PHOENIX, Arizona, September 24. A pair of top-flight swimmers made their intentions known during the weekend as Pleasanton Seahawk Celina Li and Denver Swim's Clark Smith both verbally committed.
Li, a Junior National Team member and six star in the Swimming World College Recruit Rankings system, gave California head coach Teri McKeever her second huge commitment of the year having already scored sprinter Kristen Vredeveld of The Baylor School earlier this month.
Li is a big get for the Golden Bears, having a pair of lifetime bests in the 200-yard fly (1:56.82) and 400-yard IM (4:06.94) that would have scored points in the B finals at the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships. Li is the top female recruit in the state of California, just ahead of former Swimming World High School Swimmer of the Year Chelsea Chenault.
McKeever is quickly putting together a track record for the top recruiting classes in the nation. In 2010, she snared national high school record holder Cindy Tran, who would win two 100 back NCAA titles in her first two years at California. McKeever then scored commitments from Rachel Bootsma and Elizabeth Pelton last year with both backstroke prodigies now in Berkeley training for the upcoming season. With Vredeveld and Li already committed, California just keeps reloading.
Five-star Smith, meanwhile, remained loyal to his family legacy as he committed to the Texas Longhorns. Smith, the son of John Smith and Tori Trees — both Texas alums — will provide the Longhorns with strength in the freestyles and butterfly events. In long course competition, Smith has posted lifetime bests of 51.30 in the 100 free, 1:51.66 in the 200 free, 53.97 in the 100 fly and 1:58.64 in the 200 fly.
Smith has gone a bit under the radar with high school teammate Missy Franklin owning the bulk of the press at Regis Jesuit. Smith, however, is the top male recruit in the state of Colorado ahead of Cherry Creek's Daryl Turner out of Greenwood Village.
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