University of Wisconsin Ink 18 for 2015-2016 Season

University of Wisconsin swimming and diving head coach Whitney Hite announced Wednesday that 18 high school seniors have all signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin and compete for the Badgers’ swim and dive program, beginning in the fall of 2015.

“Pretty much everyone on this list, both men and women, have the potential to make people say, ‘Wow, who are these guys and where did they come from?’” Hite said. “For every single one of these women and every single one of these men, the best swims are ahead of them. It’s a good class overall and I’m pleased.

“We’ve got some depth. I was extremely pleased with the recruiting on the diving side. We’ve got some very good divers coming in, as well. That’s going to help us tremendously.”

UW diving coach Anton Slobonouv echoed those feelings on the diving signees.

“This will be the best diving class that we have comprised in my time here at Wisconsin,” Slobonouv said. “It is exciting to see the Wisconsin diving team improve every year and continue to takes steps in the right direction. I am very thankful for the swimming and diving team, as well as the coaching staff in helping us make 2015 the best year to come for the program.”

Joining the Wisconsin women’s team:

IRIS BRAND (Pleasanton, Calif.)
The defending California North Coast Section Champion in the 50-yard freestyle, Iris Brand hails from Pleasanton, California. One of the top prospects out of the state of California, Brand qualified for U.S. Nationals in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. Brand attends Amador Valley High School and competes with club team Pleasanton Seahawks.

Hite on Brand: “She comes from a great program, the Pleasanton Seahawks. We knew the second we met her that she had to be a Badger. She has everything that we look for in a Badger and bonded with the team and coaching staff immediately. Iris will help us tremendously in the sprint freestyle and I think she has a lot of potential in the 200-yard freestyle, which is a need area for us. She’s someone that is good, and in two years, people will be saying, ‘Whoa.’”

Despite only swimming competitively for three years, Elizabeth Brown claimed the 2013 Iowa High School State Championship in the 100-yard breaststroke. The Iowa City, Iowa, native attends Iowa City High School and competes with the Iowa City Eels Swim Club.

Hite on Brown: “She’s a great young lady, and a breaststroker who has a lot of potential. We think she is really raw and untapped. She’s one who I think is going to be really good and help us, because we are a little thin in breaststroke.”

A Senior National qualifier on synchronized three-meter and platform events, Alexandra Hafey joins the Badgers from Arvada, Colorado. The Junior National qualifier on one-meter springboard attends Mullen High School while also competing with the Mile High club team. Hafey is an age group qualifier on both the one- and three-meter springboard.

Slobonouv on Hafey: “Alex comes from a very strong diving club in Denver, Colorado. Alex brings classic diving fundamentals that she acquired as a club diver. She will be an outstanding college athlete and I am excited to coach her at the University of Wisconsin next fall.”

HAZEL HERTTING (Appleton, Wis.)
Hazel Hertting hails from Appleton and attends Neenah High School. Competing with the Fox Valley club team, she is a USA Diving age group qualifier on one meter, three meter and platform. An age group championship finalist on three meter, Hertting recently defended her diving championship at the WIAA Division I state meet with a score of 576.45, a new state record.

Slobonouv on Hertting: “Hazel is the best diver in the state of Wisconsin. She is a current state champion and record holder on springboard. Hazel has performed at several championships and has the experience of the national stage. We are excited to keep Hazel in Wisconsin and look forward to helping her build on her success next fall.”

EMILY KOSTEN (Lansdale, Pa.)
A USA Swimming Senior National qualifier in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, Emily Kosten joins the Badgers from Lansdale, Pennsylvania. She is ranked as the No. 2 recruit out of Pennsylvania, according to, where she attends North Penn High School and swims for the Central Bucks Swim Team.

Hite on Kosten: She’s a 50, 100, 200 girl and a really hard worker, which is part of what drew us to her. Her coach spoke to the fact that she’s the hardest worker on her team and she’s a great young lady. We have a tradition of very good sprinters, especially on the women’s side, and I think Emily is going to come in and continue that tradition of excellence.”

DANA LIVA (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
Dana Liva joins Wisconsin from Prospect High School and Glenbrook Aquatics. The Arlington Heights, Illinois, native is a YMCA and AAU National qualifier on the one- and three-meter springboard, as well as platform. An Illinois State Champion, MVP and team captain, Liva brings a variety of experience and accomplishments to Madison.

Slobonouv on Liva: “Dana is the most consistent diver I have seen in a long time. Every meet that she attends, I know that she will be in the mix with the best of them. Dana is the Illinois state diving champion, as well as a national qualifier. I am looking forward to having her represent the University of Wisconsin. It is hard to beat our meet schedule and I know the competition will only help her improve as a performer.”

ARIANA SAGHAFI (Albany, Calif.)
Joining the Badgers from Albany, California, Ariana Saghafi was the 2013 North Coast Sectional champion in the 100-yard butterfly. Saghafia was a USA Swimming Senior National qualifier in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly, plus the 200-yard freestyle. She attends Albany High School and swims for club team North Bay Aquatics.

Hite on Saghafi: “From the Bay Area, Ariana is a young lady with a good background. She can really help us in the 200 freestyle and butterfly events, which are need events for us. We are looking for big things out of her.”

EMMY SEHMANN (Bowling Green, Ohio)
Emmy Sehmann was a top-eighth finalist in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyles at the Ohio High School state meet. From Bowling Green High School, Sehmann was a B-Finalist in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles at the NCSA Summer Junior Nationals. A top-five recruit out of Ohio, Sehmann swims with the Bowling Green Swim Club.

Hite on Sehmann: “Emmy is another sprinter from Ohio. It seems like all of our sprinters aren’t necessarily just 50 girls and Emmy is a great example of that. Though she will primarily be a 50/100/200 freestyler, she has potential to do a 500 and adds a lot of versatility that we need. Emmy is going to be really good and she’s really untapped. She has a very good feel for the water and will be really good.”

MADISON TEW (New Berlin, Wis.)
The 2014 Wisconsin State Champion in the 200-yard freestyle and runner-up in the 100-yard freestyle, Madison Tew will stay close to home and join the Badgers next fall. The New Berlin native comes from New Berlin West, the school of former Badger and three-time All-American, Beckie Thompson, a school and Big Ten Conference record holder. Tew swims for the Waukesha Express, which was the club team for current UW swimmers Anna Meinholz and Rachel Johnson.

Hite on Tew: “Madison is a local girl and we always love getting the local kids. She is a strong 200 freestyler and state champion that can also contribute in the 100 and 500. She’s going to help us right away in the 200 free.”

GRACE TIERNEY (Wilmette, Ill.)
Grace Tierney joins Wisconsin from Wilmette, Illinois, where she attends Loyola Academy. A top-five recruit out of Illinois, she finished runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 500-yard freestyle at the 2013 Illinois High School State Meet. Tierney swims for club team NASA Swimming.

Hite on Tierney: “She’s somewhat local, from the Chicago area. She’s a 200 and 500 freestyler that has potential to be a big help on our freestyle relays. We tried to load up the class on the women’s side of more 200 freestylers and sprinters, so we’ve done that and I feel really good adding in Grace.”

Joining the Wisconsin men’s team:

MATTHEW ARONSON (Warminster, Pa.)
Hailing from Warminster, Pennsylvania, Matthew Aronson is a USA Diving Regional Championship qualifier on the one- and three-meter springboard. Bringing leadership experience to Wisconsin, Aronson has served as a senior class officer and team MVP during his time at Council Rock High School and with club team TNT Diving.

Slobonouv on Aronson: “Matthew is a focused young man. He has come a long way from only diving a short time. I was so impressed with his drive in the pool as well as the classroom. I can’t wait to build on Matthew’s program and watch him grow during his time here at Wisconsin.”

STEPHEN BODEN (Bellevue, Wash.)
Stephen Boden comes to Wisconsin from Bellevue, Washington, where he attends Archbishop Murphy High School. The 2014 Washington High School State Champion in both the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle, Boden is one of the top prospects out of Washington. He swims with Bellevue Swim Club, the club team of current UW swimmers Todd McCarthy and Grace Wold, as well as assistant coach Evan Bernier.

Hite on Boden: “He’s a freestyler and a guy that can come in and immediately add some depth. He’s a guy that’s got a lot of upside. He’ll help us out. He’s pretty untapped and I think he’s going to do a lot better.”

CLARK CARTER (Omaha, Neb.)
A USA Diving Junior National qualifier on platform, Clark Carter will join Wisconsin next fall. During his time at Creighton Prep and with club team Nebraska Diving, Carter is an age group championship qualifier on platform and one-meter springboard. A well-rounded individual, Clark has also earned all-academic honorable mention honors.

Slobonouv on Carter: “Clark is just starting to utilize his potential as a diver. His ability and talents are on another level, and I’m very excited to explore his abilities next fall. I know that Clark will be a force on our men’s team in all three events. It is always great to know you have a diver coming in that will make a huge impact right away.”

TREVOR LAKE (Bay Village, Ohio)
The Ohio High School Division II state record holder in the 100-yard freestyle, and 2014 champion in the event, Trevor Lake joins Wisconsin from Bay Village, Ohio. A top-five recruit for his state, Lake attends Bay High School and swims with the Lake Shore Swim Club. An accomplished athlete already, Lake has only one year of year-round training under his belt.

Hite on Lake: “He’s kind of a newbie to the sport and we think he’s going to be very, very good. He’s kind of that diamond in the rough sprinter and freestyler. He’s that elusive sprinter that we’ve missed recruiting in the past.”

ETHAN O’NEILL (Cherry Hill, N.J.)
Ethan O’Neill is a native of Cherry Hill, N.J., where he attended Cherry Hill East High School and competed with club team Blue Dolphin. A USA Diving age group qualifier on one meter, three meter and platform, O’Neill was also an AAU Championship qualifier on all three events. Well-equipped for the transition to becoming a student-athlete, O’Neill is both an honor roll member and varsity letter winner.

Slobonouv on O’Neill: “Ethan has had to overcome a lot of adversity as a club diver. He brings great life experience and maturity to our diving team. I know he will bring out the best in himself and his teammates. Ethan will be a strong competitor on all three diving events here at Wisconsin.”

One of the top prospects out of Illinois, Jon Salomon joins the Badgers from Glenbrook South High School. The Glenview native finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle and seventh in the 100-yard freestyle at the 2014 Illinois High School State Meet. He also swims with the Swift Aquatics club team.

Hite on Salomon: “It’s nice to start getting some kids from Illinois. He is a sprinter type that I think is going to really come in here and improve. He and Trevor are going to have an immediate impact in the sprint events and our relays.”

An elite distance swimmer and one of the top prospects out of Maryland, Michael Sullivan hails from Bethesda. He attends Walt Whitman High School and placed fourth in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events at the 2014 Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championship. Sullivan is a member of the Rockville Montgomery Swim Club.

Hite on Sullivan: “He’s another guy with a lot of potential. I think he’s just going to come in and really explode and surprise a lot of people. He’s got a lot of upside, and we are really excited about him.”

CHRIS WILLS (Middleton, Wis.)
Sticking close to home, Chris Wills joins the Badgers from Middleton. A regular at Wisconsin Swim Camp, Wills is also a member of the Badger Aquatics Club, which produced current UW swimmers Drew teDuits, Ivy Martin, Maddie Martin, Aja Van Hout and Katie Delaney. Wills finished ninth in the 200-meter breaststroke and 10th in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2014 NCSA Long Course Junior National Championships.

Hite on Wills: “He’s a guy that came to swim camp and is just down the street. Chris is a great kid and I think he’s going to be really good. Breaststroke is an area of need for us and I think he’s going to come in and be one of those guys that will really surprise some people. He comes from Badger Aquatics Club, and we’ve had great success with them.”

College Swimming News courtesy of the University of Wisconsin swimming and diving.

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As a Cal fan, I am happy for Wisconsin and Coach Hite for an apparently good large class. When Wisconsin came to Berkeley a few weeks back for a dual meet (M&W) the kids really scrapped, but the contingent of swimmers was not large. Now they look like they have added depth and I wish their team, coaches and fans well!

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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