A year ago at this time, Charlotte Catholic swimming coach Brian Gross had no idea what he had in rising junior Rebecca Postoll, who had recently transferred from Kennesaw Mountain High School in the Atlanta area.
Gross found out in her very first meet at the Charlotte Christian “bubble” pool, when Postoll broke the school record in the 500-meter freestyle.
“With Becca moving here just before the school year started, I really didn’t know a lot about her other than she also swam with MAC (SwimMAC Carolinas),” Gross said. “But when she broke the school record and swam the 500-meter in under 5 minutes (4 minutes, 58 seconds) in her first race at the bubble, of all places, I immediately knew we had another superstar on our hands. We were all excited to see what else she could do in the pool.”
Postoll, now a senior, came in with her own championship pedigree, having already won four Georgia 6A state titles (the 200- and 500-yard freestyle in 2013 and the 400-yard relay titles) in her freshman and sophomore seasons.
But Postoll, who swam in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials (100 and 200 freestyle), knew she would have to step up her game on a loaded Catholic girls’ team with seven future Division I swimmers in Nicole Emery (Notre Dame), Nora McCullagh (Texas), Lauren Rhodes (N.C. State), Maria Sheridan (Duke), Sara Stranick (Virginia), Christine Sullivan (Villanova) and Elsa Welshofer (Princeton).
“It was hard at the beginning because I was moving to a totally new city and school, and I had never done anything like that in my life,” said Postoll, whose family moved because of a job opportunity for her mother, Patty. “But it was also a blessing for me, too, because it forced me to meet new friends, get used to different coaching styles and just get used to a new home.
“To swim for Charlotte Catholic and MAC has been a great opportunity for me. I was a little intimidated at first because I knew the names like Nora McCullagh, Lauren Rhodes, etc., from MAC. But I was also excited, because I knew it would push me to become a better swimmer.”
Postoll wasted little time making a name for herself last year, winning the SoMeck 8 conference title in the 50 freestyle and helping the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams to league championships.
Postoll, who stands 6-foot, also showed her versatility by making a regional cut time in every event but the 100 breaststroke.
At the 4A West Regional meet, she won both 200 and 500 freestyle titles, while also helping the 200 and 400 freestyle relays to regional crowns. In the 200 freestyle she was particularly good, beating Hough standout Jessica Merritt with a meet record 1:51.28.
One week later at states, Postoll finished as 4A state runner-up in the 200 and 500, while helping the 200 and 400 relays to state titles in state-record times. Catholic won its 13th straight team state title, the first in the 4A class.
She has continued to improve under the training of SwimMAC coaches like Director of Coaching and CEO David Marsh, who is also a USA Swimming National Team coach.
Postoll comes by her athletically talents honestly. Her dad, David, played soccer at the Naval Academy and her mom, Patty, swam at Villanova. Her older sister, Melissa, 19, is currently a sophomore on Northwestern University’s swim team.
Postoll committed to Michigan in October and officially signed with the Wolverines’ swim team earlier this month.
“I’m so excited to be going to Michigan and be a part of the great swimming program and tradition they have,” said Postoll, who also has a 4.1 GPA. “When I went on my visit there, I just knew that was the place I wanted to be.”
While Postoll’s future is set, she hopes to have one more championship season at Catholic, where the Cougars are loaded with talent once again with fellow seniors McCullagh and Stranick leading the way.
Postoll said her main goal is to help the Catholic girls win their 14th straight state championship, but “it would also be nice” to win an individual state title or two along the way, she said.
“There is no question that we want to win the state championship again and I would love to put a cap on my career and win (an individual) title,” Postoll said. “But it’s not going to be handed to us or served on a silver platter, we are going to have to go out and earn every bit of it. My focus is on enjoying the process and the journey of this season. If we can go out and swim our best, I think we will be right where we want to be.”