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Summer Juniors qualifier Makena Leacox has announced her verbal commitment to UC Santa Barbara for the fall of 2023.
“im super excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at the university of california, santa barbara! i would like to thank my friends, family, and coaches for supporting me through the recruitment process and helping me get to where i am today. i would also like to thank my future gaucho coaches and teammates for welcoming me into their family. go gauchos!!! ”
Leacox trains with DART Swimming in Sacramento, California, and is entering her fourth and final year at Davis Senior High School. She is an extremely versatile swimmer when it comes to stroke events, with a Summer Juniors cut in the 100 breast and Futures times in the 50 free, 100 fly, and 100 back.
She logged her first Winter Juniors time at age 15 in the summer of 2021 in the 100 breast. She has since lowered that lifetime best time of 1:03.08 steadily, hitting a 1:02.50 recently at the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championships in May. She placed 2nd in the 100 breast at that meet and went on to make the 200 IM final blasting a best time in prelims. She ultimately placed 7th.
Leacox is a 2021 Futures finalist in the 100 breast where she finished in 18th place. She placed 28th in the same event at the 2021 Winter Junior Championships a few months later. The College Station Sectionals in March was a productive meet for Leacox who posted multiple best times including in the 200 breast, 100 back, and 100 free, placing highest out of those swims in the 200 breast in 25th place. She also earned 7th place in the 200 IM.
Top SCY times:
100 breast – 1:02.50
200 breast – 2:18.31
100 fly – 56.26
100 back – 58.00r
50 free – 23.89
200 IM – 2:04.31
Her lifetime best times would have made her UCSB’s fastest 100 breaststroker and second-fastest 200 breaststroker at the 2022 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Conference Championships. She would have placed 4th in the 100 and 7th in the 200. Her fastest times also would have placed her in the ‘B’ finals of the 200 IM (11th), 100 fly (15th), and 50 free (16th) and in the ‘C’ final of the 100 back in 21st place.
Leacox will be joining a solid breaststroke training group with the Gauchos led by rising junior Katie Nugent who placed 7th in the 100 breast and 6th in the 200 breast at last season’s championship meet. Mai Kawahata, the only other verbal commit in the Gaucho women’s class of 2023 currently, is a Summer-Juniors level 200 breaststroker with a best time of 2:15.32. Her 100 breast time of 1:04.32 will also make her a strong training partner for Leacox.
Leacox’s addition to the 200 IM group might be even more impactful than usual since UCSB’s top 200 IM’er at the 2022 MPSF Championships was senior Sydney Rouse who placed 7th. Assuming she does not decide to use her 5th year of eligibility, the group will be led by the Gauchos’ only other ‘A’ finalist in the event, rising sophomore Tyryn Empremsilapa.
Gaucho women are coming off a 4th place finish at the 2022 MPSF Conference Championships. Last year was Jaclyn Rosen’s first season as their head coach, making this one of her first recruiting classes with UCSB.
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