Niki Price from the York YMCA in Pennsylvania has verbally committed to Penn State: the Nittany Lions’ first big (public) verbal commitment of the Tim Murphy era in State College.
Price is a very good backstroker, butterflier, and freestyler. Her bests in yards are 24.2/51.6/1:48.0 in the 50, 100, and 200 yard freestyles, and 55.1/2:01.1 in the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes.
She’s also been a 54.1 in the 100 yard fly, and 2:01.2 in the 200 yard IM, so she can fill in for the Nittany Lions in a lot of places. Their top swimmer in both the 100 back and 100 fly is Mackenzie Powers, who is graduating after the 2013-2014 season. There’s a lot of youth in those groups as well, but the opportunity is there for Price to be an impact swimmer as a freshman.
Even if not individually, Price should be on the 800 free relay as a freshman. She made huge strides in that race as a junior, dropping over three seconds, which really improved her recruiting value at exactly the right time.
This is a good start for Murphy’s tenure. Consider that Harvard’s current men’s team, all of whom were recruited by Murphy, has only three in-state swimmers on it. At Penn State, the recruiting landscape is very different than what Murphy was used to at Harvard: well over half of the roster comes from within the state’s own rich recruiting pools.
Price is the defending Pennsylvania AAA (big school) State Champion in the 100 yard fly; as the only swimmer in the top 5 of last year’s meet who didn’t graduate, she’ll be favored to repeat.