LEXINGTON, Ky. – Following the opening of the early signing period on Nov. 11, Kentucky’s swimming and diving program has signed 17 athletes for the recruiting class of 2016. In addition to some of the top prospects in the recruits’ respective states, the women have signed three athletes that rank among CollegeSwimming.com’s top-40 recruits in Asia Seidt, Ali Galyer and Madison Winstead.
Seidt, Galyer and Winstead are joined by Emma Dellmore, Kierston Farley-Sepe, Lizzy Merriman, Alex Nelson, Emma Skinner and Jessica Wingo for the women’s early signing class.
The men’s signings are highlighted by the No. 97 in the nation, Alex Taylor, along with Wyatt Amdor, Connor Blandford, Glen Brown, Kevin Frebel, Jason Head, Sam Hendrix and John Mitchell.
“I’m really pleased. All of the coaches and staff worked hard to help us out in recruiting,” noted head coach Lars Jorgensen. “The women’s class is really good, so I’m excited about some top-line kids. On the men’s side, our depth is starting to become the elite level that we’re looking for in the SEC. We’re looking forward to everyone coming in and having an immediate impact on both sides. But the credit goes to our whole staff, who really helped in making the class really special for us.”
No. 15 Asia Seidt – Louisville, Ky.—Sacred Heart Academy
Seidt, the No. 15 recruit by CollegeSwimming and the No. 19 recruit by SwimSwam, hails from Louisville, Ky. and is the third-ranked recruit in the state of Kentucky from Sacred Heart Academy. She has proven to be a versatile swimmer out of Lakeside Swim Team under the guidance of Mike DeBoor and will look to make an immediate impact in the backstroke, butterfly and IM for the Wildcats. Looking at her best times in yards, Seidt would already rank in UK’s top-10 in six different events.
Her backstroke marks of 53.06 in the 100-yard and 1:55.14 in the 200 would put the Kentucky native third all-time behind Danielle Galyer and Bridgette Alexander. In butterfly, Seidt has churned out a 53.68 in the 100 and a 1:57.11 in the 200, which would rank sixth and third in program laurels, respectively. Finally, Seidt’s 200 IM mark of 1:58.53 is just four-hundredths of a second off Galyer’s school-record time and her 4:13.48 in the 400 IM would be good for third on UK’s all-time list.
With times that boast a winning pedigree, Seidt is the two-time defending Kentucky High School state champion in the 100 back and 2014 state champion in the 200 IM, helping Sacred Heart claim three-straight state titles. The Bluegrass State product had success at the club level as well, as she won the NCSA Junior National Championship title in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:11.96 and was a USA Swimming Junior National qualifier in eight events as well as a USA Swimming National qualifier in six events. Seidt has made Olympic Trial cuts in the 200 free, 100 and 200 fly, 200 back and 200 IM.
Jorgensen on Seidt: “Asia is really a top prospect from Louisville. She’s a really versatile backstroker and IM swimmer. I think we’ll have arguably one of the best backstroke groups in the country next year. Asia’s a wonderful young lady and I think she can have an immediate impact for our team both at the SEC and NCAA level.”
No. 21 Ali Galyer – Greer, S.C. – J.L. Mann High School
Ali Galyer will join her sister Danielle, as the two will have one season of overlap while both donning the Blue and White. The younger Galyer is ranked as CollegeSwimming’s No. 21 recruit, and is the No. 2 recruit in the state of South Carolina. Galyer is a product of Ted Pierson at Y-Spartaquatics, which tied for the crown at the USA Swimming Winter Junior National Championships in 2014, and also swims for J. L. Mann High School. Like Seidt, Galyer also has posted several top times that would rank among UK’s fastest swims.
Galyer has a 100 back personal best of 53.66 seconds and a 200 back time of 1:53.76, both of which are also just under D. Galyer and Alexander’s leading marks in program laurels. Additionally, Galyer is a strong freestyler with a 50.08 in the 100 free and a 1:48.01 in the 200 free, both of which would be good for ninth on UK’s all-time list.
The South Carolina recruit was named the state AAAA Female Swimmer of the Year in 2014 and 2015, and was the 2015 YMCA Short Course National Champion in the 200 back with a record-breaking swim. Additionally, she won the 2013 YMCA Long Course title in the 100 back, and is a three-time South Carolina state champion in both the 100 back and 200 free. Galyer has posted Olympic Trial Qualifier marks in the 100 and 200-meter backstroke, and finished sixth at the 2015 Summer Junior Nationals in the 200m back.
Jorgensen on Galyer: “Ali is fantastic, and one of the top recruits in the country. She comes here being able to swim with her sister for one year, and we’re pretty excited about having that dynamic for next season.”
No. 39 Madison Winstead – Lexington, Ky. – Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
Kentucky will add depth to its breaststroke group with the addition of Madison Winstead, the No. 39 recruit in the nation by CollegeSwimming and the No. 4 recruit in the state of Kentucky. Winstead is a local product out of Lexington, coached by Chris Fugmann of Highbridge Aquatic Club while also swimming for Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Winstead has been a workhorse in her event load, swimming at least one distance in every discipline.
Her biggest impact should be in the 100 and 200 breast, races in which Winstead would already rank in the top-three in UK history. Her 100 breast mark of 1:01.65 would be good for third all-time, and is one second faster than any current Kentucky breaststroker’s personal record in the event. In the 200 breast, Winstead has a best time of 2:13.19, which would put her right behind Kendra Crew’s record time of 2:13.01. Winstead could also make waves in the IM, with best times of 2:02.60 in the 200 and 4:20.12 in the 400, which would rank as 10th and seventh, respectively.
Winstead is a seven-time NISCA All-American and two-time Scholastic All-American, and was a medalist at the 2014 Summer Junior Nationals. Winstead has also qualified for the Olympic Trials along with Seidt and Galyer.
Jorgensen on Winstead: “We’re really fortunate to pick up Madison. She’s a local product and a breaststroker, which we really needed on the women’s side. I think she has a chance to come in and be on some relays and go to NCAAs and be an immediate impact swimmer.”
Emma Dellmore – The Woodlands, Texas – The Woodlands College Park High School
The Wildcats have signed one female diver in Emma Dellmore, who is coached by Olympic Gold Medal coach Ken Armstrong at The Woodlands Diving Academy. Dellmore comes from a gymnastics background and has been diving since 2012. The Texas native has great size and flexibility with her five-foot frame, and is projected as being predominantly a springboard diver.
Diving coach Ted Hautau on Dellmore: “Emma is a gymnast turned diver and she comes out of one of the best programs in the country with one of the best coaches. She has a lot of good background and mechanics. She’s also really small and can spin in a pike. So she’s a kid who’s going to develop in a couple years and might really surprise some people.”
Kierston Farley-Sepe – Hales Corners, Wis. – Fenwick High School
The No. 6 recruit in Wisconsin, Kierston Farley-Sepe, hails from Hales Corners, Wis., where she swims under Blaine Carlson at Waukesha Express and is the defending Wisconsin High School State Champion in the 200 IM for Fenwick High School. Her best time of 2:00.91 in the 200 IM would put the recruit at fourth on UK’s all-time list, and her 54.47 in the 100 fly would sit just outside the top-10. Farley-Sepe qualified for the USA Swimming Junior Nationals in five different events, and just missed out by less than half a second on Olympic Trials cuts in three events.
Jorgensen on Farley-Sepe: “She’s a really good all-around swimmer. Kierston can help us out on IM primarily but can also help in sprint freestyle, butterfly and backstroke. We really like her versatility and we’re excited that she’ll be joining us.”
Lizzy Merriman – Dexter, Mich. – Dexter High School
Lizzy Merriman will join the team out of Dexter, Mich., and will look to compete in the breaststroke and individual medley. Merriman finished in the top-eight at the Michigan State Championships in both the 100 breast and 200 IM, and boasts top times of 1:04.99 and 2:08.99.
Jorgensen on Merriman: “Lizzy came down and we really liked her on her recruiting trip. She’ll add some depth and competitiveness to our breaststroke group.”
Alex Nelson – Howell, Mich. – Hartland High School
Another addition to what it shaping up to be a dominant backstroke group for the Wildcats is Alex Nelson out of Club Wolverine. Nelson is the No. 5 recruit out of Michigan, and could look to be in contention for a top-10 time at Kentucky in the 100 and 200 backstroke. She has posted a mark of 56.48 seconds in the 100 back and also boasts a 2:00.79 in the 200 back. With times of 1:06.07 in the 100-meter back and 2:19.56 in the 200-meter back, Nelson qualified for the Junior Nationals in both events.
Jorgensen on Nelson: “Alex is an upcoming backstroker. She has great potential to help us in a variety of events. She has a great work ethic and will fit in well in a great backstroke group that we have for next year.”
Emma Skinner – LaGrange, Ky. – Oldham County High School
Coming out of Triton Swimming in LaGrange, Ky., Emma Skinner is the final in-state prospect to sign with the Wildcats. Skinner was named both the MVP and Team Spirit award winner for Triton Swim Club, and was an NCSA Junior National qualifier in the 100 long course meter butterfly. Skinner shows versatility with top swims in the 100 and 200 back, 200 breast, 100 fly, and 200 and 400 IM.
Jorgensen on Skinner: “Emma is an in-state product, and we could not be happier to attract more Kentucky talent than we ever have before in one class. Emma can come in and develop into a very good SEC swimmer.”
Jessica Wingo – Brentwood, Tenn. – Brentwood High School
Jessica Wingo is ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the state of Tennessee and will look to add to the sprint group at Kentucky. Wingo was coached by Steven Murry at Excel Aquatics, and was the Tennessee State Champion in the 50 free and took bronze in the 100 free for Brentwood High School. She was also a USA Swimming Winter Junior National qualifier and three-time all-region qualifier, and also garnered Academic All-American honors. Wingo’s best short course yard times include a 23.10 in the 50 free, a 51.08 in the 100 free, and a 1:51.34 in the 200 free.
Jorgensen on Wingo: “Jessica is a top sprinter from Tennessee. I think she’s got great upside and potential, so we’re excited about her. She’ll help us out in some relays, and I think she can come in and have an immediate impact.”
No. 97 Alex Taylor – Snellville, Ga. – Brookwood High School
The men signed a top-100 recruit in Alex Taylor, who is No. 97 for the class of 2016 nationally and No. 4 in Georgia. Taylor swims for Chris Davis at Swim Atlanta, and is a two-time Georgia 6A State Champion in the 200 IM. A dual citizen of the USA and Hungary, Taylor has qualified for USA Junior Nationals in seven events as well as USA Senior Nationals in three events.
Taylor is a multi-disciplined swimmer, and can make an immediate impact in the individual medley. At the 2015 Junior National Championships, he registered a 13th-place finish in the 200 IM. His top time of 1:48.50 in the 200 IM would rank among the top swims in UK history as the fifth-fastest mark, while his 400 IM personal best of 3:57.92 would sit just outside UK’s top-10.
Jorgensen on Taylor: “Alex is a 200 IM specialist and breaststroker and is also very versatile. We’re trying to get some people on our team who can swim multiple events and I think Alex fits in really well with our team for next year.”
Wyatt Amdor – Upper Dublin, Pa. – Upper Dublin High School
The No. 12 recruit out of Pennsylvania, Wyatt Amdor will be added to Kentucky’s breaststroke corps. The product of Geoff Scheuer at Upper Dublin Aquatic Club, Amdor holds a top time in the 100 breast that would rank ninth on Kentucky’s all-time list at 55.26 seconds. He also holds a best time in the 200 breast of 2:04.40. Amdor finished runner-up in the 100 breast at the 2015 PIAA Boys AAA Swimming and Diving Championships, and also swam on the winning medley relay team at the 2015 Summer Junior National Championships.
Jorgensen on Amdor: “Our two biggest needs on our men’s side were breaststroke and sprint freestyle. I think Wyatt really fits the mold of what we’re looking for. He’s primarily a 100 breaststroker, but he can develop into a really good 200 breaststroker. He’s also going to have a really good impact on our relays next year.”
Connor Blandford – Clayton, N.C. – Corinth Holders High School
Connor Blandford, the No. 8 recruit out of North Carolina, comes to Kentucky as the North Carolina state champion in the 200 IM and runner-up in the 100 back. Coached by Paul Silver of the Marlins of Raleigh, Blandford can help with depth at the 200 breast and 400 IM as well, with his top time of 3:56.75 in the 400 IM as a mark that would already rank ninth on UK’s all-time list. Blandford comes with a swimming pedigree, as his mother was an NCAA and Olympic Trials finalist during her career.
Jorgensen on Blandford: “Connor is a really good IM specialist and 200 breaststroker. He’s a little bit like Brandon Flynn and I think he’s going to be able to train with him really well and continue to bolster our IM group.”
Glen Brown – Fishers, Ind. – Fishers High School
Kentucky adds to an already strong core of distance swimmers with the signing of Glen Brown out of Fishers High School in Fishers, Ind. The No. 5 recruit out of Indiana, Brown swims under Jay Chambers for the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers. Brown is a Junior National qualifier in multiple events, and most recently placed third in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 free at the Indiana state meet.
Brown has posted one time that would rank in UK’s top-10 performances, with a 3:55.80 in the 400 IM that would be good for the ninth-fastest time in program history. He also sits outside the top-10 in the 500 and 1650 free with times of 4:28.66 and 15:41.79.
Jorgensen on Brown: “Glen is a really versatile swimmer and can do a lot of different things. We’re excited to have him because he can have an immediate impact for us.”
Kevin Frebel – Fort Wayne, Ind. –Homestead High School
The lone male diving signee, Kevin Frebel, comes out of Fort Wayne, Ind. Frebel was the 2015 Indiana State High School Champion on the 1-meter springboard, and finished in the top-15 in the 3-meter and top-20 in the 1-meter at the 2015 USA Junior National Diving Championships. Frebel retains a high level of competition on the 3-meter springboard, and is one of the quickest spinners in the US for his class. Frebel comes from a diving family, as his brother Dan was an All-American platform diver at Florida State from 2003-07.
Hautau on Frebel: “We’re really excited to get him. He was the top guy that we were going after, so he was our No. 1 prospect this year. He’s a very talented diver and is extremely quick. He rotates fast, so he’s very athletic, and I think he’s got a lot of upside. Once he gets into a training system here and gets into some competition, he’s going to be a surprise to people. He’s primarily a springboard diver but he’s extremely athletic and is just a great kid with a great attitude.
Jason Head – Watauga, Texas – Keller Central High School
Jason Head joins the team out of Watauga, Texas, where he swam for the North Texas Nadadores under Bill Christensen. Head was a Junior National finalist in the 50 free as well as a finalist in the event at the Texas state meet. The No. 12 recruit in Texas has ties to Lexington, as his father is an alumnus of Kentucky. Head competes in the freestyle sprints, with times of 20.76 in the 50, 45.21 in the 100 and 1:39.64 in the 200. He also has a top time of 49.48 in the 100 fly and has put up top backstroke times of 51.00 in the 100 back and 1:50.16 in the 200 back.
Jorgensen on Head: “Jason is one of the top sprinters from Texas. That’s really a need that we’ve tried to address this year is to get a little more speed. I think Jason is going to come in and really help us out.”
Sam Hendrix – Hillsborough, N.J. – Hillsborough High School
A football player turned sprint swimmer, Sam Hendrix is the No. 7 recruit out of New Jersey and swims for Somerset Valley YMCA in Hillsborough, N.J. Hendrix has only been swimming for two years, and has a top time of 20.85 in the 50 free as well as 45.98 in the 100 free. Hendrix has also been dropping considerable time in his fresh swimming career, cutting nearly a second off his 50 free time since 2014 and more than two seconds off his 100 fly mark, which sits at a best of 50.56 seconds. He has already had success in the pool as a member of the YMCA National Championship-winning relay team and finished third in the 100 free at the New Jersey High School State Championships.
Jorgensen on Hendrix: “Sam is relatively new to the sport. I think he has a ton of upside and potential and hopefully we’ll develop him to be the type of swimmer that we think he can be.”
John Mitchell – Stone Mountain, Ga. – Chamblee High School
John Mitchell signs with the Wildcats as the No. 8 recruit in Georgia, and will be added to the sprints group at UK. Mitchell, who comes out of Metro Atlanta Aquatic Club under the guidance of Michael Norment, can contribute as a freshman at UK while also developing strength within the program. He won the Georgia 1-5A High School state title in the 200 free with a best time of 1:40.43, and also finished third in the 100 free in 45.55 seconds. Additionally, he has also notched Winter Juniors cuts in the long course 50 free as well as the short course 100 free.
Jorgensen on Mitchell: “John is, I think, a really underdeveloped sprint freestyler and middle-distance freestyler. I think he may be a surprise to some people. We saw him swim a lot this summer and got a chance to really evaluate him, and I think his best days are ahead of him.”
Swimming news courtesy of Kentucky Swimming & Diving.