May 14th, 2012
He might not be as well-known as brother Tyler, but Eastern Illinois head coach Elliott McGill is making a name for himself. McGill, who replaced Matt Bos after Bos left to take the helm at IUPUI raided his former boss' state for cornerstone of his first recruiting class. The Panthers signed sixteen to the class of 2016 with half coming from the Hoosier state, a quarter from Munster alone.
“For the men, we really looked to add to our team depth in the mid-distance and distance free events,” said McGill. “We also brought in some solid IM guys and stroke specific swimmers. The sprinters are tall, strong, and raw which bodes well for some great long term improvement in those events. Also, our average height jumps from 5'11” this year to a new average height of about 6'2”. So in terms of potential growth, this class has a lot of it.”
Individual Highlights for the Men include:
Dylan Ferguson / 6-0 / Avon, Ind. (Avon HS): Dylan is one of the rare swimmers who can swim just about every event. He is a very strong, powerful swimmer who is still developing his technique and racing strategies. Dylan will help our men's team greatly in our Distance free, Mid-Distance free, and IM events. Dylan has also begun to develop his fly and sprint free. He should come in and add some great talent to practice and push some of the older guys right away.
Kyle Ruckert / 6-2 / Munster, Ind. (Munster HS): Kyle is a very solid Mid-Distance freestyler. In high school he swam anything from the 50 to the 500. With having some very solid times already, he is still developing in the 200 and 500 distances. Kyle will add some solid depth to our 200 and 500 races, as well as, provide some solid relay depth in the 200, 400, and 800 free relays.
Conner Conroy / 6-0 / Columbus, Ind. (Columbus North HS): Conner is a Butterfly and freestyle swimmer from Columbus, Indiana. He has solid times in the 50, 100, and 200 fly and will be able to come in right away and battle for the butterfly positions on our relays. He also has put up very solid 200 free and 100 free times. Conner will add some solid depth to those events and will also have the chance to swim those distances on some relays at conference.
Eric Dobis / 5-8 / Munster, Ind. (Munster HS): Eric is a very solid Butterfly and IM swimmer. He is a pretty quiet kid, but his personality really shines during competition as a pretty intense competitor. He is not very tall, but Eric has a very strong and powerful stroke. This bodes well for the type of training we do and I can see Eric making a solid impact right away. Adding Eric really solidifies our future in the Fly and IM events.
Nicholas Loehr / 6-1 / Mt. Vernon, Ind. (Mount Vernon HS): Nick is a distance swimmer from Mt. Vernon, Indiana. He has a very strong endurance background and appears to have some natural endurance too. He will add some solid depth to our Mile, 1000, and 500 free events. Nick is also a pretty solid 400 IM swimmer and will provide some depth there. He has a great distance freestyle stroke and as he grows and matures we will see some great things in the future from Nick.
Ian Murphy / 6-4 / West Des Moines, Iowa (Waukee Community HS): Ian is heading here from West Des Moines, Iowa. Ian is a sprint freestyle specialist that is still very raw. However, he is big (6'4, 205lbs), strong, and a hard worker. Ian will give us some depth in the sprint free events, but as he matures I would not be surprised to see Ian become an All-Conference caliber sprinter.
Jake Roberts / 6-2 / Tinley Park, Ill. (Lincoln Way North HS): Jake is following his older sister, and 2011-12 Team Captain, Morgan in coming here to EIU. Jake swims Mid-Distance and Distance freestyle and I see him adding immediate depth in those events, if not competing right away for a relay spot in the 800 free relay. Jake is also still growing, and I will not be surprised to see huge improvement because of that too.
Aaron Rushing / 6-3 / Rockford, Ill. (Harlem HS): Aaron continues a strong line of swimmers from the Rockford area in coming here to EIU. Aaron has a lot of potential as he is very talented and tall, but is still pretty raw with in his events. Aaron initially will provide some solid depth in the sprint free events, but I will not be surprised to see him progress over the next few years into a very fast 50 and 100 freestyler.
Cole Briggs / 6-3 / Munster, Ind. (Munster HS): Cole is an up and coming swimmer from Munster as well. He has really improved over the last year, and really came onto our radar late this spring. Cole will primarily swim the 200 and 500 free events for us, but because of his size I will not be surprised to see him develop into a very solid 100 freestyler as well. If Cole continues to improve he will be a solid freestyle swimmer for us over the next few years.
“For the women, we were able to address our need for some sprint freestyle swimmers,” added McGill. “This will immediately give us stronger relays and a deeper dual meet team. We also have some very versatile women in the group, which will add some good depth to our IM and mid-distance events. We are a growing team, and I am very excited with the character and talent these young women will bring here to EIU.”
Individual Highlights for the Women include...
Joann Wakefield / 5-3 / Munster, Ind. (Munster HS): Joann is going to add some great all around depth. She is solid in all four strokes and can swim all the freestyle distances. She also really developed her IM over the last year and can help in those events as well. Joann will compete for relay spots all year, as I also expect her to have an immediate impact individually. Most importantly though, she is an extremely hard worker and will bring a spark to practices.
Kaylee Morris / 5-7 / Centralia, Ill. (Centralia HS): Kaylee is a great in-state pick up as she is one of Illinois's best senior 50 and 100 freestylists. Kaylee will help solidify our depth in our free relays and sprint free events. On top of that, she's very solid in the back and fly events and has the potential to score in either of those events at conference. She has a solid IM and has even put up a good 200 free before. Kaylee has a great personality and will be a great addition to the team.
Beth Houghton / 5-4 / Stilwell, Kan. (Blue Valley HS): Beth will add some great depth to our distance free and IM events. She has also shown some great development in the mid-distance free events and should push for an 800 free relay spot. She has continually been improving and is having a great senior year so far. Beth is also an Honor's College Presidential Scholarship award winner.
Caitlin Danforth / 5-8 / Oak Lawn, Ill. (Oak Lawn Community HS): Caitlin is going to provide some immediate depth in the freestyle events. She is also still coming into her own within the sport, has developed very well throughout High School, and is fairly tall at 5'8”. These attributes give Caitlin a tremendous upside and I see her developing very well within our system. I will not be surprised to see her compete for some relay spots at conference in the coming years. She is also an Honor's College Presidential Scholarship award winner.
Bridgette Bowen / 5-4 / Stillman Valley, Ill. (Stillman Valley HS): Bridgette will follow her older sister, and 2011-12 team captain, Tammy Bowen to EIU next year. Bridgette had a very solid senior year and is developing into a very solid IM and Butterfly swimmer. She will solidify our depth in those events right away. More importantly though having seen her older sister go through 4 years of collegiate swimming, Bridgette will bring a mature and energetic approach to the sport and the classroom.
Laura Horvat / 5-8 / Champaign, Ill. (Champaign Central HS): Laura comes from my High School Alma Mater Champaign Central. She will join three other Champaign Central graduates here at EIU. Laura was a multi-sport athlete in High School, so she is still very raw as a swimmer. However, she is athletic, strong, and tall. These are the great assets for a developing swimmer to have. She will provide some great initial depth, but I will not be surprised if she improves rapidly.
Brianna Scavone / 5-4 / Roselle, Ill. (Lake Park HS): Brianna comes to us from Lake Park High School. She swims IM, Butterfly, and Backstroke. She also has some pretty decent sprint freestyle times. Brianna is a very hard worker and has great character. Though she hasn't quite found her specialty event yet, she has improved consistently in many events and will provide some great depth to the team in being so versatile.
This past fall and winter dual season, the EIU men and women finished with respective 2-6 and 1-8 records, which included a pair of fifth place finishes at the end-of-season Summit League Championships. Five different members of the EIU squad also earned post-season Summit League honors while several swimmers also continued the annual tradition of setting numerous Top 10 school marks at the event.