Winter Juniors Finalist Emma Sayers Commits To UNC (2024)

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USA Swimming Scholastic All-American Emma Sayers has announced her verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sayers is a junior at Northwestern Christian School, located in the Phoenix area. She trains and competes year-round with Scottsdale Aquatic Club, a Gold Medal team under USA Swimming’s Club Excellence program.

She shared her commitment on Instagram:

Sayers is a versatile swimmer, but recently has seen her breaststroke and IM events break out. She most recently competed at the 2023 Speedo Sectionals in Austin this month, where she set best times in every event. Highlighting her weekend was a 2nd place finish in the 200 breaststroke, where she clocked a final time of 2:11.92. Prior to this season, her personal best stood at 2:19.43, which she destroyed at Winter Juniors in December (2:12.10).

She also earned 3rd in the 100 breaststroke at Sectionals, posting a best time of 1:02.09. This is another event that Sayers has had a breakthrough year in–she’s dropped almost six seconds from the best time she entered the season with. Her 400 IM has followed a similar trajectory. She clocked a 4:16.40 this month, marking an eight second improvement from where she was a year ago. 

Top SCY Times:

500 free – 4:50.90
100 breast – 1:02.09
200 breast – 2:11.92
200 fly – 2:00.38
200 IM – 2:01.77
400 IM – 4:16.40

The Tar Heels are coming off a 4th place finish at the 2023 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships. Sayers’ best times in the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM would have qualified her for the B-final at this year’s conference meet, while her 200 fly, 500 free, and 100 breast would have landed her just inside the C-final. The 400 IM was one of the weakest events for UNC this season, as they only scored a total of nine points in the event. The 200 breast was slightly stronger with 14 points.

Aislin Farris was the team’s lone finalist in the 400 IM, as she won the C-final in a season best time of 4:15.89. The Tar Heels landed three swimmers in the C-final of the 200 breaststroke, led by Kat Ward in 18th (2:12.45). She was followed by Skyler Smith in 19th (2:13.08), and Lexi Rudolph in 24th (2:16.17). Only Farris and Smith will still be on campus when Sayers gets on campus, making her arrival key to building up the breaststroke and IM group.

Sayers joins Ivy Monk, Paige Dillon, and Lily Struempf in UNC’s class of 2028. Dillon focuses on backstroke, while Struempf is a freestyle and butterfly specialist. Monk also swims IM, and owns best times of 2:02.97/4:26.78 in the 200/400 IM.

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