Rachel Sabotin is the only girl on her high school swim team, so when it came to picking a college, she wanted to make sure she chose one where she would comfortably fit.
The Columbus resident and incoming senior at Trinity Lutheran is headed to University of Akron. She had more than 15 Division I scholarship offers and picked the Zips over Ball State and Indiana University.
“Definitely, the team culture was a big thing for me,” Sabotin said. “I swim on a high school team of one girl. I look forward to going to college and swimming a big team. Just being around girls that have the same values and beliefs that I do and believe in the team aspect and not just the individual.”
Akron has won six consecutive Mid-American Conference titles and sent seven girls to this year’s NCAA Championships. They are ranked No. 1 in the nation for mid-major schools and No. 27 overall.
Sabotin, who has above a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, plans to major in exercise science and go to graduate school for physical therapy.
“Finding a school that has the technology and resources for exercise science, it’s definitely a hands-on career,” Sabotin said.
Sabotin is the No. 1-ranked swimmer in Indiana and is ranked No. 53 nationally in the Class of 2020 by CollegeSwimming.com, a website dedicated to tracking college recruits and college student-athletes in the sport of swimming.
“It’s kind of crazy to think about based on college recruiting and everything,” Sabotin said. “There’s so many swimmers, so many talented kids in the state, but I’m really happy to achieve it. It’s a little bit more fun to know that you’re No. 1. It’s a little bit of pressure, but it gives me confidence. I’m excited to see what will happen this year.”
Sabotin trains year-round with Club Olympia and coach Jennifer Brinegar. Brinegar also was her high school coach at Trinity her freshman and sophomore years before Sabotin’s father Doug took over this season.
“Jennifer is an amazing coach and mentor, and we are so grateful for her commitment to Rachel and Club Olympia,” Doug Sabotin said. “We are very humbled and proud of Rachel for her accomplishments and so excited that she will be attending the University of Akron.”
Rachel Sabotin just returned from California, where she trained for a week with the Mission Viejo Nadadores club team and then competed in the Dolfin Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions.
Sabotin placed 11th in both the 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley, achieving a Junior Nationals cut in the 200 butterfly. She also finished 18th in the 200 IM and 21st in the 100 butterfly, getting two bonus cuts for Junior Nationals.
Having already met the 400 IM time standard, Sabotin now will be swimming in at least four events at the 2019 USA Swimming Speedo Junior Nationals, which are Aug. 6-10 at Stanford University.
“That was definitely in the back of my mind,” she said. “We were in really hard training. We did just a two-day taper-down for the meet. That was a goal of mine, especially in the 200 fly so I didn’t have to worry about it for the rest of the summer. I didn’t expect to get the bonus cuts, but now, I have four events to swim, so that will be great.”
Sabotin is a three-time top-10 state finisher in the 500 freestyle. She also qualified for state in the 200 freestyle each of her first two years and medaled in the 200 IM as a junior.
Sabotin also is an accomplished open water swimmer. Last year, she finished 13th in the 15-17-year-old 7.5K in the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships. She also placed second in the girls 15-and-over 4K in the Indiana State Open Water Championships and won the girls 15-18 3K in the Southern California Swimming Open Water Junior Olympics.
A year earlier, Sabotin finished seventh in the Junior Nationals open water 5K and won the 15-and-over girls 5K in the Indiana Swimming Open Water Championships.
“Right now, I feel like I can be an all around swimmer,” she said. “I can go anywhere from a 100 fly to a 400 free to a 5K to a 7K. Each one of those has its challenges, and it’s a lot of fun.”