PENSACOLA, Florida, June 26. UNIVERSITY of West Florida women’s swimming and diving head coach Andrew Hancock has announced the signing class for the team’s second season in 2014-15. The Argonauts will be looking to take another step forward after a successful first season that included a runner-up finish at the New South Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Conference Championships and a 23rd place finish at the NCAA Division II Championships.
The signing class features 11 incoming student-athletes, including six from Florida, one from Alabama, one from Georgia and three from outside the United States. The international signees come from Australia, Brazil and Colombia.
“We are delighted with our signing class,” said Hancock. “We’re bringing in several student-athletes with performances that would have put them in the mix for national qualification last year, and we’re looking forward to helping them improve their times as Argos. This is a group that should also help our returners take another step forward. Practices should be very competitive next year.”
Amelia Strom (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla./Choctawhatchee HS) and Taylor Wilder (Panama City, Fla./Mosely HS) come to UWF from the Florida panhandle. Both were state qualifiers in their events, while Strom graduated third in her class and Wilder was a National Honor Society member.
Four student-athletes will come from central and south Florida. Zoie Balthazar (Tamarac, Fla./South Plantation HS) was a three-time state finalist for South Plantation High School. Angelina Gallastegui (Brandon, Fla./Strawberry Crest HS) was a junior national qualifier and ranked in the top three percent of her class at Strawberry Crest High School. Sophia Oliva (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas HS) was a four-time state qualifier. Gabrielle Spangenberg (Chuluota, Fla./Hagerty HS) was a state finalist in the 100 breaststroke and a National Honor Society member.
The out-of-state recruits included Maggie Layde (Kennesaw, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain HS) and Madeline Pitt (Trussville, Ala./Heritage Academy). Layde was a member of the Georgia state champion relay team in the 400 freestyle and a first team all-state selection. Pitt was a southern zone finalist in the distance events for Heritage Academy near Birmingham, Ala.
The three international signees are also an accomplished group. Danica Burnett (Perth, Australia, St. Brigid’s College) was a national qualifier in Australia and a four-time state champion. Nicole Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Anglo-Americano) is a multiple-time junior national medalist in Brazil as well as a regional champion. Darton State College transfer Sandra Guerrero (Bucaramanga, Colombia/Darton State) is a Colombian national qualifier and also qualified for the NJCAA nationals last year.
“Perhaps most pleasing about this class is that these young ladies embody the ideals of the student-athlete,” explained Hancock. “This group is perhaps better credentialed in the classroom than they are in the pool. I’d like to thank our coaching staff, who did a terrific job with recruiting this year.”
Zoie Balthazar (Tamarac, Fla./South Plantation HS)
Personal Bests – 50 Free: 24.38, 100 Free: 53.44, 200 Free: 1:56.07, 100 Back: 59.64, 200 IM: 2:11.57
Danica Burnett (Perth, Australia, St. Brigid’s College)
Personal Bests – 50 Free: 26.66 (SCM), 100 Free: 57.91 (SCM)
Nicole Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Anglo-Americano)
Personal Bests – 100 Back: 1:04.39 (LCM), 200 Back: 2:19.89 (LCM)
Maggie Layde (Kennesaw, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain HS)
Personal Bests – 100 Free: 52.93, 200 Free: 1:56.01, 100 Fly: 59.23, 200 Fly: 2:09.78
Angelina Gallastegui (Brandon, Fla./Strawberry Crest HS)
Personal Bests – 200 Free: 1:55.69, 500 Free: 5:00.61, 1000 Free: 10:13.68, 1650 Free: 17:09.50
Sandra Guerrero (Bucaramanga, Colombia/Darton State)
Personal Bests – 50 Free: 24.75, 100 Free: 55.09, 100 Fly: 59.95, 200 Fly: 2:14.66
Sophia Oliva (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
Personal Bests – 50 Free; 24.50, 100 Free: 53.36, 200 Free: 1:55.74
Madeline Pitt (Trussville, Ala./Heritage Academy)
Personal Bests – 500 Free: 5:07.06, 1000 Free: 10:26.49, 1650 Free: 17:19.90, 400 IM: 4:31.65
Gabrielle Spangenberg (Chuluota, Fla./Hagerty HS)
Personal Bests – 100 Free: 53.43, 100 Breast: 1:06.73, 200 Breast: 2:24.91
Amelia Strom (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla./Choctawhatchee HS)
Personal Bests – 100 Breast: 1:09.87, 200 Breast: 2:31.50, 200 IM: 2:14.48, 400 IM: 4:47.87
Taylor Wilder (Panama City, Fla./Mosely HS)
Personal Bests – 200 Free: 1:59.91, 100 Back: 1:01.25, 200 Back: 2:09.97
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