Five swimmers and one diver have inked National Letters of Intent to join Arkansas women’s swimming and diving in the fall of 2015, head swimming and diving coach Sean Schimmel announced Wednesday.
Sydney Angell (Bettondorf, Iowa), Annah Carney (Springfield, Ill.), Molly Harvie (Orting, Wash.), Madison Strathman (Kearney, Mo.), Madison Umberger (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and Kiera Michailoff-Russell (Toronto, Canada) have all signed NLIs and will debut as Razorbacks in fall 2015.
“We always look for character first in regards to the type of student-athlete we’re recruiting,” said Schimmel. “We look for women with great character who have the ability to come in and impact us at a competitive level. That’s always first and foremost in our minds. All of these women we think have great heads on their shoulders and will be impactful in terms of their competitiveness.”
After two previous recruiting classes at the helm of the Arkansas program, Schimmel feels his third might be the best he’s had while in Fayetteville.
“Coming into this third year, I think every year we’ve progressed,” said Schimmel. “I think every year we’ve gotten a little bit better in our competitiveness in regards to who we’re competing against and an understanding of what we have to fill in our team. I think it is starting to shape up as one of the best we’ve ever had. We’re always looking to raise the bar.”
Sydney Angell » Bettendorf, Iowa (Pleasant Valley HS/Piranhas Swim Club)
The reigning Iowa High School State champ in the 200 IM, Sydney Angell brings a wide range of experience to the Arkansas program as she excels both in the breaststroke and individual medleys. Angell attended Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa and swam for the Piranhas Swim Club. Her top times include a time of 1:02.51 in the 100 breaststroke, 2:14.94 in the 200 breaststroke and a time of 2:03.25 in the 200 IM. Angell plans on majoring in Kinesiology.
What Schimmel says: “We have a strong breaststroke group and our two impactful leaders Nikki Daniels and Julia Banach are graduating, so we were looking to fill and firm up that stroke for the next couple of years. Sydney Angell helps us take care of that in regards to how competitive she’s been already with not only the breaststroke but with the IM.”
What Angell says: “I love the team, campus, and the coaches! I’m so excited to be a Razorback!”
Annah Carney » Springfield, Ill. (Springfield HS/Springfield YMCA)
The No. 4 recruit in Illinois, Annah Carney joins the Razorbacks as an accomplished freestyler and backstroker. At the 2014 Illinois State Championships, Carney swam to a fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:53.46. Carney swam for Springfield YMCA and Springfield High School. Some of Carney’s top times include a 100 freestyle time of 51.48, a 200 freestyle time of 1:49.41, 57.01 in the 100 backstroke and 57.96 in the 100 butterfly.
What Schimmel says: “Annah is a really good 100 and 200 freestyler and we are looking for her to come in and be an immediate impactful player in our group of freestylers as well helping on the relays.”
Molly Harvie » Orting, Wash. (Orting HS/Pacific Northwest Diving)
Accomplished diver Molly Harvie joins the Razorbacks with a resume that boasts multiple national appearances. Some of her best dives came at the Dive AAU Nationals where she tallied a score of 366.90 on the three-meter springboards (nine dives) and a tower score of 260.15. At the 2014 USA Regionals, Harvie achieved a score of 382.35 on the one-meter boards. Harvie, a native of Orting, Washington, dove under Jim Southerland at Pacific Northwest Diving. She plans to major in accounting.
What diving coach Jeff DiNicola says: “Molly will be a valuable addition to the team. She has really good potential on tower, and I feel she will be very solid on springboards day in and day out. She has a very powerful jump and I expect to develop the potential I see in her diving to be a top all-around performer for the swimming and diving team here at Arkansas.”
Madison Strathman » Kearney, Mo. (Kearney HS/Tsunami Swim Club)
A two-time member of USA Swimming’s Scholastic All-America Team, Madison Strathman holds the Kearney High School records in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 free, 100 back, 100 breast and 200 IM. During her sophomore campaign, Strathman took 10th in the 200 IM at the Missouri State Championship, then followed up her performance the next year taking fifth in the 200 IM and second in the 100 breaststroke, earning her All-State in both events. As a member of the Tsunami Swim Club, Strathman made a national appearance at the Winter Juniors in the 100 and 200 breast. Strathman’s top times include a time of 1:05.69 in the 100 breast and 2:23.44 in the 200 breast. She plans on majoring in pre-dental.
What Schimmel says: “She really had a break out year last summer in both breaststrokes and we really like her strokes and her competitiveness. That’s what got us excited about Madison and her character got us even more excited for her to become a Razorback. I am looking forward to Madison raising the bar in our breaststroke group with fellow signee Sydney.”
What Strathman says: “I loved the girls on the team, the coaches were awesome and I can’t wait to be a Razorback next year. Woo Pig Sooie!”
Madison Umberger » Kalamazoo, Mich. (Portage Central HS/Lakeview Aquatic Club)
A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Madison Umberger presents a wealth of backstroke experience for the Razorback swim squad. At the 2014 Michigan State Championships, Umberger took third in the 200 IM with a time of 2:06.03 and touched the wall third in the 100 backstroke (55.98). As a member of the Lakeview Aquatic Club and Portage Central High School swim teams, Umberger has clocked top times in the 100 and 200 backstroke with times of 55.82 and 2:00.25, respectively, as well as a 200 IM time of 2:03.79. Umberbger has also clocked long course times in the 100 Breast (1:13.93), 200 Breast (2:39.58) and 200 IM (2:27.59).
What Schimmel says: “We have some good backstrokers on our squad right now, but they’re going to be graduating pretty soon with Liz Braun graduating and Anna Mayfield being a senior next year. She’s going to come in here and be a part of that great group and impact us in a great way. We need her to really fill some roles and we want Madison to come in here and bring what she’s done to the table here and build on that.”
What Umberger says: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing team. Everything about Arkansas, including the academics, athletics, and campus felt like a very natural decision. Go hogs!”
Kiera Michailoff-Russell » Toronto, Canada (North York Aquatic Club)
An experienced sprint freestyler out of Toronto, Canada, Keira Michailoff-Russell will look to add to Arkansas’ already deep freestyle corps. In long course, she has logged career bests in the 50 (26.94), 100 (58.04) and 200 freestyle (2:06.42).
What Schimmel says: “We’re excited about Keira because she’s really developing her sprint and she’s got a bit more front end speed for the 50 and the 100 freestyle. I am looking for her to come in and be an impact player and help bring our relays to the next level.”
College Swimming News courtesy of Arkansas Swimming and Diving.