AUSTIN, Texas, November 15. UNIVERSITY of Texas head women's swimming and diving coach Kim Brackin announced Friday the signings of four prep standouts to National Letters of Intent.
Gretchen Jaques (Covina, Calif./Glendora), Kelsey LeNeave (Conroe, Texas/Conroe), Kaitlin Pawlowicz (Oakton, Va./Oakton) and Skylar Smith (Richmond, Texas/Foster) will join the Longhorns' women's swimming program in the fall of 2011.
"As a group I think this is one of the most fundamentally-sound and versatile classes we've signed," Brackin said. "It is a power-packed class. These four young women are grounded and balanced in their personal lives and will contribute significantly to our academic goals in the classroom. They have the potential to score points at the NCAA Championships as freshmen next season.
"I look forward to helping them continue to excel in the pool but also introducing them to what it means to be a Longhorn: a commitment to excellence in all areas and personal growth as a young woman. It also feels good to continue to attract the finest student-athletes of this great swimming state!"
Gretchen Jaques (Covina, Calif./Glendora HS/Club: BREA Aquatics/Club Coach: Jim Johnson)
Top Times: 100y breast – 1:00.03; 200y IM – 1:57.91; 200y breast – 2:13.30; 50y free – 22.80; 100y free – 49.81)
• Member of the 2010-11 U.S. National Youth Team (50m freestyle)
• Swimming World six-star recruit
• Broke Janet Evans' California state high school record (CIF Southern Section Div. II) in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.91)
• Ranked No. 1 among high school seniors in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.91) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.03)
• Placed sixth in the 100m breaststroke (1:11.15) and seventh in the 200m breaststroke (2:34.80) at the 2010 USA Swimming Junior National Championships
Brackin on Jaques: "Gretchen will impact our team in not only her breaststroke events but also the IM and 50 free – which means she will be a player on a number of relays. She is a tremendous athlete, and she races assertively. She has grown up in Brea Aquatics, and all her coaches there instilled sound fundamentals. Jim Johnson has developed those and he has instilled in her a drive to race anytime she is given the opportunity. That drive was particularly evident in her record-breaking swims at the CIF-Southern Section meet last May. As a person, Gretchen brightens up the room. I think people will be drawn to her. I expect her to seek excellence not only as an athlete but also as a student as she has excelled academically in high school. Her excitement to be a Longhorn was apparent from her unofficial visit as a junior and, once she gets on campus, that excitement will only grow."
Kelsey LeNeave (Conroe, Texas/Conroe H.S./Club: The Woodlands Swim Team/Club Coach: Scott MacFarland)
Top Times: 200y free – 1:48.27; 500y free – 4:43.48; 1,650y free – 16:10.79
• Swimming World five-star recruit
• 2010 Texas UIL Class 5A champion, 200 individual medley
• Placed sixth in the 400m freestyle (4:18.75) and seventh in the 800m freestyle (8:47.54) at the 2010 USA Swimming Junior National Championships
Brackin on LeNeave: "Even though Kelsey has posted some impressive times already, I still call her a hidden gem! I agree with both Scott McFarland and Tim Bauer that Kelsey's best swimming is well ahead of her and we feel confident it will blossom within the Texas program. Kelsey will impact our team in any of the freestyle events from the 200 to the mile. But, I am also excited about developing her 400 IM. Her technique has been established well, and, as she learns to race the event better and has more experience doing so, I think it may be one of her best events. Kelsey was absolutely one of our top priorities in Texas – not only because she is an outstanding student or because of her talent in the pool, but because of the good natured, funny and positive person that she is. I cannot wait to add her to the team dynamic. It is great to continue to attract kids from The Woodlands – the question is, how will we keep track of the two Kelseys (Kelsey LeNeave and UT sophomore Kelsey Amundsen)?"
Kaitlin Pawlowicz (Oakton, Va./Oakton HS/Club: Curl-Burke Swim Club; Club Coach: John Flanagan)
Top Times: 200m fly – 2:11.45; 200m IM – 2:20.97; 400m IM – 4:49.52
• Member of the 2010-11 U.S. National Youth Team (200m butterfly, 10K open water)
• Swimming World five-star recruit
• Placed second in the 200m butterfly (2:11.45) at the 2010 USA Swimming Junior National Championships
• Won the consolation final in the 400m individual medley (4:49.52) and won the "C" final in the 400m freestyle (4:18.18) at the 2010 USA Swimming Junior National Championships
Brackin on Pawlowicz: "Kaitlin had a break-out summer, particularly in her 200 butterfly, but I think there is plenty more to come. John Flanagan does a tremendous job of developing his swimmers to excel in their respective college programs, and he assures me that Kaitlin is eager to follow in their footsteps. I look to Kaitlin to follow in the footsteps of one of her future teammates, Leah Gingrich. The two are extremely similar in their events and background with Kaitlin excelling in the mile (1,650 freestyle) plus the 500 freestyle, 200 butterfly and 400 IM. She is extremely likable and was one of the team's favorites during the recruiting process. She will bring a strong work ethic in the classroom as well as in the athletic arena."
Skylar Smith (Richmond, Texas/Foster/Club: First Colony Swim Team: Club Coach: Allison Beebe)
Top Times: 100m breast – 1:11.20; 200m breast – 2:35.91; 200m IM – 2:18.63
• Swimming World five-star recruit
• Placed seventh in the 100m breaststroke (1:11.20), sixth in the 200m breaststroke consolation final (2:36.85) and won the 200m IM consolation final (2:18.63) at the 2010 USA Swimming Junior National Championships
• 2009 Texas UIL Class 4A champion (50 and 100 freestyle)
Brackin on Smith: "You know you're getting old and lucky when you recruit one of your former swimmer's athletes! I have so much confidence in the athletes Allison Beebe produces because I was fortunate enough to see her work ethic and commitment to excellence while I coached her at Davidson College. Skylar has absolutely flourished under the small amount of time she's been with Allison at First Colony. We have watched her for years competing throughout the state and have always recognized her talent. Skylar is strong and she is in immediate race mode right off the blocks. I think as she continues to learn more about race strategy and how to train effectively that she will see similar results in the short-course pool as she saw this summer. She is very similar to Gretchen Jaques in that she will impact the team in both breaststrokes, the 200 IM and the sprint freestyle events. Skylar used to compete in roping at the rodeo. So, under that sweet, quiet exterior, we know she is tough as nails! Besides being a stellar student, she is also an artist. I hope to have one of her amazing Longhorn drawings on my office wall one day!"
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