The Arizona State Sun Devils have had a busy off-season. After Demarae Christianson left to return to her alma mater of Auburn, the Sun Devils have brought in two new assistant coaches: Sonya Porter and Stefan Gherghel, both remnants from the overhauled staff at the University of Alabama.
Porter was at Alabama both in the glory days during the 90’s, when the men and women were both top-10 programs, and more recently where things have not been as easy. She also has coaching stops at Northwestern, West Virginia, and Colorado State.
Gherghel himself is a former elite swimmer, and was the back-to-back NCAA Champion in 2002 and 2003 while swimming for the Tide, and is a three-time Olympian.
In addition to new assistants, head coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker and her staff will have some outstanding new athletes in their stable as well. The first is Taylor Wohrley, who will transfer from Indiana with one season of eligibility left. The former Big Ten Freshman of the Year was a member of many NCAA-level relays for the Hoosiers, though she didn’t have a great NCAA Championship meet in 2012, finishing only 31st in the 100 back and 39th in the 200.
But still, the scoring potential for the former NCSA Junior National Champion is there if she hits her taper at the right meet. In 2011, at Big Tens, she hit her best times in both events with a 52.28 in the 100 and a 1:53.70 in the 200. Her bests in the 200 free of 1:47.05 should also provide a big boost to the Sun Devil relay.
Wohrley sat out trials this year, but as a former National Teamer is expected to contend for a spot at the World University Games at the U.S. Open. She was on the American team that went to China in 2011.
The other transfer is another Maryland Terrapin fallout in Melanie Busch. She was a key member of the Maryland sprint relays last season as a freshman, including the ACC silver medalist 200 free relay. Her flat start bests in the sprint freestyles are 23.38 and 51.25, with a strong 54.84 in the 100 back as well.
While those sprint times aren’t going to intimidate the rest of the Pac 12 powers, they’re still a huge upgrade in depth for Arizona State, who aside from their senior-to-be Shannon Landgrebe are hurting for sprinters. Landgrebe was the only swimmer on the Arizona State team to break 23 seconds in the 50 last year.
The updated list of Maryland transfers. Click the links to read more about each one:
Jenny Roberts – New Hampshire
Megan Lafferty – Arizona
Brad Dillon, David Speese – North Carolina
Carolyn Fittin – Penn State
Peter Fittin, John Hauser, Kyle Madley, Ryan Magee – Penn State
Amy Halligan – Western Kentucky