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Jessi Wigham, a Winter U.S. Open Qualifier and 2023 high school graduate, has announced her decision to continue her academic and athletic careers at the University of South Carolina. Wigham is from Urbandale, Iowa, and is a two-time Iowa High School State Champion. She is set to join the Gamecocks for the 2023-2024 season.
I am very excited and humbled to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 2023! I would like to thank all my coaches and family for their encouragement and support over the years. In addition, a huge thank you to the South Carolina coaching staff for giving me this amazing opportunity. I am beyond grateful and excited to be a part of such an amazing team! Go Gamecocks! #spursup
Wigham currently attends Waukee Senior High School, where she is about to enter her senior year. Outside of high school season, she trains with the DSMY Marlins out of Des Moines. Wigham is primarily a freestyler, excelling at all distances and particularly specializing in the 500. She holds a 2022 Winter U.S. Open qualifying time in the 500, and Winter Juniors qualifying times in the 200 and 1000.
Best Times SCY:
- 100 free- 51.47
- 200 free- 1:48.14
- 500 free- 4:47.43
- 1000 free- 9:57.40
- 1650 free- 17:23.28
Wigham has qualified for and competed in the IGHSAU Girls State Championships for all three years of high school so far. At the 2021 Championships, she became the State Champion in both the 200 and 500 yard freestyles. In the 200, she finished with a time of 1:50.12, just under 2 seconds slower than her personal best, which is from the 2020 Championships. In the 500, she posted a 4:56.64, about 10 seconds off her personal best which is also from the 2020 Championships. In 2020, she finished second in both events to Aurora Roghair, who now swims for Stanford.
In December, she competed at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships West, where she swam the 100 free, 200 free, and 500 free. Her highest finish was 5nd, which came in the 200 free. She posted a time of 1:51.30, about three seconds off her personal best. In the 100 free, she swam to a 71st place finish with a 51.61, a season best and only .14 off her all-time best.
The University of South Carolina is located in Columbia, South Carolina and is a member of the SEC Conference. At the 2022 Championships, the Women’s team finished in 10th out of 12 teams. Head coach Jeff Poppell is entering his second season at the head of the Gamecocks in 2022, after spending three years as the head women’s swim and dive coach at the University of Florida.
With a year of high school left and plenty of opportunities to continue improving, Wigham already owns SEC Conference-scoring times. At the 2022 Championships, her best time would have put her 14th overall in the 500, coming in as the top finisher for South Carolina.
Wigham is not the lone recruit who has already sent their verbal to the Gamecocks for 2023-2024. The class of 2027 shows great promise for the future of South Carolina swimming, with plenty of conference scoring potential among the new recruits, which include Ellery Ottem, Caroline Chasser, and Madelyn Yates to name a few.
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