EVANSTON, Illinois, November 21. NORTHWESTERN head coach Jimmy Tierney today announced the signing of four future Wildcats from the Class of 2011 to National Letters of Intent. Katie Eschenburg (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead), Liza Engstrom (Reno, Nev./Robert McQueen), Alex Kraus (Birmingham, Ala./Vestavia Hills) and Sylvia Zaich (Irvine, Calif./St. Margaret's Episcopal) comprise the class that will matriculate to Northwestern in the fall of 2007.
"We are thrilled with the young women who will become a part of our Wildcat swimming and diving family next year," Tierney said. "They all are very classy individuals who will represent the University and our program well in the coming years. We do not graduate any swimmers this year so this group will just complement an already talented team."
Eschenburg won four-straight state team titles in Wisconsin, earning five individual medals in the state meet. She also holds a national record in the 200 medley relay.
"Katie locked in on NU early in the fall and committed right after returning from our campus, much to our delight," Tierney said. "She is a very talented sprint flyer and backstroker who will play a key role on relays as well as in her individual events. She is used to big time performances coming from powerhouse Arrowhead High School in Homestead, Wis., and will bring that experience to the 'Cats."
Engstrom is a high school All-American in the 100 back, having won the Nevada state title in both that event and the 50 free. Her team finished second in the state during her freshman and sophomore seasons.
"Liza is one of the country's leading high school backstrokers," Tierney said. "Her family visited campus this summer and really felt at home here. She will be a great fit and will make an immediate impact in the 100 and 200 backstroke. I truly believe Liza will develop into one of the top backstrokers in the Big Ten."
Kraus is a U.S. Open qualifier in both back and fly events, and is a USA Scholastic All-American. She has earned five-career medals at the Alabama state meet.
"Alex comes from a very strong Birmingham Swim League team under veteran coach Ben Davis," Tierney said. "She has great sprinting ability in the butterfly and should only get better in the coming years. She'll fit right in with our girls and will help give us a great butterfly group for the next few years."
Zaich is a California CIF champion in the 100 breast, and holds five different school records. A National Merit Commended Scholar, she also is an NCSA and USA Swimming national qualifier in both breast and individual medley events.
"We are very excited to add Sylvia to our already strong breaststroke group," Tierney said. "Her best swimming still is ahead of her, and she has the potential to contribute right away and score at Big Ten's."