Wednesday, April 11th, begins open season on the official signing week for high school seniors (or their international counterparts) to sign National Letters of Intent for NCAA scholarships.
Though most American swimmers sign in the early signing period in the fall, this becomes open season on the huge international crops of swimmers, and there’s some monster names (especially on the men’s side) who, for the right offer, might be ready to come to the states to train.
The big catch would be Daniel Skaaning, who hails from a heating-up Danish squad. He’s extremely versatile, but he’s primarily a freestyler – he was the 2011 European Junior silver medalist in the 200 free with a 1:49.56. Skaaning lists sponsors on his personal website, which seems to rule him out from college competition. That presumesHis countrymate Anders Lie might be coming over as well – earlier this year he went a 1:49.8 long course in the 200 free, and also has a 3:54 in the 400.
Another Northern-European who could be coming over is Sami Juopperi, who is an outstanding IM’er with bests of 2:03.6 and 4:28.6 in the 200 and 400, respectively; he’s a better short course swimmer than long course, so he could be spectacular in college.
Another name to watch for out of Spain is Fernando Morillas. He’s an outstanding breaststroker (like another Spaniard we saw come to Florida last year – Eduardo Solaeche) with long course bests of 1:02.0 and 2:15.13, respectively.
On the women’s side, there’s really only one big international name that I can dig up – and that’s Noora Laukkanen from Finland. She’s the elder of a pair of extremely-talented Laukkanen breaststrokers in her native country – and has long course bests of 1:09.3/2:29.3, both in 2011. She’s also a decent distance freestyler (9:38 in the 800), and a very good IM’er (2:17 in the 200).
There aren’t any Americans left to commit who will make the country sit up and say “wow,” but there are plenty who could be NCAA qualifiers as freshman. Colin Eaton out of Oregon is the Oregon State High School Record holder in the 50 and 100 freestyles, with bests of 20.34 and 44.95. He’s not the biggest sprinter in the world – the last information I can find about him pegs him at 5;9 and 155 pounds – but USC has done well with an undersized Vlad Morozov, so maybe that’s a destination for him.
Another bigtime Oregon swimmer, Aaron Ghiglieri, has not yet reported a signing either, according to collegeswimming.com. He already had a very-good 20.95 in yards in the 50 free, but he relay-split a 22.85 in long course at the Federal Way Sectional meet, which should get him plenty of offers.
Also, a swimmer who’s somehow flown under the radar out of Los Angeles, Fred Abramyan from Loyola High School has a 20.5 in the 50, 44.9 in the 100, and 56.9 in the 100 breast. Schools he’s considering include Texas (those times are very Dax-Hill like), Virginia, USC and Cal.
Swimmers and parents – have a signing to announce? Send us a picture and the info to [email protected], and we’ll get you a moment in the sun!