Lizzy Spears has dreamt for years of swimming with the Sun Devils of Arizona State.
Thursday afternoon, the Saline High School swimming star took a big step toward bringing that dream to fruition when she signed her letter of intent to swim at ASU.
“It’s awesome. I’m so thankful. ASU has always been my dream. I’ve always wanted to go there, since I was 11 years old. My uncle went to ASU and ever since I toured the campus at a young age, I’ve always wanted to go there,” Spears said after being joined by teammates, friends, coaches and family at the signing ceremony.
Another reason Spears, the daughter of Rob and Michelle, chose ASU is coach Bob Bowman, the former US national coach.
“He coached (decorated Olympian) Michael Phelps for about 20 years. He has a huge resume. He’s a phenomenal coach and I really like what’s going on out there,” Spears said.
Bowman’s experience was important to Spears, who has goals beyond college competition.
“I really want to qualify for the Olympic trials and swim there and see how far I place,” she said.
At the college level, she’ll swim the 400 IM, 200-yard breast and 200 IM.
“Those events aren’t offered in high school so I’m really excited to get out there and start swimming,” Spears said.
She’ll have to put that excitement on hold, however, because she’s got to finish her senior year at Saline High School. And that includes her final event as a Lady Hornet – the state championship meet at Oakland University Friday and Saturday.
Spears and the Hornets won the state title in her freshman year. They were runners-up in her sophomore year. Last year, the Lady Hornets were third.
Spears was third in the state in 2:03.53 in her favorite event, the 200 IM. It’s an event that showcases Spears’ versatility because she swims the freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke.
Her goal is to break two minutes at the state meet.
Spears was also eighth in the 100 breaststroke last year in 1:04.95.
She also helped the 400 free relay team to victory, swimming the final leg of the relay.
Saline coach Todd Brunty said Spears has lofty goals.
“I’d like to see her reach everyone of her goals. She wants to break two minutes. She wants to be a leader of a team that wins the state title. She wants to see her teammates succeed and often asks about ways to be a better leader and help bring her teammates up,” Brunty said. “I want to see her reach all those goals because when you put everything into a program the way she has, she deserves it.”
Brunty said ASU is getting a very mature student athlete.
“What Arizona State is getting is a very dedicated young lady who is conscientious about the things she does outside the pool that impact the things she does in the pool. She’s made significant changes in her life and in how she handles herself, from her offseason routines, to how she eats, how she sleeps, how she exercises. She does this to make herself a more complete athlete,” Brunty said. “That’s hard to do at a young age. A lot of talented kids sometimes learn that a little later in life. She’s taken a step forward every year in her life, outside the pool, to make what happens in the pool better.”
Spears plans to study business and sports media.