HOUSTON – University of Houston head swimming & diving coach Ryan Wochomurka is proud to announce the addition of nine newcomers, eight swimmers and one diver, to the Cougar program. Hanna Blewett, Zarena Brown, Lauren Burrell, Gaby Jimenez, Peyton Kondis, Laura Laderoute, Sydney Larson Emily Longfellow and Isabel Tank have signed National Letters of Intent to join UH in 2016-17.
“The eight swimmers and one diver we added for the fall early signing period is strong top to bottom,” Wochomurka said. “On paper, this is probably one of the most talented group to come to the University of Houston in the last decade. I’m very excited about the future of the program and how this group will make an impact in the coming chapters of Houston Swimming & Diving. ”
Blewett is a native of Springfield, Pa., where she swims for the Radnor Aquatic Club for head coach Garrett Clark. She is a three-time MVP of the Cardinal O’Hara High School swim team.
She currently holds two District 12 records, in the 50-yard and the 100-yard freestyle. Blewett is a member of the 2013 District 12 championship team. She is the daughter of Theresa and Robert Blewett.
“Hanna fits our program extremely well, and she has the ability to grow and learn under our sprint-oriented freestyle group,” Wochomurka said. “She has a lot of fast swimming ahead of her and will fight for a spot on our freestyle relays early in her career. Her love for the University of Houston is apparent, and we feel like she can play a great role as we build the foundation of our program for the future.”
Blewett’s Best Times:
50-yard freestyle: 23.90
100-yard freestyle: 52.23
200-yard freestyle: 1:55.48
50-meter freestyle: 27.40
100-meter freestyle: 59.88
Brown is a native of Arvada, Colo., and joins the Houston program after swimming for the Pomona High School Panthers and head coach Shelly Tame. She was the team MVP for three years in both swimming and golf.
The daughter of Orin and Lori Brown is a two-sport, three-year All-American and All-Conference selection. She is a two-time League Champion and placed in the top-five at state two years in a row. She is also a junior national swimmer and she currently holds the meet record at the Jeffco Invitational in the 100-yard freestyle.
“Zarena comes from a very athletic family and is a multi-talented athlete,” Wochomurka said. “She will be able to come in and add to our freestyle group from day one. I am excited to see her branch out and develop in the freestyle from the 50-yard all the way up to the mile, and she will impact our relays right away.”
Brown’s Best Times:
1000-yard freestyle: 10:03.06 (Junior National Cut)
1650-yard freestyle: 16:56.09
500-yard freestyle: 4:54.41
200-yard freestyle: 1:50.58
100-yard freestyle: 52.74
200 LCM freestyle: 2:06.13
1500 LCM freestyle 17:25.88
400 LCM freestyle: 4:23.26 (Junior National Cut)
100 LCM freestyle: 59.50
800 LCM freestyle: 9:11.68
Burrell comes to Houston from Frisco, Texas. The lone diver of the signing class brings a lot to the boards as a three-time Texas 5A 1st team all-district selection as well as region and state championships.
The two-time TISCA and Speedo All-American holds six individual diving records and 11 team diving records. She is a three-time national qualifier with the Mustang Diving Team. She is the daughter of Tim and Amy Burrell.
Burrell’s Best Scores
1 meter: 259.65
3 meter: 274.10
“I am so excited to sign Lauren; she is a great springboard diver with a lot of long term potential,” Houston diving coach Bob Gunter said. “She will be a great addition to our program and help build a solid foundation for the future.”
Jimenez, a native of Naucalpan, Edo De, Mexico, is the state and national age group record holder in the breaststroke and IM. She has competed at four North American Challenge Cups, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Seattle, Wash.; and San Diego, Calif.
The daughter of Jorge Jimenez and Gabrielle Peon, Jimenez competed at the Junior World Championships in Dubai in 2013. In 2014, she competed in Hawaii at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships. She won a bronze medal in 2014 at the Central American Games in 2014 in the 400-yard IM.
“Gaby is an extremely talented young lady whose international experience will pay dividends at the collegiate level,” Wochomurka said. “She will join our program ready to contribute right away.”
Jimenez’s Best Times
100 SCM breaststroke: 1:10.71
200 SCM breaststroke: 2:30.18
200 SCM IM: 2: 18:42
400 SCM IM: 4: 52.48
100 LCM breaststroke: 1:12.74
200 LCM breaststroke: 2:34.71
200 LCM IM: 2: 21:17
400 LCM IM: 4: 54.38
Kondis is a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Aquatic Club, swimming for head coach Stephen Kustra. The Pittsburgh native is All-American in both individual competitions and relays. She is an Allegheny Mountain Swimming record breaker in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2014.
Kondis is a member of the Oakland Catholic High School swim team that has been undefeated for the past two years. She is a Scholastic All-American and a member of the National Honor Society. She is a national qualifier in the 100-yard breaststroke and is the daughter of Stephen and Patricia Kondis.
“Peyton is very good in both the breaststroke and IM, and she comes from a very strong family.” Wochomurka said. “She is a very talented and athletic young woman who will add great depth in both the breaststroke and the IM. Her athleticism shows us that she has a lot of room for improvement, and her best swimming is yet to come.”
Kondis’ Best Times:
100-yard breaststroke: 1:03.55
200-yard breaststroke: 2:18.77
200-yard IM: 2: 5:47
400-yard IM: 4: 27.11
100-Meter breaststroke: 1:13.46
200-Meter breaststroke: 2:39.89
200-Meter freestyle: 2:08.40
200-meter IM: 2: 24.39
100-Meter freestyle: 59.29
Laderoute comes to Houston from West Linn, Ore., where she swam for the Oregon City Swim Team under the direction of head coach Matt Crum. The Canadian-born backstroke and IM swimmer is a 2016 Canadian Olympic trails qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard IM.
The daughter of Larry and Debbie Laderoute swam a top-10 time in the nation in the 200-yard medley relay with the Oregon City Swim Team in 2012 and 2013. She won a state championship in the 200-yard IM in 2014. She also won three state championships in the 200-yard medley relay.
“Laura comes from a tremendous club team and is very well-prepared to enter the world of collegiate swimming,” Wochomurka said. “She is a natural in the backstroke but has really developed as an extremely talented swimmer in the IM. She’s a very strong student with a phenomenal family, and she’s a great addition for us.”
Laderoute’s Best Times:
100-yard backstroke: 55.12
200-yard IM: 2: 03:49
200-yard backstroke: 2:02.38
100-yard butterfly: 56.09
400-yard IM: 4: 23.78
200-yard breaststroke: 2:19.60
100 LCM backstroke: 1:04.73
200 LCM IM: 2: 21:25
Larson comes to Houston from Sacramento, Calif., where she is a member of the Davis Arden Racing Team under the direction of head coach Billy Doughty. She was named All-American in the 500-yard freestyle in 2014 and 2015. She also was an All-American in the 400-yard and 500-yard freestyle relay.
The daughter of Dan and Stacey Larson won the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle at the League Championships in 2013. Larson broke a 30-year record in the 500-yard freestyle at Granite Bay High School. She has competed at the NCSA and Junior Nationals (Summer and Winter) and attended the Olympic training camp.
“Sydney is a dynamic personality who will be a great fit for our program as soon as she steps on campus,” Wochomurka said. “She has a tremendous ability to add to our freestyle group, and with her personality, she will bring some fire to that group. She comes from a historically great club program, and we’re very excited to add her.”
Larson’s Best Times:
500-yard freestyle: 4:52.62
200-yard freestyle: 1:50.38
1650-yard freestyle; 17:15.32
200-yard butterfly: 2:07.18
100-yard freestyle: 52.69
400 LCM freestyle: 4:27.53
Longfellow hails from Redlands, Calif., where she swims for STAR Aquatics Club and head coach Audy Octavian. She is a three-year captain for the Redlands East Valley High School Wildcats and a three-time All-Area selection.
Longfellow holds seven school records at Redlands East Valley and eight club records at STAR Aquatics Club. A four-year CIF state qualifier and honor roll student who led her high school to a league championship, she is the daughter of Cory and Cindy Longfellow.
“Emily is tall and athletic, with great talent in both the backstroke and the IM,” Wochomurka said. “We have a strong core in those two strokes already, and she has the ability to mix it up for that group. As soon as she got to campus, it was apparent that Houston was the place for her. She has a great frame and a lot of untapped athleticism that we can really utilize.”
Longfellow’s Best Times:
100-yard backstroke: 56.79
200-yard IM: 2: 06:27
200-yard backstroke: 2:06.90
100-yard freestyle: 52.74
200-yard freestyle: 1:53.99
100-meter backstroke: 1:06.46
200-meter IM: 2: 27.00
Tank comes to Houston from The Woodlands, Texas. She is a member of The Woodlands Swim Team swimming for Tim Bauer. She is a two-time Scholastic All-American and is currently her high school’s team captain.
The daughter of Trevor and Stephanie Tank is a Winter Junior National Qualifier. In 2014, she was a Southern Senior Zone Champion in the 200 LCM butterfly. She is a four-year team member of The Woodlands College Park High School swim team. She is also a member of the National English Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society.
“Isabel is a very gifted athlete and student,” Wochomurka said. “We want to keep Houston’s best in Houston, so her decision to join our program is a huge milestone. She’ll be an impact player at the conference level from day one.”
Tank’s Best Times:
100-yard butterfly 55.95 (Junior National Qualifying Time)
200 LCM butterfly 2:19.49 (Junior National Qualifying Time)
200-yard butterfly: 2:04.79
100-yard freestyle: 53.20
Swimming news courtesy of Houston Swimming & Diving.