LIU Brooklyn women’s swimming head coach Matt Donovan has announced the nine athletes who will join the Blackbirds in downtown Brooklyn this fall. LIU will welcome Kyleigh Barao, Anaya Collins, Rebecca Decker, Addison Donahue, Jodi Hawki, Alyssa Juris, Amanda Peren, Jeanne Touchette McGowan and Avery Vernon to the pool in September.
“We are really excited about this incoming class,” Donovan said. “They give our team exactly what we need, in both numbers and talent. They will have an immediate impact on our program and should be able to be help us make some real noise in the Northeast Conference.”
Kyleigh Barao, a breaststroke and IMer from Acushnet, Massachusetts, swam for the New Bedford YMCA Hurricanes. A two-time state champion in the 100 butterfly, she was also a two-time state sectional champion in the 200 IM and was named to the Boston Globe’s All-Star Team three times. Barao also qualified multiple times for both YMCA Nationals and USA Speedo sectionals.
Anaya Collins joins the class from Boca Raton, Florida, where she swam sprint free and fly for the Boca Raton swim team. A four-time USA Speedo sectional qualifier, she’s competed internationally at meets in Costa Rica and Paraguay.
Rebecca Decker has qualified for both district and states as a freestyler out of Berwick, Pennsylvania. Competing for the Bloomsburg Area YMCA, she was also a YMCA National qualifier.
Addison Donahue earned All-America honors in the 200 free relay in her senior season. Swimming freestyle and butterfly for the Flint YMCA Falcons, she has also earned All-State honors from her hometown in Goodrich, Michigan, in the 50 and 100 free, 100 fly, and four different free and medley relays, and is a four-time YMCA National qualifier.
A fellow Michigan native from Ann Arbor, Jodi Hawki swims free and back for the Saline Swim Team. A two-time Academic All-America and team captain, she was also a six-time conference championship finalist and qualified for the Division I state championships.
Alyssa Juris comes to downtown Brooklyn from St. Charles Missouri, where she swam for Clayton Shaw Park. A backstroke and butterfly specialist, Juris was a four-time Gateway Conference champion in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly, and a Missouri State Champion in the 200 medley relay.
Amanda Peren comes to LIU from Alexandria, Virginia where she was a teammate of Olympic champion Katie Ledecky, swimming for the world-renowned Nations Capitol Swim Club. She had a banner year in her two premier events, the100 back and the 200 IM, where she made it to the medal stand in each race at the Virginia 5A Conference 13 (Capitol) Championships.
The lone international recruit, Jeanne Touchette McGowan joins the Blackbirds from Montreal, Canada, where she swam with the Pointe-Claire Swim Club. Specializing in the 200 back, 200 IM, and 400 free, Touchette McGowan is a five-time Eastern Championship qualifier, a four-time junior national championship qualifier, and qualified and medaled at the Far Western championships.
And last but not least, Avery Vernon comes to LIU from Missoula, Montana, where she swam breaststroke with the Missoula Aquatic Club. Her high school team won four straight state championships, and Vernon is a high school state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke. She also was a club state champion in the 100 and 200-yard breaststrokes, and earned All-American consideration in the 200-medley relay. A Senior Western Zone qualifier, she was also a qualifier for both the Summer and Winter North West Senior Sectionals.
Swimming news courtesy of LIU Athletics.