FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Arkansas swimming and diving program signed five swimmers and two divers during the early signing period for the 2017-18 season.
Shea Gregson (Cypress, Texas), Alyssa Lemon (Chesterfield, Mo.), Kenedy Thaman (Missouri City, Texas), Peyton Palsha (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Brooke Schultz (Fayetteville, Ark.), Michaela Degnan (Narragansett, RI) and Maha Amer (Egypt) will join the Razorbacks next season.
“I am happy with our recruiting class so far,” head coach Neil Harper said. “We signed two world-class and immediate NCAA level divers. In swimming, we addressed some areas we needed with some Olympic Trial, Senior and Junior National level swimmers. All of our signees are individuals who value the academic programs here at Arkansas and the team-oriented philosophy we are creating. All of these young ladies bring an excitement, dedication and enthusiasm that will help us continue to improve at the national level.”
Shea Gregson | Cypress, Texas (Tomball Memorial High School / Magnolia Aquatic Club)
The two-time finalist at the 2015 Texas 5A State Championships, Gregson posted a personal best in the 100 fly (56.90) to take second and finished fifth in the 50 free (24.08). Her personal bests include: 50 free (23.90), 100 free (52.01), 200 free (1:52.66), 100 fly (56.90) and 100 back (58.25).
Coach Harper on Gregson: “Shea will be valuable in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle as well as the 100 fly and back. We feel she will benefit from our team and coaching philosophy as her dedication and commitment will help our program continue to rise in the SEC and nationally.”
Shea on her commitment: “I am very excited to announce my commitment to the University of Arkansas. The girls are very close knit and feel like a family both in and out of the water, and I cannot say enough good things about the coaches. Not only is their swim team amazing, but their nursing program is exactly what I was looking for. I feel so lucky to be a part of such an incredible program. Wooo Pig Sooie!”
Alyssa Lemon | Chesterfield, Missouri (Marquette High School / Rockwood Swim Club)
A NCSA Spring Championship qualifier, Lemon went on to compete at the 2016 Futures Championships in Austin, Texas. Her top times include: 50 free (24.29), 100 free (52.44), 200 free (1:51.94), 500 free (5:02.84) and 1650 free (17:40.40).
Coach Harper on Lemon: “Alyssa has been improving rapidly. A driven and team oriented person, she felt right at home and we look forward to her continued improvement as she helps us move up the SEC and national rankings. She is a versatile freestyler who will compete in the 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and possibly 1650.”
Alyssa on her commitment: “I chose Arkansas because of the amazing team and coaches. It is a place where I feel at home. I am so excited to be a part of such an incredible program. I know that great things are in my future as a Razorback. Wooo Pig Sooie!”
Kenedy Thaman | Missouri City, Texas (Ridge Point High School / Houston Swim Club)
Thaman competed at the 2016 NSCA Spring Championships and at the NCSA Summer Championships where we swam the back, fly and free. Her top times include: 50 free (23.55), 100 free (51.07) and the 200 free (1:52.09).
Coach Harper on Thaman: “Kenedy is rapidly improving on the national scene. She fit in well with our team and staff and we look for her to make an immediate impact in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle’s.”
Kenedy on her commitment: “I am so excited to join the Razorback family. I found a school and a city that I fell in love with immediately. This team is full of amazing ladies who made me feel welcome. I have no doubt that I will reach my goals with the support of the team, coaches and university. Go Razorbacks! Wooo Pig!”
Peyton Palsha | St. Petersburg, Florida (Saint Petersburg High School / Saint Petersburg Aquatics)
After finishing third in the 2015 FHSAA Class 2A State Championships in the 200 free (1:50.37) and 500 free (4:51.91), Palsha competed at U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400 and 800 freestyles. She qualified for Senior Nationals in 200 and 1500 free and Junior Nationals in 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 butterfly. Her top times include: 100 breast (1:04.09), 200 breast (2:15.64), 200 IM (2:05.02), 200 free (1:49.76), 500 free (4:49.15), 1000 free (9:53.54) and 1650 free (16:30.80).
Coach Harper on Palsha: “Peyton has had an amazing year. Her versatility is what stands out. She will have some great teammates to train with here and will contribute at the SEC and NCAA meets in the future.
Peyton on her commitment: “I am proud to announce my commitment to University of Arkansas. I want SEC, a rural setting, a great coach and wonderful teammates and that’s exactly what I found. I’ve waited for what seems like forever to find a place where I truly belong and I can’t explain how happy committing to University of Arkansas has made me. Now all I have left to say is…. Let’s Go Razorbacks! Wooo Pig Sooie!”
Brooke Schultz | Fayetteville, Arkansas (Fayetteville High School)
Schultz was the 2014 Arkansas State High School Champion and record holder in the one-meter springboard and a gold medalist in the 1m springboard at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Penza, Russia. In 2015, she was the gold medalist in the 1m at the AT&T National Diving Championships and the Indiana State High School Champion and record holder. She was also the 2015 Florida State High School Champion in the 1m. Schultz was the 2016 gold medalist in the 3m synchro at the US Senior National Championships along with a finalist in the 3m springboard at the US Olympic Trials. She is one of 27 members of the AT&T High Performance Squad.
Coach Harper on Schultz: “Brooke is without doubt one of the best diving recruits in the country. She has had success at the World, National and US Olympic Trial levels and will compete at the highest levels at the SEC and NCAA Championships for years to come.”
Brooke on her commitment: “I am so happy to sign with the University of Arkansas. I grew up in Fayetteville so getting the opportunity to go to school at the University of Arkansas and compete for the Razorbacks is exciting.”
Michaela Degnan | Narragansett, Rhode Island (Narragansett High School / Shawmut Aquatic Club)
She is a backstroke specialist and a Junior National qualifier in the 100 and 200 back.
Coach Harper on Degnan: “We knew Michaela would fit in well with our team and program philosophy and feel she will contribute strongly at the next level to help our program continue to rise.”
Michaela on her commitment: “I chose the University of Arkansas because the love I had for the swim team and coaching staff! The positive and exciting energy Fayetteville had was so appealing and I’m so excited to begin the next chapter of my life there. GO RAZORBACKS!!!!!”
Maha Amer | Egypt
Amer has competed in international events in Italy, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Puerto Rico and Germany’s Grand Prix along with the World Cup in Brazil where she qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Participated in the Eindhoven diving cup where she won a silver and a bronze medal. In the Senet diving cup, she won two silver medals and three bronze. Has won five national titles over the past five years.
Coach Harper on Amer: “Maha is one of the top diving recruits in the world. She competed for Egypt in the Rio 2016 Olympics and we are excited that she chose our program to come continue her development as an NCAA competitor, as well as World and Olympic level diver. She was impressed with our facilities, the academic programs at Arkansas and of course, Coach Dale Schultz and our staff.”
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News courtesy of Arkansas Athletics.