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Swimming and diving signs nine for 2007

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Swimming and diving signs nine for 2007

FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas swimming and diving head coach Jeff Poppell announced the signing of nine athletes to national letters of intent. Jessie Clark, Megan Haskins, Katie Kastes, Kylie Kastes, Ashley Largo, Jamie Marks, Erin Neumann, Shara Sutphen, and Erica Totten join the Lady Razorbacks in the 2007-08 season. Clark, a breaststroke and individual medley specialist from St. Louis, Mo., comes to Arkansas from Kirkwood High School and the Clayton Shaw Park club team where she is coached by former Arkansas swimmer Dave McCrary. Clark is a two-time conference champion both her sophomore and junior years and broke the 200 medley relay record at Kirkwood. She swam in the USA Swimming junior nationals, the NCSA junior nationals, AAU junior nationals, and the Central Zone Championships where she took top honors in the 200 breast and second in the 100 breast in the U15/16 division. “Jessie is a delightful young lady that brings a great deal of commitment and enthusiasm to this program,” said Poppell. “We are very excited for Jessie to come in next fall and continue her success in the pool and in the classroom.” Orlando, Fla., native Haskins broke six records at Boone High School and is an all-American in the 200 IM. A four-year letterwinner and two-time MVP for the Braves, Haskins placed third at state in the 200 IM her senior year. “Megan is truly a diamond in the rough and a swimmer that I feel has her best years ahead of her,” said Poppell. “She has a great deal of untapped potential, is an extremely hard worker, smart and very coachable.” Katie Kastes joins the Lady Razorbacks from Palm Harbor, Fla., where she is the 3A Florida High School State Champion in the 100 butterfly. She is a five-time all-American and was a finalist at the U.S. Olympic Junior National Championships in 2006. “We are absolutely thrilled to have Katie joining us next year,” Poppell said. “She is one of the fastest butterfly swimmers to come out of Florida and also possesses the versatility to help us in the individual medley and sprint freestyle events.” Katie’s twin sister Kylie is an all-American in the 200 and the 400 free relay and was honored as the most dedicated swimmer at Countryside High School three years in a row. She is also a state champion in the 200 free relay. “Kylie has a great deal of enthusiasm and commitment to both the sport and the University of Arkansas,” said Poppell. “She is extremely energetic and loves to compete. With only a limited background in competitive swimming, Kylie has an enormous amount of untapped potential and can be a valuable contributor to us in the years to come.” Sarasota, Fla., product Largo is a U.S. National qualifier and ranked first in the state in the 800 free, the 1,500 free and the 400 IM. In addition, Largo is ranked sixth in the country in the 1,500 free and 15th in the 800 free. She swims for the Sarasota YMCA Sharks and is also a four-time all area selection and team captain from Booker High School. “Ashley is one of the top distance freestyle swimmers to come out of the state of Florida and the United States this year,” Poppell said. “We are very fortunate to have her joins us next year as she will be able to contribute immediately and provide a great one-two punch with junior transfer Stephanie Carr in the distance events.” Marks of Beesley’s Point, N.J., is a 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in both the 200 breast and the 400 IM. She competed at the 2005 USA Senior Nationals, placing 18th in the 400 IM, and the 2006 Fina World Cup were she finished fifth in the 400 IM. Marks is also a member of the Bolles Sharks summer club team. “Jamie is going to be an instrumental part in our team’s success over the next four years,” said Poppell. “I truly feel that she has an opportunity to become one of the most decorated swimmers to have ever swum at the University of Arkansas.” Neumann joins the Lady’Backs from Chesterfield Mo., where she is a three-time state finalist in the butterfly and breastroke events. At Parkway Central High School she is also a three-time all-state honoree. Neumann is a member of the Parkway Swim Club. “Erin will have an opportunity to help us immediately in the breastroke events,” Poppell said. “She brings with her a great deal of experience, drive, commitment and a strong work ethic. She is an outstanding student and will be very successful in the classroom as well.” Sutphen from St. Louis, Mo., placed eighth in the 100 breast and 12th in the 200 IM at state while her team, the Longhorns of Parkway West, finished fifth overall. She qualified for state in the 100 breast, 200 IM and the 200 free every high school season. She also swims for the Parkway Swim Club under coach Nick Rudich. “Shara is a very hard worker and will fit in very well with the team dynamic that we are building at Arkansas,” said Poppell. “I truly look forward to the opportunity of working with Shara over the next four years and I feel that she will excel in this tremendous environment both in the pool and in the classroom.” A Miami, Fla., native, Totten comes from The Bolles School where she helped the Bulldogs to state championships her junior and senior years. As a junior, Totten was the Florida State High School 1A State Champion in the 200 IM and a member of the 200 medley relay team that took top honors. Totten competed in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, the 2006 Fina World Cup, the 2006 Asian Games, and was a member of the Philippines National Swim Team. “Erica is a terrific young lady with and incredible work ethic, a strong commitment to her academics as well as her swimming and a high level of enthusiasm that is contagious to all associated with her,” Poppell said. “She brings a wealth of international experience and a great deal of versatility to this program. She will be able to help us in multiple events in addition to relays.” The Lady’Backs return to the pool Dec. 1-3 in Columbus, Ohio, for the Ohio State Invitational. For more information about Arkansas swimming and diving, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Swimming & Diving (W)