FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas head swimming and diving coach Sean Schimmel announced his 2014-15 signing class Monday. The eight new student-athletes include seven swimmers and one diver who have each signed a National Letter of Intent with the Razorbacks.
"I am really excited about each and every one of our new additions to the Arkansas swimming and diving team," Coach Schimmel said. "As Razorbacks, we have a ‘Team First’ mentality, and each and every one of these new team members has the opportunity to impact the future of Arkansas swimming and diving in a significant way. We are always looking for more, but we have certainly strengthened our squad in multiple events with this early signing class. Our flyers, breaststrokers, backstrokers, sprinters, middle distance, individual medley and diving core groups will become better because of these incoming freshmen."
Madison Edwards is a breaststroke specialist from Alma, Ark. She attended Alma High School and swam for the Fort Smith Tideriders under coach Ian Bullock. Her best times include 1:05.30 in the 100-yard breaststroke, 2:26.00 in the 200 breaststroke and 2:09.18 in the 200 individual medley. Edwards won 2013 state titles in the 100 breaststroke, 200 individual medley, 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter breaststroke.
Jessie Garrison attended Mills High School and swam for the Arkansas Dolphin-Laser Swim Team under coach Kyle Jay Cormier. The Little Rock, Ark., native recorded personal-best times including 23.80 in the 50-yard freestyle, 51.66 in the 100 freestyle, 1:51.73 in the 200 freestyle, 56.49 in the 100 butterfly and 2:05.03 in the 200 butterfly. Garrison won Arkansas Swimmer of the Year eight times and attended Junior National Swimming Championship four times. She placed first in the nation in the 13-year-old age group in the 800-meter freestyle and second in the nation in the 200-meter butterfly.
Nicole Gillis attended Brescia House School in Gauteng, South Africa. She was a member of The Rippers club team, coached by Dominique Philippopoulos. At the 2013 FINA World Championships, Gillis placed 16th in synchronized diving, 25th on the 3-meter springboard and 35th on the 1-meter springboard. Gillis competed in group A of the 2013 South Africa National and Youth Championships, winning the 1-meter springboard and placing second on the 3-meter springboard and platform. Gillis also won the platform at the Women’s Open and took third place on the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards.
Caitlin Sheridan attended Chelmsford High School in her hometown, Chelmsford, Mass. She was a member of the Patriot Swim Club coached by Jeffrey Johnson. Sheridan recorded best times of 51.66 in the 100-yard freestyle, 1:50.94 in the 200 freestyle, 56.02 in the 100 butterfly, 2:00.30 in the 200 butterfly and 2:02.85 in the 200 individual medley.
Among Sheridan’s achievements are All-American performances in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly. She won both events at last year’s Division 1 state meet, recording new school-record times of 2:02.97 and 56:02, respectively. She also anchored the team’s winning performance in the 200 freestyle relay in last year’s state meet and helped set a state record of 1:38.19 at the 2011 state meet.
Megan Strickland attended Churchill High School and swam for the Alamo Area Aquatic Association under coaches Lou and Ellie Walker. Strickland is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and has personal-best times of 23.35 in the 50-yard freestyle, 51.10 in the 100 freestyle, 1:51.51 in the 200 freestyle and 58.56 in the 100 backstroke. Strickland was the 2011-12 Texas 5A state runner-up in the 50 freestyle with her 23.35 finish.
Chelsea Tatlow attended Rock Bridge High School and swam for the Columbia Swim Club under coach Phil Garverick. The native of Columbia, Mo., recorded personal-best times of 23.83 in the 50-yard freestyle, 50.72 in the 100 freestyle, 1:48.56 in the 200 freestyle, 4:53.25 in the 500 freestyle, 55.31 in the 100 backstroke, 1:56.13 in the 200 backstroke, 54.91 in the 100 butterfly, 1:59.60 in the 200 butterfly, 2:00.73 in the 200 individual medley and 4:17.95 in the 400 individual medley.
Olivia Weekley attended Pace High School and swam for the Pensacola Aquatic Club under coach Phillip Kraus. The native of Pensacola, Fla., had her best swims in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 56.45 and in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.90. During the 2013 Class 3A Championship meet, Weekley placed fourth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 50 freestyle.
Taylor Weiss attended Etowah High School and swam for the Stingrays under club coach Ian Goss. The native of Atlanta Ga., recorded personal-best times of 1:02.66 in the 100-meter butterfly, 2:18.53 in the 200-meter butterfly, 55.10 in the 100-yard butterfly, 2:01.96 in the 200-yard butterfly and 2:05.81 in the 200-yard individual medley. Weiss was named the 2013-13 Cherokee Tribune Swimmer of the Year, in part due to her performance at the Class AAAAAA state championships where she placed fourth in the 200-yard individual medley, third in the 100 butterfly and contributed to her team’s seventh-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay and ninth-place finish in the 200 medley relay. Weiss holds individual event school records in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
The 2013-14 Razorbacks will return to competition on Jan. 11 when the team faces Alabama and Kentucky in a double-dual meet in Tuscaloosa, Ala., at 11 a.m.
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