Samantha Shelton Sends Game-Changing Verbal to Harvard for 2018

Harvard has landed quite the catch with a verbal commitment to the admission process* from Mission Viejo Nadadores’ Samantha Shelton. A rising senior at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Shelton will be part of Harvard‘s class of 2022.

A sprint/mid-distance freestyler and backstroker, Shelton is the 12th-best 200 yard freestyler in U.S. 15-16 history with her 1:44.95 from her victory at the 2016 Winter Junior Nationals (West). She’s also ranked in the top 100 all-time in the 15-16 age group for the 100m, 200m and 400m free as well as the 100m back and 100y free.

Shelton is a 4-time CIF Southern Section (D1) champion, having won the 200 free and 100 fly her sophomore year at Santa Margarita Catholic, and the 200 free and 100 back this past May as a junior. This past season, she also anchored their free relays in 22.07 and 48.71, helping them break section records in both relays. In the 400 free relay, her team set the national independent high school record. Keep in mind that Shelton threw down that 48.7 split after doing the 200 free relay and 100 back right before it, with just the 100 breast serving as her rest.

She also has international experience, racing for Team USA at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Singapore. She swam during prelims on the USA’s 4×100 and 4×200 free relays.


  • 50y free 22.87 (22.07 relay)
  • 100y free 49.11 (48.71 relay)
  • 200y free 1:44.95
  • 500y free 4:45.26
  • 100y back 53.04
  • 100y fly 53.72
  • 200y fly 1:59.05

Shelton would’ve A-finaled in any of the seven races listed above with her lifetime bests at the 2017 Ivy League Championships. Her 1:44.95 would’ve won the 200 free title by half a second, and it would’ve also earned her a spot in the B final of the 200 free at NCAAs. She would’ve been 2nd in the 500 free and 100 back with her best times, too, at Ivies.

She offers multiple options to head coach Stephanie Morawski in terms of her Ivies lineup– she could do either the 50 or 500 free on day 2, the 100 back, 100 fly, or 200 free on day 3, and then the 200 fly or 100 free on day 4. Additionally, she immediately will make any of Harvard‘s five relays faster, be it with a freestyle leg or a backstroke one.

Even more exciting, in the vein of her 200 free, is her pairing with rising Harvard sophomore Miki Dahlke. Also from California, Dahlke was the only Harvard swimmer to qualify for NCAAs with her Ivy League record 1:45.23 leading off the 800 free relay. When Shelton gets to Harvard, she and Dahlke may well be the two best 200 freestylers the conference has ever seen, and the Crimson could even end up sending a relay or two to NCAAs with Shelton and Dahlke at the helm of the program.

*IVY LEAGUE DISCLAIMER: A “verbal commitment” by a coach is not an offer of admission, as only the Admissions Office has that authority. An Ivy League coach can only commit his or her support in the admissions process.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to[email protected]

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Great news for Harvard. Maybe they can put together a great 800 free relay and medley relays. She will probably final with a time drop in the 200 and Ncaas


Going to Harvard usually doesn’t equal a time drop?

bobo gigi

Dean Farris dropped a lot of time there.

Pasadena Swimmer

Who cares, its not your life. Life is not always about time drops. Good for her.

Sean Justice

One of my friends seemed to drop time every year at Harvard and finished in the top 8 at NCAAs.

Dean Farris dropped time at least one year….

bobo gigi

How come she doesn’t go to Stanford? 🙂


Because she chose Harvard.


Stanford = great education and NCAA Women Championship team for probably 3-4 more years.
Harvard = great education and snowy cold winters.


School isn’t all about sports and weather

Swim Observer

According to your matrix there is nothing beyond great education, NCAA Championships and weather. Which is a perfectly fine albeit a somewhat narrow and covneinient construct. My guess is that this swimmer, who like all of us is an individual, sees a world with more than three variables. This too is fine. But even if this was only a three factor world (God forbid) perhaps ms Shelton likes four seasons, a best friend in the team, or the Red Sox or has friends or family in the area. Or any myriad of things. Who knows. Why should we care? Or worse yet judge? In the pool performance is measured by the clock. I would like to think that something as… Read more »

bobo gigi

I’m just shocked to see another big talent not going to Stanford. And pleased to see a big talent not going, for once, to Stanford. But sometimes some people struggle to detect irony….


Maybe she wants to stand out


While she’ll star at Harvard, would she even make a relay at Stanford?

Swim Fast

Our coach did his best to talk swimmers out of Stanford and any of the Ivy’s, Harvard, Yale etc.
There was only one school that was recommended and if we had no interest in that school he offered no help. Could not figure out what that was all about . ?

Harvard Parent

Harvard is an amazing place who embraces
the whole person!!!


An amazing place WHO embraces? Indeed…

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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