Press Release courtesy of Tulane Athletics
Head coach Katie Robinson announced on Thursday a new class of seven swimmers and divers who will be joining the Green Wave for the 2018-19 season.
The group consists of three swimmers and four divers who hail from six different states. All seven will be freshmen in 2018-19.
“This class is outstanding when you think about the high level of talent that they’re bringing to Tulane,” Robinson said. “The athletes that we have committed are amazing individuals who bring such character to our team, and we’re going to reap the benefits.”
“All of these young women show drive, enthusiasm, and a will for success that the Tulane community calls for,” said diving coach Tony Cortright. “I believe these four incoming divers have what it takes to live up to the Tulane reputation to learn, to act and to lead with integrity and wisdom. I know they will continue to build on the advancement of this team and help us continue to gear towards our goal to contend for the number one spot in our conference.”
Gigi Beattie | Castle Rock, Colo. | Valor Christian HS | Mile High Dive Club
Beattie brings platform diving and gymnastics talents to New Orleans when she joins the Green Wave next fall. She placed in the top 20 at nationals in the platform in 2017 and was in the top 13 in Colorado’s state meet in her first year diving. She has been an All-Star qualifier for the Mountain High Swim League for five consecutive years.
As a gymnast, Beattie was a state all-around champion multiple times and was a balance beam champion at multiple levels. Beattie is one of two new additions to the Tulane roster from Colorado, joining fellow incoming freshman diver Anne Marie Kenny.
“Gigi was a level 9 gymnast who shows great strength and potential not only off the board, but on platform as well,” Cortright said. “She connected with the team quickly and will be a great addition to our roster.”
Olivia French | Gaithersburg, Md. | Good Counsel HS | All Star Aquatics
A talented butterfly swimmer, she has a best of 54.65 seconds in the 100 fly – just half a second off the Tulane record – and 2:04.06 in the 200 fly. French swam at the US Open Championships in Summer 2017
French holds personal bests of 23.87 seconds in the 50 free, 51.94 in the 100 free and 1:50.58 in the 200 free. According to CollegeSwimming.com, she is the fourth-best swimmer in Maryland for the 2018 class. She will be the only member of the 2018-19 roster from Maryland.
“She is super strong in the butterfly events, already being right at the level of our school records,” Robinson said. “Olivia is going to come right in and fill the shoes of our departing seniors in the butterfly events. We’re looking for her to add strength individually and in our medley relays.”
Noa Heron | Largo, Fla. | Seminole HS | West Florida Lightning Aquatics
A skilled swimmer from the Sunshine State, Heron will boost the Green Wave distance program when she comes to New Orleans. She has personal bests of 17:00.59 in the 1650 free, 10:17.37 in the 1000 free and 4:53.81 in the 500 free. She is ranked as the No. 22 swimmer in Florida on CollegeSwimming.com.
Heron also swam at the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Tennessee in August, placing third in the 1500 free. Heron will be the only swimmer from Florida on the 2018-19 roster.
“I can’t help but smile when I think about Noa,” Robinson said. “She’s got this energy that’s so sweet and welcoming, and yet you see her race so ferociously and tirelessly and it’s amazing to me that it’s the same person. She’s coming into her own in the last year and has really risen to the level where she’s going to make an immediate impact on our team the conference level.”
Anne Marie Kenny | Centennial, Colo. | Regis Jesuit HS | Altitude Diving Club
Anne Marie Kenny is a highly competitive diver not only in Colorado but also nationally. A state finalist in Class 5A in Colorado, she has also qualified for the USA Diving National meet and was a finalist at the AAU diving nationals as well. She was a Region 9 3-meter champion in 2015 and will be Tulane’s second diver from Colorado in 2018-19.
“Anne Marie has shown me that she has a strong voice and a go-getter mentality that I know will be very contagious to the team,” Cortright said.
Iza Pelka | Long Grove, Ill. | Adlai E. Stevenson HS | Patriot Aquatic Club
Pelka comes to the Green Wave from Illinois where she was a finalist in three different events at the Illinois Senior Swimming Championships in July 2017. Pelka holds personal bests of 1:50.09 in the 200 free, 4:54.97 in the 500 free, 56.31 in the 100 fly and 2:03.66 in the 200 fly. CollegeSwimming.com ranks her as the No. 17 swimmer in Illinois. Her current times in four different events would score points at the American Athletic Conference Championships.
Pelka placed seventh in the 200 free at the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Austin in August 2017. She will be the third swimmer on the roster from Illinois joining current freshman Courtney Barker and current sophomore Jordan Morling.
“The women on our team love Iza, and she fits in really well,” Robinson said. “She’s a bright young lady who is very versatile in the pool and can swim a lot of events. This summer I was blown away by her hard work ethic that she brings to practice. She’s hungry and she’s capable of training at a high level to attain results that she wants to see.”
Mia Sclar | Brooklyn, N.Y. | Edward R. Murrow HS | Rip City Diving
A talented gymnast who is rapidly improving in her diving skills, Mia Sclar will be the Green Wave’s only member from New York in 2018-19. After competing as a Level 9 gymnast for eight years, Sclar has only been on a diving board for the last eight months. She won the New York State Gymnastic Championships in 2009 and was a top-10 finisher three other times. At Rip City Diving, she was coached by 1992 Olympic silver medalist Scott Donie.
“Mia has been diving for less than a year, but she has shown such exponential growth in her short time in the sport,” Cortright said. “She has extreme enthusiasm not only for diving but also for our team and institution.”
Sierra Shurts | Portland, Ore. | Lincoln HS | Tualatin Hills Dive Club
Shurts, a 15-time USA Diving national qualifier and four-time national championship medalist, will be bringing her talents to New Orleans from Oregon. She is a two-time All-American who has traveled and competed internationally. On her passport are competitions in Canada and China, and she has visited Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee for other meets.
“Her abilities will quickly put points on the board for Tulane,” Cortright said. “As a level 8 gymnast with a background in trampoline and tumbling, she will prove to be a strong contender in our conference.”