PHOENIX, Arizona, October 7. THIS weekend has been epic for the women in the Class of 2013 as four of the top 15 recruits in the nation made their decisions. Today, Swimming World six-star Rachel Zilinskas of Germantown Academy pledged her services to the Southeastern Conference.
Zilinskas, the second-ranked recruit in the nation behind phenom Missy Franklin, decided to head to Georgia and swim for Jack Bauerle. Along with five-star recruits Olivia Smoliga and Emily Cameron, that gives the Bulldogs two of the top five and three of the top 10 recruits. This might be the year someone dethrones California as the top recruiting class, although the Golden Bears already have Celina Li and Kristen Vredeveld, two of the top 11 recruits, committed.
Zilinskas is a bonafide scoring threat at the NCAA Division I Championship level. Her top time in the women's 1650-yard freestyle of 15:59.16 would have placed her eighth at last season's championship, just behind Texas A&M junior Maureen McLaine (15:57.08). With the graduation of Wendy Trott, who finished second in the event to American-record holder Stephanie Peacock, the Bulldogs will have a distance prodigy to step in next year.
“From the moment I visited, I knew it was the perfect fit.” Zilinskas told Swimming World. “Georgia has a great team, great coaches and a great school. I can't wait to be part of the UGA family, and become part of their amazing legacy.”
Zilinskas isn't just a distance freestyler. She would have made the B final in the 500-yard freestyle last season with a best of 4:40.04, while she already clears the NCAA B cut in the 200 free (1:47.11), 200 back (1:56.43), 200 IM (2:01.38) and 400 IM (4:14.71).
She's also got a boatload of long course meter top times (200 free (2:01.93), 400 free (4:11.08), 800 free (8:34.07), 100 back (1:03.09), 200 back (2:16.33), 400 IM (4:45.16)).
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