Virginia Tech Makes Two Big International Signings; Third Possibly on the Way?

Virginia Tech, who is one of a number of programs that made big statements toward making the ACC more than a two-team league last year, has landed two sizable international signings this week as the official early signing period closed Wednesday.

The first goes to Ned Skinner’s men’s team, who added Jan Switkowski from Poland. He will turn 19 next January, before he comes to Virginia Tech, and is primarily an IM’er and middle-distance freestyler. He ended up with only a single result from last year’s Polish Olympic Trials after being DQ’ed in the 200 IM, but fortunately his best swimming was yet to come that summer. In July, he swam a 2:03.6 in the 200 IM and 4:25.0 in the 400 IM, which is roughly a 1:47 and 3:49 in yards, and rank him among the top 10 in the class in each race.

He has also been 3:57 in the 400 long course freestyle, and overall is about as good in short course as he is in long course. So far this fall, he’s had a few good swims and a few bad swims; in short course meters he was a 2:01 in the 200 IM in October and a 2:09 in November.

A 51.3 in the long course 100 free makes him probably a good free relay contributor at some point in his career with the Hokies. The IM races were one of this team’s biggest strengths last season, with Greg Mahon taking 3rd at ACC’s in the 200; he will be graduating, however, after this season.

Skinner also picked up a very good female signing from the continent in Fiona Donnelly. She’s a Scottish junior who represented the UK at the 2010 and 2011 European Junior Championships as well as the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games where she won bronze medals as part of both Scotland’s 800 free relay and individually in the 400 IM. In Euro Junior swimming, she has a silver medal from the 2010 European Juniors as part of the 800 free relay.

For her efforts, she was honored as one of the official torchbearers in the 2012 Olympic torch relay, swimming through Buxton in her native Derbyshire.

Donnelly has similar specialties as Switkowkski does, and trains alongside Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington at Nova Centurion. She is a 2:03.90 in the 200 free and a 4:16.27 in the 400; plus a 2:17.3 in the 200 IM and 4:52.4 in the 400 IM. She’s extremely versatile though, and made the semi-finals of four events at Britain’s Olympic Trials meet in March: the 200 IM, the 400 IM, the 200 back (2:17.20) and the 200 fly (2:15.39). The 200 back is more likely as a third event collegiately.

If one were going to break up the UNC/UVA stranglehold on the ACC on the women’s side, the IM’s are a good place to start: those two schools accounted for all 8 A-finalists in the 200, and the top 6 in the 400. Donnelly’s converted times put her in position to at least break that up as a freshman.

We’re also hearing reports of a third big name that might be joining this women’s class, but are unable to confirm if she signed a letter this week or not; athletes who didn’t sign this week will have to wait several months before making commitments official.


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Never heard of them because those times are ordinary. I guess they are a better chance than the foreign mass murderer they took in who most probably could not even swim.

But still not “Big international Signings.’

Please do not disrespect the HOKIE NATION. Hokies Respect. That is all.

Am I the only one confused about the mass murder comments?

Fiona has also been 60.8 long course on her 100 fly and is improving all the time. They’re lucky to have her, she’s a great swimmer and will bring a lot to the team.

That is so awful and inappropriate the post should be removed from this site. Disgraceful.

Bwah Bwah. Deleting my comment will not bring back the dead.

Andy Murray hid under his desk during the Dunblane School shootings.

So cheer up Joel – There is sport after Massacres !


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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