WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, November 16. AS a 10-year assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Purdue's women's swimming and diving team, Darlene Renie knows what she's talking about when she says this year's crop of Fall signees is the best early signing group in the program's history.
"These high school seniors did an excellent job of educating themselves about schools they were interested in early, so they were able to decide on a school this fall," said Renie. "Having now made the decision to come to Purdue, these student-athletes can focus on their senior-year goals."
Renie also applauds the recruiting work provided by the current Boilermakers.
"The coaching staff sends out kudos to our swimmers and divers, who shared their passion for this sport and their pride in Purdue," said Renie. "These talented future Boilermakers will be a force that will help Purdue achieve big goals."
This year's crop of recruits is comprised of seven swimmers plus Texas diver Kara Cook. Purdue diving coach Adam Soldati coached Cook while with The Woodlands Diving National Team.
"Kara is a dynamic individual and diver," said Soldati. "We are blessed to have her be a part of our family and I'm confident she has an amazing diving career ahead of her."
The swimming roster consists of Katie Beck, Lisa Butler, Jessica Davis, Morgan Lesback, Christine Mankus, Ariel Martin and Allison Smith. This group not only will provide more depth throughout the freestyle, but in the stroke races, as well. Smith won high school state titles in the 100 back and breast; Beck earned her state crown in the 100 back and Lesback was the Texas state runner-up in the 100 fly.
Butler, Davis and Martin are expected to help strengthen the sprint free roster, while Mankus is projected to help in anything from the 50 to the mile. In addition to her prowess in the sprint fly, Lesback is considered a top option in the mid-distance free.
Renie and head coach Cathy Wright-Eger logged many miles in bringing this group together as all seven student-athletes arrive from different states. Beck is from Ohio and Butler from Michigan, while Davis comes to Purdue all the way from Arizona.
Mankus represents the East Coast, hailing from Frederick, Md. Martin was plucked out of Jeffersonville, Ind. Lesback joins Jennifer Lavers as the second Katy, Texas native, and Smith is the first Wisconsinite to be on the team since Tracy Duchac's and Ashley's Koehn's departures a year ago.