Georgia Tech swimming and diving head coach Courtney Shealy Hart has announced that eight more student-athletes — seven swimmers and a diver — will join the Jackets in the fall of 2017.
Grace Mauldin, Camille Long, Alexandra Nilsson, Christian Ferraro, Qian Zhi, Austin Daniel, Leon Warnakulasuriya and Davis Waln will all continue their academic and athletic careers on The Flats beginning this fall.
The Yellow Jackets will join the 14 #FutureJackets in Cat MacGregor, Celine Nugent, Allie Paschal, Julia Shuford, Cami Hidalgo, Paige Gohr, Corben Miles, Caio Pumputis, Franco Reyes, Jonathan Vater, Jeffrey Murphy, Johnny Yang, Henry Carman, and Jacob Kreider who all signed during the early signing period last November.
Newest Yellow Jackets — Women
Athens, Georgia — Clarke Central High School
Athens Bulldog Swim Club
No. 30 overall in the state of Georgia
In the Water: Mauldin was a four-year letterwinner in the pool and ran cross country for one year for head coach Emily Dowd at Clarke Central High School. A four-time Team MVP in the pool, Mauldin holds the school record in the 100 back, was a four-time high school state finalist and was the highest point scorer for her team all four years. A 2017 GHSA 1-5A All-State selection, she placed fifth in the 100 yard back (57.13) and finished seventh overall in the 200 yard free (1:54.27) at the 2017 GHSA 1-5A State Championship meet. A Speedo Sectionals Southeast Finalist in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Mauldin was also a 2016 GA Senior State Finalist with a sixth-place showing in the 100 yard back (57.50). Most recently, Mauldin was a two-time champion at the GA ABSC Northeastern Divisionals with wins in both the 100 yard back (56.70) and 200 yard back (2:02.93) events. She also finished second in the 1000 yard free (10:48.18), third in the 200 yard free (5:09.32) and fourth in the 500 yard free (5:09.32).
Out of the Pool: Mauldin, who was named USA Swimming Scholastic All-America, is a three-time Academic Award winner for having the highest grade point average on her high school team. A member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Interact Club and Humane Society, Mauldin is also ranked third in her graduating class and earned a spot on the Cumulative All A Honor Roll. She is also a co-captain of the Mock Trial Team and a co-founder of the Ultimate Frisbee Club team.
Why Tech: Mauldin chose Tech because it has everything she wanted in a school: great academics, great athletics, a great environment all around, an amazing campus and because it is located in Atlanta. She has a number of family members that have graduated from Tech in Wayne Thatcher (1964), Vernon Mauldin (1988), Joli Mauldin (1989) and Brooke Shepard Baker (2001 and 2003). Mauldin plans to major in international affairs while at Georgia Tech.
Coach Hart on Grace Mauldin: “Grace is another athlete we are excited to keep in state. She will add depth to our women’s program.”
Hendersonville, North Carolina — T.C. Roberson High School
YMCA of Western North Carolina
No. 19 overall in the state of North Carolina
In the Water: Long, who is a four-year member of the swim team under head coach Jim Cottam at T.C. Roberson and also ran cross country for three years, was tabbed the Western North Carolina Female Swimmer of the Year as a junior in 2015-16. A two-time Team MVP for the swim team, she led her high school team to four straight 4A MAC Championships. A five-time All-Western North Carolina selection, Long holds the school records in both the 200 and 500 free events. A pending All-America honoree in the 400 free relay, she posted a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 200 yard free (1:54.99) and 500 yard free (5:09.37) at the 2017 North Carolina 4A Western Regional meet. Long, who also holds her club team record in the 500, 1000 and 1650 free events, competed at the 2017 YMCA Short Course National Championships in the 100 free, 200 fly, and both the 500 and 200 free events.
Out of the Pool: A 2017 Academic All-America honoree, Long is in the top five percent of her graduating class academically and is a member of both the National Honor Society and the Science National Honor Society in which she serves as the vice president. Long enjoys traveling, photography, bowling, ultimate Frisbee and white water rafting.
Why Tech: Long chose Tech because of the campus, the balance between athletics and the amazing education, and the opportunities that are available after graduation. “I fell in love when I stepped on campus and I got the feeling that Tech was where I was supposed to be.”
Coach Hart on Camille Long: “Camille has shown a commitment to Georgia Tech since the fall. She will make a great Yellow Jacket swimmer.”
Saltsjöbaden, Sweden — Sjölins Gymnasium
In the Water: Nilsson comes to The Flats from Sweden where she swam for the SK Neptun Swim Club and head coach Niko Martikainen. She helped to guide her club team to four straight national championships and earn them the title of “Best Swimming Club in Sweden.” In the summer of 2016, Nilsson competed at the Junior National Championships, taking third-place overall in a relay event. She also competed in the 100 breast at the 2016 Swedish Championships Long Course and both the 100 and 200 breast events at the 2016 Swim Open Stockholm and the 2015 Swedish Championships Short Course.
Out of the Pool: Nilsson was the Valedictorian for her graduating class both in 2017 and 2014. She served as a member of the board on her school’s student council and was also a student ambassador. She also enjoys playing tennis, reading books, waterskiing, and both downhill and cross-country skiing.
Why Tech: Nilsson chose Tech because it is a highly ranked engineering school, it provides a great opportunity to continue her swimming career in combination with her academics and it gives her a chance to get to know people from different cultures and countries. She plans to major in industrial engineering.
Coach Hart on Alexandra Nilsson: “We are excited to continue the tradition of Swedish swimmers at Georgia Tech. Alexandra was valedictorian of her class and will provide our women’s team with depth in the breaststroke.”
Newest Yellow Jackets — Men
Altivole (TV), Italy — Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Superiore “Primo Levi”
Fly, Breast, IM
In the Water: Ferraro has competed in numerous Junior National Championships in his home country of Italy, swimming mostly in the 200 butterfly, 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley events. Ferraro has turned in a number of top-four place finishes, touching first-place overall in the 200 butterfly at both the 2017 Junior National Championships and the 2015 Junior National Championships. He turned in a second-place finish in both the 200 fly at the 2014 Junior National Championships and in the 200 breast at the 2012 Junior National Championships. In 2015, he also placed third overall in the 200 IM at the Junior National Championships and then placed fourth overall in the 200 fly at the 2016 Winter National Championships. Recently, Ferraro set the new team record in the 200 fly in the short course (1:55.79) on March 20 and then the long course record (1:59.03) on April 8. Back in 2015, Ferraro also qualified for the semifinals in both the 100 and 200 butterfly events at the first European Games in 2015. Most recently, he has competed at the 2017 Italian LCM Championships, turning in times of 55.17 in the 100 fly, 1:59.03 in the 200 fly and 2:07.74 in the 200 IM.
Out of the Pool: Ferraro attended the Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Superiore “Primo Levi” in Montebelluna (TV), Italy. He plans to major in either chemical or biomolecular engineering while at Georgia Tech.
Why Tech: Ferraro chose Tech because of the academic prowess of the institution, the swim team and the same challenge of studying and practicing at the same time which he has done during his time at Italy.
Coach Hart on Christian Ferraro: “We are excited to have Christian join our team this fall. He will have an immediate impact for us in multiple events.”
Qian Zhi (Albert)
Honolulu, Hawaii — Maryknoll School
Sun-shine Aquatics Swim Club
No. 2 overall in the state of Hawaii
In the Water: Zhi, who goes by the name of Albert, was the named the team MVP in 2016-17 for Pac5 Swimming. He guided his Maryknoll School team to a first-place finish at the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) Championships and a second-place showing at the Hawaii State Championships. At the state championship meet, Zhi placed second in both the 100 yard free (45.47) and the 200 yard free (1:41.60) free events. This spring, he touched the wall in first in the 200 yard free (1:37.93) at the 2017 Speedo Sectionals in March, while also posting a fifth-place finish in the 100 yard free, a seventh-place showing in the 200 yard IM and an eighth-place finish in the 50 yard free. Zhi, who also competed at the Winter Junior Nationals event, was the earned the most points overall at the 2015 Hawaii State Championships.
Out of the Pool: Zhi was named a USA Swimming Scholastic All-America and is a member of the Principal’s List. He enjoys playing the guitar, the ukulele and basketball when not in the pool swimming. Zhi was born in Xiamen, Fujian, China and also lived in Shanghai.
Why Tech: Zhi chose Tech because he felt connected to the school and the swim team, it has a great engineering program and he liked the location of the campus. He plans to major in aerospace engineering.
Coach Hart on Qian Zhi: “We are looking forward to having Albert join our men’s program. He will help us out in freestyle events as well as relays.”
Milton, Georgia — Cambridge High School
Sprint Free, Back
No. 23 overall in state of Georgia
In the Water: Daniel, who was a four-year member of the swim team under Lauren Hall at Cambridge High School, was a two-time team MVP winning the award in both 2017 and 2015. He holds the Cambridge High School records in the 50, 100 and 200 free events, as well as in the 100 back and 100 breast. He is also a member of both the 200 and 400 free relay teams that hold the high school records in those respective relay events. At the GHSA 6-7 A State Swimming Championships, Daniel placed eighth in the 100 yard free with at time of 46.86. Prior to that, he earned a fifth-place finish in the 200 yard free (1:41.04) and a seventh-place showing in the 100 yard back (51.85) at the GA Senior State meet for Swim Atlanta. Most recently, Daniel competed at the 2017 American Short Course Championships in Austin, Texas in March where he swam in the 100 free (45.88), 100 back (49.89), 50 free (21.26) and the 200 free (1:41.06).
Out of the Pool: Daniel is a member of the National Honor Society, the CHS Honor Roll and Mu Alpha Theta. Also tabbed a Scholar-Athlete, he enjoys rock climbing, skiing, 3D modeling and printing and programming.
Why Tech: Daniel chose Tech because it is highly ranked in computer science and computer engineering, has a great swim program and awesome facilities, and has outstanding opportunities regarding internships and research. “The combination of a great team and excellent academics made GT the perfect choice for me. Go Jackets!”
Coach Hart on Austin Daniel: “It is always great to get in state talent at Georgia Tech. Austin has made a great progression over the past few years and we are excited to see what he can do for us.”
League City, Texas — Clear Springs High School
Sharks Swim Team
Back, IM, Free
No. 44 overall in the state of Texas
In the Water: Warnakulasuriya is a natural in the water, swimming and playing water polo at Clear Springs High School in League City, Texas. On top of leading his water polo team to three district championships in 2017, 2016 and 2014, Warnakulasuriya was also a three-time team MVP on the swim team and earned Texas All-State Second Team honors in both swimming and water polo his senior season. A three-time First Team All-Region selection, he is the Clear Springs school record holder in the 100 back, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free and 200 IM events, while also a member of the record holding 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relay teams. Most recently, Warnakulasuriya swam at the 2017 NCSA Spring Junior National Championships competing in the 200 yard back, 400 yard IM, 200 yard free, 100 yard back and 200 yard IM events. He also posted a four top-10 finishes at the GU TWST Short Course Championships III in Feb., touching the wall second overall in the 200 yard free (1:44.70), eighth in the 100 yard free (48.04), ninth in the 200 yard breast (2:12.45) and 10th in the 50 yard free (22.53). He also finished 11th overall in the 100 yard back at the 2017 Texas 6A State Championships after taking second overall in the event at the 2017 Texas UIL 6A — Region 6 Championships.
Out of the Pool: A USA Scholastic All-America and an Academic All-State selection, Warnakulasuriya is a four-year Superintendent Scholar, a Distinguished AP Scholar, a National Merit Commended Scholar and ranked third overall in his graduating class. He is also a member of the National Honor Society, English Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Rho Kappa Honor Society and served as the historian for the Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society and both the president (senior year) and vice president (junior year) of the National Technical Honor Society. He was also a recipient of the CSHS Leadership Award, the Engineering Scholar Award and the Best Mathematics Student Award.
Why Tech: Warnakulasuriya chose Tech because of its nationally ranked Aerospace Engineering Program, the chance to swim for an NCAA Division I men’s program and the location of campus. He also enjoys reading, playing the piano, watching sports and listening to music. He plans to major in aerospace engineering at Tech.
Coach Hart on Leon Warnakulasuriya: “Leon will be an excellent addition to our program. He is a tall athletic swimmer with a ton of potential!”
Atlanta, Ga. — The Galloway School
Atlanta Diving Association
On the Boards: Waln is a four-year diver and team captain at The Galloway School under head coach Gareth Griffith where he also competed in cross country, track & field and baseball. Tabbed the Male Athlete of the Year for Diving at The Galloway School in 2017, Waln placed fifth overall in the 1-meter dive at the 2017 Georgia High School State Championship 1-5A. He holds the school record with a score of 534.45 for an 11 dive meet at the 2016 Atlanta Invitational and also the school record for a six dive meet with a mark of 287.2 at the 2017 North Forsyth Meet in which he took first-place overall. At the 2017 The Carolina Big Dive AAU Invitational event, Waln placed sixth overall in the 3-meter dive with a score of 377.95 and ninth in the 1-meter dive with a mark of 330.50.
Out of the Pool: Waln is a three-time recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award and also was awarded the 2016 Hendrix College Book Award and the 2017 Bilancio Comprehensive Science Award. A recipient of the Principal’s Letter of Commendation, he was also a member of the Student Association for three years from 2013-15. Waln also enjoys high power rocketry, fly fishing, hunting and woodturning.
Why Tech: Waln is a second generation Yellow Jacket, as both his mother, Jana (1984), and father, David (1982 & 1984) both graduated from Tech. His aunts Maryhelen Stevenson (1982) and Alicia Steele (1980) are both Tech graduates as well. He chose Tech because of the opportunities of co-op and work experience while working on his education, the athletic potential and opportunities the swim team gives him and because Tech is one of the leading schools in mechanical engineering. He plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Coach Ames on Davis Waln: “Davis is a local diver who has made remarkable strides his senior year of high school. He is a very bright young man and I look forward to working with him. I believe both our men’s and women’s diving programs will be as strong as ever next season!”
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Press Release courtesy of Georgia State Athletics.