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.

TOP TIMES

  • 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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Swamfan
5 years ago

i wonder if she will get as much hype as Dean Farris did during his freshman season lol. Anyways, it’s cool to see an elite swimmer go somewhere besides the typical powerhouses. Congrats!!

Swimfan
Reply to  Swamfan
5 years ago

Kid from Penn won the NCAA men’s 1650 in 2016. Most of the kids do something career oriented in the summers rather than swim 24/7. Finding a job post swim career is their priority and that requires real intern experience which requires sacrifice in the summer. But they swim for the love of the sport rather than athletic scholarship and consequently control their academic schedule and summer work schedule

COLT
5 years ago

Now we have HS juniors comiting to Ivy League universities? It is obvious that the recruiting playing field is not level in the Ivies. Particularly when it comes to Harvard.

Swim Observer
Reply to  COLT
5 years ago

Did you read the disclaimer? Here it is in case you missed it:

*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.

The Ivy League is the only league that adheres to this process. By way of contrast. There is no such disclaimer for the 3 early commits (Raab, Bartel & Goeders) already declared this season to Stanford. Not sure which windmill you’re tilting at.

Also this is one crazy recruitingseason, unlike any other in terms of the pressure for swimmers to commit early. SwimSwam ran a great piece earlier… Read more »

Ivy League Proud
Reply to  COLT
5 years ago

As the parent of an Ivy Swimmer and an Ivy athlete in a different sport, many Ivy swim kids “commit” in the summer before their senior year with the class being basically complete by September. Most recruits do not announce a decision until they have received a “likely letter” from the University which states the recruit is “likely to be admitted” when final decisions are made in December. The likely letter gives the recruit a level of comfort that they will be able to have a reasonable chance at admissions. In the age of seeking the best talent, likely letters are also issued for non athletic potential enrollees. As a result, with few exceptions, if a swimmer “commits” to any… Read more »

swimmer
Reply to  COLT
5 years ago

Considering it is her summer pre-senior year, her GPA, class rank, and other material is most likely stabilized by now, if not one more semester seals the deal. She still has to send her applications and other material in before the Early Action deadline if she wants to have a shot at getting accepted.

Neil
5 years ago

Only on SwimSwam would someone get bashed for going to Harvard. Good luck, kiddo!

Wade
5 years ago

Well done Sam. That Rick dude is awful proud and i sure hope you are too.

Swammer
5 years ago

not the best decision… people who truly care about swimming well don’t go to Harvard. I hope she’s smart.

Swammerjammer
Reply to  Swammer
5 years ago

Maybe she cares so much about swimming that she wants to swim instead of being used as cannon fodder behind even faster swimmers on the west coast talent laden teams. At Harvard, the coach won’t ruin her training and stroke and cause injuries by forcing her to swim the long events. Go Harvard.

Swim Fast
Reply to  Swammer
5 years ago

Harvard has very strict academic requirements overall – there are no exceptions for athletes. So does Yale . Princeton not so much.

stingtex19
Reply to  Swammer
5 years ago

Try telling that to David Berkoff (’88, ’92) or Alex Meyer (’12).

Harvard Parent
5 years ago

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

Dawgpaddle
Reply to  Harvard Parent
5 years ago

An amazing place WHO embraces? Indeed…

bobo gigi
5 years ago

How come she doesn’t go to Stanford? 🙂

beachair
Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Because she chose Harvard.

dave
Reply to  beachair
5 years ago

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

sccoach
Reply to  dave
5 years ago

School isn’t all about sports and weather

Swim Observer
Reply to  dave
5 years ago

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
Reply to  beachair
5 years ago

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….

Hswimmer
Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Maybe she wants to stand out

nobody
Reply to  Hswimmer
5 years ago

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

Swim Fast
Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

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 . ?

Hswimmer
5 years ago

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

Jay
Reply to  Hswimmer
5 years ago

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

bobo gigi
Reply to  Jay
5 years ago

Dean Farris dropped a lot of time there.

Pasadena Swimmer
Reply to  Jay
5 years ago

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

Sean Justice
Reply to  Jay
5 years ago

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

Admin
Reply to  Sean Justice
5 years ago

Dean Farris dropped time at least one year….

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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