LA PALMA, California, October 23. THE California Golden Bears picked up another top-flight recruit in the Class of 2014 today as La Mirada Armada’s Ryan Kao has decided to spend his college years in Berkeley.
“The decision was so difficult,” Kao told Swimming World. “Each school I visited had really great things to offer. In the end I knew Berkeley was the best fit for me, both athletically and academically. I am very excited to work with both Coach Dave [Durden] and Coach Yuri [Suguiyama] in the next part of my swimming career. Go Bears!”
Kao, the 34th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2014 by CollegeSwimming.com, will provide head coach Dave Durden with a middle-distance star who also has some background in the 200 backstroke events.
Kao has focused on the middle-distance events with his top recent times coming in the 500-yard free with a 4:20.28 at the CIF-SS Division 2 Championships this May as well as a 3:54.69 in the 400-meter freestyle at the Speedo Junior Nationals this August.
He also connected with a 1:36.76 in the 200-yard freestyle at the CIF-SS divisional meet as well to provide the Golden Bears with a solid 800 freestyle relay option after his senior season.
Kao, however, also was a strong backstroker in 2011 with a 1:50.08 in the 200-yard back at the 2011 California Spring JO’s as well as a 2:07.78 in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2011 Winter National Championships. This past year, however, he focused more on middle-distance events after a bit of a transition year in 2012 when he dropped a 1:49.02 in the 200-yard fly and a 15:21.56 in the 1650-yard free at the 2012 Speedo Winter Junior Nationals.