Virginia Tech Swimming and Diving Sign 14 for the 2015-16 Season

After a 2013-14 season that saw the H2Okies win their first-ever ACC Championship and earn their third-consecutive top-20 men’s finish and top-24 women’s finish at the 2014 NCAA Championships, head coach Ned Skinner has announced the signing of 14 student-athletes to the Virginia Tech swimming & diving teams for the fall of the 2015-16 season.

“We are very excited to announce our fall signing class,” head coach Ned Skinner said. “These student-athletes all selected Virginia Tech for the right reasons and fit within the environment of our program. We look forward to the fall of 2015 and the future with these swimmers and divers.”

Brent Benedict, Sean Workman, Michael Craddock, Cole McGarry, Steffen Erickson, Nathan Pawlowicz, Ben Schiesl, Sydney Pesetti, Leah Rogers, Jessica Arnold, Danielle Griggs, Abby Stone, Abigail Jones and Ashlyn Peters have all signed National Letters of Intent and will join the H2Okies next fall. The group hails from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Ohio, Illinois and Virginia.

Brent Benedict

Brent is from Cory, Pennsylvania, and attends Corry Area Sr. High School. Brent swims for Corry YMCA and Erie Aquatics under the direction of Joe Tristen. He is the Pennsylvania High School record holder in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly. He is currently ranked 4th in the state of Pennsylvania and 42nd in this year’s recruiting class.

Coach’s take: “We are extremely excited about what the future holds for Brent. He is a very dedicated young man who hasn’t even scratched the surface on what he’s capable of. Brent will be an immediate factor in our lineup and within our relays”.

Top Times: 50 free (20.94/20.93), 100 free (45.85/52.54), 100 back (48.69/58.54), 100 fly (48.25/55.23)

Sean Workman

Sean is from Ofallon, Illinois, and attends Ofallon High School. He is a product of Edwardsville YMCA and was the runner up in the 200 backstroke at the 2014 YMCA National Championship. Sean is currently ranked 4th by in the state of Illinois.

Coach’s take: “Sean is the type of talented swimmer that will make an immediate impact within the conference. He has the mindset to be great both in the pool and in the classroom and that gravitated us toward him. We could not be happier with his decision to wear maroon and orange.”

Top Times: 50 Free (21.11), 100 Free (45.62), 2O0 Free (1:42.74), 50 Back (23.80/27.26), 100 Back (48.87/57.47), 200 Back (1:46.04/2:05.56),100 Breast (56.00), 100 Fly (49.86/57.99), 200 (1:50.44/2:09.28)

Michael Craddock

Michael is from New Castle, Virginia where he attends William Byrd High School. Michael swims for the Virginia Gators (GATR) under the direction of Doug Fonder. He was the NASA Junior National Champion in the 1650 and runner up in the 200 breast and 400 IM.

Coach’s take: “Michael got the ball rolling for the Hokies as he was our first commitment. We knew from day one that he needed to be at Virginia Tech. One of the most versatile swimmers in the country, Michael will make an impact wherever the team needs him.”

Top Times: 200 Free (1:40.16), 500 Free (4:28.94/4:03.25), 1000 Free (9:18.96), 1650 Free (15:23.30), 100 Breast (56.89/1:07.40), 200 Fly (1:50.21/2:07.44), 200 Breast (2:00.03/2:20.20),

200 IM (1:48.31/2:09.65), 400 IM (3:53.12/4:35.43)

Cole McGarry

Cole is from Fairfax Station, Virginia, and attends Lake Braddock Secondary School. He is a product of one of the most well-known club programs in the country, Nation’s Capital Swim Club (NCAP). This past summer Cole won the 100 meter butterfly at the 2014 NCSA National Swimming Championships. He is currently ranked 6th in the state of Virginia.

Coach’s take: “Before we even knew who he was our staff was attracted to Cole’s size. He has the look and feel of an elite ACC and NCAA championship swimmer. Cole has an incredible family that understands the value of mixing elite academics with elite swimming. We cannot wait to get Cole pumping within our strength and nutrition program.”

Top Times: 200 Free (1:41.98), 50 Fly (22.87/25.72), 100 Fly (48.80/55.37), 200 Fly (1:48.19)

Steffen Erickson

Steffen is from Richmond, Virginia, and attends Maggie L. Walker Governors School. Steffen is a mid-distance free specialist who swims under the direction of Geoff Brown and Nova of Virginia Aquatics (NOVA).

Coach’s take: “We have always had a great relationship with Geoff Brown and his NOVA program. We are excited to get Steffen surrounded by our elite men and women as we know they will bring out some unbelievable performances from him. He has great range and we know he is going to be a big part of our continued success.”

Top Times: 200 Free (1:41.56/1:55.74), 500 Free (4:29.50/4:03.58), 1000 Free (9:16.04), 1650 Free (15:34.32), 200 Fly (1:50.86), 200 IM (1:54.12), 400 IM (3:56.99/4:31.60)

Nathan Pawlowicz

Nathan is from Vienna, Virginia, and attends Oakton High School. He swims for Nations Capital Swim Club under the direction of John Flanagan.

Coach’s take: “Nathan is another talented swimmer coming out of John Flangan’s NCAP site. After seeing him train and compete this past summer, we feel great about the energy he will bring to our men’s team. Nathan has the size and determination to take his swimming to another level.”

Top Times: 200 Free (1:41.40), 500 Free (4:28.10/4:04.57), 1000 Free (9:12.16/8:31.32), 1650 Free (15:41.37/16:18.42), 200 IM (1:53.61), 400 IM (3:55.72/4:37.14)

Ben Schiesl

Ben is from Fairfax, Virginia, and dives for the Dominion Dive Club. Ben has been a Junior National finalist, a Senior National qualifier, and a High School All-American. He also placed third on both one and three meter in the 2014 Junior East National Championships.

Coach Piemonte on Schiesl: “Ben is an extremely skillful diver. He has excellent mechanics, great lines, and is just starting to realize his potential. I have watched Ben develop over the past few years, and I feel that he has a tremendous future, as a major and vital contributor to our men’s squad.”

Sydney Pesetti

Sydney is from Richmond, Virginia, and attends Deep Run High School. She swims for Ted Sallade at Poseidon Swimming (PSDN). A versatile swimmer, Pesetti has exceled at all distances from the 50’s on up.

Coach’s take: “We were so excited when Sydney picked Virginia Tech. Since her unofficial visit back in the spring, we knew we wanted her. Our program has always done an amazing job with Poseidon kids and Sydney will be no exception. She has the ability to be an elite player at the ACC and NCAA level within her first year. She has a will to win that cannot be taught, which will play a huge roll within our relays.”

Top Times: 50 Free (23.94/26.83), 100 Free (50.63/57.57), 200 Free (1:47.59/2:03.42), 500 Free (4:51.50/4:25.64), 100 Fly (55.29/1:03.91), 200 Fly (1:59.98/2:21.32), 100 Back (55.43/1:05.17)

Leah Rogers

Leah is from Fairfax, Virginia, and attends WT Woodson High School. She swims for Nation’s Capital Swim Club (NCAP) under the direction of Pete Morgan.

Coach’s take: “We see a lot of great things out of Leah Rogers. She has extreme speed within the butterfly events, and we are excited to further her development within her strength, power and underwaters. Leah is one of the most focused students that we came across this year, and we have no doubt she will thrive in our balanced atmosphere.”

Top Times: 50 Fly (25.02), 100 Fly (54.34/1:02.80), 200 Fly (1:59.88), 100 Breast (1:05.59), 200 IM (2:06.00)

Jessica Arnold

Jessica hails from Port Republic, Virginia, and attends Spotswood High School. She swims for Shenandoah Marlins Aquatic Club (SMAC) under the direction of Norm Wright. After placing 7th in the 5k at the USA Open water championships, Jessie earned a spot on the USA National Junior Open Water Team. At the 2014 FINA junior open water championship in Welland, Ontario, Jessica placed 11th.

Coach’s take: “It’s not every day you sign a girl who has represented Team USA at the World Junior Open Water Championships. Jessie is coming into her own and will be an immediate impact player for the Hokies within the distance events. She has great drive and a work ethic that is apparent after making the Junior National Team.”

Top Times: 200 Free (1:51.35), 500 Free (4:54.73/4:21.66), 1000 Free (10:02.57/8:57.19), 1650 Free (16:50.74/17.11.64), 100 Back (57.48/1:06.07), 200 Back (2:01.23/2:20.64)

Danielle Griggs

Danielle comes to Blacksburg from Wall, New Jersey, where she attends Wall Township High School. Danielle swims for Monmouth Barracudas Swim Club.

Coach’s take: “Danielle came into the fold a little later for us. We were immediately attracted to her size and desire to be great. Danielle had a lot of great options on the table where she could attend college and we love the fact that Virginia Tech hit every single box in her check sheet.”

Top Times: 50 Free (23.70/27.39), 100 Free (51.21/59.27), 200 Free (1:53.00), 100 Back (57.08), 100 Fly (57.41/1:05.81)

Abby Stone

Abby hails from Grannville, Ohio, where she attends Granville Senior High. Abby swims for New Albany Aquatic Club under the direction of John Coffman. A member of the state championship 200 medley relay team, Abby also was the runner up in the 200 IM.

Coach’s take: “The moment Abby and her family stepped on campus we could see the spark. She has an unbelievable gift to hold water and we are excited to see how she caps off her senior campaign. With our strength and nutrition program we really feel Abby can be an immediate impact player for the Hokies at the ACC and NCAA level.”

Top Times: 50 Free (23.60/27.18), 100 Free (50.96/58.99), 200 Free (1:51.03), 50 Back (26.22), 100 Back (55.23/1:04.57), 200 Back (1:58.31/2:18.56), 100 Fly (56.61/1:04.94), 200 IM (2:02.92/2:23.22)

Abigail Jones

Abigail is from Richmond, Virginia, and swims for Geoff Brown at NOVA of Virginia Aquatics.

Coach’s take: “We really feel that Abby has all the tools to be great. She has a very technical freestyle and has an accomplished fly and back. Geoff does such a great job developing a work ethic that prepares student-athletes for the rigors of college swimming. We are really excited about Abby and her future here at Virginia Tech.”

Top Times: 50 Back (26.41/30.76), 100 Back (56.49/1:05.28), 200 Back (2:01.45/2:21.50), 50 Fly (25.96/29.60), 100 Fly (56.00), 200 Fly (2:05.05)

Ashlynn Peters

Ashlynn is from Cypress, Texas, and dives for the Woodlands Diving Academy. Ashlynn is a multi-time Junior National finalist, as well as, a Senior National finalist in both one and three meter competitions. She is the current Texas High School State Champion and a multiple High School All-American.

Coach Piemonte on Peters: “I consider Ashlynn to be one of the top diving talents in the country. She has proven to be an extremely proficient diver in both springboard events, and will make an immediate impact on our women’s squad. Her work ethic and enthusiasm will fit in perfectly with our environment, and I am confident that she has the potential to be a huge factor at the ACC and NCAA level for the Hokies.”

College Swimming News is courtesy of Virginia Tech Swimming and Diving.

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Longtime SwimMom
6 years ago

Why is Williamsburg, VA distance specialist Carter Kale not on the list and not cited in the article? Back in October, SwimSwam published an article saying he had committed to the VT. He’s a great swimmer & an even better person …

Reply to  Longtime SwimMom
6 years ago

Longtime SwimMom – That’s something you’d have to take up with Virginia Tech. Typically, this means that the swimmer did not receive a scholarship – schools can only announce early signees who have signed letters of intent, and swimmers without scholarships would not have signed letters.

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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