ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico women’s swimming and diving team added seven recruits for the 2018-19 campaign, bringing their total incoming class to nine student-athletes. The class includes seven swimmers and two divers.
Mari Aoki is a swimmer from Bozeman, Montana, and attends Hellgate High School. Aoki’s top times include a 4:22.74 in the 400-yard individual medley, a 2:04.56 in the 200-yard individual medley, a 2:00.98 in the 200-yard backstroke, a 1:52.43 in the 200-yard freestyle and a 2:20.43 in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Aoki holds the Montana High School Swimming state record in the 200-yard individual medley and is a Montana Swimming Senior Athlete Representative. The swimmer qualified for the 2017 Winter Junior Nationals in the 200-yard backstroke and the 400-yard individual medley. She was also a 2017 Futures Championships A-Finalist in the same two events.
Aoki has proved to be a top student, as well, making USA Swimming’s Scholastic All-America teams in 2016 and 2017, is a former Academic All-State honoree and is a National Honor Society member at her high school.
“I chose UNM because I feel that it is a place where I can succeed and reach my potential both athletically and academically,” said Aoki. “They have an excellent engineering program and an extremely supportive team. I am excited to learn and grow as a person here.”
Lauren Candland is from Catharpin, Virginia, and swims at Battlefield High School, making varsity all four years while serving as captain in her senior year. Candland placed top-three in conferences and top-20 in regionals all four years while earning an All-American consideration time in the 200-yard medley relay in the breaststroke leg. The swimmer’s best times include a 30.17 in the 50-yard breaststroke, a 1:05.56 in the 100-yard breaststroke, a 2:26.03 in the 200-yard breaststroke and a 2:15.35 in the 200-yard individual medley.
She swam at the club level on Nation’s Capital Swim Club for coaches Mark Faherty and Jeremy Linn during her junior and senior year. While at the club, Candland made Sectionals, Futures, International Swim Coach Association and National Club Swimming Association cuts.
Outside of the pool, Candland is involved in her community through volunteering while also working part-time at her favorite ice cream shop.
“I chose UNM because of the amazing academics that will help me prepare for a career in criminology and because of the great coaching staff and team that made me feel right at home,” said Candland. “I can’t wait to swim and learn as a Lobo next year. Go Lobos!”
Priscila De la Peña
Priscila de la Peña, originally from Torreón, Mexico, competed at the high school level at both Colegio Americano de Torreón and the Bolles School. The swimmer’s top events include the 200 LCM butterfly (top-time of 2:18.56), the 100 LCM butterfly (top-time of 1:03.43) and the 400 LCM freestyle (top-time 4:31.22).
De la Peña placed first in the 400 individual medley relays at the Junior Central American and Caribbean Games along with the Mexican Nationals in both the 100 and 200 butterflies. She also placed third overall in combined scores at the Winter Junior Nationals. De la Peña is a member of the National Honor Society at her high school and was named Student of the Year during her sophomore year.
“I chose UNM mainly because of its friendly atmosphere and beautiful campus,” said de la Peña. “Everyone welcomed me with open arms, and they were all so caring and nice.”
Jocelyn Gallais attends Martin Collegiate High School and is from Lumsden, Saskatchewan, Canada. Gallais competes in the one-meter, three-meter and tower dives, qualifying for the Canadian Junior Nationals from 2012 through 2018 while also qualifying for the Canadian Senior Nationals in the one-meter in 2017.
In addition to her diving experience, Gallais competed provincially and nationally in hockey and softball.
“I am excited to be attending the University of New Mexico,” said Gallais. “I was initially drawn to the academic programs offered and I cannot wait to start training with Julie and the rest of the diving team.”
Jordan Hartley is a swimmer from Wenatchee, Washington. Her best career times include a 5:10.00 in the 500-yard freestyle, a 1:55.44 in the 200-yard freestyle, a 2:08.26 in the 200-yard butterfly and a 2:25.99 in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Hartley holds three records at Wenatchee High School, including the 200-yard freestyle while being a part of the school records for the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays. She has qualified for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association State Championships four times while making the A-Finals six times at the event. Hartley is a 4.0 student, her high school’s valedictorian, a National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Academic All-American and a state qualifier in track and field.
“As soon as I stepped on campus, the Lobo swim and dive team felt like family,” said Hartley. “The amazing coaching staff will allow me to reach my dreams and aspirations, both in the pool and the classroom as a part of the exercise science and honors programs.”
Antonia Haupt comes to New Mexico from Berlin, Germany, where she went to high school at Schul-und Leistungssportzentrum Berlin while also competing at the University of Potsdam. Her best times include a 4:45.14 in the 400 SCM individual medley, a 2:12.01 in the 200 SCM butterfly, a 1:00.75 in the 100 SCM butterfly, a 25.98 in the 50 SCM freestyle and a 27.79 in the SCM butterfly.
Haupt took third place at the 2016 German Championships in the 200 SCM butterfly and the German Junior Champion in the same event. She has also earned multiple other medals at the German Junior Championships over the years.
“I chose UNM because it was the first school with whom I came in contact with at all and I liked it from the beginning,” said Haupt. “I feel well cared. The coach and the girls from the team I stay in contact with are really nice and I can imagine this great team becoming a second family. They help and support me with everything.”
Hedda Øritsland joins the Lobos from Bærums Verk, Norway where she has attended NTG and the Norwegian College for Top Athletes. Øritsland’s top times include a 54.79 in the 100 SCM freestyle, a 26.51 in the 50 SCM butterfly, a 25.45 in the 50 SCM freestyle, a 59.96 in the 100 SCM butterfly and a 1:02.33 in the 100 SCM individual medley.
Øritsland is a three time Nordic champion in the 100 SCM freestyle (2017), the 50 SCM butterfly (2017) and the 100 SCM butterfly (2016). She is the five-time senior national record holder in relay and a two-time junior national record holder. The swimmer is also a member of the Norwegian National Swimming Team, making junior appearances from December 2013 through July of 2014 and senior appearances from December 2016 to July 2017.
The Norwegian has sports experience outside of swimming, as well, earning medals at the Norwegian Canoe Sprint Championships and also competing in the Nordic Canoe Sprint Championships in 2015.
“I chose UNM because of their excellent academic program and the swim team with great teammates and coaches,” said Øritsland. “I believe they can guide me to achieve my goals and dream both in the classroom and in the pool.”
UNM also signed two incoming freshman during the early signing period in December of 2017 including swimmer Raine Gavino and diver Daphne Scheck.
Gavino, originally from the Philippines, broke eight Junior National records in her home country, almost exclusively in breaststroke. Her most recent record was in the 16-18 age group in the 50-meter breaststroke. Gavino also swam in the FINA Junior World Championships in the summer of 2017. Her top 100-yard breaststroke time is 1:05.58, while her top 200-yard breaststroke time is 2:21.16.
“I chose to become a Lobo because of their prestigious business program and the positive environment of the swim team, which I believe will allow me to grow both as a swimmer and as a person,” Gavino said about her commitment to UNM.
Scheck is from Spring, Texas, and currently attends Oak Ridge High School. Scheck competes for the Conroe Diving Club and her primary dive is the one-meter dive.
“She is a caring individual who loves to help people when she can,” said head diving coach Julie Weddle. “She did a lot of community service after the major flooding hit Houston. She is looking forward to becoming a Lobo as she already feels part of the family. She is excited to begin her journey and to be a successful student athlete.”
Be sure to follow UNM Women’s Swimming and Diving on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date throughout the offseason.
The University of New Mexico contributed this report.