BLACKSBURG, Virginia, December 19. AFTER a 2012-13 season that saw the H2Okies grab their second consecutive top-20 men’s finish and top-25 women’s finish at the NCAA Championships, Head Coach Ned Skinner has announced the signing of nine student-athletes to the Virginia Tech swimming and diving teams for the 2014-15 season.
Christopher Wang, Peter Conzola, Andy Branin, Harrison Pierce, Brandon Tutty, Justin Edwards, Adriana Grabski, Logan Williams and Emma Villarreal have all signed National Letters of Intent and will join the H2Okies next season. The group hails from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas.
A native of New Milford, N.J., Wang currently swims for Scarlet Aquatic. With just five seasons of competitive swimming under his belt, Wang has already excelled in the pool, earning multiple junior national qualifying times.
Coach’s Take: “What really drew us to Chris was his feel for the water. He has four great strokes and we feel that our combined strength and nutrition program will help take Chris to new levels.”
Top Times: 100 Fly (50.71/56.97); 200 Fly (1:52.70/2:09.38); 200 IM (1:52.13/2:08.17); 400 IM (4:02.75/4:33.30); 500 Free (4:34.64); 1650 (16:07.30)
Conzola hails from Bethlehem, Pa. and swims for Parkland Aquatic Club. While swimming for Freedom High School, Conzola was the 2013 Pennsylvania State Champion in the 100 Backstroke. After posting multiple junior national and U.S. Open qualifying standards, Conzola will be aiming to improve on his times and defend his title during his senior campaign.
Coach’s Take: “We are very excited about Peter joining our program. He has the gift of great underwater and our program has shown great results in developing guys like Peter into All-Americans. Peter will be an immediate factor within our backstroke and fly groups.”
Top Times: 50 Back (23.38); 100 Back (48.80/58.52); 200 Back (1:47.45/2:07.11); 100 Fly (50.47); 400 IM (4:08.16)
Branin currently swims for Coach Geoff Brown at NOVA Swimming and hails from Midlothian, Va. A multiple junior national qualifier, Branin is also a 2013 Scholastic All-American. He was named to the 2013 All-Metro First Team in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke.
Coach’s Take: “Andy has grown up thinking about Hokie Nation. He is one of our loyal swim campers and has one of the most supportive families we have met. Andy has the size and determination to become a serious player in the ACC and the NCAA.”
Top Times: 50 Free (21.04); 100 Free (47.35); 50 Breast (25.98); 100 Breast (56.86); 200 Breast (2:07.31); 100 Fly (51.72)
A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Pierce currently swims for TIDE under the direction of Coach Josh Fulton. Pierce has experienced much success in a relatively short time as a multiple junior national and U.S. Open qualifier. Ranked as the top swimming in the state of Virginia by CollegeSwimming.com, Harrison was a key member in the setting of a new national record in the 200 Medley Relay for the 15-18 age group.
Coach’s Take: “Harrison is coming from one of the top developing programs in the country. He has experienced success within a team setting while swimming for TIDE and that will only carry over to our elite men’s team. We were with him since day one and we are so excited that he will be a Hokie. Harrison has the size and talent to make an immediate mark in his very first year at Virginia Tech.”
Top Times: 50 Free (20.50/23.98); 100 Free (45.34/52.53); 200 Free (1:42.14); 50 Back (23.65/27.86); 100 Back (49.40/58.90); 200 Back (1:50.27); 50 Fly (21.97/24.91); 100 Fly (48.85/55.82)
Tutty currently swims for Lakeland Hills YMCA in Newton, N.J. A multiple junior and YMCA National Qualifier, Tutty has been a finalist at the YMCA National Championships.
Coach’s Take: “Brandon is a little bit of a sleeper in this year’s class. Knowing his background and what he has been able to do thus far, the future is very bright for Brandon. He will make an immediate impact with our breaststroke group with the graduation of two ACC and NCAA scorers. Brandon is a big, strong guy who will challenge for relay positions.”
Top Times: 50 Free (21.48); 100 Free (47.94); 200 Free (1:45.04); 100 Breast (56:05/1:05.25); 200 Breast (2:04.24/2:23.93)
Edwards also swims under the direction of Coach Geoff Brown at NOVA Swimming and hails from Rockville, Va. A winter national qualifier in the breaststroke events, Justin has been the MVP of his Goochland High School team for the past three years.
Coach’s Take: “This past summer was a breakthrough year for Justin. We have had great success with swimmers coming out of Geoff Brown’s program and he gave us soaring recommendations about Justin. Geoff has produced some incredible swimmers and, after his visit, we knew Justin needed to be a Hokie. Just like [Brandon] Tutty, Justin will make an immediate impact within our breaststroke group and IM group.”
Top Times: 100 Breast (58.30/1:05.56); 200 Breast (2:06.55/2:19.57); 200 IM (1:55.59); 400 IM (4:00.51/4:38.15)
Grabski is from Mifflinburg, Pa. and swims for Coach Jerry Folley our of Sunbury Branch YMCA and Mifflinburg High School. Ranked as the No. 15 swimmer in the nation by CollegeSwimming.com, Grabski comes to Virginia Tech as a multiple junior national and U.S. Open qualifier. During her junior campaign, she erased a 15-year-old state record in the 100 Free that was previously held by former USA National Team member Stefanie Williams.
Coach’s Take: “Our coaching staff has had the pulse of Pennsylvania Swimming for the past couple years. We seem to always attract Pennsylvania’s finest and it shows in Adriana. She is a very gifted swimmer and an even better person. She has the determination, not just to be good, but to be great. Adriana will make an immediate impact on relays and individual events. The future is very bright for her in Hokie Nation.”
Top Times: 50 Free (23.03/26.38); 100 Free (49.57/57.60); 200 Free (1:46.93/2:07.26); 500 Free (4:58.45)
Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., currently swims for Old Dominion Aquatic Club and is a junior national qualifier. A strong flyer with great underwater, Williams has dropped her times over four seconds within the past two years.
Coach’s Take: “Logan reminded our staff a lot of former Hokie All-American Heather Savage on her visit. She is determined to be an elite student-athlete, which was apparent with her grades and her times in the pool. We feel that, once she is amongst other talented athletes, all of her events will take off. She is very competitive and that will pay off once she steps foot on campus.”
Top Times: 100 Fly (56.70/1:04.39); 200 Fly (2:02.89/2:18.75)
Villarreal hails from McGregor, Texas and competes unattached under Coach John Wingfield, the former director of the USA Diving National Training Center. She is a multiple-time junior and senior national finalist, as well as a medalist at the 2013 Junior Pan American Diving Championships.
Coach’s Take: “Emma brings a wealth of competitive experience to the Hokies, especially considering the amount of time she has been in the sport. She is currently increasing her difficulty on both springboard and platform, which will make her even more competitive at the conference and NCAA level. I look forward to working with Emma and I am confident that she will be a huge contributor to an already-solid Hokie diving squad.”
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