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Tennessee head swimming and diving coach has been building his program into a powerhouse, and this fall he is making huge progress on the recruiting trail. He’s showed that he’s more-than-ready to square offf toe-to-toe in the SEC recruiting arms race with his rivals at Georgia, and has added his 4th verbal commitment of the week in Christina Leander of the Suburban Seahawks in Pennsylvania. She gave her verbal on Thursday, which happens to be her birthday.
Leander, a senior at West Chester East High School, is a 54.14 in the 100 back and a 1:58.21 in the 200 back. There’s a lot of good backstrokers in this class, but Leander is certainly among the top 10, at least.
This is another area, much like we’ve seen with their breaststroke and butterfly recruits, where they’ve recently been hit by graduations. In the backstrokes, however, the Volunteers are much deeper, meaning there won’t be as much pressure on Leander to contribute immediately. She joins a group that includes juniors Lauren Solernou (52.57) and Kate McNeilis (53.57), as well as sophomore Arden Pittman who missed much of her freshman season but is clearly talented.
Leander also is an outstanding IM’er, with a 200 yard best of 2:00.61, and has some potential in the 100 free, with a 52.38. In her primary stroke, the backstrokes, she’s about as good in long course: 1:03.3 and 2:15.9 in the 100 and 200, respectively.
Tennessee’s class so far has been very well-balanced, with Kredich picking off swimmers in every specialty (he’s shown the ability to develop them in every discipline). Leander is a backstroker, they’ve brought in top-tier breaststroker Colleen Callahan, Missouri’s best ever high school 100 butterflier Heather Lundstrom, another butterflier in Trisha Forrester, and finally a freestyler in Camryne Morris from NBAC.
The Volunteers’ needs at this point look a lot different than they did a month ago. Adding another sprint freestyle, in a fantasy world, would be the cherry-on-top of this class. Aside from that, whatever future targets would just be depth everywhere.