The Louisville women have picked up two more verbal commitments: Rachel Grooms from Katy, Texas (outside of Houston) and Mara Pugh from Macomb, Michigan (and Club Wolverine).
The two make good compliments at the college level: Grooms is a sprint freestyler, and Pugh is a distance freestyler.
Grooms, who is a state finalist in Texas 5A (big schools), where she swims for Seven Lakes High School and Jordan Beck, and has flat-start bests of 23.9 and 51.1 in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles.
When asked why she chose Louisville, Grooms said “Basically, Louisville is just perfect,” with a laugh. She elaborated on that with “It has the exact coaching staff I’m looking for with an amazing team that has fun but knows how to work hard and get the job done in and out of the pool. I just know that I’m going to be incredibly happy and successful there, and further the team is combined, which I love.”
“One of (head coach) Arthur (Albiero’s) big things is that he wants to make me not only the best athlete and student I can be but the best person, and that meant a lot to me.”
Louisville has a very deep sprint group in the 2013-2014 season, but it’s also a very veteran sprint group. Depending on what develops this season, they’ll be rebuilding somewhat in the fall of 2014 around Kelsi Worrell, and so Grooms has a chance for an immediate impact.
That’s especially true as she’s a very quickly-developing swimmer. She was a career summer leaguer until high school, and didn’t start swimming club until her sophomore year, so she would seem to have very high potential with only three seasons of year-round swimming behind her. Her improvement this summer in long course shows that she should be ready for another big yards pop – she swam the 6 best long course 100 frees of her career, for example.
Alternatively, Pugh is a great distance swimmer. In the 500, 1000 and 1650 yard freestyles, she’s been 4:47.9/9:53.7/16:26.7 bests. She adds to that a 1:50.11 in the 200 yard free, which may matter in the Louisville relays as a freshman, and certainly will by the time she’s a senior.
Looking at an ACC comparison, which is where the Cardinals will land next year, she’ll definitely be a scorer in the mile as a freshman, and between that and the 500 free should be well into double-digit points at the conference level as a freshman.