FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas swimming and diving head coach Sean Schimmel has announced the signing of three athletes to National Letters of Intent to close out the fall signing season, it was announced Thursday. Next year’s newcomers include swimmers Leia Bates and Mary Margaret Soderberg, who both hail from San Antonio, Texas. Arkansas also welcomes swimmer Sarah Easterling from Cumberland, Maine.
“We’re excited about these three women coming to swim for us,” Schimmel said. “We are always looking for young women who have great talent and swim fast but also women who have great character to go along with it. They are going to be great student-athletes and representatives of our program here at the University of Arkansas.”
Leia Bates — (San Antonio, Texas) — Madison High School — Club/Coach: Alamo Area Aquatics/Lou Walker
Coach Schimmel on Leia Bates:
“Leia is primarily a freestyler and she has skills anywhere from the 100 freestyle up to the mile. She is certainly going to have her work cut out for her and will impact us in many events. I think with Leia she has only started scratching the surface and becoming more versatile in swimming in different events and not just the longer events. She’s also a pretty good butterfly swimmer as well.”
Sarah Easterling — (Cumberland, Maine) — Greely High School — Club/Coach: Westbrook Seals/John Smith
Coach Schimmel on Sarah Easterling:
“Sarah is coming to us and she is a really strong backstroker, which is her primary stroke. She is also a really strong individual medley swimmer, freestyler and breaststroker. She is very versatile. I think she has some upsides there that we can develop. We really look at her not only impacting us in the backstroke but in multiple events.”
Mary Margaret Soderberg — (San Antonio, Texas) — Reagan High School — Club/Coach: Alamo Area Aquatics Center/Lou Walker
Coach Schimmel on Mary Margaret Soderberg:
“We are certainly excited about Mary Margaret Soderberg. She is a breaststroker coming to us out of Texas. It’s going to be really nice for us because she is going to fit right in to our strong contingency of breaststrokers, as our top two are Nikki Daniels and Julia Banach. She is going to fit right in with them and get to work with them for the next two years while they are still here.”
The three signees will join their fellow Razorbacks in the pool next season. The Razorbacks will look to grow the 2013-14 class during the spring signing season.
The swimming and diving team returns to the pool on Jan. 12, as they face Penn State and Missouri State in a double-dual meet at 10 a.m. in the Arkansas Natatorium in their final home meet of the season.