WVU swim team announces 2015-16 class

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University swimming and diving coach Vic Riggs announced today the 2015-2016 incoming recruiting class.

A total of 28 student-athletes will join the program, with 13 accompanying the men’s squad and 15 earning spots on the women’s team.

“We have one of our strongest classes in years,” noted Riggs. “Each brings a strong academic background along with their swimming talents. The staff has done a great job with this class, and it is one of our most diverse. We feel we have addressed many of our needs. We continue to attract the top talent in the state of West Virginia with the addition of six West Virginians along with several international and country-wide new Mountaineers. Each member of this class brings a strong desire and commitment to the Mountaineer swimming and diving program, and I look forward to watching them grow and develop into strong Mountaineers.”


The diving program welcomes six new faces, including four women and two men.


“This is the largest recruiting class I have had coming in since I started coaching at WVU in 2010,” said diving coach Michael Grapner. “All of the divers have excellent foundation and are all trained on springboard and tower. I think each of these athletes will be competitive and excellent representation of WVU and the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team.”


“This incoming class of 2019 is a very talented and versatile group,” Riggs said.  “Diving coach Michael Grapner has done a great job solidifying the women’s diving team with his additions to the program who will be replacing a very strong departed senior class while adding two talented men to the men’s team as well.”


The entire class can be found below:


Georgia Baldus | Fort Wayne, Indiana | Snider High School

Top Times 50 free100 free

200 free



100 fly 57.05
200 fly 2:07.69


Riggs on Baldus: “Georgia brings an energy and excitement to the program that will have an immediate impact. Georgia will be instrumental to our relays and add much needed depth in our free and fly events. With her work ethic and swimming background I’m excited to help her reach her goals.”


Baldus on West Virginia: “I’m beyond excited to be a Mountaineer next year. I chose WVU because of the family-like atmosphere I felt with the team and the academic excellence the university offers in my preferred major. Swimming at the collegiate level is something I have aspired to do since I can remember, and I’m so happy that I’m going to live out that dream at West Virginia.”


Marah Bieger | Columbus, Indiana | Columbus North High School

200 free500 free 1:52.305:04.96
Top Times 200 IM400 IM 2:03.444:24.84
100 breast200 breast 1:03.612:17.15


Riggs on Bieger: “Marah’s IM and breaststroke events will be a much needed addition to our program. Marah brings to the program a wide range of ability. Along with her freestyle, her IM and breaststroke are very strong. I can see Marah developing into a very versatile member of our program.”


Bieger of West Virginia: “I chose WVU because I felt like it was a great fit for me all around. I loved the team, coaches, and campus. In addition to that, the academics were exactly what I was looking for. I can’t wait to be a part of the team next year and take my swimming to the next level! Let’s go Mountaineers!”


Emilie Chambers | The Woodlands, Texas | Home Schooled


50 free 25.90
Top Times 100 free 56.12
100 back 1:00.65
200 back 2:11.28


Riggs on Chambers: “Emilie comes from a strong program in the Woodlands. She brings the characteristics we are looking for in a student-athlete. She has the desire and skill set that leaves her potential untapped. Emilie knew early on she wanted to be a Mountaineer and I’m excited to have her be a part of what we are doing here.”


Chambers on West Virginia: “I have decided to become a part of the Mountaineer swim team because of many different aspects of the team and the school. I was looking for a major university where the student body supported the teams and where there was a lot of school spirit. I want be part of a swim team with a coaching staff that cares about their swimmers and functions like a family; a team that works hard and is dedicated to the sport.  While on my recruiting trip, I found that West Virginia definitely has what I was looking for. I know West Virginia University will be the perfect school for me to attend. I cannot wait to start the 4 year journey that God has planned for me at WVU. Go Mountaineers!”


Lexi Glassmire | Reading, Pennsylvania | Schuylkill Valley High School    


50 free 24.28
Top Times 100 free 52.16
100 fly 59.22


Riggs on Glassmire: “Lexi will be a valuable addition to our sprint free and fly program. Lexi comes from a small program in Pennsylvania and I feel she will develop into a strong sprinter and add depth to our relays and sprint events.”


Glassmire on West Virginia: “I’m so excited to be a part of this swimming program. Competing at this level is such an amazing opportunity and I always dreamed of swimming for a Division 1 school. The coaches are so knowledgeable and successful, and the team is so talented and close knit. Academically and athletically, WVU offers everything I was looking for in a school. I felt at home right away!”


Sam Hall | Elkins, West Virginia | Elkins High School


50 free  23.81
                         Top Times 100 free  52.29
100 back  57.21


Riggs on Hall: “Sam made it known right away she wanted to be a Mountaineer. She brings a strong desire to improve and develop into one of the best sprint freestylers at WVU. Sam’s 50 and 100 free events will have an immediate impact on our relays dual and championship meets.”


Hall on West Virginia: “I was born and raised a Mountaineer so I always felt connected to the school but what really attracted me in the end was the family atmosphere that surround the team.”


Emma Harris | Canberra, Australia | Canberra Girls Grammar School


100 breast 1:03.47
Top Times 200 breast 2:14.97
200 IM 2:09.06


Riggs on Harris: “Emma comes to WVU from Australia and brings a very strong breaststroke. Emma will add to a strong breaststroke group and I look forward to working with her.”


Harris on WVU: “I chose to study at WVU because of the incredibly friendly, welcoming and accepting atmosphere that I believe will be key in helping me manage both my academic studies and athletic success. I’m so excited to represent WVU Swimming at our conference and hopefully the NCAA’s next year.”


Sydnee Karam | Nazareth, Pennsylvania | Bethlehem Catholic High School     


100 free 52.47
200 free 1:51.86
Top Times 500 free 4:59.29
100 back 57.79
200 back 2:05.37


Riggs on Karam: “Sydnee’s range in her freestyle and backstroke is exciting for our program. Sydnee will fit in right away with our 200/500 free group. I am also excited to see her development in the 100 free and 200 back.”


Karam on West Virginia: “After visiting several other schools, I realized quickly into my visit at WVU, that it was the perfect fit for me! The chemistry between the coaching staff, the team and myself was immediate. The decision was a simple one. I am excited to develop as a student and an athlete at WVU!”


Maggie Miller | Buckhannon, West Virginia | Buckhannon Upshur High School

50 free100 free 24.3052.51
                     Top Times 100 back 54.87
100 fly 55.5
200 back 1:59.67


Riggs on Miller: “Maggie is probably one of the most versatile female swimmers to come out of West Virginia in recent history. As with Sam, she made it known very early in the process that WVU was where she wanted to pursue her swimming goals. She will have an immediate impact in our back and fly events and relays. Maggie has high goals for the team and herself and I am excited to help her reach them.”


Miller on West Virginia: “I chose WVU because of the great family like environment the team has and how fast I clicked with the coaching staff. WVU has always been a place to call home for me and I wouldn’t want to continue my swimming career anywhere else or under any other coach. I like what Coach Riggs has been putting into his program trying to get it to the next level and I’m excited to be a part of that.”


Emma Mitchell | London, England | Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School


100 free 51.47
                      Top Times 200 free 1:49.54
500 free 4:50.23


Riggs on Mitchell: “Emma is another very strong addition to our mid distance free program. Emma comes to WVU from England and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the past year. Her desire to hit the ground running in the NCAA system is what attracted me the most and I feel she will be a big part of our championship teams in the future.”


Mitchell on West Virginia: “West Virginia University is the perfect environment for me to flourish as a student and an athlete. WVU offers a prestigious journalism program which will allow me to pursue my interests and challenge myself academically. Furthermore, the combination of Coach Riggs’ knowledge of distance swimming and the insight he can provide from his personal experiences will help me to reach my full potential as a swimmer. I cannot wait to join such a hard-working, enthusiastic and talented swim team. I will be immensely proud adito represent a university which continually strives for success. Let’s go Mountaineers!”


Madison Noga | Charlottesville, Virginia | Albermarle High School


                       Top Times 100 fly 57.55
200 fly 2:04.05


Riggs on Noga: “Madison brings a true talent for butterfly that was needed in our program. With a work ethic and excitement to get better, I see Madison developing into a strong butterflier and will continue our successful history in those events.”


Noga on West Virginia: “I picked West Virginia  for three reasons:  first, the outstanding academic program for Environmental Science; second, the swim team and coaches really care about doing great things and want to be pushed to their limits; and third, once I  stepped onto the campus it felt like home, everyone was so open-hearted and welcoming. West Virginia University connected to me in no other way that other schools I looked at could and I am excited to come this fall.”


Rachel Ward | Fairfax, Virginia | W.T. Woodson High School


50 free 24.32
                    Top Times 100 free 52.95
200 free200 fly




Riggs on Ward: “Rachel comes to WVU from a strong coaching background and swimming family. When her father, Peter Ward head coach of George Mason University, called and expressed interest in having her attend WVU I jumped at the opportunity. Rachel’s potential for development is truly exciting and I look forward to seeing her contribute to the program in the years to come.”


Ward on West Virginia: “After meeting the team and coaches, I knew West Virginia was the school for me. I can’t wait to be a part of such a great and talented program and accomplish big things! I am so excited to be a Mountaineer!”




Grapner on the women divers: “All of the girls coming in will be outstanding assets to the WVU women’s diving program. They will be joining senior Lindsay Schmidt next year. It will be great to have Lindsay as a leader for the four freshmen girls where they can learn from her and continue to set the bar higher for the future of the WVU Diving program.”


Julia Calcut | Zeeland, Michigan | Zeeland East High School


Grapner on Calcut: “Julia is that diamond in the rough diver who I am very excited to have joining our team. She is a former teammate of WVU Diver Haily VandePoel and I believe will have a similar work ethic. Julia has a gymnastics background which is beneficial for diving. She has powerful diving skills in addition to a competitive personality which I believe will make her a force for the WVU Divers”


Averly Hobbs | Littleton, Colorado | Chatfield Senior High School


Grapner on Hobbs: “Averly has a long background in diving and comes from an outstanding club in Denver, CO. She is a well-rounded diver with Tower being her favorite event. I am excited to see Averly change over the next four years as she progresses from a high school diver to a college diver. Averly will bring positive energy and humor to the program which we will all appreciate!”


Mary Smith | Austin, Texas | Lake Travis High School


Grapner on Smith: “Mary Kevan aka MK will be a great addition to the women’s diving squad next season. She has solid foundation in diving. Her training at longhorn aquatics has provided her with an opportunity to train tower and spring board. She loves tower, and I can’t wait to help her train and develop into a competitive collegiate diver.”


Madelyn Woods | Centerville, Ohio | Centerville High School


Grapner on Woods: “Madelyn, AKA Maddy has a very strong background in diving with excellent mechanics and room for growth. She is that all around great kid who will work hard and make her coach happy to have her. She set herself up to be both academically competitive and athletically competitive. Maddy has a great sense of humor and will bring fourth positive energy to the team.”




Jake Armstrong | Dover, Ohio | Dover High School


100 breast 56.34
                  Top Times 100 fly 52.09
 50  free 21.62


Riggs on Armstrong: “Jake is a talented multisport athlete who has chosen to pursue his dream of being a Division I athlete in swimming. Jake has tremendous potential and talent that I am very excited about. His overall strength is going to be a great addition to our program.


Armstrong on West Virginia: “I am very excited to be a part of the Mountaineer swim team!”



Andrew Boyles | Clarksburg, West Virginia | Notre Dame High School


              Top Times 50 free 21.54
100 free100 breast

100 fly




Riggs on Boyles: “Andrew is a talented West Virginian who will be a strong addition to our sprint and breaststroke programs. He has tremendous size and strength that will continue to develop in the years ahead. Ultimately, I see Andrew contributing in many aspects of our program.”


Boyles on West Virginia: “I came to WVU because I felt a sense of home. The team, and coaching staff made me feel as if I were part of a family and not just a team. Just the feeling of being part of something greater than myself, being with people that strive for excellence just as I do, and with people that care about me and are there to back me up in everything I do. We are a family and a swim team.”


Taylor Campbell | Fairmont, West Virginia | Fairmont Senior High School


               Top Times 50 free 22.03
100 free 47.67


Riggs on Campbell: “Taylor will be another proud West Virginian to join our sprint program. He has a lot of raw talent that we look forward to develop.”


Campbell on West Virginia: “I chose WVU because of the high academic standards of the team, a great team environment, and an excellent coaching staff. I’m excited about the direction the team is going and I know I can achieve all my goals here and am proud to be a Mountaineer.”



Drew Damich | Presto, Pennsylvania | Chartiers Valley High School



50 free 21.07
100 free 46.12
200 free 1:39.92
Top Times 500 free 4:32.46
200 fly 1:51.32
200 IM 1:52.39
400 IM 3:58.02


Riggs on Damich: “Drew is one of the most versatile swimmers we have recruited in recent years. Drew is a very talented mid distance free, flier and IMer that is going to add depth to those events. I see Drew having an immediate impact on our 800 free relay and I look forward to developing all his talents. Eventually I see Drew contributing at a high level at WVU.”


Damich on West Virginia: “I knew after my visit to campus that WVU was the place for me. Great coaches, great teammates, and a great Engineering school.  This was everything I was looking for to further my education and swimming career.  WVU is the perfect fit for me!”


Fernando Duenas | Redlands, California | Redlands East Valley High School



           Top Times 100 fly 49.98
100 back 50.05
200 back200 free 1:49.641:42.66


Riggs on Duenas: “Fernando brings a very strong back and fly to our program. Fernando will step in and immediately strengthen our 200 back along with his 100 back and fly. Fernando will be a valuable contributor on relays and add much needed depth at dual and championship meets.”


Duenas on West Virginia: “After much decision, I chose West Virginia University because I felt it was the best fit to continue my academic and athletic career.”


Merwane El Merini | Marseille, France | Lycee Privé de Provence


50 free 20.30
Top Times 100 free 44.90
100 back 49.20


Riggs on El Merini: “Merwane comes to WVU from France and will be a very strong addition to our sprint free and back events.  Merwane’s 50 and 100 free is among the best we have had join our program as a freshman, and I see him contributing immediately in those events. Merwane will also become an integral part of our relays and their development both at the conference and NCAA levels.”


Merwane on West Virginia: “West Virginia University has offered me to realize my dreams. Becoming a student-athlete has always been a goal of mine. I am looking forward to meeting my teammates and start this new chapter of my life at WVU. Let’s go Mountaineers!”


Lucas Fasulo | Antibes, France | Audiberti


1650 free 14.57 (convert)
Top Times 1000 free 9:00 (convert)
500 free 4:20.91 (convert)
200 free 1:38


Riggs on Fasulo: “Lucas comes to WVU from France and brings a very strong distance freestyle to our program. Luca has very specific goals and part of them is reaching NCAA Championships and competing for France on the international level. Having that type of mentality and commitment will be a great addition to our distance program.”


Fasulo on West Virginia: “I decided to come to WVU, because I knew a former WVU swimmer who had a great experience here. The relationship I developed with Coach Riggs during the recruiting process was very important to me and my parents. Coach Riggs understood the importance of me wanting to compete at the 2016 French trials along with my goals and we developed a plan right away. Along with the major I wanted to study being offered here at WVU and being able to compete against Texas every year was also very important in my decision.”


Adam Poe | Saint Albans, West Virginia | South Charleston High School


50 free 21.03
Top Times 100 free 46.65
200 free 1:43.79
100 fly 51.45


Riggs on Poe: “Adam is part of a strong group of West Virginians coming to our program. Adam swims for former WVU swimmer Philip Berry and will be a strong addition to our sprint program in the free and fly events. I’m excited about his future in our program and know Adam has the desire and determination to be a great Mountaineer.”


Poe on West Virginia: “I am honored to have this opportunity to represent not only WVU, but my home state both academically and athletically. I chose WVU because I feel that the combination of coaching staff and academics will help me take my swimming and education to the next level. I can’t wait to get started! Let’s go Mountaineers!”


Jake Preaskorn | Clarksburg, West Virginia | Notre Dame High School


100 breast 58.46
200 IM 1:52.43
Top Times 400 IM 4:04.43
200 back 1:52.18
100 back 52.72


Riggs on Preaskorn: “I feel Jake can develop into a very strong 200/400 IM specialist. Part of the strong West Virginian class Jake brings a tremendous desire to improve and compete at a high level. With his IM and strengths in both back and breast his development will be fun to watch.”


Preaskorn on West Virginia: “WVU offers everything I’m looking for academically and athletically. I’m so honored and excited to be apart of the WVU swimming family. Let’s go mountaineers!”


Daniel Rodriguez | Rock Island, Illinois | Black Hawk College


50 free 20.46
Top Times 100 free 45.60
100 fly 49.52


Riggs on Rodriquez: “Daniel comes to WVU from Black Hawk College and will have an immediate impact on our program. Daniel will be a great fit into our sprint program with his free and fly. I see Daniel helping our relays reach their goals right away.”


Rodriquez on West Virginia: “I picked WVU because after visiting the campus. I felt I really fit in and it was the right place to continue swimming and my education.”


Jake Williams | Marietta, Georgia | Walton High School


50 free :21.43
Top Times 100 free :47.57
200 free100 back

100 breast

200 IM





Riggs on Williams: “Jake is another very versatile swimmer in this class. What separated him right away with me was his questions and note taking on his visit. It showed wherever he ended up he was going to be a vested member of the program. Jake’s potential, along with his commitment to the sport, is what I am excited to see where that will take him in our program.”


Williams on West Virginia: “West Virginia offered me everything I was looking for: a coaching staff that cares for me and can further my athletic career, a team that I see as being a family, and an education that is unparalleled.  I’m excited to become a Mountaineer for the next four years!”


Grapner on the male divers: “Emmott and Austin both come in with extensive background in diving. They will merge into the team with three returning sophomore boys and round out the mens program with 5 divers. Next year will have its challenges, but I am confident that the results will show positive and the divers will be successful.”


Emmott Blitch | Phoenix, Arizona | Sunnyslope High School


Grapner on Blitch: “Emmott, brings an abundance of energy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude to the program. He is an outstanding performer on the diving boards and in the classroom. He was awarded WVU’s highest academic scholarship for nonresident students. Emmott also brings an in-depth diving background with experience on Tower and Springboard. He has been training with a competitive diving club which has taught him the mechanics and development necessary to become an outstanding college diver. I am very excited to have Emmott join the WVU Men’s diving squad next year.”



Austin Smith | Fishers, Indiana | Fishers High School


Grapner on Smith: “Austin, Yet another great student athlete to be joining the WVU diving squad. Austin came highly recommended to me from his coach and other coaches who know Austin. He is a very talented young diver with an opportunity to develop to be a very competitive diver in the BIG 12. Austin has experience competing tower and springboard and with his background in gymnastics he has all the ingredients to be an excellent tower diver.”


Swimming news courtesy of WVU Sports.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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