The USC Trojans have snagged a big-time commitment from Nashville Aquatic Club’s Tatum Wade for the class of 2020. The rising Christ Presbyterian Academy (Nashville, TN) senior is the 2nd commit to the Trojans for the incoming class in 2016, after they landed Stanzi Moseley a few months ago.
Wade is primarily a freestyler with a dangerous range from the 50 through the 500. She’s coming off an incredibly successful high school season, during which she won the 200 and 500 freestyles at the Tennessee State Championships in February. Wade is also an excellent breaststroker/IMer with an impressive 200 butterfly personal best. Here’s a look at her best times:
^ denotes Winter Nationals cut
* denotes Summer Jr Nationals cut
** denotes Summer Nationals cut
Looking at her improvements from just last year to this year, she seems to be on a trend towards even faster times. She’s dropped .51 in the 50 free, .86 in the 100 free, 1.93 in the 200 free, 3.41 in the 500 free, 4.23 in the 200 breast, and 3.83 in the 200 IM, over the course of the last year.
I am incredibly excited to announce my decision to become a USC Trojan. From the start, I immediately connected with Dave and the rest of the coaching staff. I truly appreciate their approach and ultimately feel like they can help me achieve my long term goals. I am also looking forward to becoming a part of a team that I believe is on the rise. Their attitudes were infectious and I was impressed by the team’s dynamic. Also, I am looking forward to adopting USC’s unique training style. I believe that this approach will help me build upon the coaching and training I have received from John Morse at Nashville Aquatic Club. When I coupled all of this with their commitment to academic excellence, I determined that USC was the place I wanted to call home.
This year, the Trojans faced a shortage of freestylers to stack their relays with, relying heavily on the likes of Chelsea Chenault and Kendyl Stewart, two stars who don’t specialize in sprint free (which is incredibly significant for relays). Obviously, the addition of SDSU transfer Anika Apostalon is going to be a huge help for USC in both relays and individual points next year. However, by the time Wade gets to the west coast to start school and train for the Trojans, Apostalon, Chenault, Stewart, and a host of other key team members will either be seniors or have already graduated. 2016 additions Wade and Moseley, however, will get a year with Chenault which could result in an incredibly lethal 800 free relay.
Looking solely at this past season’s top times list for USC, Wade would have been 2nd in the 200 and 500 freestyles as well as the 200 IM, 3rd in the 100 free and 200 breast, and 4th in the 50 free and 100 breast. Her best times, had she swum them at this past Pac-12 Championships, would have landed her in the A final in the 200 breast, 200 IM, and 500 free, while her times in the 200 free, 100 breast and 200 fly would have made B finals.
Wade also isn’t far off of what it took to make the B final in the 500 free and 200 IM at this year’s NCAA Champs. She’d have to choose one or the other, as the events are back to back on the first day of competition, but her strength in both events gives Coach Dave Salo options.
Here’s the bottom line for Wade, as far as her future impact on the Trojans: she’s an incredibly versatile swimmer with potential to score huge points individually at the conference championship level as a freshman, and her freestyle firepower makes her an almost automatic candidate for (at least) the Trojans’ 800 free relay. Better yet, she has a whole year left of high school to improve before she gets to USC. With the recent talent influx at USC, they’ll be looking to reshape the power structure at the Pac-12 level and even the NCAA level over the next few years.