PHOENIX, Arizona, October 10. ANOTHER huge domino fell in the women's Class of 2013 recruiting wars as Swimming World six-star Chelsea Chenault made her collegiate decision today.
Chenault is remaining in California, and will compete for the Southern California Trojans and head coach Dave Salo.
Chenault, who trains with the Terrapins and preps at Carondelet, is a bonafide NCAA Division I Championships title contender, already having lifetime bests that would have put her in a pair of A finals last season (200-yard free (1:44.12), 500-yard free (4:36.69). She also has NCAA DI B cuts in a plethora of other events with strong times in the 100-yard free (49.64), 200-yard fly (1:58.64), 200-yard IM (2:01.27) and 400-yard IM (4:17.40).
Her long course ability is impressive as well with quick times in the 50-meter free (26.29), 100-meter free (55.23), 200-meter free (1:58.19), 400-meter free (4:08.38), 800-meter free (8:37.28), 100-meter fly (1:01.81), 200-meter fly (2:15.12) and 200-meter IM (2:19.83), demonstrating the remarkable versatility she brings to the plate.
Chenault is the sixth-ranked recruit in the nation according to CollegeSwimming.com, and is ranked second in the state behind fifth-ranked Celina Li, who has already committed to California.
"I kind of knew in the back of my mind after junior day that, that's where I wanted to go," Chenault told Swimming World. "And with taking my trip and really getting to know the coaches and the team really enhanced my feelings towards SC. They have an incredible coaching staff and Dave has done such a good job with everyone. I think that they will be able to help me accomplish my goals and hopefully bring home a national title."
Chenault joins five-star Blair Carnes as top-flight USC pledges. Carnes is a breaststroke specialist with strong times in the 100-meter breast (1:12.58) and 200-meter breast (2:32.51) out of NOVA of Virginia.
"I cannot wait to spend the next four years as a Trojan!" Carnes told Swimming World. "During my recruiting trip, I fell in love with the school. Everyone was great and the team just seemed like one big family. USC, with its great academics and swim program, truly felt like the place to go and succeed in and out of the pool."
Chenault's decision, along with Camryne Morris of North Baltimore making her decision to swim at Tennessee yesterday, leaves just three of the top 10 swimmers in the nation on the board.
Olympic star Missy Franklin of Regis Jesuit is definitively the top recruit in a generation. Meanwhile, third-ranked Bonnie Macdonald out of Australia is on the prowl looking for a place to land collegiately. Additionally, Olympian Lia Neal of Asphalt Green, the ninth-ranked recruit in the country, could be close to making a decision.
There is definitely a gender difference in the selection process as the top 10 men have yet to make their decisions.
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