Northwestern women’s swimming and diving head coach Abby Steketee announced the addition of six swimmers and two divers to join the program for the 2017-18 season.
The Class of 2021 features Sophia Angus (Weston, Conn./Weston), Sarah Gardner (Holland, Mich./Hudsonville), Becky Kamau (Nairobi, Kenya/Tudor Grande Academy (United Kingdom)), Ilektra Lebl (Athens, Greece), Shaunmei Lim (Palo Alto, Calif./Henry M. Gunn), Melissa Melnick (St. Louis, Mo./Ladue Horton Watkins), Sophia Schott (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Marian) and Rachel Tseng (Singapore/Anglo-Chinese School).
“Our staff looked all over the world to find just the right people for the Northwestern family,” said Steketee. “These young women epitomize passion and embrace challenges. We are thrilled to help them reach their dreams in the pool, classroom and life.”
A complete bio of each student-athlete is below:
Sophie Angus • 5-6 • Breaststroke
Hometown: Weston, Connecticut
High School: Weston
Club: Weston Swimming
|100 Breast||200 Breast||200 IM||50 Free
|100 Breast||200 Breast|
|Short Course Yards||Long Course Meters|
Bio: Rated as the No. 3 graduating senior in Connecticut and No. 35 overall by CollegeSwimming.com … Connecticut resident record holder in the 100 and 200 breaststroke … Qualified for the finalists at the 2017 Canadian Trials and 2016 Junior Nationals … Was also a finalist at the 2016 Canadian Olympic Trials … Competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials as a junior … Finalist at the 2015 Junior Nationals … Qualified to compete at the 2014 Senior Nationals as just a sophomore … Member of the National Honors Society and a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student … Named a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American in 2015 and 2016 … Awarded the Columbia Book Award in 2016 and Weston High School Biology Award … Serves as the Class of 2017 Treasurer and School Executive Treasurer … Father Bruce played soccer at Duke and was later an assistant coach for the Blue Devils before playing professionally in Canada … Both her father and mother earned master’s of business administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business.
Why Northwestern?: Northwestern provides an excellent athletic program as well as a world-class education. During my visit, I immediately connected with the coaches and team. Coaches Abby, Jesse and Steve expressed their passion and commitment to building this team to the next level. Northwestern has all the resources available for a student athlete to reach their fullest potential in and out of the pool. Go ‘Cats!
Sarah Gardner • 5-4 • Diver
Hometown: Holland, Mich.
High School: Hudsonville
Club: Michigan Lakeshore Diving
|1M Springboard||1M Springboard|
|6 Dives||11 Dives|
Bio: Named team captain prior to her senior season … Three-time Michigan High School Athletic Association State Qualifier … Finalists at the 2016 State Championships … Named an All-Conference selection in 2014 and 2015 while also earning All-Region honors in 2015 … Three-time MISCA qualifier (2014, 2015 and 2016) … Class Salutatorian … Highest Honors Student … AP Scholar … Member of the National Honors Society … Volunteers as a Middle School Assistant Diving Coach and serves as a peer tutor.
Why Northwestern?: I chose Northwestern because it would give me the opportunity to compete with an amazing close-knit team while going to an incredible institution merited for both its academics and athletics.
Becky Kamau • 5-5 • Breaststroke/Medley
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
High School: Tudor Grange Academy (UK)
Club: City of Birmingham
|50 Breast||100 Breast||200 Breast||200 Free||200 IM||400 IM|
|Long Course Meters||Short Course Meters|
Bio: 2017 British Worlds Trials qualifier … Competed at the 2016 short course World Championships … Earned a pair of medals at the 2016 British National Championships … 2015 British National finalist and semi-finalist … Competed at the 2014 Commonwealth games.
Why Northwestern?: Once I visited the campus and met everyone that would be my team, I just felt really at home and thought this was the perfect place for me. I am excited to be a part of a team that is improving so much at such a fast rate. The school itself is also incredible: the alumni, the reputation, the results and the campus.
Ilektra Lebl • 5-7 • Butterfly/Medley
Hometown: Athens, Greece
High School: 4th Lyceum of Ilioupolis
|50 Fly||100 Fly||200 IM||400 IM|
|200 Fly||200 Free||400 Free|
|Long Course Meters|
Bio: Greek National Champion in the 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley and 100 butterfly … Junior World Championships qualifier … Junior European Championships finalist … 2015 Baku Medalist … National record holder for Junior Girls 15-16 in the 100 long course butterfly … Participated in the first European Youth Olympics, earning a bronze medal in the 100 fly.
Why Northwestern?: It’s one of the best universities where I can combine both swimming and academics at a professional level.
Shaunmei Lim • 5-6 • Diver
Hometown: Palo Alto, Calif.
High School: Henry M. Gunn
Club: Stanford Dive Club
|1M Springboard||3M Springboard|
Bio: 2016 Nationals qualifier … Silver medalist in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard at the Pre-Regional Invitational as a senior … Finished in the top 13 in the region as a junior … Earned a second place finish at regionals as a sophomore … Finished in the top 12 on platform at Junior Nationals as a freshman … Top three finisher at regionals in both spring and summer seasons as a freshman … Member of French Honor Society … Gunn Foreign Language Department Honors … Earned Science Department and Honors Award for work in biology … French Club secretary … Member of the school’s choir and a Youth Community Service Group board member.
Why Northwestern?: I chose Northwestern for its excellent academic opportunities and the amazing, impressive dive team. I truly felt connected to the school and like I belonged.
Melissa Melnick • 5-4 • Freestyle/Fly
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
High School: Ladue Horton Watkins
Club: CSP Tideriders
|50 Free||100 Free||100 Fly|
|Short Course Yards|
Bio: Rated as the No. 3 graduating senior in Missouri by CollegeSwimming.com … Four-time Winter Junior Nationals participant … Four-time Region VIII Speedo Sectionals medalist … Two-time Academic All-American … Has been named to the honor each of her four years in high school … Served as the sports editor of the school yearbook for three years … Father Steven played football and baseball at Washington University … Grandfather Samuel Shaw (’85), Grandmother Diane Shaw (’56 and ’63), Uncle Michael Shaw (’95 and ’98) and Uncle Brian Shaw (’87) are graduates of Northwestern University.
Why Northwestern?: I am extremely excited for the opportunity to attend and swim for Northwestern next fall. During my visit, I immediately connected with the coaches and team. Coaches Abby, Jesse and Steve were so passionate about the future of the swim program – the new recruits, the new facilities for the student-athletes and overall direction of the program. Northwestern’s world-class academics and proximity to Chicago will provide me amazing opportunities to learn and pursue a business career. I can’t wait to be a Wildcat! Go ‘Cats!
Sophia Schott • 5-10 • Freestyle
Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
High School: Marian
Club: Motor City Aquatics
|50 Free||100 Free||200 Free|
|Short Course Yards|
Bio: Rated as the No. 5 graduating senior in Michigan by CollegeSwimming.com … Two-time State Champion in the 50 free … Earned a silver medal in the 50 free and 100 free at State Championships as a senior … Earned All-State honors in the 50 free (4x), 100 free (3x), 200 free relay (4x) and 400 free relay (4x) … Named an All-American in the 50 free (4x), 100 free (2x), 200 free relay (4x) and 400 free relay (4x) … Four-time NCSA qualifier … Finished 40th overall in the 50 free at NCSA as a junior … Member of National Honor Society … Earned High Honors all four years … Aunt Carolyn Coyne (Deighan) swam for the Wildcats from 1994-98 … Mother Mary Ann Schott (Deighan) swam for Central Michigan from 1978-82 while also running track all four years and playing soccer in 1979.
Why Northwestern?: I chose Northwestern due to the incredible support and standards held in and out of the pool to help me become as strong and successful as I can in the next four years, both in swimming and academics.
Rachel Tseng • 5-6 • Freestyle
High School: Anglo-Chinese School
Club: Aquatic Performance Swim Club
|50 Free||100 Free||200 Free|
|400 Free||800 Free||1500 Free|
|Long Course Meters|
Bio: Record holder for the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships in the 400 and 800 freestyle (15-17 and 18+) as well as the 1500 free (15-17) … Record holder for the national inter-school swimming championships in the 400 and 800 free style in both B and A divisions … 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships Team Captain … Singapore National Olympic Council Team Meritorious Award honoree in 2015 … 2015 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships Singapore National team member … 2015 FINA World Championships National team member … 2015 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in the 4×200 free relay … Finished fourth in the 800 free and fifth in the 400 free … 2014 Asian Games Singapore national team member where she was on the fifth-place 4×200 freestyle relay team … Competed at the 2014 TYR Southeast Asian Swimming Championships where she finished second in the 400 free, 4×100 free relay and 4×200 free relay, third in the 800 free and fourth in the 200 free … Finished fourth in the 400 free and fifth in the 800 free at the 2013 Southeast Asian Games … 2013 Asian Youth Games silver medalist … Member of Student Council … ACS President Award’s recipient … ACS Certificate of Distinguished Service recipient … Received the Edusave Award for Achievement, Good Leadership and Service (2014-16) … Also earned the Edusave Award for Good Progress (2014 and 2016).
Why Northwestern?: Northwestern is the true embodiment of an institution that values not only the journey and success of academics and sports but also the growth of each and every unique individual. The programs and the support system, together with the great family atmosphere at NU will help me grow as a better student, better athlete and a better person.
News courtesy of Northwestern Athletics.