Columbia Brings 11 Newcomers into the Fold for 2019-20 Men’s Campaign

by SwimSwam 0

September 06th, 2019 College, Ivy League, News

NEW YORK — The Columbia men’s swimming and diving team has added an abundance of depth with its newcomers for the 2019-20 campaign, adding 11 fresh faces to the mix.

“We are looking forward to working with the class of 2023,” said head coach Jim Bolster. “There is much talent in this group and much of our success this year will depend on their contributions. We have two divers and nine swimmers coming in, and all should have an immediate impact.”

“We are thrilled to have so much talent joining the team this year,” echoed diving coach Scott Donie. “This is a turning point in the program and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Full details on the class of 2019 recruiting class can be found below, while the full roster is available here.

Ben Blizard
Ipswich, Mass. – Windermere Preparatory School (Fla.)
Diving

Donie on Blizard: “Ben is a rare athlete and person. He has the right mix of reliability, poise and patience.”

HIGH SCHOOL: Dove two seasons at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts before competing his final two seasons for coach Alex Dehner at Windermere Prep … 2018-19 team captain … 2018 USA Diving Nationals qualifier … Graduated summa cum laude … Headmaster’s list in junior and senior years … Member of National Honors Society and French Honors Society.

PERSONAL: Parents are Jennifer and Jeffrey Blizard … Has two brothers, Sam and Jack … Has climbed 24 mountain peaks over 4,000-feet high … Undecided on a major … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Michael Chang
Farmingdale, N.Y. – Saint Anthony’s
Breaststroke/IM

Bolster on Chang: “A local product from Long Island Express Swim Club enters Columbia with times that make him a major threat to be a top eight finalist in the breaststroke events. He is also a solid individual medleyist and will be called upon to swim this event at the dual and championship levels.”

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year swimming letter winner at Saint Anthony’s High School … Helped the Friars to the state titles in 2016, 2018 and 2019 … CHSAA league record holder in the 100 breast … Three-time CHSAA champion in the 100 breast … Two-time NSCA finalist in the 200 breast … 2018 CHSAA Vin Harkins MVP Award winner … 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 All-Long Island … 2019 CHSAA Jack Kennedy Career Award winner … Member of National Honor Society … Recieved St. Bonaventure Award for attaining grade average over 95 percent.

PERSONAL: Parents are Xiaomei Teng and Michael Chang Sr. … Has one younger brother, Matthew … Plans to study economics … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Keegan Drew
Harrison, N.Y. – Brunswick School (Conn.)
Freestyle

Bolster on Drew: “A local product from Greenwich, Connecticut and the Brunswick School. As a sprinter, Keegan will have an opportunity to step right in and produce points in the individual sprint races, but he is a good relay swimmer and will have many chances to contribute to our relays.”

HIGH SCHOOL: Dual sport athlete in swimming and water polo at the Brunswick School … Six-time NISCA Swimming All-American … Member of school-record squads in 200 medley relay, 200 free relay and 400 free relay … Four-time NEPSAC champion in water polo … All-American in water polo, leading the team in scoring in both 2016 and 2017 … 2019 Senior Classics Award recipient … High Honor Roll.

PERSONAL: Parents are Aly and Parker Drew … Has two siblings, Harper and Samantha … Comes from a family of Ivy League athletes, as his mother played softball at Brown, father played golf and basketball at Brown … Grandfather, John C. Parry, played football at Brown and was the school’s Athletics Director from 1979-90 before going on to be Athletics Director at Butler and Cleveland State … Plans to study economics and political science … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Casey Fellows
Highlands Ranch, Colo. – Valor Christian
Diving

Donie on Fellows: “Casey has incredible athletic ability and even more importantly the work ethic that we always look for.”

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year diving letter winner at Valor Christian High School … 2016 CHSAA state champion … 2016 CHSAA Diver of the Year … 2016 and 2017 All-American … 2019 team captain … 2016, 2017, 2019 All-Conference … 23-time USA Diving Nationals qualifier … Dove with Mile High Dive Club since 2008 … Member of National Honors Society … First Team Academic All-State as a junior and senior.

PERSONAL: Parents are Necole and Christopher Fellows … Has one older sister, Holley, and one younger brother, Gunnar … Uncle, Justin Armour, was an All-Pac 10 wide receiver at Stanford and played three seasons in the NFL … Plans to study film or business and hopes to one day become a movie director … Worked on two short films which were selected for the High School All-American Film Festival … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Erik Hansen
Quechee, Vt. – Hanover
Freestyle

Bolster on Hansen: “From the Green Mountain state of Vermont, Eric will have the opportunity to make an immediate contribution to our distance corps.”

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letter winner at Hanover High School for coach Fritz Bedford … Helped the Marauders to back-to-back Division II New Hampshire State Championships in 2018 and 2019 … Won a trio of Division II New Hampshire individual state titles, including 200 free (2018), 500 free (2018) and 100 back (2019) … Swam with Upper Valley Aquatic Club (UVAC) and was a 2017 and 2018 team captain.

PERSONAL: Parents are Sofia and Stig Hansen ’88SEAS … Has two siblings, Kristian and Isabella … Father and uncle, Bo Hansen ’89CC, both rowed crew for the Lions … Brother, Kristian, is on the men’s swimming team at Minnesota … Plans to study computer science … Enrolled in Fu Foundation of Engineering and Applied Science.

Andy Lee
New Hyde Park, N.Y. – Great Neck South
Sprint Freestyle/Backstroke/Butterfly

Bolster on Lee: “Perhaps the most versatile swimmer in the class, Andy is also a local product hailing from Queens. His skillset will make us stronger in the back, breast, fly and sprint free events. Our biggest problem will be determining where to use him every meet. He enters with times that will make him a serious contender for top-eight finishes at the Ivy Championships in any one of six events.”

HIGH SCHOOL: Four-time Great Neck South Athlete of the Year … Named team’s MVP all four years … 2019 team captain … Three-time NYSPHSAA State Champion in the 100 free (2018), 50 free (2019) and 100 fly (2019) … 2018 and 2019 NISCA All-American … 2017 Section VIII Nassau County MVP … Broke the Nassau County record in the 50 free (20.38) in 2018 and lowered the county mark in the 100 fly (48.13) as a senior … Swam with Twisters Swim Club … Received certificate of commendation from the Board of Education for significant contributions to the quality of life at Great Neck South.

PERSONAL: Parents are Hyosun and Hoil Lee … Has two older sisters, Anna and Susan … Sister, Anna, swam at Queens College … Plans to study economics … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Baptiste Leger
Paris, France – Lycée Marie Curie/Queens University of Charlotte
Backstroke/IM

Bolster on Leger: “A transfer student from Queens University in North Carolina, Baptiste is not an official member of the class of 2023, but he has talent representative of the class as a whole. A Frenchman by birth, Baptiste will provide front line strength in the backstroke and individual medley events. His backstroke times are such that he will threaten our school record along with placing top eight at Ivy Championships.”

PRIOR TO COLUMBIA: Two-time NCAA Division II All-American in the 200 backstroke at Queens University of Charlotte after placing fourth in 2018 and sixth in 2019 … Helped Queens to back-to-back NCAA team titles … All-Conference both years in the 100 and 200 back … 2019 All-Conference in the 200 IM … Dean’s List.

PERSONAL: Son of Jean Francois and Isabelle Leger … Has three younger sisters, Solène, Katell and Claire … Majoring in biology … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Eugene Li
Canton, Mich. – Plymouth-Canton Educational Park
Sprint Freestyle

Bolster on Li: “A sprinter from the Great Lake state of Michigan. Eugene will be a great addition to our sprint ranks. His times put him in the hunt to score big points for the Lions in dual meets and championship meets. We hope to develop his breaststroke so that he will have three scoring events at the championship level.”

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year varsity letter winner at Salem High School … 2018 team captain … 2017, 2018, 2019 All-State … Runner-up in both the 50 free and 100 free at the MHSAA Boys Div. I State Championships … 2018 and 2019 USA Swimming Scholastic All-American … Also competed in cross country … National Merit Scholar winner … Valedictorian … AP Scholar.

PERSONAL
Son of Qun Sun and Fengzhu Li … Has an older sister, Miyi … Intended major is economics … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Thomas Shepanzyk
Berkeley Heights, N.J. – Delbarton School
Freestyle

Bolster on Shepanzyk: “The tallest member of the class of 2023, Thomas is another tri-state talent. Arriving from across the river in New Jersey, Thomas will make a splash in our middle-distance free events. In particular, he will get exposure in the 200 free and will have the chance to make a big difference in our dual meet fortunes from the outset.”

HIGH SCHOOL
2018 and 2019 NJISAA champion in 100 freestyle … 2018 and 2019 county champion in 100 freestyle … Second Team All-State in 100 free … Junior Nationals qualifier … Two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American … Swam year-round for Berkeley Aquatic Club … French club president … Member of high honor roll all four years … Headmaster’s list in junior and senior years.

PERSONAL
Parents are Renata and John Shepanzyk … Born in New York City … Sister, Caroline, attends Cornell and brother, Peter, is on the swimming team at Boston College … Speaks Polish … Plans to study economics … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Ike Shirakata
Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif – Palos Verdes Peninsula
Breaststroke/IM

Bolster on Shirakata: “Coming all the way east from California, Ike will be a big-time contributor to our breast and IM units. He will team up with Chang and Lee to give the Lions a formidable breast contingent, but he will also be called upon to factor in the individual medley event especially at the dual meet level.”

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year varsity letter winner at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School … 2019 team captain … 2017, 2018, 2019 Daily Breeze Swimmer of the Year … 2019 Peninusla Athlete of the Year … Named team’s MVP in junior and senior seasons … Helped the Panthers to four-straight Bay League championships … Won 2018 CIF Southern Div. II Central Section title in 200 IM … Set school records in the 100 breast, 100 fly, 100 back and 200 IM … USA Swimming Scholastic All-America … NISCA All-America … Summer Junior Nationals qualifier and US Open qualifier … Swam with Beach Cities Swimming club …

PERSONAL
Parents are Ayako and Masanori “Den” Shirakata … Was born in Japan … Has three siblings, Kiki and Chiyo … Undecided on a major … Enrolled in Columbia College.

Ray Yang
Toronto, Ontario – Silverthorn Collegiate Institute
Butterfly

Bolster on Yang: “A visitor from the North… Toronto, Canada, that is. Ray enters Columbia with the fastest 200 butterfly time ever and will be relied upon heavily in the fly events for the Lions. Ray should be in the mix for an Ivy title or two before his time is up and we look forward to working with his talent.”

PRIOR TO COLUMBIA
Swam with Etobicoke Swim Club … Won 200m butterfly at the 2019 Canadian Swimming Championships in 2:01.05 … Holds Canadian National Age Group (11-12) record in 100m butterfly for … Also member of 13-14 NAG record in 4x50m relay … Ontario Scholar.

PERSONAL
Parents are Nana Ren and Hongbo Yang … Plans to study political science … Enrolled in Columbia College.

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