Lady Vol head swimming coach Matt Kredich announced the signing of seven swimmers from the Class of 2010 on Thursday. Joining the Tennessee women’s swimming and diving team next fall will be Courtney Ciesielski, Alexandria Frasier, Lindsay Gendron, Molly Hannis, Mary Kate McNeilis, Caroline Reeves and Lauren Solernou.
“We believe we’ve put together one of the best recruiting classes to ever come to Tennessee,” Kredich said. “The individual achievements are impressive, but the group dynamic could be really special with these athletes because they each were drawn so strongly to be part of an exceptional team environment at a world-class university. We have several athletes with international experience from the National Junior team, some of the top athletes from the state of Tennessee, and a group that wants to compete at the highest level. Most importantly we have a group of athletes and families that believes deeply in the vision of the program and of the University of Tennessee.”
The 2010 Lady Vol Swimming and Diving Recruiting Class:
Ciesielski earned five NISCA high school All-America certificates on relays and in the 100y back before her senior year even started at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga., helping lead the squad to AAAAA state titles in 2008 and 2009.
A SwimmingWorld Magazine three-star recruit, Ciesielski swam club for Stingrays Swimming and was named a Scholastic All-American by USA Swimming. She holds four school records and one country record (400y free relay).
“Courtney has stood out to me from the beginning of the recruiting process as a Lady Vol in the making,” Kredich said. “She’s a great student, a strong leader and a great athlete. Courtney is going to make everyone around her better because she is so impressive in the way she prepares, trains and races. Her coach, Ian Goss at Stingrays, has prepared her really well for college in developing all of her strokes and distances. We think she’ll be a force in the 200 back and 400 IM in the SEC, and we’re excited to see what other events develop for her.”
A senior at Bedford High School in New Bedford, Ma., Frasier was named the Standard Times’ Girls Swimmer of the Year after capturing her second consecutive state championship in the 100y free. A versatile performer, Frasier set high school marks in the 50y free, 100y free, 200y free, 500y free, 100y back, 200y IM and 200y free relay.
The SwimmingWorld Magazine five-star recruit also broke the national record in the 400y medley relay and the 200y medley relay with the Bluefish Aquatic Club and was a NISCA high school All-American in the 200y free in 2009.
“Alex is coming from one of the most respected programs and coaches in the country – Chuck Batchelor’s Bluefish team,” Kredich said. “She’s really tough, a tremendously positive team person, and a national caliber freestyler who can do every distance well. Alex had a breakthrough summer, putting herself among the top four in this year’s class in the 100-meter free, and we’re excited to see what she does when she focuses on a short course season. She’s going to make all of our relays much better and she’ll be a leader in training for all of our freestylers.”
Gendron joined the swimming and diving team at Normal (Ill.) Community High School for her senior year after swimming only on for her club team, Waves Swimming, her first three years of her prep career, and did not disappoint, collecting an Illinois state championship in the 100y free (50.54) this past November as well as a second-place finish in the 200y IM.
A SwimmingWorld Magazine five-star recruit, Gendron posted Olympic Trials qualifying times and was a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.
“Lindsay is one of this year’s class’s best freestylers,” Kredich said. “She gives us a lot of options in terms of the events she can swim. She comes from a tremendous background with Charlie Yourd’s Bloomington Waves, and so she has great strokes, training knowledge and ability in the longer events. She’s also really powerful and has shown some great speed, and blew by a lot of people to become the second-ranked 16-year-old in the 100-meter free this summer.”
Competing for Santa Rosa (Calif.) High School and the Santa Rosa Neptunes swim club, Hannis has become one of the premier prep breaststrokers in the country. Her time of 1:00.19 in the 100y breast was the second-fastest high school time in the country in 2009, and she finished 23rd in the 100m breast at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
A SwimmingWorld Magazine five-star recruit, Hannis becomes the second Neptune to become a Lady Vol, joining Sarah Payette, who swam for Tennessee from 1995-99. A member of the U.S. Junior National Team, Hannis is a five-time NISCA high school All-American in the 100y breast and 200y IM events and will likely earn more accolades as her senior year wraps up this winter.
“Molly is a top breaststroker who has National Junior Team experience and a tremendous amount of ability,” Kredich said. “She posted one of the fastest 100 breaststroke times in high school history last year, and is developing her 200 IM and 200 breaststroke really well. She can make a big impact at NCAAs as a freshman, and we’re really excited to see what she can do over four years.”.
Mary Kate McNeilis
Competing for Dublin (Ohio) Scioto High School, McNeilis captured the Ohio State High School championship in the 100y back in 2009, breaking her own state record with a time of 54.30.
A SwimmingWorld Magazine five-star recruit, McNeilis had the third-fastest time in the 100y back (53.55) in the prep ranks in 2009 and has earned six NISCA high school All-America awards in her career. Additionally, her brother, Kyle McNeilis, is a sophomore freestyle swimmer at Texas. The Westerville Aquatic Club team member also competed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, where she placed 36th in the 100m back.
“Kate is one of the top swimmers in this year’s class, and was a huge priority for us because she is very good, she is very competitive, and she has very high goals,” Kredich said. “Kate seems to be at her best under pressure, and we love that trait in her. He coach, Jim Peterfish at Westerville Aquatic Club, has done a great job developing her across all strokes, distances and events, and she’ll come to college with a really impressive set of skills. Kate is going to help make our backstroke group even more special, and we expect her to be a force in the freestyle events as well.”
A Milton, Tenn., native, Reeves broke her own state record in winning the 100y breast (1:01.16) at the 2009 Tennessee High School Swimming and Diving Championships while competing for Oakland High School. She set the previous record of 1:02.43, while winning her first state title as a freshman in 2007. The record-holder before Reeves was former Lady Vol Sarah McCall.
A three-time NISCA high school All-American in the 100y breast and a SwimmingWorld Magazine five-star recruit, Reeves also competed at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
“(Assistant Coach) Jen Arndt and I targeted Caroline as a priority several years ago as she is one of the top breaststrokers in the country and right down the road in Nashville,” Kredich said. “We’re really happy to have kept her in state. She comes from a great background with John Morse’s Nashville Aquatic Club and has shown herself to be a tough competitor on the state, national and international levels. She’s had a rough past year heath-wise but still put up one of the top-five times in the country in the 100-yard breaststroke. We’re really excited to see her return to full health – she’s going to be a big part of the success of our team in the coming four years.”
Solernou will likely add depth to UT’s already outstanding backstroke group after a career that has already seen her break 13 Connecticut records as star for Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, Conn., and the Chesire (Conn.) YMCA Sea Dogs.
This past summer, Solernou, a SwimmingWorld Magazine five-star recruit, dominated the 2009 YMCA Long Course national meet, sweeping the 50m back, 100m back and 200m back events. Overall, Solernou has won seven YMCA national championships at the club level and been a NISCA high school All-American every year in the 100y back. She capped her high school career by lowering her own Connecticut State Open record in the 100y back (55.44) while winning her third title in the event.
“We’re always excited to get people out of the YMCA system because they have a great understanding of the team concept, and Lauren is the product of an excellent club and excellent coaching,” Kredich said. “Lauren is a great backstroker across every distance. Her 100 and 200 are both very good, but we’re really excited about her speed. She was one of the top 10 Americans in the 50-meter backstroke in 2009, and we think she’s just beginning to tap into her abilities. She is very focused, mature, a great student, and will make a great Lady Vol.”