AMES, Iowa, November 18. IOWA State swimming and diving head coach Duane Sorenson announced the signing of nine swimmers and divers for the 2011-12 season on Wednesday. The Cyclones made some in-roads in the state of Minnesota, signing five swimmers from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
"The Twin Cities and the whole state of Minnesota have a tremendous amount of talent in the 2011 class," Sorenson said. "We wanted to tap into that and we targeted a number of different individuals to meet our needs. I think we hit the jackpot with the five swimmers we got from the area."
Among the future Cyclones from Minnesota is Amanda Paulson. From Monticello High School, Paulson is the Minnesota Class A state record holder in the 50 free, clocking a 23.37 at the state championships. Paulson also took the top spot in the 100 free at last season's state championships.
"Amanda is a purebred sprinter," Sorenson stated. "She loves to race; she loves to compete and has a tremendous amount of talent. It is a perfect fit for her to come to Iowa State to help meet our needs in the sprint freestyle."
Another freestyler, and Minnesota native, is Sarah Deis. From Wayzata, Deis has been a top competitor across all freestyle distances, along with being a successful IM and breaststroke swimmer.
"Sarah is a multi-talented swimmer," Sorenson said. "She can swim all the freestyle events, both IM's and the 100 and 200 breast. She is a versatile swimmer and it will be interesting to see where she ends up by her senior year because she can go so many different directions."
Elizabeth Kleiner is another freestyler from up north and it is still unknown whether she will pursue the shorter or longer freestyle races, but the Cyclone coaching staff believes that she can succeed in either department.
"Elizabeth really has not tapped her potential yet," Sorenson commented. "She is a very good 200 and 500 freestyler. I don't know if we are going to make her a 100 freestyler or if she will go into the 1000 and 1650 races. She is another great competitor with a great feel for the water."
In the case of incoming freestyler Britta Sortland, the coaching staff knows where she is going to contribute. Sortland, from Woodbury, Minn., finished third in the 50 free in Class AA at the 2009 Minnesota State Championships and is the state short course champion in the 50 free at the club level.
"With Britta we are going to emphasize the 50 and 100 free, that is where we feel her strength is," Sorenson stated.
The final Minnesota swimmer signed by the Cyclones is Breanna Loeschke. The backstroke swimmer from Irondale High School is her school's record holder in the 100 back and swam with current Cyclone freshman Katie Vollhaber at the club level for Great Wolf Swim Club.
"Breanna is a great backstroker," Sorenson said. "She has the perfect backstroke body. We see her becoming a great contributor in the 200 back."
An area the Cyclones have recruited heavily over the years has been the Omaha area and this year is no different with the addition of Kristy Kunkel. A three-time state champion for Marian High School, Kunkel is another recruit that has been brought in to help sure up the freestyle events and can contribute in the IM events.
"She is a good 200 and 500 freestyler and has a lot of potential in the 400 IM," Sorenson noted. "She also could be a very good 1000 or 1650 freestyler. We really like the way that she swims her stroke and a lot of potential to improve a lot."
The final swimmer in the Iowa State recruiting class is Alicia Stearns. Stearns is a breaststroke swimmer from Mason City, Iowa who won the 100 breast at the Iowa High School Championships this past month.
"We have been doing well in Mason City," Sorenson said. "Another state champion and high school All-American. She is a great competitor and she will really compliment our breaststrokers that we have returning."
Diving coach Jeff Warrick stayed in-state this season, picking up two divers for the ranks in 2011-12. For the third time in four seasons, a freshman diver from Ames High will be on the boards as Megan Cohea joins the Cyclones. Cohea took the title at her conference and regional meet before finishing second at the state championships. Cohea's efforts helped the Ames Little Cyclones clinch its first swimming and diving team title in school history.
"She doesn't have a lot of experience as she has only been diving for two years," Warrick said. "She is a great athlete and I think she is going to bring lot to the team."
Finishing directly behind Cohea at the state championships was the second diver signed by the Cyclones, Dani Davis. Davis, competing for Johnston while attending Urbandale, was the CIML Central Conference champion this past season.
"She is similar to Megan in that she had only been diving for a couple of years," Warrick noted. "Dani is a really hard worker, she is not afraid of anything, she has a go-for-it attitude and I think it will be fun."
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