UNC Nabs First Ranked Recruit For 2022: OT Qualifier #11 Emma Karam

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Reno Aquatic Club’s Emma Karam, #11 in the high school girls class of 2022, is UNC’s first Top 20 and fourth overall verbal for their women’s class of 2026. Karam is a junior at Galena High School in Nevada.

I am BEYOND excited to announce my verbal commitment to further my athletic and academic pursuits at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill!!⚪️🔵 I cannot wait to become part of this amazing family and program. A very special thank you to my friends, family, and coaches for supporting me throughout these years. GO TAR HEELS!!!💙🤍


  • 50 free – 23.70
  • 100 free – 52.49
  • 200 free – 1:51.09
  • 500 free – 4:56.07
  • 50 back – 25.53
  • 100 back – 52.75
  • 200 back – 1:54.93
  • 100 fly – 55.62
  • 200 IM – 2:02.99
  • 400 IM – 4:22.76

Karam is a top backstroker in the class, coming in with near-NCAA qualifying times as a high school junior. It took a 52.73 in the 100 and 1:53.99 in the 200 to get invited to the 2020 NCAA Championships, and Karam is already basically at invite speed in the 100.

At the 2019 Speedo Junior Nationals, Karam scored in the 100m back B-final, snagging an Olympic Trials cut with a 1:02.58. She was also 27th at that meet in the 200 back (2:16.92). In high school competition, she last raced at the 2019 Nevada HS 3A/4A Championships, winning the 100 back and taking second in the 200 back. The 2020 meet was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, at the Red Rock Invitational, Karam clocked lifetime bests in the 100 fly (55.62) and 200 IM (2:02.99). Karam also raced at the virtual 2020 U.S. Open, finishing 12th nationally in the 200m back with a lifetime best and OT cut 2:14.25.

The Tar Heels are led by juniors Grace Countie (51.5) and Sophie Lindner (52.2/1:52.8) in backstroke, and Lindner has been the quickest 100 butterflier this season (52.62). With her lifetime bests, Karam would’ve been just off of 2020 ACC Champs A-final speed in both backstrokes.

Karam joins Lily Reader, Kyleigh Tankard and Aislin Farris in UNC’s class of 2026. The Tar Heels get two strong backstroke recruits next fall in their class of 2025, too: Katie Rauch (1:55.1) and Greer Pattison (53.5/1:57.0).

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1 year ago

So much for academics…

Reply to  Whoa
1 year ago

Bro what… unc is a top 5 public school in the country

1 year ago

Go Heels! Welcome to the family!

Pro-NC state
1 year ago

1.54.9 is insane, great pickup from UNC

Go Heels
1 year ago

Go Heels!

1 year ago


1 year ago

If UNC continues on this improved trajectory, the ACC is going to become a juggernaut.

Don Edwards
Reply to  swimgeek
1 year ago

I have been following UNC swimming since Frank Comfort was the coach and H had some terrific teams, however, it seems that we have not had a decent coach since then. Back then we were very competitive with Virginia and much better than the rest of the conference. That is in the past and Carolina seems to have given up on swimming.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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