UVA and Coach Mark Bernardino have landed a huge recruit for next year’s class in Leah Smith.The distance swimmer out of the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh most recent accomplishments include victories at Jr. Pan Pacs, where she won the 400 and 800 freestyle in meet record times of 4:07 and 8:28.
She’s certainly proved her worth short course as well: her best time in the 500 (4:39) would have made the consolation heat at 2012 NCAAs and her best mile time (16:02) would have been top 8. She’ll be a great asset to Virginia’s 800 free relay as well as individually in the 200 free with a best time of 1:46.84. While she won’t quite replace the loss of senior Lauren Perdue in that relay, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
UVA tends to have strength in the distance events, and when Smith enters she’ll find a great training partner and serve as an understudy to will-be senior Rachel Naurath. She’ll be a welcome addition in the mile especially as Virginia did not score in that event at 2012 NCAAs.