Cornell Men Announces Incoming Freshman Class

The Cornell Men’s Swim and Dive Team has announced the addition of 11 freshman swimmers and divers to their roster as part of the incoming class of 2021.  With a range of events, the incoming class is a strong mix of immediate impact athletes with those who show strong potential to improve in the coming years.  Head Coach Wes Newman commented on the class, saying, “I am very excited to be welcoming this group of student-athletes to our program here at Cornell this fall.  They are a talented, diverse group, representing eight states and will add depth to our team while reducing weaknesses in our lineup.  I’d like to thank our staff, Jordan Lieberman (Men’s Assistant Coach) and Christian Torres (Diving Coach), as well as our current team members for all the work they put in to help recruit this class.  I know these swimmers and divers will help move Big Red Swimming and Diving in a positive direction.”

Van Cates (Back & IM)

Apollo Beach, FL – Tampa Preparatory School – Tampa Bay Community Aquatics

200 back – 1:47.21, 100 Back – 49.51, 200 IM – 1:49.87

Coach Newman on Cates: Van will help fill two weaknesses in our line-up next season, the 200 back and the 200 IM. He has shown steady progress over the past few years, and is now in a position to help us score points at Ivies in both those events.

Cates on why he chose Cornell: “I chose Cornell for the exceptional engineering and academic program as well as for the fantastic coaches and teammates on the swim team.   After my recruiting trip, I knew Cornell was the place for me. Go Big Red!”

Min Zhi Chua (IM & Fly)

Mission Viejo, CA – Mission Viejo High School – Mission Viejo Nadadores

200 IM – 1:47.68, 100 Fly – 48.90, 200 Fly – 1:50.27

Coach Newman on Chua: Min Zhi wrapped up his high school season with a breakout 200 IM, taking nearly three seconds off his previous best, to post a time that would make the B finals at Ivies.  His 100 fly also showed drastic improvement. Min Zhi will be a versatile addition to our team with no real weak stroke.

Chua on why he chose Cornell: “I chose Cornell because it had the academic rigor and swimming opportunities I was looking for. When I visited, I liked the beautiful campus and felt that I fit with the team well. Ithaca is rated the #1 college town and I wanted to have that once in a lifetime experience.”

Owen Downs (IM & Breast)

Atlanta, GA – The Westminster Schools – Dynamo Swim Club

400 IM – 3:57.11, 200 IM – 1:50.76, 200 Breast – 2:01.92

Coach Newman on Downs: A strong long course swimmer, Owen just started showing his potential in yards this past season.  I’m confident that we will see great things from Owen over the course of his college career, and look forward to the added depth he will bring our lineup across all strokes and IM.

Downs on why he chose Cornell: “I chose Cornell because of the outstanding academics as well as athletics that the school has to offer. I immediately felt at home on campus and welcomed by the team as well as the coaching staff. Cornell felt like the right fit for me with a perfect balance of academics, athletics and social life.”

Brett Hebert (Dive)

Huntington, NY – Harborfields High School – New York Dive Club

1 Meter – 294.20, 3 Meter – 318.75

Coach Torres on Hebert: We are very lucky to have Brett joining the Big Red Swimming and Diving team next year. He is a powerful and graceful diver with a high DD lists. Coming in as a freshman, he will have one of the most difficult programs that Cornell has seen in some time. There is no doubt that he will be an immediate asset on the boards for the Cornell Swimming and Diving Program.  

Hebert on why he chose Cornell: “I chose Cornell because I felt that the atmosphere of the school and the team fit me best and was something completely unique that I couldn’t find at any other school I visited. The coaching staff is also very passionate and I feel that they want to succeed more than any other school and I want to succeed with them.”  

William Hrabchak (Back)

Concord, MA – Deerfield Academy – Gator Swim Club

100 Back – 50.47/58.27, 200 Back – 1:49.44/2:07.09

Coach Newman on Hrabchak: Will has a great feel for the water and a lot of untapped potential.  He had to sit out this senior year to recover from an injury, but we are excited to see what he can do when he is back to full form.

Hrabchak on why he chose Cornell: “Cornell has always been a standout for me both academically and athletically. My visits confirmed it’s the school for me and I’m thrilled to join the team and work with Wes and Jordan over the next four years.”

James Huang (Fly & IM)

West Simsbury, CT – Simsbury High School – Charter Oak Aquatics

100 Fly – 48.75/56.65, 200 Fly – 1:50.23/2:04.62, 400 IM – 4:00.97

Coach Newman on Huang: James has been a strong 200 flyer, and added a great 100 fly his senior year.  His added speed gives him a great second event, but also bodes well for improvement in his 200 fly down the road.

Huang on why he chose Cornell: “I chose to attend Cornell primarily because I really like the campus here. Since my older brother had gone to Cornell, I had my first experience there seeing him move in and out and I thought the whole place was amazing since I was younger, especially when I heard from him that the food here was 50 times better than what my dad makes at home.”

Jakob Kaminsky (Breast)

Glencoe, IL – New Trier High School – NASA Swimming

100 Breast – 57.78, 200 Breast – 2:07.71

Coach Newman on Kaminsky: Jakob has been showing strong signs of improving over the past couple years, and will bring added depth to our breaststroke group.  We are excited to see how he develops in our program and are confident he can be a strong contributor in future seasons.

Kaminsky on why he chose Cornell: “I happen to wear a Cornell T-shirt to my first high school swim practice and the nickname “Big Red” stuck. I couldn’t disappoint my teammates, so here I am. Also, Cornell Engineering is pretty good.”

Jack McSorley (Free & IM)

Henrico, VA – Freeman High School – NOVA of Virginia Aquatics

200 Free – 1:39.78, 500 Free – 4:30.22, 1000 Free – 9:21.82, 400 IM – 3:56.98

Coach Newman on McSorley: Jack will be a nice addition to our middle distance free group.  His versatility allows him to be competitive in many events, including the 400 IM.  Jack is a hard worker and also competes in triathlons.  We are excited to have his work ethic on deck every day.   

McSorley on why he chose Cornell: “I chose Cornell because it’s a perfect combination of everything I was looking for in a school. Everything from the College of Enginering to the food was excellent. I couldn’t be more excited to train with such a great team under an amazing coaching staff for the next four years!”

Jacob Mullin (Fly & Back)

South Pasadena, CA – South Pasadena High School – Crown City Aquatics Club

100 Fly – 47.79, 100 Back – 48.47, 200 Back – 1:47.98

Coach Newman on Mullin: Jacob had a huge senior year short course, cutting chunks off his lifetime best swims and making him an immediate impact within the Ivy League.  We are excited about the speed he will bring to the team in both Back and Fly and look forward to the contribution he can make on the lineup and in relays.

Mullin on why he chose Cornell: “I chose Cornell for its wide variety of academic opportunities and the supportive atmosphere that is evident on the Cornell Swim and Dive team.  I am looking forward to obtaining an outstanding Ivy League education while also being trained by fantastic coaches.  The guys on the team seem very motivated and I am just hoping to be able to contribute in any way possible.”

Jesse Potts (Dive)

Tampa, FL – Berkeley Prep School – West Florida Lightning Aquatics

1 Meter – 242.35, 3 Meter – 250.90

Coach Torres on Potts: Jesse has the “go get it” type of positive attitude that coaches look for. There is no doubt that he will be able to tap into his full potential here at Cornell. We are happy that he chose to be a part of the Cornell Swimming and Diving team.

Potts on why he chose Cornell: “I chose to attend Cornell for many reasons. First off, Cornell has an amazing engineering program that will prepare me for my future career. Secondly, the team made me feel so at home when I visited that I knew this was the school for me. On top of that, I am excited to venture to a new state, and explore all that Ithaca and Cornell have to offer me.”

Jack Walter (Fly)

Glencoe, IL – New Trier High School – New Trier Swim Club

100 Fly – 51.72/58.60, 200 Fly – 1:52.91/2:09.49

Coach Newman on Walter: Jack’s coaches praise his strong work ethic and commitment to his team, which is a characteristic we look to find in all our athletes.  He will be a strong addition to our middle distance group, and will add depth to our fly events.  We are excited to see all that Jack can bring to the Big Red.

Walter on why he chose Cornell: “I chose Cornell University for the wide-range of academic and athletic opportunities I would have over the next four years.  Go Big Red!”

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Great to see Will Hrabchak in the capable hands of Wes and his staff. Like his brother, Matthew (Virginia), and Miles Smachlo (Michigan), Will hasn’t had a full year of training since starting at Deerfield four years ago. Both Matt and Miles had outstanding freshman years so I will forward to Will stepping up and dropping a ton of time this coming year. It should be fun to watch.

Owen Downs Super Fan

Owens Downs is a BEAST! Cornell is lucky the found this hidden gem, he trains as hard as anyone in the country!

Owen Downs Super Fan

Owen Downs is a beast!