Wisconsin Picks Up Huge Verbal Commitment from #6 Phoebe Bacon for 2020

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Nation’s Capital’s Phoebe Bacon has verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Joining the team in the fall of 2020, Bacon is the #6 commit in the class and a rising senior at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland.

She is the 2018 U.S. Winter National Championships runner-up in the 100 back, and she placed 4th in the event at the 2018 Phillips 66 Summer National Championships.



  • 50 free – 22.86
  • 100 free – 49.28
  • 50 back – 24.33
  • 100 back – 51.18
  • 200 back – 1:50.71
  • 100 breast – 1:01.27
  • 100 fly – 52.33
  • 200 IM – 1:57.31
  • 400 IM – 4:09.82


  • 50 back – 28.41
  • 100 back – 59.12
  • 200 back – 2:10.65
  • 100 breast – 1:11.49
  • 100 fly – 1:00.09
  • 200 IM – 2:15.96

Bacon is known as a backstroker — she’s either tenths ahead of, or tenths behind, both #3 Isabelle Stadden and #2 Alex Walsh in the 100 and 200 back. The three of them, along with #1 Regan Smith, are the stud backstrokers of the class, but Bacon’s 59.12 100 back in long course has her closest of anyone to Smith, who is world class in both the 100 and 200 back. With Bacon now committed to a college (she was down to Wisconsin or Georgia), Smith is the final big backstroker in the class, while just three swimmers remain uncommitted for 2020 out of our top 20.

While backstroke is her specialty, Bacon is very impressive in the other three strokes, and her IM has the potential to be very deadly as a result. She should be a triple-A finalist at the Big Ten level, and she’s on the A/B final cusp in the 100 back and within A final range in the 200 back at the NCAA level.

Bacon has been making headlines for a few years now, as she was the third-youngest swimmer to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials, and she’s continued to keep pace as one the best age group backstrokers in history. In the 15-16 age group, for example, she ranks ahead of every swimmer in American history except for Smith.

This is the first huge commit for Wisconsin under the Yuri Suguiyama era, who took over as head coach for the 2018-19 season. Suguiyama coached Katie Ledecky at NCAP in DC, before moving on to coach at Cal until he took the Wisconsin job.

The Badgers have been in the top tier of the Big Ten conference on the women’s side, and have been led the last few years by Beata Nelson, the American record holder in the 100 back (49.18) and recent NCAA champion in the 100/200 back and 200 IM. Nelson is from Wisconsin, and her commitment a few years ago to stay in-state was a game-changer for the program. This is another milestone moment for the Badgers.

Bacon won’t get to make any medley relay magic happen with Nelson, as the latter has just one year left of eligibility at Wisconsin. Bacon will, however, have two years of overlap with another homegrown product, rising sophomore Lillie Hosack. Hosack is the top young IM’er/sprinter with the Badgers right now.

Bacon will join Cal Dunn, Kaylyn Schoof, Mallory Jackson, Ally Penrod, and Alex Anagnostopoulos in Wisconsin’s class of 2024.


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3 years ago

Stone Ridge Sacred Heart – the same school as Katie Ledecky

3 years ago

So is it safe to say Yuri isn’t taking UNC job??

Reply to  Oldskool
3 years ago

Coaches sometimes change their mind — but I have to assume he made a firm commitment to these athletes that he was staying at UW

Reply to  SwimGeek
3 years ago

I agree. I am sure by now UNC reached out and offered the job….and he said thanks, but no thanks!

Reply to  Oldskool
3 years ago

UNC missed the boat big time letting Deselm stay as long as he did

3 years ago

Yuri putting together a very good class for 2020 (I think they now have 3 of the top 35 or so recruits in that class), and their new pool opens next season. Here come the Badgers.

3 years ago

Yuri tapping into his NCAP connection. (Probably helps to have the fastest yards backstroker in history — though Bacon and Beata won’t overlap at all)

Reply to  SwimGeek
3 years ago

Being from the area, Yuri understands the huge Swim culture in DC/MD/noVA (DMV) as well as the thin in-state choices in MD.

Reply to  Anonymous
3 years ago

“thin” indeed. Not a single Power-5 swim program in the state of MD. I still can’t over the fact that UMD has a beautiful swim facility but not team.

Doss Rant
3 years ago


3 years ago

WOW! Huge for Badgers. Surely this lady can go MUCH faster in the 200 IM!!!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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