TEMPE, Ariz., November 27. THE Arizona State swimming and diving team signed seven women's swimmers in the fall signing period head swimming coach Michael Chasson has announced.
Six are slated to arrive in Tempe in the fall of 2003 while Sandra Steffenson, a Swedish National Team member, will join the team at the beginning of 2003, making an immediate impact. This class represents what may be the strongest recruiting class in Chasson's tenure at ASU.
"This women's recruiting class is certainly the strongest recruiting class we've had since I've been here in terms of its depth," says Chasson. "We cover pretty much all of our needs on our team, almost every hole we had."
Following is a brief look at the incoming class.
Emily Kukors (Auburn, Wash.) is a versatile swimmer and recently set the Washington state high school record in the 100 free (50.29), which is one of the top ten times in the nation right now at any level. In addition to winning the state championship in that event, that same day Kukors won the state championship in the 200 IM for Auburn High School. She has recorded great times in the 200 IM (2:02), 400 IM (4:20) and 200 fly (2:02).
"She can swim IM, free, fly and she can sprint or do middle distance," says Chasson. "She can step in anywhere and will be a great addition."
Abra Armour (Sunnyvale, Calif.) is a sprint freestlyer out of Homestead High School. She also swims for the U.S. Junior National team and the Deanza club team. She has recorded a 23.9 in the 50 free and a 51.3 in the 100 free.
"She has a lot of potential," says Chasson. "She can help us in the 200 and 400 free relays as well as in the 50 and the 100 free."
Jill Kripps (Seattle, Wash.) is a two-time state champion for Roosevelt High School in the 50 free (23.95) and is an All-American in the 100 (51.34) and 200 free (1:52.42). She also sports a 4.0 grade point average as an honors student. In addition to her experience with sprint and middle distance freestyle, she competes in the 100 fly (56.45).
"Jill has recorded some good times in the 50 and 100 free," says Chasson. "She comes from a team that specializes in distance training, so we're hoping that when she gets training specific to her events she will improve even more."
Christine Creek (Simi Valley, Calif.) comes to ASU as a specialist in the 100 breast (1:04.97) and 200 breast (2:17.31). She was a 2000 Olympic trials qualifier in the 200-meter breaststroke and finished second in the same event at the 2000 Junior Nationals. She is a three-time Royal swimming MVP and won six consecutive Marmonte League individual titles. Creek garnered honorable mention All-American honors in 1999 and 2000 in the 100 breast and holds Marmonte league and Royal records in the 100 breast and 200 IM.
"Christine is a really good athlete," says Chasson.
"She has improved every year and can come in and add to our team at the NCAA level."
Amanda Gillespie (Perth, Ontario, Canada) is a backstroke specialist and was a member of Canada's Pan Pacific Team this past summer. She has recorded good times swimming long-course meters in the 100m back (1:04) and 200m back (2:16). She also may add some depth in free and fly events.
"She'll probably be our top backstroker next year based on her improvement," says Chasson. "She's a very good athlete and will be a factor in NCAAs."
Carissa Abe (Fullerton, Calif.) comes in specializing in the 100 back and 100 free. She is a two-time U.S.A. Swimming Scholastic All-American and a two-time NISCA first-team All-American in the 100 back. Abe holds Sunny Hills High School and Freeway League records in the 100 back (56.76).
"Carissa had a big year last year and she'll improve a lot more before she even comes to school," says Chasson. "She comes from a team that has very good technique and she will help us a lot in the sprint backstroke events."
Sandra Steffensen (Trelleborg, Sweden) is a sprint and middle distance freestyler who is joining the team after this present semester and will look to have an impact before this season's NCAAs. Steffensen placed fourth at the 2002 Swedish Senior Nationals in the 400m free, and at the 2000 Senior Swedish Nationals she was third in the 400m free and second in the 800m free. She has been a member of three Swedish record-setting relay teams and her 2001 400m relay team recorded the second best club time in the world.
"Sandra is one of the best short-course meters swimmers in the world," says Chasson. "She'll help us immediately at the NCAA level and help our freestyle relays across the board. She is a big addition to our team."
"It's going to be really exciting," concludes Chasson. "These girls fit in really well with our team and the team liked them a lot. Their personalities are very well suited to this team and this coaching staff."