LARAMIE, WY, November 27. UNIVERSITY of Wyoming swimming and diving coach Tom Johnson announced this week the signing of six student athletes to national letters of intent. Three men and three women will join the program next fall.
Curtis Smith of Columbus, Ohio, Sam Shook of Loveland, Colo. and Alex Larkin from Bend, Ore. will join the Cowboys while Cassidy Jo Bray of Omaha, Neb., Aimee Stinson of Colorado Springs, Colo. and Krista Jones of Loveland, Colo. will join the Cowgirls.
Curtis Smith, Columbus, Ohio (Upper Arlington High School)
Curtis specializes in middle distance freestyle events. His junior year, he scored in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyles at the Ohio State Championships, as well as state champion 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. He also swims for the Upper Arlington Swim Club and is also an accomplished water polo player.
“Curtis has improved a great deal over the past year, and I feel he has much room to continue to grow and mature as an athlete,” said Johnson. “He will add great depth to our middle distance freestyle events and will add a strong punch to all of our freestyle relays.” Eastern Michigan, Ohio State and the University of Louisville also recruited Curtis.
Sam Shook, Loveland, Colo. (Thompson Valley High School)
Sam Shook, a native of Loveland, Colo., comes to Wyoming by way of Thompson Valley High School and the Loveland Swim Club. He excels in the IM and is also very good in the backstroke and breaststroke. He was a finalist in the Colorado High School meet in consecutive years in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke, earning All-American status in both events.
“I have known Sam since he was a little kid,” said Johnson. “He is immensely talented and very athletic. He has had outstanding coaching from Jim Nickell at Loveland Swim Club and Tom Hewson at Thompson Valley, both of whom I deeply respect. Sam is a fierce competitor and will be great contributor to our team.” He was also recruited by the Minnesota, Penn State, Florida State and West Virginia.
Alex Larkin, Bend, Ore. (Summit High School)
Alex will bring a punch to the Cowboy breaststroke and sprint freestyle. Alex placed second in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 50 freestyle at the 2004 Oregon High School State Championships. Along with Holmberg, he was a part of 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay state championships. He was a member of the 2004 Oregon State High School Championship team.
“Alex is a big, strong young man much like a current breaststroker in the Wyoming swimming program,” said Johnson. “He should develop into a very good breaststroker and sprint freestyler.” Arizona State and Washington also recruited him.
Cassidy Jo (CJ) Bray, Omaha, Neb. (Millard West High School)
Cassidy comes to Wyoming from Omaha, Neb. where she was a standout swimmer and soccer player and was recruited to do both sports at the college level. At the 2004 Nebraska High School Meet she placed fourth in the 50 freestyle and fifth in the 100 backstroke and led off her school’s 200 medley relay. She also swims for Millard Aquatic Club in Omaha.
“What CJ lacks in experience she makes up in talent and desire,” said Johnson. “She had a tough time deciding whether to be a Division I soccer player or Division I swimmer. Soccer has taught her toughness, teamwork and competitiveness that will serve her well as a swimmer. She has tremendous talent in swimming and we look forward to her joining us next fall at Wyoming.” She was also recruited by Kansas, Nebraska, Nebraska-Omaha, Truman State and Creighton University.
Krista Jones, Loveland, Colo., (Loveland High School)
Jones is the sister of current Cowboy swimmer Dan Jones and comes to UW from Loveland, Colo. She is a talented middle distance freestyler and backstroker. She, unlike her brother and new Cowboy signee Sam Shook, swims at Loveland High School. Krista is a two time conference champion and a state finalist in the 200 freestyle and the 500 Freestyle. She also swims with the Loveland Swim Club. She is a member of Loveland High School’s National Honor Society.
“Krista is a talented freestyler with a lot of range,” said Johnson. “She can swim every freestyle event from the 200 free to the 1650 free. She can also help us in the backstroke and the IM’s. Krista with continued improvement can be a Mountain West Conference finalist and a National Qualifier.” She was also recruited by Toledo, North Dakota, and Seattle University.
Aimee Stinson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Wadefield High School)
Stinson is a tremendously talented middle distance and distance freestyler. She swims at Wadefield High School and for former UW head swimming coach Mike Doane at the Colorado Springs Swim Team. Mike coached current Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson during Mike’s stint as UW head coach from 1984-1988. Stinson is a US Open qualifier in the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles. She was a finalist at last Spring’s USA Swimming’s Sectional meet in four events. Her current times in the 100, 200, 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyles would rank her in Wyoming Swimming’s Top-10 all-time times. At Wadefield High School, she is a State finalist in the 200 and 500 freestyles and is on her school’s National Honor Society.
“We are so pleased to have Aimee at the University of Wyoming next year,” said Johnson. “She will challenge many of our school’s records and will help lead our distance and middle distance swimmers. She is a great athlete with a lot of talent and should make a significant contribution to our team.” She was also recruited by Arizona State, UNLV, New Mexico and Texas Christian University.