UChicago Gets Two Verbal Commitments from Georgia Natives Samantha Bertschi, Karen Zhao

Samantha Bertschi Karen Zhao UChicago Chicago
Photo Courtesy: Samantha Bertschi / Karen Zhao

NEW COMMITS: The University of Chicago has received a pair of verbal commitments for the 2021-22 season and beyond from Georgia natives Samantha Bertschi of Decatur and Karen Zhao of Bogart.

Both talented swimmers will suit up for the Maroons as members of their Class of 2025.


Samantha Bertschi chicago

Photo Courtesy: Samantha Bertschi

She told Swimming World:

“I am beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to swim the University of Chicago! A huge thank you to my friends, family, and coaches who have supported me very step along the way. GO MAROONS!!”

Bertschi does her club swimming with SwimAtlanta and most recently placed sixth in the mile and 10th in the 500 free at the Southern Premier Invitational in February. Last summer, she earned two best times at Georgia LCM Seniors before going on to place sixth in the 200m free, seventh in the 200m back/400m IM, and eighth in the 100m free at Southern Zone Age Groups.

Her best times include:

  • 200 free – 1:52.20
  • 500 free – 5:02.62
  • 1000 free – 10:23.94
  • 1650 free – 17:22.53
  • 200 back – 2:08.18

Also competing for Westminster Prep School, Bertschi is a six-time Georgia 1-3A State Championship finalist. She was the runner-up in the 500 free and took fourth in the 200 free as a junior while taking third and sixth, respectively, in those events during her sophomore season. She also won the 500 free as a freshman.


karen zhao chicago

Photo Courtesy: Karen Zhao

She told Swimming World:

“First of all, I would like to thank my Mom and Dad for their unyielding love and support and for inspiring me to be myself, always. I love y’all. Next, I want to thank @abscdogs for being an irreplaceable second family to me for the past 10 years. Thank you to the Senior group: the guys who always push and challenge me and my girls who always have my back. To my ABSC coaches: Martin for all your German jokes and pep talks and Harvey for always believing in me even through my low points. Lastly, thank you to coach Jason and the UChicago swim team for this extraordinary opportunity. I am truly humbled. I am so excited to announce my commitment to swim and study at the University of Chicago! GO MAROONS!!”

Zhao trains year-round with Athens Bulldog Swim Club and recorded four top-15 finishes at Cary Sectionals in March after earning three best times at Juniors East in December. She earned bronze in the 100m free at Georgia LCM Seniors last summer where she also finished sixth in the 50m free.

Her best times include:

  • 50 free – 23.89
  • 100 free – 50.93
  • 200 free – 1:50.26
  • 500 free – 5:01.98
  • 200 IM – 2:07.76

A current senior at North Oconee High School, Zhao is a six-time Georgia 1-3A State Championship finalist. The two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American won the 100/200 free combo as a junior while taking second and first, respectively, in those events during both her freshman sophomore campaign.

If you have a commitment to share, please send a photo and quote via email to hs@swimmingworld.com.

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Tony Fang
3 years ago


Elizabeth Young Bertschi


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