Tar Heel Swimming & Diving Program Announces Class of 2018

University of North Carolina head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Rich DeSelm capped off a tremendous fall recruiting class with the addition of an outstanding group of 11 recruits during the recently completed National Letter of Intent period.  DeSelm has added five men and six women who will begin their academic and swimming and diving careers at UNC in August of 2014.

Rich DeSelm, UNC Tar Heels Head Swimming Coach (Image courtesy of UNC)

Rich DeSelm, UNC Tar Heels Head Swimming Coach (Image courtesy of UNC)

“We are very excited to announce our fall signees. All 11 of these men and women are outstanding student-athletes and will make an immediate and positive impact upon our team next fall,” said DeSelm.  “Each of them felt Carolina was the best fit for them to pursue their dreams on the collegiate level. Our staff, which includes a pair of first-year Tar Heel coaches in Abel Sanchez and Aaron Workman, worked hard with long-time assistants Mike Litzinger and Christy Garth and me, to bring in a great group of new swimmers and divers.

“The six women include Elissa Dawson from Chapel Hill, one of the best diving prospects in the country. Our five swimmers are Emily Slabe, one of the nation’s top backstroke recruits; Caroline Baldwin and Katie Ford, both outstanding sprint/back specialists; Madison Boswell, a terrific fly/IM swimmer; and, Megan Bestor, a fantastic athlete whose best events are fly and back.

“The five men include Sean Burston, a strong diver from Connecticut; Philip Perdue who swims sprints and breaststroke: Ben Creekmore, a free/fly specialist; Henry Campbell, another talented freestyle/IM’er; and, breaststroke/IM’er Michael McBryan from Pennsylvania,” concluded Coach Rich DeSelm.

In alphabetical order here are brief bios on each individual signed during the fall period beginning with the men’s signees.

INTRODUCING THE CLASS OF 2018 MEN

Sean Burston is a native Stamford, Conn., where he attends Laurel Springs High School. He competes for Whirlwind Diving, coached by Joe Somma.  Burston is a very accomplished diver with career best scores of 468 points on one-meter springboard, 545.2 points on three-meter springboard and 433 points on 10-meter platform.

Coach Abel Sanchez on Sean Burston: “Sean is an amazing addition to the UNC family. He brings enthusiasm, high energy and athletic tools that will help him make an immediate impact in the ACC and on the national level. Sean is the piece to our puzzle that will make our men a complete package. I am excited with our 2014 recruiting class and we do not graduate anyone off this year’s team.”

Sean Burston on choosing UNC: “It only took one visits to fall in love with it”.

Ben Creekmore hails from Wilmington, Del., where he attends Archmere Academy. The middle distance freestyler and butterflier has competed in club swimming for Brandywine YMCA and currently swims for Upper Main Line YMCA coached by Glen Nuefeld. In short course swimming, Creekmore has top times of 45.86 in the 100-yard freestyle, 1:36.86 in the 200-yard freestyle and1:47.55 in the 200-yard butterfly.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Ben Creekmore:  “Ben will arrive at UNC with the fastest incoming time of any Tar Heel in the 200-yard freestyle and, perhaps, some other events. Ben is an outstanding student, leader and swimmer and will have an immediate and positive impact upon our team’s success, both in and out of the pool.”

Ben Creekmore on choosing UNC: “I chose UNC because of the great coaching staff and the great team environment that facilitate excellence in and out of the pool. The swim program is top notch and the academics are second to none.”

Henry Campbell is a native of Manassas, Va. He competes for the QDD Swim Club, which is coached by Rick Benner.  A freestyler & IM swimmer, Campbell has career best short course times of 1:39.80 in the 200-yard freestyle, 4:19.93 in the 500-yard freestyle and 15:26.16 in the 1650-yard freestyle. He also has a top time of 3:54.61 in the 400-yard individual medley. His comparable top times in long course events are 1:54.62, 4:02.75 (400 meters), 15:59.15 (1500 meters) and 4:26.88, respectively.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Henry Campbell:   “Henry, like Ben, already has the fastest time in an event, the 500-yard freestyle, of any incoming Tar Heel in history. We are eager for Henry to continue UNC’s strong tradition of outstanding distance freestylers & IM competitors. Rick Benner has done a superb job with Henry’s development and we are excited to have an outstanding QDD swimmer joining us at UNC.”

Henry Campbell on choosing UNC: “I chose UNC for a number of reasons.  Chief among them was the team and the coaching staff. I knew visiting the school that it was great academically, but the difference maker was how well the team got along, and how much I liked the coaching staff. I felt very comfortable with the team. The coaching staff seemed really interested in me and made an effort to bring me in. I really liked that.”

Michael McBryan comes to UNC from Doylestown, Pa., and attends La Salle College High School. McBryan competes for the Central Bucks Swim Team, coached by Stu Kukla. McBryan is primarily a breaststroker, with times of 56.12 in the 100-yard breast,2:03.22 in the 200-yard breast and 1:52.14 in the 200-yard individual medley. His comparable long course meter times are,1:04.75, 2:17.27 and 2:13.34.

Coach DeSelm on McBryan: “Michael is a great fit for UNC. He visited us on our Junior Day last year and we continued to communicate throughout the recruiting process. We have had great success recruiting from Pennsylvania and we are excited Michael will be another member of this year’s class to carry on that tradition. Michael will be a great addition to our breaststroke and IM group and we expect him to make great strides throughout his career as a Tar Heel.”

Michael McBryan on choosing UNC:  “I chose UNC because it gave me the best feeling of where I can improve athletically and academically. I loved the team, the coaches and the campus. I’m very excited to get to work and produce great results as a Tar Heel.”

Philip Perdue calls Greenville, N.C., home. Perdue attends J.H. Rose High School and is coached by Casey Charles at East Carolina Aquatics. A sprint and middle distance freestyler, Perdue’s best times in short course events are 20.60, 45.75 and 1:39.69 from the 50- through 200-yard distances. He is also a strong breaststroker with times of 57.28 and 2:05.74 in the 100 and 200 yard breaststrokes, respectively. His comparable long course bests in the freestyle events are 24.16, 51.30 and 1:54.05.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Philip Perdue:  “We are extremely excited to gain Philip’s commitment. We have watched him swim in meets for years in North Carolina and have witnessed Philip’s steady improvement. He has a tremendous feel for the water and has gained size, speed and power over the past few seasons. We believe he has the skills to be a very successful student-athlete at UNC.”

Philip Perdue on choosing UNC:  “Carolina felt like the right choice because it is the perfect distance from home and I think I will fit in very well with the team.”

In alphabetical order here are brief bios on each individual signed during the fall period for the Tar Heel women’s team.

INTRODUCING THE CLASS OF 2018 WOMEN

Caroline Baldwin hails from Westfield, N.J., where she competes for Westfield YMCA (coached by Brian Guidera).  Amongst Baldwin’s best events are the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke where her personal bests in short course are 22.88, 50.66 and 54.99, respectively.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Caroline Baldwin:  “Caroline is an outstanding person and talented swimmer. We believe she will blossom at UNC with continued training, strength development and by joining our outstanding group of swimmers and divers. Caroline visited UNC for Junior Day and then was sold on UNC after her official visit. We are thrilled she will join us in Chapel Hill.”

Caroline Baldwin on Choosing UNC:  “I cannot wait to be a part of the UNC Swimming and Diving family next fall.  I feel UNC is a place where I can really achieve my goals, both in and out of the pool.”

Megan Bestor calls Cumming, Ga., home, and attends Lambert High School. She competes for Swim Atlanta under the coaching tutelage of Jeff Hike. Bestor is a backstroke/butterfly specialist. Bestor has the following career best times in short course events – 100 back: 55.51, 200 back: 2:01.37, 100 fly: 54.83 and in long course events – 100 back: 1:03.35, 200 back: 2:18.57, 100 fly:1:01.91.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Megan Bestor:  “We first saw Megan compete at the summer Sectional meet this past July and were immediately impressed with her technique and racing. After her official visit, Megan let us know UNC was her No. 1 school and we are glad it has workout out. She adds versatility to our fly & back group and will continue to develop this year as she completes her high school career.”

Megan Bestor on Choosing UNC:   “I decided to attend UNC for a few reasons. The main one being that I felt like UNC was the place where I could achieve all my goals, both educational and athletic. When I visited, I immediately felt like I was part of the team and it truly felt like family. I can’t wait to see what the next four years has in store for me. I couldn’t be happier with the decision that I have made.”

Madison Boswell is another strong addition to DeSelm’s recruiting class.  The Richmond, Va., native attends James River High School.  Boswell competes for Poseidon Swimming, coached by Ted Sallade.  Boswell is a very versatile middle distance freestyler, IM specialist and butterflier. In short course swimming her personal bests include 200 fly – 1:59.81; 400 IM – 4:18.04 and 500 free -4:54.66.  She has achieved Olympic Trials cut status in two long course events, with the following personal best times of 200 fly -2:13.39; 400 IM – 4:53.81; and also has a long course best of 1:02.59 in the 100 fly.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Madison Boswell:   “Madison is another great fit for UNC. Coach Sallade and our staff have developed a strong relationship over the years after having former Poseidon swimmer Tyler Harris attend, graduate from and excel as a swimmer at UNC. Madison’s skills in the butterfly & IM’s fit right into our team needs with, among others, Cari Blalock and Meredith Hoover graduating after this season.”

Madison Boswell on Choosing UNC:   “I chose to be a part of the UNC family because of the team character and the amazing coaching staff, not to mention the outstanding academic opportunities. It felt like home to me walking around campus.”

Elissa Dawson will not travel far to dive on the collegiate level as she is a Chapel Hill, N.C. native.  She attends Reformation Academy Homeschool.  Dawson competes for Duke Diving where she is coached by Tar Heel alumnus Nunzio Esposto.  Dawson is an excellent diver. Dawson’s career bests include 469.9 points on one-meter, 489.10 points on three-meter, and 403.9 points on 10-meter platform.

Coach Abel Sanchez on Elissa Dawson – “I’m excited for next year and for the kids we were fortunate to recruit. I think Elissa will make an immediate impact on our team at the ACC Championships and on the national scene. We have high hopes for her career here at UNC.”

Elissa Dawson on Choosing UNC:  “I chose UNC because it has everything I wanted in a school.  I immediately felt welcomed by the swimming and diving team and can’t wait to be coached by Abel Sanchez. The exercise & sport science program is one of the best in the country, and the minor in coaching education is ideal for me. Having family and friends who attend UNC makes Carolina already feel like home to me.”

Katie Ford hails from Mt. Lebanon, Pa., where she attends Mt. Lebo High School and is coached by Tom Donati.  Ford competes for Mt. Lebo Aquatics, also coached by Donati.  Another excellent freestyler and backstroker, Ford’s career best short course times include the following:  200 Back- 2:02.88; 100 back- 56.02; and 50 free- 23.35.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Katie Ford:  “It is always fantastic to know a prospect is excited about attending UNC. Katie, her parents and our staff worked hard to make her dream of attending school in Chapel Hill come true. We are excited to work with her and feel she will immediately fit into our sprint and backstroke groups.”

Katie Ford on Choosing UNC:  “I chose UNC because of the team and the academics. I also felt perfectly at home on the campus. I can’t wait to be a Tar Heel.”

Emily Slabe of Liberty Township, Ohio is a very talented backstroker.  She swims for Countryside YMCA coached by Brad Isham.  Slabe’s career best short course times include as follows: 100 back- 53.75; 200 back- 1:56.64; and 100 Fly-55.07.  Her long course personal bests are 100 back-1:03.41; 200 back-2:16.67; and 200 Fly-2:19.11.

Coach Rich DeSelm on Emily Slabe:  “Emily has tremendous speed and power and comes to UNC as the fastest incoming backstroker on record. Emily and her family  visited UNC several times prior to her official visit this fall. She looked at and evaluated a lot of schools and programs and we are excited she will be a Tar Heel.”

Emily Slabe on Choosing UNC:  “It really was quite simple for me. I feel that UNC has a great balance of high-level academics and swimming. During my visit I felt the swimmers were working together as a true team, which means a lot to me. I especially liked that the coaching staff discussed many aspects of the UNC experience both in and out of the water. I narrowed my focus down to some very good schools. People told me that ‘you know it will be the right school when you visit.’  I now understand what they meant. After my visit in Chapel Hill, I knew it was home for me.”

This release was provided to SwimSwam courtesy of UNC Swimming and Diving.

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Mike Diamond

Very interesting to see the name Perdue on UNC’s list of commits…..he is obviously the smartest one in the family!

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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