WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Cari Blalock graduated from New Hanover High School in 2010. She clearly competed at a different level when she swam on the Waves of Wilmington swim team and the New Hanover swim team.
Blalock recently completed her freshman year at Louisiana State University. She was one of the top swimmers for the Tigers, but she won't be returning to LSU for the upcoming school year. Instead, the Wilmington resident will head to Chapel Hill to enroll at the University of North Carolina.
"I had a phenomenal season at LSU. My coaches did a great job with me. I was proud of my results," Blalock said. "A lot of things happened. I didn't mesh with the team as well as I thought I would. Plus it's so far away from home. My grandparents were never able to see me swim in any of the meets. My heart told me to transfer. I just had to do it. My coach didn't take it well when he found out."
Due to the fact UNC and LSU are in different conferences Blalock will be eligible to swim for the Tar Heels as a sophomore.
"I'm hoping to be part of a great team at North Carolina," Blalock said. "I know we have a shot at winning the ACC title and placing high in the NCAAs."
Technically, Blalock is a Seahawk, even though it's only for a brief time. Blalock is currently enrolled in summer school at UNC Wilmington.
At the SEC Championship in Gainesville, FL, Blalock broke the LSU school record in the 400-meter individual medly. Blalock competed at the 2011 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championship in five different events: the 800 m free relay, the 200 m IM, the 400 m IM, the 100 m butterfly and the 200 m butterfly
Cari Blalock's bio (courtesy: LSUSports.net)
LSU Record-holder in the 400 individual medley and 800 freestyle relay
2011 NCAA Qualifier
2011 All-SEC Freshmen Team
FRESHMAN SEASON (2010-11)
An All-SEC Freshmen Team performer who proved to be one of the top newcomers on the team ... One of two freshmen to qualify for the NCAA Championships and break program records at SEC's ... Held the team's fastest time in the 400 IM and ranked second in the 200 fly and 200 IM ... Tied for 24th in the 200 butterfly at NCAA's (1:57.64), placed 30th in the 200 IM (1:59.42) and finished 31st in the 400 IM (4:15.62) ... Emerged as the highest freshman finisher in the SEC in the 200 fly, registering fourth with the second-fastest mark all-time at LSU, 1:57.30 ... Qualified for the 'A' final of the 200 IM with a 1:58.79 clocking, second in program history ... Also shattered a 14-year-old school record in the 400 IM to take 13th (4:12.46) and swam the third leg on the program record-breaking 800 free relay (7:12.73) ... Won the 400 IM at the Cougar Classic Invitational (4:17.19) and claimed runner-up honors in the 200 fly (1:59.44) ... Also recorded sixth in the 100 fly and ninth in the 200 IM ... Captured first-place in the 100 fly at the Florida International Invite ... Raced to runner-up honors in the 400 IM in wins over Florida State, Houston, Rice and Tulane ... Delivered second in the 100 back in a victory over Tulane and second in the 200 IM at the Florida Atlantic Invite ... Also took second in the 200 fly against Incarnate Word.
PRIOR TO LSU
A two-time North Carolina state champion who is expected to make an immediate impact in several events ... A member of the CollegeSwimming.com Top 100 ... Won state titles in the 100 butterfly in both 2008 and 2010 ... A 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and 2009 World Championship Trials qualifier ... Served as captain of her swim team in 2009-10 and was part of four conference runner-up squads ... Also a Scholastic All-American from 2007-10 ... Holds lifetime bests of 53.79 in the 100 fly, 1:59.59 in the 200 fly, 4:15.68 in the 400 individual medley, 2:02.42 in the 200 IM and 2:00.27 in the 200 back ... Coached by Brian Benfer.
Full name is Carolyn Ruth Blalock ... Goes by Cari ... Born June 4, 1992, in Wilmington, N.C. ... Parents are Chip and Lee Ann Blalock ... Has one older sister, Scot ... Plans to major in kinesiology.
CARI'S TOP TIMES
100 butterfly, 57.77, 2011 SEC Championships (Time Trial)
200 butterfly, 1:57.30, 2011 SEC Championships
200 individual medley, 1:58.79, 2011 SEC Championships
400 individual medley, 4:12.46*, 2011 SEC Championships
Below is the official release from UNC that the university released.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina head swimming coach Rich DeSelm has added a pair of swimmers to the Tar Heels' 2010-11 recruiting class with the inclusion of sophomore transfer Cari Blalock of Wilmington, N.C. to the women's squad and incoming freshman J.P. Gaylor to the men's team.
Gaylor joins the Tar Heels from Knoxville, Tenn., DeSelm's hometown, where he attended Bearden High School and swam for the Pilot Aquatic Club under the tutelage of coach Jim Rumbaugh. A high school All-America in the distance events, Gaylor is graduating as the valedictorian of his senior class at Bearden.
Gaylor's career best times are 4:30.66 in the 500-yard freestyle, 9:08.45 in the 1000-yard freestyle and 15:27.07 in the 1650-yard freestyle. He also has gone 4:07.03 in the 400-yard individual medley.
Blalock graduated from New Hanover High School in 2010 and did her club swimming at Waves of Wilmington. She matriculated at LSU after her high school career and had a brilliant freshman year for the Tigers. She was named to the All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team, qualified for multiple events at the 2011 NCAA Championships and set LSU records in the 400-yard individual medley and as a member of the Tigers' 800-yard freestyle relay team.
Blalock competed in the NCAA Championships in the 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM. At the SEC Championships she placed fourth in the 200 fly at 1:57.30, qualified for the championship final in the 200 IM at 1:58.79 and broke the school's 14-year-old mark in the 400 IM with a clocking of 4:12.46.
At New Hanover High School she won state titles in the 100-yard butterfly in 2008 and 2010. She qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and the 2009 World Championships Trials.