FIU Head Coach Randy Horner announced the addition of nine student-athletes to the 2012-13 swimming and diving squad. The class consists of two JUCO transfers, six freshman swimmers and one diver.
“I am excited about the group of young ladies we have joining the FIU swimming and diving family this year,” Horner said. “We’re bringing in a very diverse group of student-athletes from all over the map and they will help us keep building our program and bring it to the next level.”
Sarah D’Antoni brings a championship pedigree to FIU as she was part of back-to-back NJCAA National Championship teams at Indian River College in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, she was the NJCAA National Champion in the 200 Fly and finished second in the 100 Fly at nationals. In 2012 at nationals, she finished second in the 200 Fly and 400 IM and fourth in the 200 IM. She was also a scholastic all-American and a top-10 scholar athlete while being named the Skull Award recipient for highest GPA and earning the sportsmanship award at Indian River. At Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, N.J., she was named all-state and all-county four years running in swimming.
“Sarah holds a special place as a signee for me,” Horner said. “She committed to me at the University of New Orleans prior to our scholarships being pulled from the program. To recruit her now to FIU and finally get the chance to coach her final two years as a student-athlete is a fulfilling experience. She is going to be a great asset to our team.”
Ashly Isaacson comes to FIU by way of Daytona State College in Daytona, Fla., and Largo High School in Clearwater, Fla. The junior college transfer led DSC to the NJCAA Championships and finished runner-up to Indian River College for the title. In the championships, she won the 100 Freestyle with a time of 50.55 along with the 800 Freestyle relay (7:30.23) as the anchor of the squad. At Largo High, Isaacson was also named Most Valuable Swimmer her junior and senior seasons.
“Ashly is a pure competitor and a true sprinter,” Horner said. “She will make a huge impact on the team and make our relays faster immediately. Her experience at Daytona will prove dividends to her swimming now at the Division I level.”
Chyna Yelding comes to FIU from Sarasota High School in Sarasota, Fla. where she was a four-year letter-winning swimmer and a team captain.
“Chyna will provide solid depth to the team,” said Horner. “She is a very hard worker and knows how to set goals and achieve them and because of that, she will be very successful at FIU.”
Dorothy Jean Miller is an incoming freshman from Tolland High School in Tolland, Conn., where she was all-state four years running and team captain. Miller’s high school honors include LC 200M backstroke champion, Junior National Qualifier in the 200M backstroke, Super Sectional Qualifier in the 400M and 200M IM, 200 breaststroke and backstroke as well as the 100 breaststroke. In the classroom, Miller ranked in the top three percent of her class, was president of the National Honor Society, named a three-time Connecticut Scholar Athlete and earned the High Academic Excellence Award for Spanish and Marketing.
“Dorothy is what I call a sleeper recruit in the fact that she has abilities that haven’t been completely tapped into yet,” Horner said. Her ability in the backstroke events will provide depth for the team. She was accepted in the FIU Honors College so she will be a leader in the classroom as well as in the pool.”
Sarah Smith comes to FIU from Rockford High School in Rockford, Mich. At Rockford, she lettered in swimming all four years and water polo for two. She was a two-time team MVP and a two-time, all-state and a three-time, all-conference selection, while being selected all-area during her final two years of high school. During Miller’s freshman and senior campaigns, the Rockford Rams were crowned conference champions.
“Sarah has raw speed in the butterfly that will develop well at this level,” Horner said. “She will make an immediate impact on the team from day one.”
Alaina Smith is a freshman from Rockford High School in Rockford, Mich., and the twin sister of Sarah Smith. She was a former all-state selection and was named athlete of the month and athlete of the week during her tenure at Rockford High. She was a member of the 2008 and 2011 conference champion Rockford Rams as well as being named to the academic honor roll four years running with a GPA above 4.0 for her high school career.
“Alaina will be a solid addition to our program,” said Horner. “Her work ethic and academic excellence will be key assets FIU.”
Rebecca Wilde brings international flare to this year’s recruiting class, hailing from across the pond in Northumberland, United Kingdom. While at King Edwards VI School, Wilde ranked among the top-10 in her age group in the backstroke and freestyle; while being nationally ranked from 2008-12. She was a national medalist as part of her 4X200 relay team in 2008 and was an open water champion in 2009-10. Wilde led the City of Newcastle ASC (2007-12) on the county, national and international swimming and relay teams.
“Rebecca is a very versatile freestyler,” Horner said. “She will bring some international experience to our team and be will counted on early in her career at FIU.”
Danielle Albright is a freestyle swimmer out of Wharton High School in Tampa, Fla., where she was a senior captain and recipient of her teams’ MVP and Coaches award. While swimming at Wharton High School, she was a district and regional champion as well as a state finalist. Albright also excelled in the classroom as a member of the National Honor Society and chose FIU over top school such as FSU, UConn and NC State. As a USA Swimming All-American, Albright will attempt to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the 200 Free with her club team this summer.
“Danielle will thrive in the FIU environment,” Horner said. “Her focus in and out of the pool is what we look for in student-athletes and she possesses that quality. I look for her to continue to improve under our training and be an elite Division I talent in the near future.”
Madalyn Golightly is the lone diving recruit in the class from Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. In 2012, Golightly was named her team captain, team MVP and finished fourth at states. She was named her team MVP in 2009 and 2011. In 2010 and 2011, Golightly was a district and regional champion in diving. Aside from diving, she was a level 4, 5, 6 and 7 state champion in gymnastics.
“Madalyn is a good fit for our diving program at FIU,” Diving Coach Chris Mantilla said. “What she lacks in experience, she makes up for in enthusiasm and drive. She will push [Sun Belt Diver of the Year] Sabrina [Beaupre] this year to be even better and that’s all you can ask for in good teammates.”