BLOOMINGTON, Indiana, May 26. INDIANA University head swimming coach Ray Looze announced today that Ali Khalafalla (Cairo, Egypt) and Grace Vertigans (Dubai, UAE) will join the program beginning in the fall of 2014.
Khalafalla is a native of Cairo, Egypt and comes to Indiana from Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. A sprint freestyle and backstroke specialist, Khalafalla holds school records in the short course meters 100 freestyle (51.94) and 200 freestyle (1:57.37). He also holds team records in the 100-yard freestyle (44.81), 50 freestyle (20.36), 100 backstroke (50.44) and 200 medley relay (1:34.30). Khalafalla, who arrived at Fork Union in 2011, earned the school’s Outstanding Swimmer Award, as well as all-prep, all-state and All-America honors.
“In my opinion, Ali is one of the best kept secrets on the U.S. sprinting scene in the class of 2015,” Looze said. “If his results at the recent Charlotte Grand Prix are any indication, Ali will develop into a top performer in both the 50 and 100 freestyles at IU. He is a fine student with exceptional character and integrity. I look forward to seeing what he can do under the direction of Coaches Dale and Hastings.”
In 2014, Khalafalla helped lead his squad to its second-consecutive Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association team championship. In the 50 free he re-set the state record four times, while also setting a new state mark in the 100 free. Fork Union won the 2014 title despite having just six swimmers and two divers at the meet.
During his time in Egypt he also set numerous youth age-group records. In the classroom he is a three-year member of the honor roll and a member of the National Honor Society.
Khalafalla’s 100 freestyle at the 2014 Virginia Independent Schools championship:
Vertigans comes to IU by way of Plymouth College in England. A native of Colchester, England, Vertigans spent her youth in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, before moving back to England at age 13 to attend Plymouth College.
“Grace is one of the very top 18 and under sprint freestylers in the world,” Looze said. “Beyond her talents in the pool, Grace is extremely team oriented and will fit in well with the Hoosier ‘family atmosphere.’ She is an outstanding student and our staff is excited to help Grace reach her Olympic dreams.”
A two-time junior swimming Victrix Ludorum and senior swimming Victrix Ludorum winner, Vertigans specializes in the sprint freestyle, butterfly and backstroke. Some of her top times include 25.45 in the 50-meter freestyle, 55.42 in the 100-meter free, 1:01.12 in the 100-meter butterfly and 59.54 in the 50-meter backstroke.
In December at the 2013 World School Games in Brazil, Vertigans won the 50-meter butterfly in 27.71 as part of the English Schools Swimming Association team. She also took home relay gold in the 400-meter freestyle relay. At last year’s World Junior Championships Vertigans took home silver as a member of Team Great Britain’s 400-meter medley relay team.
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