Wyoming Swimming and Diving Signs 11 Student-Athletes

LARAMIE, Wyoming, December 9. UNIVERSITY of Wyoming Swimming and Diving Head Coach Tom Johnson is proud to announce the signing of 11 tremendously talented student-athletes to the 2010 class. The Cowgirls signed are Claudia Carlson (San Antonio, Texas), Nikki Finnesand (Aberdeen, S.D.), Morgan Hartigan (Cheyenne, Wyo.), Kristen Bates (Fayetteville, GA), Laura "Lizzie" Justice (The Woodlands, Texas), Kacey Robinson (Missoula, Mont.), Leah Roesler (Hastings, Minn.), and Carolyn Wallace (Okemos, Mich.). The Cowboys added local Laramie diver Derek Campbell, Jayce Calhoon (Sweet Home, Ore.), and Ross Johnson (Cypress, Texas).

Following is a description of the Cowgirl signees:

Claudia Carlson, Butterfly, IM, Middle and Distance Freestyle, San Antonio, Texas

Claudia Carlson is the daughter of Birgit and David Carlson, and comes to UW from San Antonio, Texas. She will be joining the Cowgirls next fall, and will add tremendous talent in the butterfly and IM events. Carlson is a three-time NISCA All-American, and a Texas 5-A All-State performer her freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Carlson also qualified for junior nationals in the summer of 2007 and 2008 and has qualified for the U.S. Open as well. In the classroom, Carlson is a member of her high school's National Honor Society and plans to study pre-veterinary medicine at UW.

"Claudia was a high sought after young lady because she is a tremendously talented athlete. She is outstanding in the butterfly and extremely versatile as she is strong in the IM and freestyles. Claudia will help us in many areas in dual meet line-ups, relays, and particularly at the conference championships. She has the potential to be both an NCAA qualifier and Olympic trial qualifier," said Johnson.

Nikki Finnesand, Butterfly, Freestyle, Aberdeen, S.D., (Aberdeen Central High School)

Nikki Finnesand of Aberdeen, S.D., who is the daughter of Deb and Nick Finnesand, will also be joining the Cowgirls next fall. Finnesand swims with the Aberdeen AquaHolics, a club team in her town coached by Peter Andew. Finnesand is another signee who has been a long time participant in Coach Johnson's Wyoming Swim Camp last summer, as well as attending camps in Minnesota. She was a 2009 Central Zone finalist in the 50, 100 and the 200 freestyles as well as the 100 butterfly. Her times in those events are just off Junior National qualifying times. Finnesand is interested in Kinesiology and hopes to coach swimming one day.

"I have known Nikki through camp over the last couple years. She is a great worker and has really developed into a talented swimmer the last couple of years. She has a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and has great desire to be a better athlete. She will be a tremendous asset to the program," Johnson said about Finnesand.

Morgan Hartigan, Sprint Freestyle, Butterfly, Breaststroke, Cheyenne, Wyo. (Cheyenne East High School)

Morgan Hartigan decided to follow in her sister Kaella's footsteps and become a Cowgirl. Hartigan won state titles in the 100 breaststroke her junior and senior season, and then the 100 butterfly as a senior. She also helped lead her team to a top-three finish at the state championships as a senior. Hartigan was a 2008 NISCA All-American in the 100 breaststroke and owns the Wyoming state record in the 100 breaststroke. She is a part of five school records at Cheyenne East H.S., including the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 100 breaststroke. Along with being a state champion swimmer, Hartigan is also the Wyoming 4A pole vaulting state champion.

"We are excited about adding Morgan to our team. She is a very versatile and talented athlete," Johnson said. "She will be able to contribute right from the start. Morgan's talented background in athletics will ultimately lead to success as she focuses on her swimming career."

Kristen Bates, Sprint Freestyle, Breaststroke, Fayetteville, GA (Starr's Mill High School)

Kristen Bates will make the journey from Fayetteville, GA, in the fall of 2010 to be a Cowgirl. Bates will be a much needed addition for Wyoming in the sprinting group. In her high school career, she set five school records and is a three-time Georgia State H.S. Champion. Her accolades do not end there, as she is a seven-time NISCA All-American. Bates is a US Open and Junior National caliber swimmer that is looking to continue her ascent into the top tier of swimming.

"Kristen's addition to this team will not only help our sprint freestyle, but will also help our breaststroke events. Kristen is a strong athletic swimmer that will contribute individually and on relays. Along with her strong swimming background, we look forward to her excelling in the classroom," stated Johnson.

Lizzie Justice, IM, Butterfly, and Distance Freestyle, The Woodlands, Texas (The Woodlands High School)

Lizzie Justice comes to the University of Wyoming from The Woodlands, Texas where she has earned numerous Texas All-State awards. At the Texas High School Championships, she swam an automatic All-American time in the 500 freestyle. Competing for The Woodlands Swim Team, she has qualified for both USA Swimming's Senior Nationals and Junior National's Championships. Justice will add to the Cowgirl needed depth in many areas, specifically in the 500 and 1000 freestyles. In addition to distance swimming, she will be a strong contributor in the butterfly and IM events, specializing in both the 200 butterfly and 400 IM. Justice plans to study early childhood education while at UW.

"We are very pleased to have Lizzy in our program. She is a talented and gifted swimmer. She will provide depth to an already very strong IM and butterfly program and will add additional depth and competitiveness to our relays," Johnson said about Justice.

Kasey Robinson, Distance Freestyle, Missoula, Mont. (Sentinel High School)

Kasey Robinson, a native of Missoula, Montana, swims with the Missoula YMCA Swim Team and for Sentinel High School. She will join the Cowgirls next fall after having been the Montana High School State Champion in both the 200 and 500 freestyles her junior year. While competing for the Missoula YMCA Swim Team, she placed in the top-two in numerous events at the Western Zone Senior Championships in Hawaii this past summer. Robinson will contribute to the Cowgirls in the distance events, adding depth in the 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle. She plans to study social work while at UW.

"Kasey comes from a tremendous swimming family and has had outstanding coaching by former Olympian David Berkoff. Kasey is a gifted and talented distance freestyler who seems to continue to improve at every meet she competes in. More importantly, she is a very hard working young woman, which is imperative to success in distance swimming. Kasey will make an immediate impact on our distance group. She also has very nice range and is competitive in the 200 freestyle through the 1650 freestyle," Johnson said.
Leah Roesler, Middle Distance Freestyle and Butterfly, Hastings, Minn. (Hastings High School)

Leah Roesler will travel from Hastings, Minnesota, to join the Cowgirls. She is the daughter of Laura and Mark Roesler. Not only was Roesler a Minnesota High School State finalist the 100 butterfly, but she also was a NCSA Junior National qualifier in that event. Roesler continues to develop in the 100 butterfly, and is also very talented in the freestyle events. She is also a tremendous student, and is a member of the National Honor Society. She hopes to study graphic design at Wyoming.

"Leah is a terrific young lady who we learned about late in the recruiting process. She is a super kid who works hard, is a team leader, and has a tremendous work ethic. She will provide great depth to our butterfly events and middle distance freestyle events and is also a terrific relay swimmer who has very nice range from the 50's to the 200's," Johnson said about Roesler.

Carolyn Wallace, Diving, Okemos, Mich. (Okemas High School)

Carolyn Wallace joins Wyoming Diving from Okemos, Mich., where she competed for the Spartan Diving Club and Okemos High School. Wallace is the daughter of Sue and Alan Wallace and has an older sister, Lauren. Carolyn is a three-time varsity letter winner in diving and has been on the All-Conference team and All-State teams those three years as well. She earned MHSAA All-State designation twice and was also a two-time NISCA All-American. Wallace was the CAAC League Champion in 2007 for the high school season and went on to qualify for the Junior East National Championship on three-meter that same year. She was named a team captain as a senior in her high school and holds the school diving record on one-meter. Wallace is an outstanding student and is interested in majoring in Kinesiology and Health Promotion.

"We are excited to have Carolyn joining us next fall as a Cowgirl. She has a great attitude and is excited to come back out west, where she spent a few years of her childhood. Carolyn has a lot of great diving fundamentals which are going to help her a great deal in the college setting. She will be able to contribute right away and has a great deal of potential," Johnson said.

Following is a description of the Cowboys signees:

Derek Campbell, Diving, Laramie, Wyo. (Laramie High School)

Derek Campbell a native of Laramie, Wyo., is the son of Casey and Dodi Campbell and wont need to travel far to become a Cowboy. Campbell is a solid diver and qualified for the 2009 AAU National Championships on both the one-meter and three-meter springboards. He placed third at the Wyoming High School State Championships in the spring of 2009, contributing to Laramie High School's team title. Academically, Derek is an outstanding student and is interested in studying architectural engineering. He has shown himself to be a committed student at Laramie High School, which will carry over into his college career.

"We are excited to have Derek, a guy with Wyoming in his blood joining our team. We are confident that he will be a valuable contributor to our team. His current skills will only improve with the volume of training he is going to receive at the college level," said Johnson.

Jayce Calhoon, Backstroke, IM, Sweet Home, Ore. (Sweet Home High School)

Jayce Calhoon, the son of James and Junia Calhoon, will join Wyoming Swimming next fall from Sweet Home, Ore. Jayce is a seven-time Oregon State Swimming Champion. He is also a NISCA High School All-American and a NSCA Junior National qualifier in the 100 backstroke. Along with the backstroke, he is also a strong swimmer in the IM. Jayce is a talented student who is a member of the National Honor Society and is a USA Swimming Academic -American. Jayce hopes to study pre-veterinary medicine at Wyoming and is an avid outdoorsman.

"I met Jayce this summer and saw that he has very nice stroke technique and is continuing to work on his dolphin kicking. His Mom, who is also his coach, has done a tremendous job developing Jayce. He has a super work ethic and has the potential to really develop into a great swimmer now that he will be in an environment where he will be challenged every day. Jayce will be a great addition to our backstroke events and will provide us additional depth in those events as well as the IM's," Johnson stated.

Ross Johnson, Middle Distance Freestyle, Butterfly, Cypress, Texas (Cypress Woods High School)

Ross Johnson, a native of Cypress, TX, has also committed to be a Cowboy swimmer next fall. Johnson is a very talented and a versatile athlete. Johnson has been a Texas 5A All-State performer in three events. He currently has US Open qualifying times in the 400 meter freestyle and is also a very talented in the butterfly and IM. In the classroom, Johnson is an outstanding student and will look to study civil engineering.

"Ross is a tremendous young man who has a great desire to improve and swim at a very high level. I had the opportunity to see Ross compete, and saw he has very good stroke technique and is a real racer. He will be a tremendous asset to our middle distance freestyle and butterfly group and will help us out tremendously on our 800 freestyle relay," coach Johnson said.

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