York Suburban's Riley Trout is latest local swimmer to land with D-I program in Florida
When the recruitment process began for York Suburban High School senior Riley Trout, it was clear that there would be a big push from programs in Florida.
While the University of Florida was the first to connect with Trout shortly after she completed her sophomore season, a different school from that state ultimately won out for her services.
Florida Atlantic University — a school that Trout never heard of at the beginning of the recruiting process — won out over Florida, LSU, Penn State and other NCAA Division I programs. Trout signed her letter of intent with the Owls in late November.
“In January (of 2020) I started talking to LSU and I really, really liked them,” Trout said. “But then COVID kind of like ruined everything. Since those schools were like bigger schools, I wasn’t too sure if I would like to go to a school that big.”
Trout eventually made her way to Florida for an unofficial visit to the FAU campus in Boca Raton in September. The atmosphere, as well as the close proximity to the beach, quickly won her over.
“The campus was just beautiful,” she said. “And I committed just a couple of days after I got home from the visit. I wouldn’t change anything … I’m really happy that things worked out the way they did.”
She'll join two other former York County standouts at FAU: FAU can thank a pair of former Central York High School standouts for giving Trout an extra push toward the Owls program.
Alec Peckman and Cameron Speed, who were former teammates with Trout on the York YMCA club team, both put in good words about the program.
“Alec transferred there from Penn State last spring and Cameron originally committed to East Carolina before they shut down their program,” she said. “And now they’re both there and they had a lot of good things to say about it.”
Florida Atlantic finished third in the 2020 Conference USA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. Lara Preacco is the Owls' head coach.
A top long-course performer: Unlike Peckman and Speed, Trout has never competed for her high school team at Suburban. A member of the York Y club team for more than eight years, Trout has evolved into one of the top junior long-course recruits in Pennsylvania.
The junior long course differs from most high school and college meets because it is measured in meters instead of yards. The pools for those competitions, which are less common, are the same size as the ones used in the Summer Olympics.
“The long course is like a super long pool,” Trout said. “Most pools are 25 yards so there are only certain places that have (long-course) pools like that. Typically we go down to Greensboro (North Carolina) when we swim long course.”
Coach is impressed: John Nelson, the coach of the York Y club team, has been with Trout ever since he joined the staff right around the same time that Trout joined the Y team. Over that time he has marveled out how the FAU recruit has progressed.
“She’s one of the top recruits throughout all of the state,” Nelson said. “And she’s a junior long-course national qualifier, which is typically an indicator of a powerhouse age-group swimmer. She has just done a killer job over her years.”
Trout has excelled in nearly every aspect of the sport, but is particularly strong in the 200 backstroke, 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley.
“The backstroke is like by far my best,” said Trout, who has a personal-best time in the event of 1 minute, 59.38 seconds.
Olympic dreams? While she has no illusions of qualifying for the 2021 Olympics, which were pushed back a year because of COVID-19, there may be a chance for Trout to follow in the footsteps of another York County native, Hali Flickinger, to approach the Olympic goal in 2024.
“I’m not too hopeful about making the team as I am about just making it to the Olympic Trials,” she said. “Right now I don’t even have a qualifying time cut, but if I did (make the team in 2024), that would be pretty cool. I’d be a junior then and maybe I would have a chance.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.