2015 Pac-12 7th place finisher in the mile Maddie Meisel will transfer from Utah to USC next season and will be eligible to compete immediately in the fall of 2016.
Meisel, who is primarily a distance swimmer, was 7th in the 1650 free (16:31.18) and 11th in the 500 free (4:45.12) as a freshman two years ago at Utah. She didn’t compete in the 2015-2016 season while battling a severe case of mono, which makes her eligible to compete right away for the Trojans.
“I chose USC because of their excellent academics, world-class facilities, and family mentality,” Meisel said of the decision to move. “After just a few hours on campus I felt like I was already part of the team, and was so motivated by the high goals and standards SC sets for themselves. I am extremely excited to be a part of the Trojan family! Fight on!”
Meisel showed tremendous improvement in her first year of collegiate swimming, even after her high school results had stagnated. In 2011, when she was just a high school sophomore, Meisel swam a 4:53.68 in the 500 yard freestyle, and she never again came even close to that time before graduation (her next-best high school result was a 4:57 at the end of her senior year).
By the time she’d completed a year of training at Utah, however, she’d improved that time all the way down to 4:45.12 at the Pac-12 Championships. She also showed big drops in the 1650 free (18:09.14 to 16:31.41) and 200 fly (2:06.1 to 2:01.6).
USC has long held a reputation as a sprint program under the watch of coach Dave Salo (aka “Sprint Salo”), but in recent years have built one of the best distance programs in the country as well, thanks in large part to the work of assistant coach Catherine Vogt, whose focus is the distance swimmers. Besides now-graduated 2012 open water Olympian Haley Anderson, current USC standouts in that area include junior Chelsea Chenault, the 2016 Pac-12 Champion in the 500 free; and Elizabeth Stinson, who won the 2016 Pac-12 title in the 1650 free as just a freshman.
For Meisel, this will be a homecoming – as she originally came to Utah from Millikan High School in Long Beach, California, which is only about 30 minutes from the USC campus.
Meisel is a 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials qualified in the 400 meter free and the 200 meter fly.