Mission Viejo’s Brooke Lorentzen is already a star in open water and a member of the United States Open Water Junior National Team.
She’s about to see if she can translate that star power to the pool in Minneapolis, as she has verbally committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
“I was so torn between Arizona and Minnesota but I just fell in love with Minnesota so I went with my heart,” Lorentzen said of her decision. “I went to Junior Day at Arizona and loved the team. When I went back [for the recruiting trip] they welcomed me with open arms because everyone already knew me. I stayed with Bonnie, Margo, Ashley, and Shannon and had a blast. I was ready to commit but then I went to Minnesota. It was a very different feeling. I knew right away. It just felt right.”
It’s been a huge week for Big Ten women’s recruiting, and now the two-time defending conference champions have gotten in on the fun.
Perhaps a bit ironically, it seems that Lorentzen’s biggest immediate impact could be in the middle-distance races before the mile, though eventually she’s well on pace to be an NCAA scorer in all three races.
Lorentzen has best times of 1:47.89 and 4:45.19 in the 200 and 500 yard freestyles, respectively, from the 2013 California CIF Southern Section Division 1 Championship meet representing Capo Valley. She took 2nd in the 200 and won the 500.
In long course, she’s been 2:03.84 in the 200 and 4:15.06 in the 400 freestyle (again: largely better times than her 800, though her 1500 from Junior Nationals this summer at 16:41 was very strong).
Minnesota and Indiana have built a great head-to-head middle-distance rivalry in the conference. Last year, both teams cleared the conference record in the 800 free relay, but it was Indiana who won in a 6:59.4.
Minnesota has a huge group of that group that will be seniors when Lorentzen is a freshman (including Kierra Janzen, Jessica Plant, and Tori Simenec), so this is a fantastic job of “overlap recruiting” by Minnesota head coach Kelly Kremer.
Kremer used to coach at Mission Viejo, where Lorentzen did her club swimming.
“Coach Kremer has always been supportive, Lorentzen said. “He came to a practice at Mission Viejo when I was in 9th grade and said to Coach Rose, ‘If that girl still loves swimming in four years I want her on my team.’ That just makes you feel special. He really cares about me as a person, not just a swimmer. That’s what I was looking for in a coach and I definitely felt that connection with him. Plus the team was really close, really supportive of each other. I felt right at home.”
Lorentzen also raced at the 2012 Minneapolis Grand Prix, a relatively lightly-attended meet, last year.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the four seasons. As a Californian, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to take a chance these next four years. It’s the best time in your life to do it.”
Thanks to Anne Lepesant and Mike Lewis for contributing to this report.