Given the history of Baylor School athletes to stay in the Eastern half of the country, for teams in the SEC and ACC, this signing is likely going to be a primary objective. Her older brother Nathan is a senior at Virginia, and this program has sent some elite swimmers to both Georgia and Tennessee the last few years. She’s already got multiple state titles and NCSA Junior National titles under her belt, and she still seems to still have some room for improvement (she’s got a frame that could handle a little more musculature still). If she can even make small improvements next year, she’ll be in the conversation with the likes of Maddy Schaeffer, Kara Lynn Joyce, and Amanda Weir for the best high school sprinters in the last decade.

  • 50 y free (22.17/sophomore)
  • 100 y free (48.32/sophomore)
  • 200 y free (1:45.63/sophomore)
  • 100 y back (54.52/sophomore)
  • 200 y IM (2:02.20)

5. Olivia Smoliga, Illinois – Smoliga doesn’t quite have the versatility as a swimmer like Missy Franklin, but it can’t be overlooked that she also broke a minute long course in the 100 back at the Olympic Trials. Aside from her backstrokes (she probably has a top-8 200 as well in yards, but hasn’t swum it much in the last year), she’s a good enough sprinter to take either bookend of the medley relay in most programs. For teams who need premier backstrokers, Smoliga will be a huge consolation prize if they can’t land Franklin.

  • 100 y free (48.92)
  • 50 y free (22.55)
  • 200 y back (1:56.81/sophomore)

Next 5 Best:

  • Chelsea Chenault stalled a little bit in long course, but her yads swims have still soared as a junior. She was an Olympic Trials finalist in the 200 free.
  • Celina Li (California)– an Olympic Trials finalist in the 400 IM. Also the top butterfly recruit in the class.
  • Rachel Zilinskas & Leah Smith (Pennsylvania) – A pair of outstanding distance swimmers from the Pittsburgh area.
  • Kaitlyn Jones, out of Delaware, demonstrates her impressive versatility with a 1:58.4 in the 200 yard IM. She has juniors cut in 9 events

In This Story

Comments

  1. joeb says:
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    I wonder if Camille Adams or Breeja would have made your top 5 or 10 a couple years ago?

    • Braden Keith says:
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      Cammile was 3rd at worlds trials in 2009…but simply because of relay value probably not. Still was a phenomenal swimmer in hs.

      Breeja probably wouldn’t have been in the top 50.

    • Craig H says:
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      That’s a silly question. Wasn’t Breeja like a 1:02 100 breast and 23-mid 50 free coming out of high school? Those are solid times, but there are dozens of other girls going similar times across the country. I don’t think anyone (aside from those who knew her) could have predicted how well she’d soar once she got to college

      • junker23 says:
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        I don’t know if it’d work for or against her, but wasn’t that only after a relatively short HS swimming career? I’d assume it’d help, but ya never know.

    • The Grand Inquisitor says:
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      Probably not, but Sarah Henry probably would have been.

  2. junker23 says:
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    Missy potentially going to Stanford kinda scares me. DANGER, DANGER DAVID NOLAN <a href="http://www.robotliving.com/wp-content/uploads/lost_in_space_robot_body_1_2_2004.jpg"MEEP MORP.

  3. freebee says:
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    Long course times are relevant too. agreed not as relevant – Neal and Franklin for instance are much better long course swimmers but have lots of upside in short course

  4. MGoSwim says:
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    KLJoyce isn’t part of conversation for best HS sprinters? 48 mid in the 100 and current 50 free record holder? (one of the oldest and one that withstood the suits era.)

    • Braden Keith says:
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      She definitely is – I was thinking she graduated in 2002, but it was actually 2003 (notice the “last decade”). Will add her in.

  5. Lea says:
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    Kristen Vredeveld is the diamond in the rough in this group. I would put my money on her for 2016 over anyone else (aside from Missy). And it looks like from a SCY perspective, she is faster than Lia.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      Totally agree with you about Kristen Vredeveld. I’m just disappointed by her performances in LC. But in SCY she has already shown her giant talent. Two years ago I had said Lia Neal, Simone Manuel and Kristen Vredeveld were the future sprint specialists in USA. We’ll see who will have the best career in college and most important at the international level.

  6. s gomez says:
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    “(if not female swimmer, period)” is this a menstration joke? i had to reread this to be sure. just pointing that out, otherwise a good read and discussion starter

  7. Coach says:
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    Are we forgetting Liv Jensen (22.3/48.6) out of high school? Last I checked, she was a two-time NCAA Champ in the 50 on nearly every US Open and American Record relay in yards and helped the Bears to 3 titles in her 4 years in Berkeley.

    • Craig H says:
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      Why are people harping about this? That one sentence is clearly not the focus of the article.
      That said, Maddy Schaefer swam in the exact same section as Jensen and broke all of her records, so it’s fair to hold her at a slightly higher level.

  8. bobo gigi says:
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    Yes if Missy wants to ruin her career she must go to Stanford. It’s clear she’ll go to Cal or to Georgia. I’m not a specialist of NCAA but she has many friends in both. If she wants to work her backstroke she’ll join Cal and she wants to work her freestyle she’ll join Georgia. Just 2 questions. Is there a risk for Missy to quit her great coach Todd Schmitz? Is there a risk for Missy to quit Colorado and her training at high altitude?

    • LongCommuter says:
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      Why all the Stanford-bashing (note: I am not a Stanford Alum)? What parent or coach would not be thrilled to have a child or swimmer accepted into and choose to attend Stanford? I love fast swimming as much as anyone, but let’s get a grip, folks! Swimming is just one of the factors – and, as a parent, I would not want it to be near the top of the priority list for my child – that a swimmer considers when selecting schools.

  9. bobo gigi says:
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    If I was Kristen Vredeveld and Lia Neal I’go to Auburn. Great sprint tradition. Great coach. And they’d push them on training to improve faster.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      I’d go to Auburn. And if my american geography isn’t bad Tennessee isn’t far from Alabama. For New York it’s different. But it would be a great duo under the orders of Brett Hawke. And correct me if I’m wrong but there were curiously no big american sprinters for 10 years in Auburn. The sprinters who have shined have been international swimmers like Frédérick Bousquet, Cesar Cielo or AVW. It would change.

      • Joel Lin says:
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        This is a bit from afar, but why not Virginia for Missy Franklin? That program might not get the stars out of high school, but every athlete has dropped time reliably in that program much closest to the Florida gold standard with Troy. If you look at what Robison, McLean and Perdue did in their UVa college careers and beyond relative to their high school times, it is very difficult to look past taking Bernardino’s program very very seriously.

        Word had it that Virginia was right behind Stanford on David Nolan’s list. Try constructing an argument that was a good decision. Anyone is free to try (and be laughed at).

  10. bobo gigi says:
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    If I was USC I’d pick Olivia Smoliga. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think they are very good now on breaststroke with Andrea Kropp and on butterfly with Kendyl Stewart and Jasmine Tosky. I don’t remember the state of their freestyle but Jasmine Tosky can do it. So they need a backstroker and Olivia Smoliga would be the perfect choice. And USC could play with Cal and Georgia in the next years.

    • John Sampson says:
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      Agreed- smoliga would be great for USC. Her sprint frees could really develop there.

      My picks:
      Missy- Georgia
      Neal- auburn
      Chenault- USC
      Cameron- Georgia
      Li- USC
      Vredeveld- cal/Stanford
      Smoliga- USC/Wisconsin(close to home & great with sprints)
      And the 2 distance girls at either USC, Georgia or UNC. But who wouldn’t want Georgia?

      • John Sampson says:
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        Wow I completely blew off florida! Missy or chenault or celina li would be great there. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Missy would develop very well in her backstrokes AND freestyles there. But celina and chenault are from Cali- and usually Cali swimmers stay within the state.

        • swimmer24 says:
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          does anyone know what type of training Missy does? I get the feeling that Todd is in the middle of both types, but maybe leaning more towards lower yardage. For that i think Missy would benefit from going to a lower yardage program instead of florida. In my opinion i think that it is harder to go up to heavy yardage in college coming from a lower yardage club than the other way around

  11. duckduckgoose says:
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    Missy has a 3.9 GPA, attends a private school, and her parents are professionals (an engineer and a physician). She and her family clearly value education. While a decent school, Georgia is the weakest school academically of her 5 finalists: Cal, Stanford, Georgia, Texas, and USC. Stanford or Cal are much more likely choices for Missy than Georgia.

  12. bobo gigi says:
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    I repeat my 2 questions about Missy. Is there a risk to quit her great coach Todd Schmitz? Is there a risk to quit Colorado and her training at high altitude?

    • duckduckgoose says:
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      A swimmer has 5 consecutive years to complete 4 years of eligibility in college swimming. Some (Nathan Adrian, Annie Zhu, Josh Prenot) delay college entry for a year to train prior to the Olympics. Some (Janet Evans, Jessica Hardy) swim for a few years (Evans-Stanford, Hardy-Cal), but turn professional and give up their remaining college eligibility to train under their club coaches (both at USC). Some swimmers (Allison Schmidt) “redshirt” (take a year off from college swimming) to prepare for the Olympics under their club coach. A college swimmer potentially has to sit out a year of college competition if they “transfer” (switch schools) to follow a coach or seek a different venue/environment.

      Missy’s only risk is financial-she won’t be able to cash in immediately on her fame post-Olympics. Several prior big name American athletes (Tiger Woods, Tim Duncan, Peyton Manning) chose to stay in college rather than turning professional as soon as possible. The Rocky Mountains aren’t going anywhere and Missy can always redshirt or go pro to train with Todd again before 2016.

    • don says:
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      There is always a risk when you leave a coach but a bigger risk is not leaving and not going to college. Look at the swimmers that gave up college, went pro and signed a contract. Hoff, Knutson, Ziegler and Sutton.Can you honestly say that leaving, keeping amateur status ,going to college would have hurt them in the long run? Nope, I don’t think so. i actually think it would have helped them to change, get some balance in their lives. There are GREAT college coaches that can keep her on track for 2016.
      As far as altitude, that is an interesting question and I have wondered the same. My first thought is that it will may be a difficult first year coupled with a lot of racing in duel meets.

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        I think the difference between those guys and Missy is that Missy has the earning potential to buy and fun an entire college program if she wanted. She would have no problem buying her way onto any team and paying for an entire college education with the money she could make this year.

  13. Josh says:
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    I predict that..

    Celina Li goes to Cal (close to home, right events for Cal)
    Emily Cameron goes to Texas (Capitani is great with breaststrokers)
    Vredeveld and Zilinskas to Florida (Zilinskas is tailor made for Florida, Baylor has sent several swimmers to Florida successfully)
    Neal and Franklin to Stanford (Want the best education)
    Cheneault and Leah Smith to Georgia (Middle distance freestyle haven)
    Smoliga to USC (They will throw the kitchen sink at her to land her on their team)
    Kaitlyn Jones to Tennessee (Kredich needs her versatility)

    • DutchWomen says:
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      Why would Vredeveld go to Florida? She is a 50/100/200 freestyle specialist, not a 200/500/1650 freestyle specialist. Does not focus on the 200 of stroke, 200 IM, 400 IM, etc. Florida women did not final in the 200 or 400 free relays last year.

      • Josh says:
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        The last girl Baylor sent to Florida was a sprinter, and she left an NCAA champion, both as a team and in the 200 free relay.

        • DutchWomen says:
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          Best times out of high school vs. Best times at Florida –

          22.52 – 22.17
          50.20 – 49.28
          56.02 – 54.62 fly

          I suppose NCAA Champion isn’t a bad title after four years of college swimming. Congrats to her for doing that and I certainly do not want to take away from those accomplishments. I do believe however that a different program would have produced very different results. Yes, she dropped time at Florida, but based on her high school times did she reach her full potential? When you’re already 22.5 out of high school you need world class sprint training to make any significant drops thereafter, and especially coming from Baylor where kids already doing weights and towers. For Vredeveld, coming out at 22.1 / 48.low does not leave a lot of room for improvement and if she wants to improve at the next level she needs a place like Cal where coaching is measured in tenths of a second and less is more. Already tall, already strong, already on weights and already on power towers. Only a world class sprint coach can take someone that is close to tapped out like that and make them faster. In my humble opinion Florida is not the place.

  14. Tea says:
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    I’m generally of the opinion that swimmers stay close to their home, culturally and/or geographically. So I say:

    Franklin – Cal. Good school (we know that’s important to her), and fits well with her quality-over-quantity background training. From what I hear, she’s on the low-distance end of the training spectrum; Georgia just doesn’t seem to fit that, and Stanford is going through an uncertain coaching turnover. The Franklin-Pelton-Bootsma-Tran training group kind of gives me shivers, though.

    Neal – Columbia. Total wildcard, I know. But city girls always seem reluctant to move to a college town; it’s a great school and has an ascendent program. She could probably still train at AGUA.

    Cameron – ??? I have nothing to add.

    Vredeveld – Auburn. Southern sprinter? If Georgia doesn’t sweep her up, she seems primed to follow AVW.

    Smoliga – Arizona. She’s moved in the sprint direction (that’s the AZ direction).

    Chenault – She seems like the prototypical UGA swimmer – middle distance stud, and competent in the IM. If not Georgia, she stays in California (either USC or Cal – again, Stanford may have a tough year recruiting with a question mark for a coach).

  15. Tea says:
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    Also, I think Celina Li would do quite well training with Beisel/Crippen in Florida

  16. Sam I Am says:
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    I would not be shocked to see Vredeveld at UVA just due to the fact that her brother swims there, and when Perdue leaves there will be huge hole on the sprint side. I think they would offer her the moon to come there.

  17. cynthia curran says:
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    Well, Li will probably do Ca since a lot of Northern Calif swimmers do. Northern Calif swimmers as a group better than Southern Calif swimmer, so Berkeley usually picks up the Northern Calif swimmers.

  18. cynthia curran says:
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    Calif already has three backstrokers, Boothsma, Pelton and Tran in the 100 yard. Pelton is good in the 200 yard. Boothsma and Tran are also good at 100 yard fly. So, Franklin may pick another school.

    • swimcoach24 says:
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      Franklin is also a pretty great freestyler.. I’m fairly certain she could throw down a ~1:53ish in the SCY IM if she ever swam it fully ready to go. Any college is going to throw everything they’ve got into getting that one.

      With all the talk from her about how much she loves her team and her high school swimming experience, it seems like her an McKeever (who is pretty big on the team thing herself) would be a great fit.

      I see her going to Cal.. even though if they get her the NCAA Team race isnt even going to be fair. But hey, 4 possible Olympic Gold Medals later it might be too hard to say no to that kind of money!

  19. cynthia curran says:
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    Well, Sutton didn’t swim high school either which is strange since all the top Orange County high school swimmers from Gary Hall Sr to Cindy Tran swam high school. Personality in Sutton’s case since she once did open swimming I don’t think it would have made a different. I think Sutton wanted to train with her coach at Mission Viejo. The others wanted to make money in the case of Katie Hoff and Hoff wanted to train with the same coach as well. Zieglar also wanted to train with the same coach. College programs usually take you cross country. Knutson I’m not certain in her case she also might had an injury or illness or got burn out.

  20. Frederick Herschell says:
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    Im thankful for the article post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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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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