Ranking the Classes - #16-20



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#20 - Minnesota

The Gophers have had a long history of large teams.  Early on that depth helped Minnesota to its first Big Ten titles before fostering the environment that propelled them into the top ten.  Several changes took place over the past year as Minnesota evolved into a combined program under Kelly Kremer and one change was the relatively small class he and Terry Nieszner signed. 

That said, the Gophers landed a big-time signee in Kierra Smith.  Smith follows a similar path trod by fellow Canadian breastroker Jillian Tyler and will make for an outstanding 1-2 punch with Haley Spencer.  Lauren Votava, like Spencer, comes from Mary Liston at Rockwood and is an up-and-comer.  Haley Pietila, Lauren Zima and Marina Spadoni round out the class. 

Whether this year’s relatively small group was an aberration or a trend remains to be seen, but the Gopher staff will head into 2013 needing to replace 25% of their Big Ten points so you can expect they will be working the phones on July 1st.

Incoming Freshmen

Rank Name Score
13
Kierra Smith 1.30
73
Lauren Votava 3.28
116
Haley Pietila 4.83
245
Marina Spadoni 11.38
293
Lauren Zima 13.43

Graduating Seniors

Name Conference
NCAA
Steenvoorden, Ashley 48
28
Whitehead, Hannah 46

Steenvoorden, Kristen 29

Tommerdahl, Lissa 5

Davies, Marissa 4



#19 - Virginia Tech

For years coaches quietly took note of what Ned Skinner was doing at Virginia Tech.  Now it appears word has finally reached the Commonwealth itself.  The Hokies signed three of the state’s top ten recruits – more than any other program.  That’s a mark that Tennessee, UNC, Penn State or even UVA could match.

Kayla Iverson (fly and sprint free), Holly Harper (back), and Gabrielle Bishop (back) all elected to stay close to home and all three should have an immediate impact on the team.  Of course having an impact on the team and in the ACC are two different things.  Considering how the ACC’s recruiting has taken off in the past couple of years this group will be tasked with improving quickly just to keep up.  VT’s classes have traditionally had these types of signees, however, and if they can push themselves and challenge their new teammates to be better, VT will be headed in the right direction.

Of course, VT classes are also generally marked with an overseas stud too.  This year’s is Weronika Paluszek.  Fesh off her third-place finish at Polish Nationals, the breaststroker highlights the class.  More importantly, she addresses an area where, since Jessica Botzum’s graduation, the Hokies have struggled.

Incoming Freshmen

Rank Name Score
45
Weronika Paluszek 2.45
123
Kayla Iverson 4.89
147
Holly Harper 6.57
154
Gabrielle Bishop 6.83
170
Katie Gillespie 7.40
198
Amber L Cratsenberg 8.88
287
Natalee Roseberry 13.41
287
MacKenzie Stewart 13.41
298
Natalie Cronk 13.92
368
Lauren Buckworth 20.91

Graduating Seniors

Name Conference
NCAA
Hajnal, Erika
32
1
Ferguson, Emily
2


























#18 Florida Gulf Coast

Neal Studd has some built-in advantages when it comes to recruiting.  First, there’s that accent that distinguishes him from every other coach on the phone.  Add in the appeal of Florida’s gold coast and you’ve got it made – especially when you’re searching the globe for talent.  This year’s class hails from Scotland, Denmark, Canada, and of course Florida. 

Julie Leth-Espensen is the highest-ranked among this year’s class, though sprinter Sara Hamilton could prove a bigger factor according to Sudd.  “With Sara, our sprint relays really become a big factor as we push to get more people qualified to nationals.”   Leth-Espensen is a Danish IM’er with NCAA potential while Morgan is one of the many Canadian breaststrokers to head south.  At least a couple of FGCU’s class will be used to the South Florida climate.  Samantha Rahael and Lani Cabrera are both Sunshine State natives with Caribbean connections.  Samantha Rahael is the latest Bolles swimmer to choose FGCU and has been Trinidad & Tobago’s Swimmer of the year while Lani Cabrera (Davie Natadores) holds five of Barbados’ national records.

Incoming Freshmen

Rank Name State
Score
48
Julie Leth-espensen DEN
2.58
57
Sara Hamilton CAN
2.80
100
Jennifer Morgan GBR
4.33
106
Samantha M Rahael FL
4.41
313
Lani Cabrera FL
14.92
457
Meghan McGuirk NJ
32.92

Outgoing Seniors

Name Conference
Points
NCAA
Points
Butler, Danielle
39

Cadge, Victoria
46

Cianci, Alessandra
32

Daniel, Leah
56

Lytle, Theresa










#16 Princeton & Havard
The big Ivy’s always seem to land big classes, in part, because of the name recognition they carry, in part because they need to.   If you line these two classes up they’re virtually identical.  Seven signees in the top 250, three in the top 100 and both led by Y-National backstroke finalists.  With classes like this you halfway expect to see them bragging about who has higher SAT scorers or better job offers in four years.  Oh wait, nevermind. 

If either team has an edge, it might go to Harvard simply because they lose fewer points than Princeton.  Backstrokers Sada Stewart and Kendall Crawford have both seen one another many times over the years and they’ll continue to do so at the collegiate level.  Each team added another big-time addition.  Canadian Sherry Liu will swim distance for Harvard while local girl Megan Lydzinski will lead a trio of three sprinters, each of whom, would have ranked among the Tigers’ top three.

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Incoming Freshmen- Harvard

Rank Name State
Score
39
Sherry Liu CAN
2.23
42
Kendall Crawford SC
2.27
81
Connie M Hsu IL
3.38
135
Danielle M Lee AZ
5.84
184
Margaret Ramsey IN
7.91
195
Marlee A Ehrlich NJ
8.41
212
Oriana Wang CA
9.38








Losses - Harvard

Name Conference
Points
NCAA
Points
Leddy, Meghan 84

Zagroba, Catherine 73

Roberts, Hilary 66










Incoming Freshmen- Princeton

Rank Name State
Score
51
Sada Stewart PA
2.65
90
Morgan Karetnick CT
3.84
94
Megan Lydzinski NJ
3.92
111
Beverly Nguyen CA
4.78
112
Elizabeth McDonald CT
4.79
126
Nicole Larson MN
5.32
174
Maylin Meisenheimer TX
7.43
198
Mallory Remick IL
8.88
249
India Boland MA
11.40

Losses - Princeton

Name Conference
Points
NCAA
Points
Shanley, Lauren 61

Smalling, Aislyn60
Monroe, Meredith 54

Kirkwood, Christina 47.5

Gruendel, Kerry 47.5

Baran, Caitlin E 41

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