The University of South Carolina Women’s Swimming and Diving Team picked up a trio of verbals in the last week-or-so with the additions of Jordyn Barham, Tierney Shimansky, and Meredith Vay.
Barham of the TAC Titans is a strong backstroke/distance freestyle/IM swimmer with bests of 56.9/2:01.4 in the 100/200 backstrokes, 2:06.2/4:21.4 in the 200/400 individual medleys, and 4:56.3/10:08.1 in the 500/1000 freestyles.
She has also been 2:22.3 in her 200 LCM backstroke and 5:01.13 in the 400 LCM IM.
Those 400 IM swims have been her lone Junior National cut performances.
South Carolina has had some relative success with IM’ers in the last few years. For example, current senior Rachael Schaffer dropped 9 seconds in the 400 IM as a freshman to go a 4:09 during the 2010-2011 season.
Shimansky, who swims for the Gator Swim Club in Florida, is also a very good distance freestyler, with yards bests of 4:57.16 and 10:18.49 in the 500 and 1000 yard distances.
The Gamecocks have just been hammering this distance group in the fall reruiting season, not only on the girls’ side, but in their boys’ class as well. Sarah Smith is also a sub-5 minute 500 freestyler, in the class. But that doesn’t mean they’ve ignored the sprints in a well-developed class.
The latest in that sprint group is Meredith Vay, from Quest Swimming in Richmond, Virginia. In yards, she’s been 23.6/51.0/1:52.0 in the 50, 100, and 200 yard freestyles. She’s also got some pop in her 100 fly, where a big drop as a junior saw her go a 57.0 at the Virginia SC Senior Championship in February.
She should be an immediate free relay contributor – her times last season would’ve already ranked her among the Gamecocks’ top four flat-start swims in each of those freestyle events.
Combined with the jewel of the group, Heather Merritt, this will probably shake out to be the best South Carolina women’s class, top-to-bottom, that we’ve seen in a few years.