Though the top recruit in the women’s class of 2012, Liz Pelton, made her verbal commitment to Cal months ago, this class is very deep and big-time loaded. They are probably even stronger than the very-good class of 2010, which was certainly a banner recruiting year.
Now that July 1st has passed, and college coaches are able to begin calling potential recruits, the commitments should start coming fast and furiously, which began yesterday with decisions from two of CollegeSwimming.com’s top 20 recruits.
The first to fall was Michigan’s Courtney Bartholomew, who on Thursday decided that she would head to the University of Virginia. She’s the 15th-ranked recruit in the class of 2012. Bartholomew was this year’s Short Course Junior National Champions in both the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes. Though some might argue that this meet, which was absent the three best long course junior backstrokers in the country (Liz Pelton, Missy Franklin, and Rachel Bootsma) had watered down competition, consider her best marks: Her 52.22 in the 100 back and 1:53.16 in the 200 back both would’ve placed her in the top-7 at last year’s NCAA Championships, and she’s still got another year to develop before heading to Charlottesville in the summer of 2012.
She will join a young, and very fast, Virginia nucleus. With Lauren Perdue on the freestyle leg and Rachel Naurath swimming the butterfly, the Cavaliers have the makings of a very strong medley relay for NCAA’s 2013.
The other top recruit to make her commitment over the weekend was Kendyl Stewart, the year’s number 2 recruit out of the state of California, who hails from the San Diego area. She won’t be traveling far from home, as she’s committed to swim for Dave Salo at USC. Her high rank is based heavily on her diversity, as she has the potential to A-or-B-final in as many as 5 or 6 events at NCAA’s as a freshman. She does have one lights-out race, however, which is the 100 fly. In May of 2010, she broke Katie Hoff’s 15-16 National Age Group Record with a 52.43 to take the CIF San Diego Section Championship. Though that time was swum when she was only a sophomore, it still would have put her into the A-final at NCAA’s last year.
Last season, she was chasing the National High School Record in the event, but an entry error by her coach, in his first year, left her out of the event. She has already said that she will not swim high school during the 2011-2012 season to focus on training for the Olympic Trials.
This will be a huge addition to a USC squad who graduated a ton of big-name swimmers last year, and will lose even more after this upcoming season. This includes their top 100 butterflier, National Teamer Lyndsay DePaul, who graduated after last season.