Auburn Women’s Swimming Team Welcome Seven to the Plains

AUBURN, Alabama. December 17. THE defending SEC Champion women's swimming and diving team has added seven swimmers to join the Tiger program in 2006, head coach David Marsh announced on Friday afternoon. Heading to the Plains will be Maggie Bird, Sarah Losinger, Abby MacGregor, Melissa Marik, Ava Olhgren, Emily Roberts and Taylor Weber.

"The women's class is outstanding from top to bottom," Auburn head coach David Marsh commented. "There are several swimmers that will have a big NCAA impact from day one with their eyes set on the Olympic Trials in 2008. There is also a very talented group of swimmers who will develop in a matter of time at the top of the SEC and NCAA levels. The diversity of the events make this class strong, especially with the addition to our breaststroke group. In this class are two of the most high level, versatile swimmers in the country in Ava and Melissa."

Maggie Bird joins the Tigers from Muncie, Ind., and currently swims for Jeremy Agnew and the Yorktown Swim Club. The reigning Indiana state champion in the 200 free, Maggie currently holds three individual and is on two relays that hold the Indiana high school state records. A three-time All-American, she has helped her Yorktown High School team to three consecutive undefeated dual-meet seasons. Maggie was a 2005 Junior Nationals finalist in the 200 back and this past summer captured the 200 back Indiana senior state title.

"Maggie is an outstanding student and athlete," co-women's head coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker said. "I have been watching her for past seven years and she is a very tough athlete. She is a team leader and always seems to perform in the moment. She is a good middle distance freestyle swimmer and backstroker is very excited to be a part of the Auburn program."

"I am so excited about having the opportunity to swim at Auburn under coaches David Marsh and Dorsey Tierney-Walker," Maggie said. "I know it is going to be really challenging and there is a lot of hard work ahead of me. I saw right away on my visit that the team shared a unique bond – whether they were in the weight room, at the pool, or just out as a group – and I wanted to be a part of that. The warm weather is nice too!"

Sarah Losinger comes to Auburn from Marietta, Ga., where she swims for Yit Aum Lim and the Marietta Marlins. An All-American in the 200 breast, Sarah was named first team All-State last season. A member of the 2005 state high school championship team, she was voted co-captain of her Lassiter High School team in her senior campaign. A breaststroke specialist, Sarah has qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 breast.

"Sarah is a talented young breaststroker, one of three we have coming in," noted Tierney-Walker said. "She has improved tremendously over the past two years and was an Olympic Trials qualifier. I think Sarah will contribute significantly in the 200 breast early on and her speed will come around as she gets a little bit stronger."

"I love everything about Auburn, especially how close the team is and the awesome coaching staff," Losinger said. "I know at Auburn I will put in a lot of hard work, improve and have fun doing it. I am really looking forward to being an Auburn Tiger."

Abby MacGregor joins the Tiger team from Louisville, Ky., and Triton Swimming coached by Mike Essig. A seven-time All-American, she is a two-time high school
state champion in the 100 breast and is ranked in the top-10 nationally in both the 100 and 200 breast's (17-18 age group). Abby owns three Kentucky state records and was the Junior Nationals 100 breast champion this past summer. Abby is also a Scholastic All-American for Sacred Heart Academy where she swims for Scott Miller.

"Abby is probably one of the biggest up-and-comers in the U.S. in the breaststroke," Tierney-Walker said. "She had a fantastic season this past summer. She is a very good technical swimmer. Her club coach Mike Essig does an outstanding job teaching good form and technique and developing training once that has been established. I think Abby is going to take off once she gets here. She was very excited watching our circuit and she is excited to be a part of a program that will be competing for the national championship each year."

"I was really excited to sign with Auburn because I felt it was the best place for me and I love the atmosphere," Abby said.

Melissa Marik heads to Auburn from Naperville, Ill., where she currently swims for Bill Schalz and the Academy Bullets Swim Club. A six-time Illinois state champion, Melissa holds the state record in the 100 back and every event record at Neuqua Valley High School except one (100 breast). Melissa was a 2004 National Junior Team member and competed in the C Final of the 100 back at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. A multiple high school All-American, Melissa also garners numerous academic accolades as well, including being a Illinois State Scholar and a National Merit Scholarship program letter of commendation.

"Melissa is just an all-around phenomenal young woman," Tierney-Walker commented. "She is a good leader and student and she is just scratching the surface of her potential. She started swimming with Bill Schalz at Academy Bullets last summer and once she made that transition she had a great summer. I expect nothing but great things from Melissa. She will be a fantastic teammate, student and swimmer at Auburn."

"I feel the most comfortable at Auburn … the coaches, the team, the school – the Auburn experience," Marik noted. "I am so proud to become a part of Auburn and can't wait to be there."

Ava Ohlgren comes to Auburn from Northville, Mich., and currently swims for Brad Brockway, Teri Ohlgren and Cammie Jenrow at the Bulldog Aquatic Club. Named the
Michigan High School Swimmer of the Year, Ava has also earned Scholastic All-American honors as a Northville High School student. Ava, a freestyle and individual medley specialist, was a member of the 2004 National Junior team and qualified to compete at the 2005 U.S. World Championship Trials.

"Ava's versatility is probably equal to that of former AU swimmer Maggie Bowen," said Tierney-Walker. "Ava is very good in the 200 and 400 IMs and can swim the middle distance freestyles and she will contribute in the relays. She has a very good feel for the water and she is a very good student as well. She is laid back but once she gets in the pool she is a fierce competitor and enjoys the competition. Ava, in our opinion, is one of the top three recruits out there this season and we are very fortunate to have her. We are looking for big things out of her both nationally and internationally."

"I am very excited to swim at Auburn next year," Ohlgren said. "The team and coaches are great and I think it will be awesome to train and be part of one of the best teams in the nation."

Emily Roberts heads to the Plains from Snellville, Ga., where she currently swims for Humphrey Fraser and Summit Aquatics. The Georgia long course state champion in the 100 and 200 breast's, Emily is also the Georgia high school state champion in the 100 breast. A National Select Camp participant, she has qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. Swimming for Bill Nye and South Gwinnett High School, she has earned the high school records in the 100 breast, 100 free and 200 IM.

"Emily has good speed and is just a fantastic athlete," Tierney-Walker said. "She came in right away and just fit with our team. She is a very positive individual and enjoys the competition and team environment. She is very good in the sprint breaststrokes right now and I think her 200 breast will come around with a little more training."

"I am more than excited to become an Auburn Tiger," Roberts commented. "Not only do I see the greatness at Auburn, I feel it."

Taylor Weber joins Auburn from The Woodlands, Texas, where she swims for Scott McFarland and The Woodlands Swim Club. A butterfly specialist, Taylor won the 100 fly at the 2004 Junior Nationals. A three-time All-American and All-State honoree, she holds The Woodlands High School record in the 100 fly.

"Taylor comes to us from The Woodlands and they produce very solid athletes," noted Tierney-Walker. "She is a good butterflier and has improved quite a bit over the last year. I think with added strength she will thrive in this program and surrounded by high level athletes will help her get better as well. Taylor is another one of those athletes that just enjoyed the team environment and Auburn community."

"I am excited to join the Auburn swimming and diving team," Weber said. "Auburn's reputation of excellence both in out of the pool helped influence my decision to attend Auburn University. I am looking forward to training with a great team of coaches and swimmers, and look forward to contributing to an already outstanding team."

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