TALLAHASSEE, Fla. December 18. THE Florida State swimming and diving teams announced the signings of seven swimmers to National Letters of Intent. The Seminoles first signing class of 2006 includes Jennifer Guyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.), Katie Stratton (Naperville, Ill.), Kylsie Grimes (Hartland, Wis.), Ashley Lawler (Iowa City, Iowa), Leigh Ann King (Baton Rouge, La.), Corey Swanson (Tampa, Fla.) and Robert Padgett (Greensboro, N.C.).
“Instead of trying to get a lot of people, we are trying to get good quality student-athletes and I think we did that,” said head coach Neil Harper. “We got some great out of state All-Americans to go along with a few in state champions. I’m really excited about what we as a staff and a team, in terms of recruitment, were able to achieve.”
Guyler comes to FSU after winning the 2005 Florida 3A state championship in the 200 free with a time of 1:50.46. She also took second in the 500 free (4:53.09) and was a part of the 400 relay that placed sixth (split – 52.60). Guyler, who was named Clearwater Aquatic Team Swimmer of the Year in 2004, was the district champ in the 200 free (2004, 2005) and the 500 free (2005). She was also the regional champion in the 200 free in 2005. The Palm Harbor native earned All-American honors in the 500 free in 2004. Currently enrolled at East Lake High School, Guyler is a member of the National Honor Society and has made the dean’s list and honor roll all four years.
“Jennifer (Guyler) brings great times and potential in the 500 and 1650 free,” said Harper. “She really came into her own over the summer. I think she has a great college career ahead of her and we are excited to be a part of it.”
Stratton, who attends Naperville North High School, was a four time All-American after her freshman year as she earned the honor in the 100 breast (1:05.29), 200 IM (2:04.83), 200 Medley Relay and 400 free relay. She placed second in the 200 IM and third in the 100 breast at the Illinois high school state meet. As a sophomore, Stratton won the state championships in the 100 breast (1:04.29) and 200 IM (2:03.39). She then went onto win the 200 IM and 400 IM at the YMCA Long Course National Championships. Stratton, who has made the honor roll through out high school, currently swims for her club team instead of swimming for high school.
“Katie (Stratton) is a great all-around swimmer,” said Harper. “She comes from a relatively small program in Naperville, Illinois. She is a great 200 and 400 IMer and is also a good breaststroker. We feel that she will be extremely beneficial at dual meets, fill a need in the IMs at the conference meet and be an integral part of our team for the future.”
Grimes is a 12-time Wisconsin high school state champion. Her time of 1:51.42 in the 200 free is the second fastest in Wisconsin high school swimming history. She currently attends Arrowhead High School and holds records in the 50, 100 and 200 free as well as in the 200 and 400 free relays. The Hartland native has earned All-American honors eight times. Both of her parents swam competitively in college at Illinois State University.
“Kylsie (Grimes) is someone who has really slipped under the radar,” said Harper. “Liz (Klink) did a really good job of finding and going to see her. She really liked the staff and the team. I think that she is going to be a diamond in the rough. She is a Wisconsin state champion in the 100 and 200 frestyle and has a great 50 as well. Someone as good as she is in the 50, 100 and 200 free is very valuable to help all of our relays. She has a great career ahead of her.”
Lawler will add depth to Florida State’s distance free group. She earned All-American status in 2005 as she won the Iowa high school state championship in the 500 free (4:58.96) and earned All-American consideration as she picked up another state title in the 200 free (1:54.06). As a member of the USA Swimming Club she won a sectional championship in the 1650 free in 2003 and was sectional runner-up in the 1500 free (2005) and 800 free (2003). Lawler is a member of the National Honor Society and earned USA Swimming Scholastic All-American on two separate occasions.
“Ashley (Lawler) is one that not too many people knew about,” said Harper. “She comes from a very small program and has achieved some great times in the 500, 1000 and 1500 free. She really liked our distance program and the people that she would be training with and coached by so she signed with us. I think she is someone that will really look forward to making a big improvement in college.”
King joins Florida State and will mainly compete in the sprint free events. She is the Louisiana high school state record holder in the 50 free (23.11). The Baton Rouge native is a four time All-American, senior national qualifier in the 50 free and junior national qualifier in the 100 free. She helped lead St. Joseph’s Academy to three division one state meet championships. She holds city records in 50 and 100 free as well as in the 200 and 400 free relays.
“Leigh Ann (King) has great potential,” said Harper. ”She looked at some really good SEC programs but our program here was where she fit in best. She is one of the fastest sprinters in the country and we are really excited to get her and continue our strength in the sprint and freestyle area.”
Swanson brings an outstanding resume to Florida State as he is a two-time Florida state high school champion in the 50 and 100 free as well as a two time All-American. He is a junior national gold medalist, U.S. qualifier and currently holds multiple New England swimming records. His best times include 1:53.3 in the 200 IM, 21.0 in the 50 free, 46.4 in the 100 free and 49.75 in the 100 fly. Swanson currently attends Sickles High School.
“Corey (Swanson) is a hidden talent. His family just recently moved to Florida the last couple of years,” said Harper. “He has done most of his swimming in New England and is just a talented all-around swimmer. He is a great 200 IMer, sprint freestyler and butterflier. He has potential to really come on in college. I think that he will be a force to be reckoned with and an important part of our team for the future.”
Padgett, who currently attends Lucy Ragsdale High School, was a senior national qualifier in the 200 meter IM where he recorded a time of 2:08.48. His other honors include All-State, Scholastic All-American and three-time MVP in North Carolina Swimming. His best times include 1:52.51 200 yard IM, 1:49.35 in the 200 back, 51.16 in the 100 back, 1:41.27 in the 200 free and 46.31 in the 100 free.
“Robert (Padgett) is a senior national qualifier in the 200 IM,” said Harper. “When you are that good you don’t have a weak stroke. He is really strong in the backstrokes and freestyles as well. He is very versatile. I think that he is going to be a big force in the ACC and the NCAA Championships.”