Distance Freestyler Hayley Benjamin Delivers Verbal Commitment to Houston (Updated: Signed LOI)

(Patrick) #1

It felt so good to commit to this school, I knew right away that I was making the right choice for myself as well as for my academic and athletic success; and I loved the team’s energy and how at home they made me feel. Because of that I would like the thank my coach Alex, my parents, my amazing teammates, and the magnificent recruits I met along the way who supported me so much in my decision and helped me through it. I can’t wait to be apart of the school in the years to come and help contribute to the team’s overall success. GOCOOGS!!” [sic]

This summer she concluded her long course season on a high note at Junior Nationals in East Meadows, New York. There she placed 10th overall in the 800 free, thanks to a 12-second drop (8:48.70), 13th in the 400 free (4:18.85), 13th in the 1500 (16:58.57), and 31st in the 400 IM. She also time-trialed the 200 free and went 5-for-5 in best times.

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The daughter of Arin and Gwin Benjamin set a record in the 500-meter freestyle at the Colorado Mesa University pool when she was only 14. She has set a time in the 400-meter freestyle that would be good enough to qualify for the Olympic trials, and earlier this year she finished in the top 10 in the 800-meter freestyle at the Speedo Junior National Championships in East Meadow, New York. She also has won numerous Colorado state championships for club swimmers.

Those results led to top offers from elite programs around the country, and she picked Houston based on the feel she got during her visit.

“It was the girls,” Benjamin said of what sold her on the Cougars. “The girls I met when I visited were super nice, and I felt an instant connection when I was there. When I was on the recruiting trip, I met 10 other girls and two on the same recruiting trip also committed to Houston. It’s nice to go in already knowing a few people. Other than that, I enjoyed what I saw when I visited.”

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Olympic Gold Medalist Breeja Larson won the women’s 200 free by over 1.5 seconds, posting a 1:47.37. That time was a personal best for Larson, coming in well under her previous best of 1:49.19, which she swam almost exactly a year ago. Larson was out stunningly fast, flipping at the 100 in 50.80, not far at all off her best time 49.30 from yesterday. She was back in 56.57, which isn’t that great of a 2nd 100 split, but it was still a fantastic race for her overall. Houston recruit Haley Benjamin came in 2nd with a 1:48.92, marking a gigantic drop from her previous best time of 1:50.75 from prelims (1:51.45 best time before this meet).