ROMEOVILLE, Illinois, January 19. LEWIS University head swimming coach Stephen Thompson has received three commitments for the men's team and one for the women's team. Chris Bonavolanto (Orland Park, Ill.) and Patrick Walters (Indianapolis, Ind.) join the class of 2012 from Lincoln College, and Derrick Carlson (Norridge, Ill./St. Patrick's) and Emily Heine (Madison, Miss./ Madison Central) will be part of the 2014 class.
"It was important for us to get an early impression of the future of our program," Thompson said. "We are graduating a very special and accomplished group of seniors this year, but I am encouraged by signing these four swimmers in the fall we can build a strong recruiting class around them to keep us moving in a positive direction."
Swimming for former Lewis swimmers, Jake Sexton and Stephen O'Leary, at Lincoln College, Chris Bonavolanto and Patrick Walters will bring a wealth of collegiate national championship experience to a men's team that has finished five consecutive seasons in the top twenty five of the NCAA Division II. At the 2009 NJCAA Championships in Buffalo, NY, Lincoln College finished 2nd to perennial champions, Indian River. Bonavolanto and Walters were members of the runner-up 800 Free Relay, and they both scored individually in the 200 and 500 freestyle events, earning NJCAA All-America honors. Additionally, Walters finished as the runner-up and Bonavolanto was third in the 1650 freestyle at the championships.
Thompson on Chris Bonavolanto and Patrick Walters:
"Chris and Pat have received excellent coaching and gained a lot of experience swimming at Lincoln. They understand swimming at a national level, and I am looking forward to them bringing a championship attitude to our practices. As incoming juniors, these two have the energy and potential to be leaders on our team immediately."
Derrick Carlson swims for Celeste Laub-Norman at the Chicago Latin Swim Club and Marty and Mary Gibson at St. Patrick's High School. Derrick is an Illinois High School Association State Meet Championship qualifier and St. Patrick's school record holder in the 500 freestyle. He earned All-Conference honors and was the Sectional Champion as a junior.
Thompson on Derrick Carlson:
"Derrick was a last minute addition to our early signing class. We started recruiting him late in the fall, but he made a quick and positive impression on our team and staff. Eventually, Derrick has the potential to develop into a NCAA Division II Championship level swimmer. Immediately, he should contribute to our continued success in the middle and distance freestyle events at the GLIAC conference meet."
On the women's side, Emily Heine is a member of the Sunkist Swim Team and the Madison Central High School swim team. With Sunkist, Emily qualified for the USA Swimming/Speedo Champion Series Southern Sectional Championships. At the Mississippi State Swimming Championships, she earned a runner-up finish in the 50 freestyle, and her medley and free relay teams broke four state records. Since 2003, Emily has been selected to swim in the Southern Senior Zone Championships as a member of the Mississippi All-Star team.
Thompson on Emily Heine:
"We needed Emily to give us a more complete sprinting group on the women's team. At Sunkist, she has won championships and she was a member of record breaking relay teams. Our women have been pushing the Lewis school records for four years, and I expect Emily to help us break those records and move us closer to qualifying a women's relay team for the NCAA DII Championships."
The Flyers host their final home meet of the year on Saturday against Lincoln at 1 p.m.
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