PHOENIX, Arizona, October 15. IT didn't take long for former British and U.S. National Team Coach Dennis Pursley to make an impact at the University of Alabama as Swimming World six-star recruit Bonnie Macdonald from Australia has pledged to be part of the Crimson Tide.

Macdonald is an immediate NCAA scoring threat as a freshman, with top long course times that project her into the A final of the 1650-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Championships. She trains at the Miami Swim Club under distance guru Denis Cotterell, otherwise known as the man who has produced the past two world record holders in the men's 1500-meter freestyle China's Sun Yang and Australia's Grant Hackett.

"I chose Alabama for a combination of reasons," Macdonald first told Swimming World. "They have just put together a world-class coaching staff, who I connected with immediately and I felt they could take me to the next level in both my college and international swimming career. The team was passionate, fun and dynamic and I was included as part of the team even when I went on my recruiting weekend. I am going to be a long way from home, so the program I enter into will have to be like a second family and Alabama really fit this perfectly for me."


Macdonald also has some open water background, having finished 20th in the 5K at the 2010 World Open Water Championships. Macdonald might have been a bigger name if not for a back injury that cost her the rest of her Olympic year. According to the Gold Coast.com, she hurt her back in March during a gym accident while lifting weights, which kept her out of Australia's Olympic Trials. At the time, she'd posted the third-fastest 800-meter freestyle time among Australians in the previous 18 months heading into her Trials.

Macdonald is ranked as the third-ranked recruit in the Class of 2013 by CollegeSwimming.com, leaving 12th-ranked Farida Osman of Egypt as the top international swimmer on the board. That leaves just phenom Missy Franklin in play among the top 10 swimmers in the nation. Osman is also the second-best recruit still available overall as well.

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