CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina, June 22. THE University of North Carolina swimming and diving program wrapped up its recruiting for the freshman class of 2010-11 this week with two women and six men being added to the 10 signees (four women and six men) who signed letters of intent with Carolina last November. Head coach Rich DeSelm has added the following swimmers and divers for the Class of 2014 — Meredith Hoover and Alison Hughes for the women and Colin Bridier, Tyler Beard, Kyle Ficker, Danny Hatfield, Andrew Ireland and Bryce Mendes for the men.
These recruits will add further depth to a team coming off conference runner-up finishes in 2009-10 and Top 20 NCAA finishes on both the men's and women's side. The Tar Heel men were 15th in 2010, the best finish since 1996, and the women posted their second straight 20th place finish
Meredith Hoover comes to UNC from Concord, N.C. where she graduated from The Cannon School. She has done her club swimming for SwiMACarolina under coach Chris Webb. A backstroker and butterflier, Hoover has top times of 57.56 in the 100-yard backstroke, 2:02.02 in the 200-yard backstroke, 56.78 in the 100-yard butterfly and 2:01.36 in the 200-yard butterfly. "We are counting on Meredith to continue the improvement she has seen lately and to contribute in both fly and back," says DeSelm. "Her family has strong ties to UNC and we are excited to have Meredith joining our team."
Alison Hughes is an outstanding female diver joining diving coach Kevin Lawrence's program in Chapel Hill. She is a native of The Woodlands, Texas and is a 2010 alumna of The Woodlands High School. Hughes dives with Conroe Diving Club where her coaches are Charlie Casuto and Bill Travis. She is a high school All-America and both a junior and senior national qualifier. "Allison is a wonderful, energetic young woman with a high level of character and integrity," says Lawrence. "She is a top-notch diver who will make an immediate impact on the boards for us as a freshman this coming year. She has a wealth of diving experience that will help her compete at a high level in the ACC and beyond. We are excited to have her dive for UNC."
Tyler Beard is an incoming freshman that also joins Lawrence's diving program at UNC. Beard is a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native and dives for coach Janet Gabriel at Pine Crest Diving. A high school All-America, Beard qualified for the U.S. Senior Nationals this past spring. "Tyler will add depth to an already talented UNC men's diving squad," Lawrence says. "He has experience diving on all levels — one-meter, three-meter and platform — which will help our program tremendously. He has outstanding values and is an excellent fit for the UNC swimming and diving family. We are excited to have Tyler join the diving program at Carolina."
Colin Bridier is a transfer student from Montpellier, France where he attends University at Sciences Po Paris. Bridier graduated from Jean Mermoz High School in Montpellier in 2008. He swims for coach Fred Vergnoux of LaGardere Paris Racing. "Colin will be an outstanding addition to our men's team," DeSelm comments. "He is capable of being among the best in our breaststroke group and we look forward to continuing his development." Bridier has career best times of 1:03 in the 100-meter breaststroke long course and 2:18 in the 200-meter breaststroke long course
Kyle Ficker is a freestyler from Fort Myers, Fla. where he competes for Swim Florida under the tutelage of Coach Mac Kennedy. Ficker attended Bishop Verot High School along with fall signee Stephanie Peacock of UNC's women's team. "Kyle joins teammate Stephanie Peacock at UNC and will add depth to our freestyle group. We see tremendous potential improvement in Kyle," says DeSelm. Ficker has top times of 21.6/47.5/1:43.6 in the 50- through 200-yard freestyles.
Danny Hatfield hails from Paradise Valley, Ariz. where he attended Brophy College Preparatory School. He swims for coach Dave Gibson at the Phoenix Swim Club. Hatfield has personal bests of 51.00 in the 100-yard backstroke, 1:48.36 in the 200-yard backstroke, 1:51.00 in the 200-yard individual medley and 3:57.15 in the 400-yard individual medley. "Danny was in touch with us throughout the recruiting process, finally visited in January and committed immediately," explains DeSelm. "As another addition to already strong backstroke and IM groups, we will be counting on Danny to develop and contribute this season."
Andrew Ireland comes from the West Coast as the second Californian in the men's recruiting class. A native of Coronado in the Golden State, he swims for North Coast Aquatics and coach Jeff Pease. "Andrew has tremendous potential to blossom in college. His commitment to high school water polo has limited his training time, yet he has swim well in the backstroke and freestyle," says DeSelm. "His father Ken, swam at UNC (Class of '81) and his mother, Pati, at Clemson." Ireland's top times are 51 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke and 1:39 in the 200-yard freestyle.
Bryce Mendes will join his older brother, Jesse, a rising junior, as a member of the Carolina men's swimming team. A Chapel Hill native and 2010 Chapel Hill High grad, Mendes competes for coach Ryan Woodruff at North Carolina Aquatic Club. "Bryce will train in our distance/IM group and should thrive in the environment at UNC," coach DeSelm says. Mendes has top times of 4:39.0 in the 500-yard freestyle, 9:27.5 in the 1000-yard freestyle, 15:56.00 in the 1650-yard freestyle and 4:07.40 in the 400-yard individual medley.
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