Minnesota Swimming & Diving Announces 18 Newcomers For 2022-23 Season

Courtesy: Minnesota Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota swimming and diving programs welcome 18 newcomers for the 2022-23 season.

Both the men’s and women’s classes consist of eight swimmers and one diver. The men hail from three different countries and six states, including a pair of Minnesotans, while the women represent two countries and three states, with three Minnesotans.

“We have an outstanding group of young men who will join us this fall,” Gopher head coach Kelly Kremer said. “We have strengthened our sprint core and have added depth in areas that will compliment our returners well. I can’t wait to have these men on campus.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming another great class of female student-athletes to Minneapolis,” Kremer continued. “Their versatility and potential should be fun to watch over the coming years.”


Jack Ballard

Fort Collins, Colo. – Fort Collins High School

Fort Collins Area Swim Team

Top Times:

  • 200 Free – 1:38.70
  • 500 Free – 4:33.60
  • 200 IM – 1:51.06
  • 400 IM – 3:57.01
  • 100 Breast – 56.64
  • 200 Breast – 2:04.89

Prep: A four-year letterwinner at Fort Collins High School … earned all-state honors in 2021 and was an All-American that year in the 200 free … broke school records in both the 200 free and 100 breast … also was a four-year letterwinner in golf … was a three-time academic all-state honoree in both swimming and golf … swam for the Fort Collins Area Swim Team since 2013 … has competed at sectionals and is planning to go to Junior Nationals in December … with his club team, set program records nine times across five different events (200 free, 3x; 500 free, 2x; 100 breast; 200 breast; 400 IM; 2x)

Personal: Parents are Beth and Mike Ballard … has two older siblings, Molly and Max … enjoys skiing and surfing

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota for the incredible team and coaching staff. They create such a good culture in and out of the pool and make it fun while doing it. With that, the University has great academics; it is truly a place where I will get the best education I can to set me up for success later in life.”

Drew Bennett

Madison, Wis. – Madison Memorial High School

Schroeder Diving Team

Top Scores:

  • 1-Meter – 475.90
  • 3-Meter – 524.35
  • Platform – 439.70

Prep: Attended Madison Memorial High School where he was all-state in diving in 2019 (second place) and 2020 (third place) … owns school record and Middleton High School pool record for 1m … also earned one letter each in volleyball and baseball … competed at the club level with Schroeder Diving Team from 2019-22 … competed at USA Diving Regionals, Zones and Junior Nationals in 2019 and 2021

Personal: Parents are Victoria and Thomas Bennett … has one brother, TJ … dad, Thomas, played baseball at Wisconsin … plans to major in genetics, cell biology and development … hobbies include traveling, downhill skiing, skating and jet skiing

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because of the strong academic programs that are offered in addition to the great swim and dive team.”

Connor Groya

Elmhurst, Ill. – York Community High School

Hinsdale Swim Club

Top Times:

  • 50 Free – 20.27
  • 100 Free – 44.52
  • 200 Free – 1:38.94

Prep: Attended York Community High School where he set school records in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 breast, 200 free relay and 400 free relay … named all-state in 2021 … tabbed Junior Athlete of the Year … also lettered three times in water polo … made the High Honor Roll every semester … also earned NHS honors and was a Scholastic All- American for the 2020-21 school year … swam at the club level for Hinsdale Swim Club since 2019 … competed at Winter Juniors, Summer Championships and NCSA’s

Personal: Parents are Katey and Steve Groya … has one brother, Will …mother, Katey, was a swimmer at Notre Dame … plans to major in finance or accounting

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because it gave me the opportunity to swim in a world class facility, be coached by amazing coaches, and be surrounded by a great team atmosphere. It also gave me the opportunity to study at a well-known university that will help prepare me for the future.”

Alberto Hernández

Barcelona, Spain – Club Natació Sant Andreu

Top Long Course Times:

  • 100 Free – 52.32
  • 200 Free – 1:53.54
  • 400 Free – 4:01.37
  • 100 Back – 56.25
  • 200 Back – 2:02.87
  • 100 Fly – 55.03
  • 200 IM – 2:03.88
  • 400 IM – 4:28.06

Prep: Competed at the club level for Club Natació Sant Andreu

Personal: Parents are Andrés Hernández and Isabel García … has an older brother, Andrés, who swims at St. Cloud State … plans to major in mathematics … is interested in motor sports, especially F1 racing

Drew Kistler

Spokane, Wash. – Mt. Spokane High School

Spokane Waves Aquatic Team

Top Times:

  • 100 Breast – 54.17
  • 200 Breast – 1:59.18
  • 100 Fly – 49.33
  • 200 IM – 1:49.22
  • 400 IM – 3:59.49

Prep: Attended Mt. Spokane High School … swam at the club level for the Spokane Waves Aquatic Team since 2011 …owns nine club records in short course yards and seven in long course meters … competed at Summer Juniors and Winter Juniors … twice named Swimmer of the Year at the team banquet

Personal: Parents are Juli and Mike Kistler … has one younger sister, Jena … hobbies include video games and volleyball … can solve almost any rubik’s cube

Why Minnesota: “The amazing facilities, teammates, coaching staff, and scenery around the campus.”

Luke Leonidas

St. Paul, Minn. – Cretin-Derham Hall

Minnesota Flyers

Top Times:

  • 100 Back – 50.35
  • 200 Back – 1:53.32
  • 200 IM – 1:51.09

Prep: Attended Cretin-Derham Hall where he lettered in swimming each year … named all-state and all-conference in three of his years … finished fourth in state as a junior … holds school record in 200 IM … also played baseball … swam at the club level for the Minnesota Flyers since he was seven years old … competed at Junior Nationals and Speedo Sectionals … earned a second-place finish at Speedo Sectionals … club teammates with current Gopher teammate Josh Johnston

Personal: Parents are John and Beth Leonidas … has one sister, Leah … cousin, Olivia King, plays on the Minnesota women’s hockey team … plans to major in marketing, business … enjoys selling sneakers in his free time

Why Minnesota: “Because of the community, and I knew some of the teammates from past experiences.”

Yash Salunke

Eden Prairie, Minn. – Eden Prairie High School

Foxjets Swim Team

Top Times:

  • 100 Fly – 49.00
  • 200 Fly – 1:48.33

Prep: Attended Eden Prairie High School … competed under coach Bryce Boston, who swam at Minnesota from 2014-17 … earned all-state honors in 2021 and 2022 … swam at the club level for Foxjets Swim Team since 2011 … competed at Winter Junior Nationals … holds club records in 100-yard fly, 200-yard fly, 200m fly and 200m free relay

Personal: Parents are Swapnil and Aditi Salunke … plans to major in computer science … has two siblings, Tanay and Eshaan

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota for its excellent academic and athletic programs. The team felt  like a family, and I feel like both the coaches and other athletes would push me to be my best.”

Lovro Serdarevic

Zagreb, Croatia – Swimming Club Dubrava

Top Long Course Times:

  • 50 Free – 23.22
  • 100 Free – 50.74
  • 200 Free – 1:52.78
  • 50 Back – 25.82
  • 100 Back – 56.15

Prep: Attended the School of Natural Sciences Vladimir Prelog … swam for Swimming Club Dubrava since 2017 … holds club records in six different events … competed at the European Junior Championships in 2019 and 2021 … finished fifth in the 50 back at the 2021 EJC

Personal: Parents are Marko and Anita Serdarevic … planning to major in business or psychology … hobbies include listening to music, hanging out with friends, James Bond movies and history shows

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because it is the best fit for me. I immediately felt a connection with the coaches, and that is very important for me. The team seems awesome, and I can’t wait to continue my academic and athletic career as a Gopher.”

Denton Smith

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Saguaro High School

Phoenix Swim Club

Top Times:

  • 200 Free – 1:40.06
  • 500 Free – 4:31.66
  • 200 Fly – 1:48.69
  • 400 IM – 4:00.14

Prep: Attended Saguaro High School where he earned four letters in swimming … helped his team to a state championship as a junior, its first in 41 years … member of relay state champion as a junior and took home an individual state title as a sophomore … four-time team MVP and was a team captain … part of two school record relay teams and finished career in the top three of four individual events … was a four-time winner of the Scholar-Athlete Award … swam at the club level for Phoenix Swim Club since 2016 … twice won the team’s Coaches Award

Personal: Parents are Matthew and Shalayne Smith … has two younger brothers, Bronson and Treyton, and a younger sister, Faith … dad, Matthew, swam at Iowa …grandfather, Darryl Blair, competed in men’s gymnastics at Arizona State … uncle, Cameron Blair, played football at Illinois State … uncles, Roderick Blair and Tyler Blair, both, played baseball at Grand Canyon … plans to major in biology … hobbies include making sushi, fishing with friends and playing the drums

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because of its amazing coaching staff, beautiful facilities, the abundance of resources, phenomenal team environment, and academic excellence.”

“I’m looking forward to welcoming another great class of female student-athletes to Minneapolis,” Gopher head coach Kelly Kremer said. “Their versatility and potential should be fun to watch over the coming years.”


Vivi Del Angel

Veracruz, Mexico

Top Score:

  • Platform – 357.45

Prep: Has competed on the international scene for Mexico … has earned a silver medal on the 10m platform at FINA Diving Grand Prix 2018, in the 10m synchronized at the FINA Diving Grand Prix 2015 and again in 2018, the 10m mixed synchronized at the FINA/NVC Diving World Series 2017, and in the mixed 3m and 10m team at the FINA World Championships 2017 … captured bronze at the FINA/NVC Diving World Series 2017 on the 10m platform … also competed at the 2022 FINA World Championships, placing 17th on the platform, eighth in the 10m synchro and 10th in the mixed 3m and 10m synchro

Personal: Parents are Luis Armando Del Angel Garcia and Maria de Jesus Peniche Delgado … has two sisters, Valeria and Vanessa … plans to major in sport management or kinesiology … hobbies include listening to music, reading and swimming

Why Minnesota: “The reason I chose the University of Minnesota was because of its excellent academic and sports level. As an athlete, I seek to grow in these two areas and develop myself in a positive way as a student and as an athlete. I am sure that the University of Minnesota will help me successfully achieve my goals, giving my best in the classroom and in the pool.”

Grace Drabot

Mequon, Wis. – Cedarburg High School

Ozaukee Aquatics

Top Times:

  • 200 Breast – 2:15.20
  • 200 IM – 2:02.46
  • 400 IM – 4:16.91
  • 500 Free – 4:52.90
  • 1000 Free – 10:06.34

Prep: Attended Cedarburg High School where she lettered four times in swimming … state qualifier from 2019-21 … finished second in the 500 free and third in the 200 IM at state in her senior season … 2020 North Shore Conference Co-Swimmer of the Year … two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American … member of the High Honor Roll from 2018-22 … National Honor Society member … swam at the club level for Ozaukee Aquatics since 2011 … competed at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships, NCSA Spring Swimming Championships and Futures Championships … finished fifth in the 400 IM at the Futures in the summer of 2021 … placed ninth in the 400 IM at the Winter Juniors in winter of 2021 … club teammates with former Gopher swimmer Nick Plachinski

Personal: Parents are Nancy and Larry Drabot … has two older sisters, Annie and Katie, and an older brother, Joe … sister, Annie, played basketball at Macalester College … sister, Katie, swam at Stanford … brother, Joe, competed in cross country and track and field at Bellarmine … hobbies include singing, baking and photography

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because of the friendly environment, incredible staff and wide range of academic opportunities.”

Ava Gustafson

Rochester, Minn. – Rochester Mayo High School

Rochester Swim Club

Top Times:

  • 100 Breast – 1:02.92
  • 200 Breast – 2:17.40

Prep: Attended Rochester Mayo High School where she graduated with honors … named all-state in 2021 … holds team and pool record in 200 medley relay and school record in 100 breast … served as team captain in 2021 … swam at the club level for Rochester Swim Club since 2009 … competed at U.S. Open, Junior Nationals, Speedo Summer Championships and Speedo Sectionals … finished 15th in the 200 breast at the 2021 U.S. Open and 29th at the 2021 Speedo Summer Championships … holds club records in 100-yard breast, 100m breast, 200-yard breast, 200m breast and 100-yard IM … USA Swimming Scholastic All American … two-time Rochester Swim Club Female Athlete of the Year, two-time captain, and 2022 RSC 2022 Short Course Athlete of the Year

Personal: Parents are Robert Gustafson and Laura Franzen … has one younger brother, Nicklaus … uncle, Mark Gustafson, played hockey at Minnesota State … plans to major in neuroscience … hobbies include world geography, piano, reading, crossword puzzles, and writing for her local newspaper

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because the school has a prestigious academic program with leading research experience. The swim team has had historical success in breaststroke throughout the years due to the superb coaching and the competitive atmosphere. I was impressed by the athletic facilities, and the team had a very welcoming environment.”

Eva Johns

Stillwater, Minn. – Stillwater High School

Top Times:

  • 50 Free – 23.39
  • 100 Free – 51.87
  • 100 Back – 55.24

Prep: Attended Stillwater High School where she earned six letters in swimming … three-time all-state honoree … 2020 NISCA All-American in the 100 back … holds true team section meet record in the 100 back

Personal: Parents are Derek and Missy Johns … has two older sisters, Marietta and Annika … sister, Marietta, swam at Gustavus Adolphus, while sister, Annika, is currently on the roster there … plans to major in sociology of law, deviance and criminology … hobbies include traveling, finding new restaurants or coffee shops, and cooking/baking

Why Minnesota: “The amazing coaching staff and welcoming team was one of the main reasons I knew the University of Minnesota was for me. Also being able to be at a beautiful school in my home state and receiving a great education while doing the sport I love with a great group of people.”

Faith Johnson

Menomonee Falls, Wis. – Sussex Hamilton High School

Rocket Aquatics

Top Times:

  • 100 Back – 54.00
  • 200 Back – 1:58.64
  • 100 Fly – 54.53
  • 200 Fly – 2:00.93

Prep: Attended Sussex Hamilton High School where she earned four letters in swimming … five-time state champion: 200 back and 200m fly as a junior; 200m fly, 100 fly and 200 fly as a freshman … All-American in the 100 back as a senior … all-state as a junior and senior in both the 100 fly and 100 back… earned all-state honorable mention honors in the 100 back as a freshman and sophomore … holds school records in 100 back, 100 fly, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay … three-time Club Scholastic All-American … voted team MVP as a junior and senior … swam at club level for Rocket Aquatics since 2011 … 2021 Olympic Trials Wave I Qualifier … also competed at the 2021 TYR Pro Swim Series, 2020 U.S. Open, Speedo Junior Nationals and NCSA Junior Nationals … finished 12th in the 100 back and 200 back at the 2021 NCSA Junior Nationals, 15th in the 50 fly at the 2019 NCSA Junior National and 28th in the 100 back at the 2021 Olympic Trials Wave I … currently holds or did hold 24 program records across three age groups in short course yards and 19 in long course meters

Personal: Parents are Eric and Linda Johnson … has one younger sister, Taylor … dad, Eric, played baseball all four years and basketball his freshman year at University of St. Francis … mom, Linda, swam at North Central College … plans to major in kinesiology … teaches swim lessons in her free time

Why Minnesota: “I loved the coaches, team atmosphere, and campus. Everyone was so welcoming on my recruiting phone calls and on my official visit. They offer a great kinesiology program, as well. The resources available to the team for both athletics and academics are outstanding.”

Brigitta Neverman

Green Bay, Wis. – Preble High School

Green Bay YMCA

Top Times:

  • 100 Fly – 54.81
  • 200 Fly – 2:03.86
  • 100 Back – 56.45
  • 200 Back – 2:00.20
  • 200 IM – 2:01.86

Prep: Attended Preble High School … two-time state champion, winning the 200 IM and 100 Fly as a junior … four-time all-state honoree … two-time Northeast Wisconsin High School Swimmer/Diver of the Year … two-time conference Swimmer of the Year … owns seven school records … also lettered in track and field and academics …class valedictorian … 2022 WIAA Female Scholar Athlete … Member of National Honors Society … swam at the club level for Green Bay YMCA from 2008-21 and for Mid Wisconsin Wave Makers from 2021-22 … competed at Winter Junior Nationals, NCSAs, YMCA Nationals, Speedos sectionals and Central Zones Championships … owns multiple age group and senior records

Personal: Parents are Brock and Heidi Neverman … has two brothers, Kaiser and Mikhail, and one sister, Ivana … brother, Kaiser, is currently a teammate on the men’s roster … second cousin, Ryan Connelly, played football at the University of Wisconsin and is a current member of the Minnesota Vikings … plans to major in psychology/neuroscience … hobbies include water sports

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because of the team atmosphere and drive. It was also a nice distance from my hometown, and I had heard lots of good things. Competing at the Big Ten level has always been a dream of mine. They also have a perfect combination of world class academics and elite athletics.”

Summer Schmit

Stillwater, Minn. – St. Croix Swim Club

Top Long Course Times:

  • 200 Fly – 2:33.77
  • 200 IM – 2:39.60
  • 400 Free – 4:51.41

Prep: Member of U.S. Paralympic Team …competed at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, finished fifth in the 200m IM, sixth in the 100m fly and seventh in the 400m free … at the 2022 World Championships, earned a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle and placed fourth in the 200m IM … was a silver medalist in the 200 IM and bronze medalist in the 100 breast at the 2019 Parapan Am Games … homeschooled… member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society … three-time Scholastic All-American … swam at the club level with St. Croix Swim Club since 2014… club teammates with current Gopher Chris Morris

Personal: Parents are Shannon Klint and Tom Schmit … has one brother, Dean, and one sister, Skye … hobbies include reading and spending time with family … born with congenital disarticulation of the right wrist and has no right hand; competes in the S9, SB9, SM9 classification

Why Minnesota: “For the incredible coaches, staff, and team, along with the opportunities available as a para swimmer.”

Ella Smith

Chicopee, Mass. – Chicopee Comprehensive High School

Bluefish Swim Club

Top Times:

  • 500 FR – 4:55.97
  • 1650 FR – 16:52.52
  • 100 BR – 1:02.98
  • 200 BR – 2:16.02
  • 200 IM – 2:02.57
  • 400 IM – 4:20.19

Prep: Attended Chicopee Comprehensive High School …All-American in the 100 breast in 2020 … earned all-state honors in 2019 and 2020 … Massachusetts DI State Meet record holder in the 100 breast … two-time state champion in the 100 breast …holds seven school records … Masslive Swimmer of the Year … High-Honor Roll student … National Honor Society Member … swam at the club level for Bluefish Swim Club from 2016-21 … competed at Summer Nationals, US Open, Summer Junior Nationals, Winter Junior Nationals and TYR Pro Series … best finish at the events was ninth place in the 200 breast at the TYR Pro Series … named New England Outstanding Swimmer and New England Top Ten Swimmer in multiple events

Personal: Parents are Lisa Brogle and Craig Smith … has one younger sister, Charlotte … cousin, Lindsay Marjanski, competed in track and field at Holy Cross … plans to major in biomedical engineering … hobbies include hiking, biking and anything outdoors

Why Minnesota: “From my very first phone call during the beginning of my recruitment process, I felt an instant connection to the University of Minnesota. Everyone on the staff and team was unbelievably kind, supportive, and positive. The engineering program here was also outstanding, and the location and school size was exactly what I was looking for. The program has a history of bringing swimmers in and helping them improve a ton, and that really stood out to me, as well. When it was time to make a decision, I have never felt so sure about where I felt I belonged.”

Ava Yablonski

Sherborn, Mass. – Dover-Sherborn High School

Charles River Aquatics

Top Times:

  • 50 Free – 23.54
  • 100 Back – 54.44
  • 200 Back – 1:59.45
  • 100 Fly – 54.55
  • 200 Fly – 2:02.99

Prep: Attended Dover-Sherborn High School … All-American as a senior and sophomore in the 100 back … four-time conference and school MVP … won six state titles, including the 100 back and 100 fly as a senior and freshman, and 100 back and 50 free as a sophomore … holds school record in six events … swam at the club level for Charles River Aquatics the last two seasons … competed at Futures and ISCA … won the 100 back at the 2022 ISCA International Senior Cup and 2021 FL RAFC Winter Classic … owner of 10 club records

Personal: Parents are Jeffrey and Sondra Yablonski …has two younger brothers, Nick and Jake … plans to major in kinesiology … hobbies include baking and hiking

Why Minnesota: “The team is very welcoming and I felt like I got along with everyone, including the coaches. Along with how much I love the campus and how close most of the buildings are to the athletic facilities.”

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4 months ago

Que bonito es ver a un español ahi eh antonio

4 months ago

Is McHugh doing a COVID year?

Reply to  Horninco
4 months ago

He is! At least last I heard, and he is still practicing with the gophers.

Reply to  BigChungus
4 months ago

He was on deck last weekend timing for a masters meet that was a fundraiser for the Gophers team travel budget.

Connor Groya's biggest fan
4 months ago

Connor Groya the 🐐. Outstanding find by the Minnesota staff. He brings so much to the table. Love you Connor!

Old Swimmer
4 months ago

This seems like a good class for Minnesota and I wish them much success. However, I am a bit worried about the class of 2023/2024 because it seems like they have not been able to recruit many swimmers. I believe only two have been recruited for the women’s side and not many more for the men’s side. I got my data from the Collegeswimming.com website

Reply to  Old Swimmer
4 months ago

There’s probably more recruits that haven’t posted their commit on swimcloud yet, plus most of the top mn swimmer remain uncommitted.

big 20 conferece
Reply to  Old Swimmer
4 months ago

It’s way too early to make that call on 23/24. We’re still 5 months away from the 23 class even being allowed to officially commit. Most schools don’t even have their applications for general students yet.

4 months ago

Hopefully the crew that can come in and turn things around! It’ll be fun to watch them develop, Go Gophs!

4 months ago

good job coaches to bring in so much talent!!!

Former Big10
4 months ago

Finally seems like a standard recruiting class for MN. Now the staff has nowhere to hide.

big 20 conferece
Reply to  Former Big10
4 months ago

Can’t believe its been 15 years since the men’s last
B1G Ten title.

Former Big10
Reply to  big 20 conferece
4 months ago

Silkatis still has the nicest freestyle I’ve ever seen