BE swimming standout signs with University of California, Berkeley

Addie Laurencelle to be part of the premier college program in the country

Bishop England High School swimming standout Addie Laurencelle committed to the University of California, Berkeley over the weekend. If you’re not familiar with the college swimming world and the Golden Bears’ success, let Laurencelle put his decision in perspective.

“In the world of college swimming, California, Berkeley is the Duke of college basketball,” he said. “I will swim for the best program in the country, and be coached by one of the best coaches in the world. Academically, it’s right up there with Stanford. If you do well there, you will go far.”

Laurencelle’s talk is no idle chatter.

David Durden took over as coach of the Golden Bears 10 years ago and has transformed the Cal mens’ swimming and diving team from a perennial Top-10 finisher to arguably the premier college program in the country.

The Golden Bears won national titles in 2011, ’12 and ’14 and have been national runners-up five times, including three years in a row heading into the 2018 season.

The Bears, who are 58-10 in dual meets under Durden, have won 38 NCAA individual and relay titles and 71 Pac-12 individual and relay championships.

Laurencelle and his father visited Berkeley over the Labor Day weekend and the BE student saw a golden opportunity to continue his swimming and education.

He plans to major in business at Cal, Berkeley, a school founded in 1868 with an enrollment of 40,000 students who can choose from 350 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Berkeley is often ranked as a top 10 university in the world and as the top public university in the United States.

Laurencelle was born in Charleston. However, his matriculation process began in Boston. He and his family moved back to Charleston a little over two years ago and continued to swim.

When it came time for recruiting, he considered many schools including Brown, Alabama, USC, Duke, UConn, Dartmouth and Colgate thanks to an impressive high school and state club swimming resume.

Last fall, the 6-foot-6 Laurencelle had an impressive season for Bishop England, winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyle gold medals at the state meet. He was also on the winning 200- and 400-yard freestyle teams.

He also had a big season as a member of the SC Swim Club. Again, he won the 100-yard freestyle at the state championships with a time of 45.99 while finishing third in the 50 free and fourth in the 200 freestyle.

Laurencelle has worked for his success and swimming fame. He swims 7,000 yards a day and promises not to slow down this high school season despite having the scholarship offer in his back pocket. He notes the state meet is just a couple of weeks away and he hope to collect more gold.

“That motivates me,” Laurencelle said of the upcoming state championships. “Now I have a target on my back.”

He’s focused but can’t help but look to the future with the year 2020 circled on his calendar. That’s the year the summer Olympics will be contested in Tokyo.

“That’s definitely on my list,” Laurencelle said. “That would be the pinnacle of swimming success.”

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