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High school junior Grace Rainey, the #11 recruit on our Way Too Early list of top girls in the high school class of 2023, has verbally committed to the University of Florida. That gives the Gators three of the top-20: #6 Michaela Mattes, #9 Julia Podkoscielny, and #11 Rainey.
“I am honored and blessed to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at The University of Florida. Thank you to all my amazing family, coaches and friends for their endless support. GO GATORS!! 🐊🧡💙”
Rainey hails from Davidson, North Carolina. She swims for William Amos Hough High School and SwimMAC Carolina and is the top 200 breaststroker in the class of 2023 with 2:10.25. She has one of the fastest 100 breast times, as well, almost under the minute mark (1:00.58), and with IM times of 4:16/2:00, she will be an immediate contributor in a third event as well. She will have ample opportunity to improve her IM times training with Podkoscielny (1:58.7/4:12.9) and Mattes (2:01.1/4:15.3).
She is a two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American and a two-time NISCA All-American.
Best SCY times:
200 breast – 2:10.25
100 breast – 1:00.58
400 IM – 4:16.99
200 IM – 2:00.98
Rainey is the double-defending champion and North Carolina High School 4A record-holder in the 100 breast. At the 2021 NCHSAA 4A state meet, she won the breast with 1:01.05, taking a .21-second bite out of her 2020 state record of 1:01.26. Her lifetime best time in the event is only .23 off the North Carolina state record of 1:00.35. Also at 2021 States, Rainey placed third in the 200 IM (2:02.13), swam breast (28.43) on the winning 200 medley relay, and contributed a leg (53.33) on the runner-up 400 free relay.
Rainey hit PBs in all four of her best times at the 2020 North Carolina Swimming 18&U Winter Championships where she won both breaststrokes and the 400 IM, was runner-up in the 200 IM, and placed 8th in the 500 free (5:04.69). She also won both breaststroke events at Cary Sectionals in March. Rainey competed at Olympic Trials Wave II in the 100m breast (54th place) and 200m breast (46th place). She wrapped up long course season at 2021 Speedo Summer Championships-East where she came in 7th in the 100 breast (1:11.33), 4th in the 200 breast (2:33.50), and 18th in the 200 fly (2:17.84). She picked up new times in the 200 fly and 200 free (2:08.30).
Her best SCY times would already score for Florida in the B finals of the 100/200 breast at the 2021 SEC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. It took 1:59.16/4:15.94 to get a second swim in the IM events at the conference meet.
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