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Olympic Trials qualifier Skyler Smith has verbally committed to the University of North Carolina. Currently a junior at Valley Christian High School in California, Smith is scheduled to arrive in Chapel Hill in the fall of 2021.
“ I am SO extremely excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my athletic and academic success at theUniversity of North Carolina Chapel-hill! I am blessed to have had all the support from my family, friends, and coaches throughout this process. I chose UNC for the outstanding academics, phenomenal athletics, and the overall school culture. I couldn’t be anymore excited about joining the tar heel family!! #GOTARHEELS!🔵⚪️ “
Smith finished 3rd at the 2020 Speedo Winter Junior Championships – West meet in the girls’ 100 yard breaststroke, swimming a best time of 1:00.55. She placed 5th in that same event at last year’s California High School State Championship meet in 1:02.40.
Smith joins a parade of breaststrokers committing to the Tar Heels, who are in the midst of their first full recruiting cycle under new head coach Mark Gangloff – a two-time Olympic gold medalist as a breaststroker on American medley relays.
Best Times in Yards:
- 100 breast – 1:00.55
- 200 breast – 2:14.29
- 100 free – 52.77
- 200 free – 1:56.58
- 200 IM – 2:08.24
Already as a junior, Smith has dropped 1.4 seconds in the 100 breaststroke, her best event. That comes after a sophomore season where she didn’t drop any time in the same event. While she’s still very much primarily a sprint breaststroke, she’s making a lot of progress over 200 yards as well: so far as a junior, she’s dropped over 5 seconds in that event.
Smith says that a minor knee injury that limited her ability to kick inhibited her progress as a sophomore. She also credits her improvements to a change in club, where she saw her workouts go from a max of about 3500 meters per practice to around 5000-6500 meters per workout with Peak. She says this change is really helping her thrive this winter.
At Junior Nationals over the summer, Smith swam a 1:10.97 in the 100 breaststroke in long course, wrapping a summer where she dropped almost a second-and-a-half in total. That put her under the Olympic Trials qualifying standard. The time also ranks her 84th in USA Swimming’s global 18 & Under rankings in the event.
Other Accolades for Smith:
- 28th-fastest 100 yard breaststroker in the 13-14 history (1:01.93)
- Bronze medalist at the Speedo Junior National Championships in the 100 meter breaststroke.
Among deep and versatile class of 2020 for the UNC women, which are poised to the course of fortune for the program, are breaststrokers Katharine Ward (1:02.9/2:16.0), Victoria Ireland (1:02.2/2:16.2), and Lexi Rudolph (1:02.9/2:14.9). Smith, in the class of 2021, has best times faster than all 3 already, in spite of being a year younger.
Smith does her club training with Peak Swimming.
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