Catherine Ladd, a promising sprint and mid-distance freestyler of the Class of 2014 who hails from Santa Clara Swim Club in California, has verbally committed to the University of California, Berkeley, her coach confirmed Sunday.
Ladd boasts career bests of 23.52/49.55/1:47.88 in the 50/100/200 SCY Freestyles, and has long-course bests of 27.52/57.69/2:03.71 in the same events. She is also a strong backstroker, with career bests of 55.72 and 1:59.81 in the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes, and 1:05.34 and 2:20.68 in the long course variant of those races. She was the champion in the 100 yard freestyle (49.74) and runner-up in the 200 yard freestyle (1:48.46) at the 2013 California Central Coast Championships.
Her 100 and 200 yard freestyle times are already NCAA Provisional ‘B’ cuts, and would have scored at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships, while her 100 and 200 yard backstrokes would have both merited second-swims. She is poised to be an immediate contributor for the Bears, and has the potential to contend for a medals in the 100 and 200 yard freestyles, where it took a 49.05 and a 1:46.90 to make the final heat at last year’s championships.
Her presence will be especially felt on the 800 free relay; Cal has a lot of very versatile and talented swimmers to fill all of their relays, but if Ladd has the same improvements early in her career as we’ve seen a lot of Cal freestylers do lately, it would give head coach Teri McKeever one more viable option with which to move and shift pieces around to other relays.
During the high school season, Ladd swims for Willow Glen High School. Santa Clara Swim Club’s National Team is coached by John Bitter, who has been head coach of SCSC since 2006.
This is the first public commitment for Cal this year, as they’re in the recently-unusual position of playing recruiting catch-up to their Bay area rivals at Stanford. The Cardinal have, early on, posted a phenomenal class with multiple top-20 recruits.