Two All-American Swimmers Show Up On New Rosters at USC Invite

At last weekend’s USC Invite, a pair of All-American swimmers showed up on new rosters. Both Aria Bernal, who is now on the team at USC, and Laticia Transom, who is now on the team at Hawaii, will use their 5th years of NCAA eligibility for new schools – both previously-unannounced surprise arrivals.

Bernal swam her first four seasons at Arizona, while Transom spent her first four seasons at USC.

Aria Bernal: Arizona to USC

An intraconference transfer, Aria Bernal will swim at USC this season. She was the Wildcats’ top performer in the 100 backstroke in each of her four seasons at Arizona.

At the 2022 Pac-12 Championships, she placed 4th in the 100 back and 6th in the 200 back. That placed her higher than any USC swimmer in either event last season – the Trojans don’t return any A or B finalists in the 200 back.

She will immediately become the favorite to take over the opening leg of USC’s medley relays.

At Arizona, she won Honorable Mention All-America honors as a senior (12th place) and sophomore (NCAAs canceled).

Best Times in Yards:

  • 100 back – 51.24 (half-a-second from the USC Record)
  • 200 back – 1:54.33
  • 200 IM – 1:59.63

Bringing in a swimmer who scored 55 points at last year’s Pac-12 Championships will be a huge boost for head coach Lea Maurer’s first season as the non-interim head coach for Troy. The backstroke group especially needed depth after Jade Hannah transferred to LSU.

The USC women finished 3rd at last year’s Pac-12 Championship meet, 27 points behind Cal.

At the Trojan Invite, she was 5th in the 100 back (53.83), split 25.14 on the backstroke leg of USC’s winning 200 medley relay, and was 8th in the 200 back (1:59.02).

Laticia Transom: USC to Hawaii

The portal giveth, and the portal taketh away: Laticia Transom will use her 5th year at Hawaii. That brings the New Zealander about 2,500 miles closer to home, and cuts about 7 hours of flight time off.

Hawaii has a long history with athletes from Australia and New Zealand due to the relative geographic proximity to home. The men’s team has another 5th year, John Clark, from New Zealand on the roster, and there are three Australians on this year’s squad as well. Mel Schlanger and Phoebe Hines, both Australians, are among the school’s program record holders.

Transom finished 7th at the 2022 NCAA Championships in the 200 yard free. In 2020, her second season at USC, she ranked 5th in the country in the 200 free and 13th in the 100 free, though that year’s NCAA Championship meet was canceled. In 2019, she joined USC as a freshman spring semester enrolee, and swam the leadoff leg on USC’s 3rd-place 800 free relay.

Best Times in Yards:

  • 50 free – 22.12 (Faster than School Record)
  • 100 free – 47.21 (Faster than School Record)
  • 200 free – 1:42.47 (Faster than School Record)
  • 100 back – 53.37
  • 100 fly – 53.53

Transom’s impact on Hawaii will be immediate and immense. She has a shot at three school records, and a near-guarantee in the 200 free: she has 2.3 seconds of breathing room. Her best times in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles would have all easily won MPSF Conference titles last season, and her relay impact will make Hawaii title contenders in all three races.

Hawaii finished 2nd at last year’s MPSF Championships, 12.5 points behind UC San Diego, to snap a run of five consecutive conference titles. Transom alone could swing that competition as much as 70 or 80 points. The addition is a huge boon for Hawaii in a year where they too have a new coaching staff: former Boston College assistant Mike Stephens is now at the helm.

Transom sat out the 2020-2021 COVID season, so technically this is her 4th season of eligibility, though she did finish her degree at USC and so counts as a grad transfer.

At the USC Invite, she tied for first in the 100 free with her former teammate Anicka Delgado (49.02), placed 5th in the 50 free (22.65), and finished 2nd in the 200 free (1:46.00) behind USC freshman Justina Kozan.

Transom also split 22.06 on a 200 free relay leg for Hawaii, 22.18 on a 200 medley relay anchor leg, and swam an anchor leg on the 400 medley relay (touchpad error).

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Backstud
3 months ago

Zona got some gaps to fill

swimphan
3 months ago

Bernal a nice transfer portal pickup. But my perception is that Trojans still not in a “Net Zero” roster strength position with others like Transom and Hanna transferring out. This will be Lea’s first full year as USC HC after doing interim role last season amidst all the “white water” turmoil in the Trojan Men’s and Women’s program.

Ghost
3 months ago

To me, it would be a 5th year and a gap year alll wrapped into one! Surf’s up!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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