Wolverines Sign Six for 2009-10 Season

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's swimming and diving head coach Jim Richardson announced the signing of six future Wolverine women's swimmers Friday (Nov. 21) as Ashley Cohagen(Ann Arbor, Mich.), Julia Andracki(Arlington Heights, Ill.), Mattie Kukors(Aurora, Wash.), Melissa Lang(Edison, N.J.), Kally Fayhee(North Aurora, Ill.) and Deidre Jones(Nashville, Tenn.) all signed National Letters of Intent. All six swimmers will join the Wolverines for the 2009-2010 season.

"This is one of the better classes we have ever recruited," said Richardson. "They are all going to be impact swimmers immediately in the program. They are all very solid swimmers and the ones who aren't quite as fast yet, they have tremendous potential for improvement which is one of the things we really look for in recruitment. We have been fortunate that probably 95 percent of our swimmers swim appreciably faster once they come here, so we try to keep our eyes open for people that haven't been burnt out or tapped out and still have room for improvement."

Cohagen, an Ann Arbor native, will be very familiar with her surroundings in Canham Natatorium as she trains with coach Bailey Weathers and Club Wolverine. A Pioneer High School senior, Cohagen qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 200-meter backstroke. She is a nine-time All-American and a six-time Michigan state champion, including both the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke in 2007. Cohagen will swim the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events as well as the 100-yard butterfly for the Wolverines.

"Ashley is an Olympic trials qualifier in the 200-meter backstroke and she is a very good 100-yard backstroker and a good 100-yard butterflyer, so she is going to give us a lot of help in a wide variety of stroke events next season," said Richardson.

Andracki, a Prospect High School senior from Arlington Heights, Ill., trains with coach Mary Ruffin, a former Jim Richardson swimmer, and the Arlington Alligators. Andracki qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 100-meter breaststroke, filling one of Michigan's bigger needs for this class. Andracki, a high school All-American, will swim both the breaststroke events for the Wolverines.

"Julia is an Olympic trials qualifier in the 100 breaststroke, and the 200 breaststroke is becoming a strong event for her. She is the fastest 100 breaststroke swimmer we have recruited here at Michigan from a long-course perspective. We are looking forward to working with her," said Richardson.

Kukors, an Auburn Mountainview senior from Aurora, Wash., trains at King County Aquatics with coach Sean Hutchinson. Kukors qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in both the 200- and 400-meter individual medley as well as the 200-meter freestyle. Kukors will follow her sisters Emily and Ariana into Division I swimming. Emily was a 19-time All-American at Auburn University where she swam from 2004-2008, while Ariana was a two-time All-American last year in her freshman season at Washington. Kukors, an accomplished individual medley swimmer, will swim both the 200- and 400-yard IM as well as the 200 in several different strokes.

"Mattie is one of the strongest individual medley swimmers that we have ever recruited here at Michigan. She comes from a great swimming family and we think she has the ability to swim at the highest level," said Richardson.

Lang, a Bishop George Ahr High School senior from Edison, N.J., trains with coach Tom Speedling at the Scarlet Aquatic Club. Lang holds the 13-14 New Jersey state record for the 200-yard breaststroke and is a high school All-American. Lang is the second breaststroker signed by Richardson and will contribute in both the breaststroke events.

"Missy is a great breaststroker; she is going to give us a lot of help in the 100 breaststroke, the 200 breaststroke and possibly the 200 IM. Also, she is a really good athlete, which means that she may have other events that may surface," said Richardson.

Fayhee, a Rosary High School senior from North Aurora, Ill., trains with the Academy Bullets and coach Bill Schalz. A three-year letterwinner, Fayhee is the 2007 Illinois State champion in the 500-yard freestyle. At the NCSA Junior Nationals, Fayhee finished ninth in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

"Kally is a junior national qualifier in the distance freestyles and swims really well from the 1,650 all the way down to the 200. She is going to give us a lot of help in a broad range of freestyle events. With our better distance freestylers being older she is definitely a good addition to the program," said Richardson.

Jones, a University School of Nashville senior from Nashville, Tenn., trains at Nashville Aquatic with coach John Morse. Jones is an All-American in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle and is an IMX Champion.

"Deidre is a developing freestyler who can handle everything from the 50 to the 500. I think she is going to be one of those people who everyone wonders where she came from. She has a lot of potential for improvement," said Richardson.

Contact: Joe Arancio (734) 764-4423