AUBURN, Ala, December 3. KARA Denby, Kristen Hastrup and Julie Stupp have all signed National Letters of Intent to attend Auburn University and swim for the two-time defending NCAA Champions, AU Co-Head Women's Coaches David Marsh and Kim Brackin announced on Tuesday.
"Kristen, Julie and Kara are all outstanding people with their priorities in the right places," Marsh said. "They will quickly become terrific Auburn people."
"This class, albeit smaller, reminds me of our current senior class * full of talent," Brackin said. "These are three extremely talented and motivated young women. Throughout the recruiting process, I was equally impressed with their desire to improve and achieve both academically and athletically."
Denby comes to Auburn from Simi Valley, Calif., and Paul Davidson's Conejo Simi Aquatics club team. A freestyle and IM specialist, she was the 2003 Summer Junior National Champion in the 50 and 100 freestyles as well as the 200 free relay. Named to the SCS Senior All-Star team for three consecutive years, she has also been named to the 2002-2003 USA Swimming Scholastic All-America team. She plans to study pre-physical therapy at Auburn and chose the Tigers over Florida, Stanford, Wisconsin and Indiana.
"I chose to swim at Auburn because I loved the coaching staff and the team," Denby said. "Also the environment at Auburn is amazing and it totally blew me away. The program fosters a winning spirit and I wanted to be a part of that. After looking at Auburn, none of the other schools could compare."
"Auburn University was an excellent choice by Kara," Conejo Simi Aquatic's Davidson said. "The team's success speaks for itself and she has chosen to become a part of a great program. I am very excited for Kara. I am looking forward to watching her contribute to the future successes of the Auburn swimming program."
"A few years ago, Paul (Davidson) told me it was Kara's dream to come to AU. I am thrilled it will be coming true for her," Brackin said. "She is a great athlete and fits the mold of a true Auburn person. I look forward to watching her become an integral member of our IM and sprint groups."
Hastrup, a butterfly and middle-distance freestyle specialist, joins the Tigers from Fresno, Calif., where she swims for Tom Milich' Clovis Swim Club. A member of the 2001-02 National Junior Team, she placed fifth in the 200 fly and 16th in the 100 fly at the 2003 Summer Nationals. A top-10 finisher in the 200 fly at the PhillipsConocco 66 Summer Nationals in both 2001 and 2002, she was an was the California state champion in the 100- and 200 fly and 200- and 400 yard freestyles. A 15-time high school all-American, she has also found success in the classroom, being named to the Clovis West Principal's Honor Roll for the past six semesters and is currently in position to be the valedictorian of her senior class of 499 students. She plans to study either pre-med or communications once she enrolls at Auburn, which she chose over Georgia, Cal-Berkeley and Stanford.
"I feel that, for me, Auburn has the perfect combination of athletics and academics," Hastrup said. "Equally important is the excellent energy and attitude of the team which I can't wait to be a part of. I expect to have a tremendous amount of fun while really progressing as a swimmer and a student."
"I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Kristen on the Junior National Staff," Brackin said. "I was very impressed by her motivated attitude. She was 100 percent a team player. She will make a perfect fit in the AU team.
"Kristen is our fastest incoming flier in the history of our program. We are excited to push her to follow in the footsteps of all the female fliers before her. She also should have an impact on our 800 free relay."
"I think she looked at a lot of options and I think what she ultimately chose was a place where she could strive both academically and athletically," Clovis' Milich said. "I don't see any problem with her achieving her goals."
Stupp comes to Auburn from Jack Young's Clayton Shaw Park club team in St. Louis, Mo. A breaststroke and IM specialist, she is a two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, the first time coming while she was in the ninth grade. The Open Ozark LSC Record Holder in the 100 breaststroke (LCM) and the 200 breaststroke (LCM and SCY), she also holds six other age-group Ozark LSC records. Along with swimming, she has also competed for the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School track team, where she anchored the state champion 4x800m relay. A scholastic all-American, she plans on studying communications at Auburn. Other schools that she considered were Florida, USC, North Carolina and SMU.
"Julie is an outstanding student-athlete and an even better person," Marsh said. "She is a versatile swimmer who possesses the talent and work ethic to be a NCAA impact performer in her first year. Julie has attended our summer camps and because of her dynamic personality, has always been very popular with her peers and the counselors."
"I plan to receive a great education, to continue to improve as an individual and also be a part of a great swimming tradition," Stupp said. "I love the team, the team atmosphere and the coaching staff at Auburn."
"I think attending Auburn is a golden opportunity to move on to a challenging environment that will allow her to become the best swimmer that she can possibly be," her club coach Jack Young said.