Nov. 28, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan head swimming coach Mike Bottom and diving coach KZ Li announced Wednesday (Nov. 28) the signing of nine standouts to National Letters of Intent for the 2013-14 season. The signees include swimmer Julian Ballestas (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit), Jason Chen (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley), Colin Eaton (Gresham, Ore./Corbett), Jackson Goethe (Midland, Mich./H.H. Dow), Bryan Hughes (Modesto, Calif./Amador Valley), Jack Mangan (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier), Cameron Stitt (Portland, Ore./Sunset), Vinny Tafuto (Hummelstown, Pa./Hershey) and diver Ryan O'Donnell (Clarendon Hills, Ill./Hinsdale Central).
"This is a group of guys with high potential and great heart," Bottom said. "They are competitors in the truest sense. Combined with our current culture, we would expect they'll be producing at a high level within two years."
"Ryan is a very good diver and is a great addition to our team," Li said. "He's only been diving for two years, so he's still pretty new to the sport, but at the same time, he has a ton of potential. We think Ryan can score points for us at Big Tens and NCAAs in the future."
Ballestas swims club for the Metro Aquatic Club of Miami and is primarily a sprint and middle-distance freestyle swimmer. He is the No. 120-ranked swimmer in the country and No. 12 in the state of Florida by CollegeSwimming.com He is a multiple Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) Class 2A state champion, most recently winning three titles at the 2012 state meet, leading Belen Jesuit to the team championship earlier this month. He won the 200-yard freestyle, contributed to titles on the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay, and also finished second in the 100-yard freestyle. Ballestas has an All-American consideration time in the 200-yard freestyle and will swim at the 2013 Summer National Championships.
Chen swims for the Pleasanton Seahawks Aquatic Club and mainly focuses on the backstroke. He is a high school teammate of fellow signee Bryan Hughes. He finished 11th in the 100-meter backstroke and 21st in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships.
Eaton primarily works in the sprint freestyle races, but can also swim the butterfly. He swims for Mount Hood Aquatics Club. Eaton is ranked as the No. 3 swimmer in the state of Oregon according to CollegeSwimming.com. He is a five-time Oregon State (OSAA) champion, and holds high school state records in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. He swam at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and 2011 Speedo Short Course Junior National Championships and was also a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.
Goethe is the only Michigan native in this year's class, specializing in the sprint freestyle races for Kronos Aquatics Club. He is ranked as the No. 8 swimmer in the state of Michigan, according to CollegeSwimming.com. At the 2012 MHSAA D-II state championships, Goethe won the title in the 50-yard freestyle and finished second in the 100-yard freestyle. He also attended the 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships, swimming the 50-meter freestyle.
Hughes is a multiple-event swimmer for the Crow Canyon Country Club Sharks. He is a high school teammate of fellow signee Jason Chen. Hughes is the No. 123-ranked swimmer in the country and No. 16 in the state of California by CollegeSwimming.com. He finished 11th in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships. Hughes was a four-time NISCA All-American in 2011-12.
Mangan swims club for New Trier Swim Club, focusing on the sprint freestyle and backstroke events. He is the No. 46-ranked swimmer in the country and No. 4 in the state of Illinois, according to CollegeSwimming.com. Mangan swam at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke. He is a six-time All-American and a member of the NCSA All-America team. He was a part of the 200-yard medley relay team that set the national 15-18 age group record. Mangan was also a 2011-12 USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.
Stitt competes for Tualatin Hills Swim Club, mainly competing in distance events. He is the No. 76-ranked swimmer in the country and No. 2 in the state of Oregon according to CollegeSwimming.com. Stitt is a two-time Oregon State (OSAA) champion in the 500-yard freestyle and qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. He was a USA Sectional qualifier in 2011 and was a finalist in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships.
Tafuto swims for the Hershey Aquatics Club, specializing in the sprint freestyle events. He is the No. 116-ranked swimmer in the country and No. 1 in the state of Pennsylvania by CollegeSwimming.com. Tafuto had the fifth-fastest time in the 50-yard freestyle at the 2012 Pennsylvania state championships.
O'Donnell is the only diver in this year's class, but has extensive national competition experience, competing with Glenbrook Aquatics Diving Club. He finished third on both one-meter and three-meter at the 2011 AAU Diving National Championships, and followed that up with a fourth-place finish on one-meter, eighth-place finish on three-meter and 12th place finish on platform at the same event in 2012. He also won both events at the 2012 Illinois Diving Association Championships, and finished 11th on one-meter at the 2012 IHSA State Championships, though he missed time due to injury. He is a two-time AAU All-American on one-meter and three-meter, and also received All-American honors in synchronized diving and platform diving in 2012.
Michigan graduates seven student-athletes at the end of the year, including Ryan Feeley (Rye, N.Y./Rye), Sean Fletcher (Vienna, Va./James Madison), Roman Willets (Whitehouse, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales), Evan Gregg (Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg), Connor McCarroll (Portland, Ore./Jesuit), Andrew Novakoff (Lighthouse Point, Fla./Pine Crest) and Miguel Ortiz (Tokyo, Japan/St. Mary's International). The collegiate eligibility for graduate student Zachary Turk (Akron, Ohio/St. Edwards) will also be exhausted.
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423