AUBURN, Ala., March 17. TIGER coach David Marsh scored a major coup in the early recruiting period by signing Bolles School star George Bovell — a
Trinidad & Tobago Olympian.
Bovell wss the surprise of last summer's World Championships in Fukuoka — surprise, that is, to all but himself and his coaches — by qualifying first
in the 200 IM with a pr and national-record 2:01.35. He equaled that mark in the semis, made it into the finals and finished 2001 ranking sixth globally.
A National Merit Scholar as well as an axcellent swimmer, Bovell is a mult-TRI national record-holder and a multiple Caribbean and Central-American record-holder too.
Bovell was Florida state high school champ in the 100 back and 200 IM last season for Bolles, and his global rank of 6 in the 200 IM is his highest-placing ever. He also won three "B" finals at the 1999 Pan-Am Games
in Winnpeg. Coached by Bolles' Larry Shofe, Marsh says a great deal of Bovell's development has come from his training at the Jacksonville, Florida school.
"George is probably the highest level signee we have ever had at Auburn," Marsh noted. "He comes to us already world-ranked at No. 6 in the IM and he has outstanding NCAA/Olympic potential in the backstrokes and freestyle as well.
"I feel George will have an immediate impact on our team — not just individually, but also give a big boost to our relays too. He is the best swimmer his country has produced and will likely contend for top honors at Athens in 2004."
Bovell's father, George, was a collegiate swimmer and his mother, Barbara, an Olympic runner for Barbados and Canada. Anal Roberts, his coach in Trinidad & Tobago, has a connection to Auburn as his brother, Shastri, swam for the Tigers in the early '90s and is currently an attorney in his home country.
Bovell is a dual citizen of both Trinidad & Tobago as well as Canada but has always represented the former internationally.
While it's impossible to predict what Bovell will do next season besides likely swim extremely fast, an analogy can perhaps be made between him and current Stanford freshman star Dan Trupin.
Coming out of high school last summer Trupin ranked 30th globally in the 200 meter IM (2:04.3). After a season of "toughening up" on The Farm, Trupin upset Austrian Olympic teammate Markus Rogan to win the Pac-10 200 IM title last weekend with a nation-leading 1:43.83.
That swim ranks Trupin as fourth-fastest (performance) and third-fastest (performer) all-time, is also 17-18 national age group record too and — not to mention — a Pac-10 standard as well!
His old 200 IM yards pr was a 1:47.10 from the YMCA Nationals.
Presumably that's the type of performance Marsh would love to get from Bovell at next season's SECs, if not before.
Besides his 2:01.35 pr in the 200 M IM, Bovell has has recorded times of 1:50.72 in the 200 meter free, 4:29.52 in the 400m IM, 1:48.20 in the 200 yard
IM and 45.30 in the 100 yard free. Marsh said Bovell chose Auburn over Florida, Tennessee and Southern California.
"I decided to attend Auburn because I really liked the team, the coaches, the facilities and the program in general," Bovell is quoted on Auburn's website.
— Bill Bell