AUBURN, Ala. The Auburn women's swimming program looks to be adding exceptional talent to its already strong arsenal as the Tigers sign six during the Fall signing period for the 2002-03 season.
"I am thrilled about the talent and the attitude our six newest Auburn Tigers bring to the pool," associate head women's coach Kim Brackin said. "Every one of these young women have expressed a desire to win a championship and all of them are capable. Our priority this year wasn't to fill holes, but to build on our strengths. These six swimmers will add muscle to an already extremely capable team. During their freshman year they will certainly have the opportunity for a title, competing for it in our home pool should only add fuel to their fire."
For the women, Andover, Mass., native Sally Brown will compete in the freestyle and individual medley events for the Tigers. Brown is a 2000 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 200 free and 200 IM and is a High School All-American in the 200 free. Brown comes to Auburn as a member of the Merrimack Valley Pirates, who are coached by Mike Spring.
"One look at Sally and the word 'athlete' jumps to mind," Brackin said. "She is going to be fun to challenge in training and rewarding to watch compete. Sally has talent ¯ lots of it. Given her training environment she will be put in, I expect some immediate improvements in all her events. Her energetic personality and ambitious attitude won over the staff and team instantly."
In long course meters, the High School All-Scholastic earned her career times in the 100 free at 57.90, 200 free at 2:04.40, 400 free at 4:22.80, 200 IM at 2:20.80 and the 400 IM at 4:58.70. Brown chose Auburn over Florida, Georgia and Clemson.
"I knew that the atmosphere, the intensity and the program would take my swimming to where I want it to be," Brown said. "I feel that the academic program at Auburn will allow me to develop and take on a career that I enjoy and I feel that I will get enough support to do that. Last, but not least, I absolutely fell in love with all the people at Auburn."
The Tigers' second signee is Lauren Duerk of Defiance, Ohio. The Florida High School State Champion in the 100 breaststroke was also named the Florida Short Course Swimmer of the Year in 2000. Duerk was an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 200 breast and the 400 IM and was a member of the Florida All-Star team. Duerk is a member of the Bolles Sharks which is coached by Larry Shofe.
"Lauren fits our profile of a hugely successful swimmer: strong aerobic background and the youngest child of six," Brackin said. "Thanks to her brothers and sisters, she is competitive and tenacious in everything she does. We look to Lauren to continue to excel in the classroom as well as confidently step into one of the strongest IM groups in the country. She will certainly elevate the racing atmosphere of the group."
The US Swimming All-American has earned NISCA Scholastic All-America honors and is a member of Who's Who in American High School students. Duerk chose Auburn over Florida and Virginia and has recorded times of 1:02.73 in the 100-yard breast, 2:17.37 in the 200 breast, 2:02.98 in the 200 IM and 4:22.92 in the 400 IM.
"I chose Auburn because I got along with the team very well," Duerk said. "The Auburn women's team had certain characteristics that I admired and I feel that I will fit in well with the rest of the team. I was also impressed with the coaches and their training methods as well as the team's accomplishments."
Incoming freshman Leslie Lunsmann comes to Auburn from Houston, Texas, as a 2001 National Junior Team member and Goodwill Games team member in 2001. Lunsmann earned a silver medal in the Goodwill Games and finished second in the 400 IM and third in the 200 IM at the 2001 Summer US Nationals meet. She is a member of The Fleet coached by Clayton Clagle and joins Fleet teammate James Galloway on The Plains.
"(Auburn assistant) Coach Crocker had the opportunity to coach Leslie at the National Distance Camp and he came back raving," Brackin said. "Leslie will make a significant contribution to the program from day one. Because she is from Clagle's program, you know she has had an outstanding developmental background. Her breakthrough swims this summer gave her the opportunity for valuable international racing experience. Leslie will come to Auburn hungry to learn from and race with some of the top IMers in the Nation. We can't wait to add her to the mix."
Lunsmann, a Scholastic All-American chose Auburn over Texas and Georgia and earned times of 2:16.17 in the 200-meter IM, 4:47.28 in the 400 IM, 2:33.01 in the 200 breast and 2:03.77 in the 200 free.
"The atmosphere and intensity of the team here was amazing," Lunsmann said. "Everyone seemed focused on the same goal. Auburn has an excellent coaching staff and the team members are awesome. It just felt like home."
Jeri Moss, a native of Riverside, Calif., comes to Auburn as the 1997 Junior National Champion in the 200 back and an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100 and 200 back. Moss is a two-time All-American in the 100 back and the 200 fly and was recruited by UCLA, Arizona and Cal Berkeley. She is currently a member of the Irvine Novas and coached by Dave Salo.
"When Jeri talks swimming, you hear her excitement bubbling over," Brackin said. "I love the fact that she chose Auburn because she wanted to put herself in the most challenging environment. We are confident she will add valuable depth to an already impressive backstroke group. Factor in her attitude and we could see her leading that event in a season or two."
Moss has had impressive swims in the 100 back (56.60), the 200 back (2:01.08), the 100 fly (57.00) and in long course meters the 100 back (1:03.90) and the 200 back (2:18.91).
"I chose Auburn because I knew that this was the program that would bring out all of my potential and it would give me all the opportunity for success in the world," Moss said. "It is an amazing program with motivated people who want to be great."
Auburn is thrilled to add a second Irvine Nova swimmer to their roster in Erin Volcan of Anaheim, Calif. Volcan comes to The Plains as a school record holder in every event but the 100 breast. She was a 1999 Junior National Champion in the 200-meter free and was the runner-up for high point at the same meet. The Scholastic All-American finished third in the 200 back at the 2000 US Open and qualified fourth for the finals in the 200-meter back. Volcan is also coached by Dave Salo.
Volcan was a member of the Venezuelan National Team from 1997-2001, was the 2000 South American Champion in the 200-meter back in Argentina and is the National Champion and record holder in Venezuela in that event.
"A number of collegiate coaches looked at Erin solely as a backstroker, but I predict there is a lot more versatility to be developed," Brackin said. "She will join a strong group of primary backstrokers to train and race with, but both she and I are excited to have her in our talented group of IMers. Of course she will also add depth to our middle distance free. Erin has had some impressive international experience competing for her father's home country of Venezuela. Those experiences should provide poise and give her a competitive edge. While she has proudly represented Venezuela, we look to help Erin make her first USA National Team."
"I chose Auburn because I loved the school spirit, team camaraderie and it felt like the best place for me," Volcan said.
Auburn signed prize Alabama prize recruit Amy Wheatley of Montgomery, who comes to swim for the Tigers with an impressive resume. Wheatley is a seven-time YMCA National All-American, a three-time Alabama High School State Champion and a state record holder. She finished 17th at the US Summer Nationals meet in the 200 breaststroke winning the C final with a time of 2:33.95.
The National Honor Society member was an Olympic Trials and Senior Nationals qualifier in the 100 and 200 breast and was a member of the National Select Team. Wheatley is currently being coached by Auburn alumni Chris Snyder as a member of the Montgomery YMCA. She will join her sister, Lyndsey, who will be a junior at Auburn when Amy arrives on campus next fall.
"It is continually a priority to keep Alabama's best swimmers in the state ¯ at Auburn!" Brackin said. "Amy will likely follow in the footsteps of other Alabama natives who have flourished within our program. Amy's athleticism, strength and intuitive racing are some of the stellar qualities that attracted us to her. I think a lot of coaches missed out on a real find. Academically, athletically and spiritually she fits into the Auburn family perfectly."
Wheatley holds times of 2:33.95 in the 200-meter breast, 1:12.11 in the 100 breast and chose Auburn over Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson.
"I chose Auburn for its Christian attitude and the team spirit of the coaches and the team," Wheatley said.
"I am really looking forward to the arrival of our six women to campus next Fall," head coach David Marsh said. "From their enthusiastic attitude to academics to their swimming ability and their lives in general, this is going to be a group that will reach to new heights during their Auburn career."
For more information, contact Mendy Nestor (334) 844-9900
*The Auburn men's signees will be released early next week