LSU Announces 14 Signees

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, May 23. LSU released its 14-member 2007-08 recruiting class, which include two transfers and three international swimmers, on Tuesday.

The class features 13 swimmers and one diver with eight being men's signees and six being women's signees.

"We are very excited about the individual athletes coming in to contribute to the team," said head coach Adam Schmitt. "On the men's side we addressed our needs in sprint and distance events, while filling our needs in strokes and distance on the women's side."

Headlining the list of men's recruits is local standout James Meyers. Meyers prepped at St. Michael's High School in Baton Rouge and held the fastest 50 freestyle time in the 2007 Capital City Swim League, while ranking second in the 100 free.

Meyers comes to LSU after being a valuable member of Tiger Aquatics. He holds top times of 20.80 in the 50 free and 46.10 in 100 free, respectively.

Meyers will be joined in sprint events by Eric Zeller, a product of Hobbs High School in New Mexico. Zeller has been a member of the Dallas Mustangs Swim Team, which was awarded a silver medal by USA Swimming in 2006. He finished second in the 50 free final at the 2007 state championships with a time of 20.91.

Mexico native Luis Gonzalez should have an immediate impact in distance events. Gonzalez brings an impressive list of top times, recording clockings of 4:29.65 in the 500 free and 15:16.67 in the 1,650 free. His time in the mile would have registered as an NCAA provisional cut in 2006-07.

Hannes Heyl will be the third swimmer on the LSU roster from Germany, joining All-American Julius Gloeckner and NCAA qualifier Christoph Lubenau. Heyl is a versatile athlete with strengths in sprint freestyle, butterfly and backstroke.

Five-time All-American Clint Hallum comes to LSU after a successful career at Ralph Poteet High School in Mesquite, Texas. Hallum was named the Class 4A Texas State Swimmer of the Year and a gold medalist in middle distance events.

Hallum, who is teammates with Zeller on the Dallas Mustangs, holds career-fast times of 1:41.18 in the 200 free and 4:29.91 in the 500 free, respectively.

Chris Nat and Lamar Weeks round out the list of signees from the state of Texas. Nat was a member of a state championship team for The Woodlands High School in 2004. As a senior, he was a Class 5A finalist in the 100 and 200 free.

Weeks earned four letters at Plano High School and served as a captain his senior season. Weeks, who is a five-time All-American, is expected to contribute in fly events for the Tigers.

Florida transfer Stephanie Cota headlines the Lady Tigers' talented class. A two-time NCAA qualifier, Cota will have two years remaining in eligibility after sitting out the upcoming 2007-08 season.

Cota earned berths in two finals at the 2007 NCAA Championships, and she qualified and placed in the top six of the 200 fly championship heat at the 2007 SEC Championships.

She boasts career top times of 4:45.80 in the 500 free, 16:21.57 in the 1,650 free, 2:00.67 in the 200 fly and 4:23.72 in the 400 IM.

Cota competed at the 2006 ConocoPhillips U.S. National Championships where she placed fifth in the 400-meter free. She received an invitation to the World University Games as a member of the U.S. National Team with a prelim swim of 4:13.51.

Cota, a native of Granite Bay, Calif., attended San Jauquin High School in Sacramento. She broke school records in the 500 free, 1000 free, 1650 free and 800-meter free during her prep career.

Vanessa Duenas is another signee with collegiate experience as she transfers to LSU from Syracuse. As a sophomore, she reached finals in the 200 fly and 400 individual medley at the 2006 Big East Championships.

Duenas registered in the top 50 in the nation in the 400 IM, and she set a Syracuse school record in the event at the Nike Cup. In 2004-05, she scored points in three events at the Big East Championships as a freshman.

Duenas, a native of Miami, Fla., participated in the World Championships in 2003 and 2004 as a member of the Colombian National Team.

Jane Trepp, the younger sister of current LSU swimmer Nele Trepp, was a member of the Estonian National Team. Trepp solidifies the Lady Tigers' efforts in breaststroke events.

Kannon Betzen is a three-time New Mexico high school state champion in the 100 breaststroke and a two-time state title holder in the 200 IM. Betzen earned five letters along with fellow signee Eric Zeller at Hobbs High School.

Betzen is a two-time All-American in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM. She holds a career-best time of 1:04.51 in the 100 breaststroke and a mark of 2:22.70 in the 200 breaststroke.

Brooke Barnett enrolls at LSU after being a standout at Sarasota Christian High School in Florida. She was named all-area four times and was a member of two YMCA National Championship squads in 2005 and 2006. Barnett brings in a career-best time of 4:57 in the 500 free.

Ali Sanford is a butterfly swimmer from Plano, Texas. She has recorded times of 57.30 (100 fly) and 2:06.30 (200 fly) as a contributor for the City of Plano Swim Club.

Michael Neubacher is the Tigers' lone diving prospect for the upcoming season. Neubacher is a three-time high school All-American and a two-time Texas Class 3A runner-up.

Neubacher, a native of Windermere, Fla., is a Junior Olympic finalist and a Senior National qualifier. He recently placed first and second in the 1-meter and 3-meter, respectively, at the Junior Olympic Spring Regional Championships.

Special thanks to LSU for contributing this report.

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