MILWAUKEE, Wis, May 4. AFTER having a successful 2003-04 recruiting class, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's swimming and diving program is looking to repeat the trend by announcing the signing of five student-athletes to the National Letter of Intent.
The 2004-05 spring class of newcomers is made up of five Wisconsin swimmers, consisting of Kaite Caucutt, Briana Fergusson, Heidi Goetsch, Michal Hawker and Emma McKeith.
"This is one of the best recruiting classes we have had," Panther head coach Dave Clark said. "We replaced our losses and made our strengths even stronger. As this class matures they will have a real impact on our League."
Kaite Caucutt, a distance and butterfly swimmer from Eau Claire Memorial High School, joins the Panthers after having been a state finalist in the 100-yard butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle. Caucutt was first-team all conference in the Big Rivers Conference in 2002 and 2003. She was also a sectional champion in 2003, capturing wins in the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly. With her top time of 5:13.09 in the 500-yard freestyle, Caucutt would have placed herself eighth among Horizon League swimmers in this year's championships. The Eau Claire native currently holds the school record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:13.09, was a member of the National Honor Society her junior and senior years and was named a high school academic all-american in 2004.
"Kaite has shown solid improvement over the last few years," Clark said. "In college, she will get a lot of chances to swim the long stroke events she excels in. I'm looking forward to helping her develop into one of the best in the Horizon League."
Briana Fergusson, a butterfly swimmer from Madison Memorial High School, joins UWM with a list of strong accomplishments. Fergusson is a two-time National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association All-American in the 200-medley relay, a three-time Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state finalist in the 100-yard butterfly and has been a part of a swimming team that has claimed two championships. Madison Memorial placed third in Division I at this year's state swimming meet with Fergusson placing 13th in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.54. She also helped the school's 200-yard medley relay team place third overall.
"Briana has been a real team player from one of the best teams in the state," Clark said. "She's a tough competitor that swims at her best in pressure relay situations. She's an extremely hard worker and will be fun to coach."
Heidi Goetsch, a freestyle swimmer form Plymouth High School comes to Milwaukee with aspirations of making as great of an impact as her sister Kelly. Goetsch's sister is on UWM's record board for holding the program's best times in the 200-yard freestyle and the 800-yard freestyle relay. Heidi has also shown the ability to be an impact swimmer after having notched a time of 54.89 in the 100-yard freestyle at the 2003 WIAA state swimming meet. Her time would have placed her within the top-16 swimmers in the Horizon League.
"Heidi has matured rapidly as an athlete," Clark said. "She has become a team leader both in and out of the water. With the same continued improvement, she will be able to help our relays and make a solid name for herself within our league."
Michal Hawker, who competes for Wausau East High School, will continue a swimming career that is already solidified with records. Hawker, a freestyle and individual medley swimmer, holds records for Wausau East High School in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200 and 400-yard freestyle relays. While swimming for the Wausau Tide, she set records in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle, along with records in the 200 and 400-yard individual medley. Hawker was a major contributor the 2003 conference championship that Wausau East High School garnered by having been named all-conference, all-state and all-american.
"Michal has improved at a tremendous rate thanks both to her work ethic and coaching," Clark said. "Her versatility and team-oriented attitude should allow for much success in college swimming. Michal should help our relay teams be very competitive in our league."
Emma McKeith will join UWM as a distance and butterfly swimmer out of Madison West High School. McKeith has placed in the top-16 at the WIAA state meet all four years of high school with her highest finish of fifth coming in the 100-yard butterfly in 2002. She was also named all-state in the 200-yard medley relay in 2003. The Madison native achieved a time of 5:12.24 in the 500-yard freestyle at the 2003 state meet, which would have placed her within the top-8 at this year's Horizon League championships. She also swam for the Hill Farm Swim Club, setting a team record in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 2002. McKeith was named an academic all-american her senior year and has been a part of Madison West's honor roll all four years of high school.
"Emma is a very talented student-athlete from a very competitive team," Clark said. "Her versatility and talents as both a distance swimmer and flyer should help our team in many ways. She is an excellent trainer and could become a leader early on. It will be great to have Emma competing for us next season."
The five spring signees bring the 2004-05 freshman class to a total of nine student-athletes after the program signed Jessica Kelly, Jenna Kotlarz, Kristin Skiba and Kayla Szymanski in the fall.