ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan women's swimming and diving team received six National Letters of Intent in the early signing period (Nov. 14-21). The group includes swimmers Kristyne Cole(Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer), Caitlyn Dauw(St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East), Liz Johnson(Milford, Mich./Milford), Liz Koselka(Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) and Alexa Mehesan(Des Moines, Iowa/ West Des Moines Valley) and diver Amanda Lohman(Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair).
"The most important thing in recruiting every year for us is bringing people to our program that get it the way we get it, who's values match-up with ours, who has a similar vision for how to go about swimming and being on a team and integrating that with an education," Michigan swimming head coach Jim Richardson said. "You are always fortunate when you find people like that who can swim, because they are going to bring, to the team, the elements that make our team great. Some of them happen to be really fast, and that means you are going to place higher and win a few more meets. Some of them aren't as fast, but they maintain the integrity of the program. So what the program is about doesn't fluctuate based on recruiting talent."
Koselka and Mehesan are both rated as three-star prospects on the Swimming World Magazine College Recruit Rankings.
Cole will join her sister, sophomore Leigh Cole(Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer), for the 2008-09 campaign. A freestyle swimmer that can be looked to in sprints, middle and distance events, Cole is a six-time state medalist and has a 200-yard freestyle state title to her name. Cole set the school record in the 500-yard freestyle and earned three relay state titles in the 2007 MHSAA Championships. She is coached at Pioneer by Dennis Hill and in Club Wolverine by Bailey Weathers.
"She's got really good speed and great range," Richardson said. "The last swimmer to swim (for U-M) with that kind of range was Amy McCullough (2002-05) and she went on to become an All-American. Kristyne's got a world of potential and she's already a very good swimmer -- I see some greatness in her."
Duaw, a sprinter, comes to Michigan from St. Charles, Ill. Dauw qualified for the Olympic trials next July in the 100-meter butterfly Her brother, Curtis, is a junior on the U-M men's swimming team and her parents, Mary (1978-79, 1981) and Mike (1980-81), also swam at Michigan. She has spent 10 years swimming with the St. Charles Swim Team under coach Joe Cabel.
"Her whole family has fast swimming genes," Richardson said. "Caitlyn has her best swimming in front of her. She is being well developed by her high school and club coaches now, and once she hits the college format that she's really going to shine."
Johnson, a four-time team captain at Milford, brings a strong 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke to Michigan. She finished second in the 100-yard backstroke and third in 100-yard freestyle last year. This year's MHSAA Division II championships produced a win in the 200-yard freestyle in which she dropped three seconds off of her personal best and a second place finish in the 100-yard backstroke in which she shaved a second off her top time. She is coached by Gary Tameris at Milford and in Club Wolverine by Bailey Weathers.
"Liz is just starting to come in to her own as a swimmer," Richardson said. "We are thinking that (her drops in time) are just the beginning of her moving up to becoming an elite level swimmer. She has the potential to be one of those people to come in relatively unheralded -- like an Ann Colloton (1987-90), Jennifer Eck (1987, 90), Alecia Humphery (1992-95) or a Jenny Alemida (1992-95) -- who were good swimmers who went on to become NCAA finalist and champions."
Koselka, the second Pioneer high school swimmer of the class, was a member of the 2007 USA Swimming National Junior Team. She finished second in state the 100- and 200-yard freestyles in 2006-07. Koselka and Kristyne Cole share the MHSAA state record for the 400-yard freestyle relay with current Wolverines Leigh Cole and Margaret Kelly(Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer). The foursome put together a 3:23.85 -- which would pass for an NCAA 'B' cut -- at the 2005 state finals. She is coached at Pioneer by Dennis Hill and in Club Wolverine by Bailey Weathers.
"She reminds me a lot of Lindsey Smith (2004-07) in her style of swimming -- except she's faster than Lindsey was in high school," Richardson said. "I think she is going to really blossom in this program and she is a great fit for us as a person as well as a swimmer."
Mehesan recently wrapped up the most decorated prep career in Iowa state history. She has collected 12 state titles during her four years at West Des Moines Valley, amassing the highest total for any swimmer in the states history. A three time Iowa Swimmer of the Year, Mehesan smashed her own state record in the 50-yard freestyle at the 2007 state championships, touching the wall in 22.92. That individual record added on to a 400-yard medley relay record she chalked up earlier in her final trip to the championships. She is coached by Mark Corley at Valley and in the Des Moines Swimming Federation by Kelly Nordell.
"A year ago, she was a diamond in the rough and then she exploded at her state meet a couple of weeks ago," Richardson said. "She is certainly the fastest freestyler we've recruited. She's got all of the tools that a great sprinter needs. We're excited about adding her to the program."
Lohman comes to Ann Arbor to help fill the void of three outgoing senior divers. A two-time WPIAL Class AAA champion off the one-meter springboard, Lohman finished fifth at the state meet as a sophomore. In addition to medaling for the third-straight year at the PIAA state championships, she also advanced to the 2007 Speedo Junior National Diving Championships this past summer. She was coached by Nick Wuchenick at Upper St. Clair High School and Doe Krug at the Pitt Aquatic Club.
"She has a great personality and will fit out team well with academics and her outgoingness," diving coach Chris Bergre said. "She is very athletic; she has got great pikes and is fast. She's also got good sense of rhythm and is really a good spring board diver."
The Wolverines, who travel to Ypsilanti, Mich. for the Eastern Michigan Invitational next weekend (Nov. 30-Dec. 1), will graduate six senior swimmers and three divers from this season's squad: Melissa Jaeger(Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer), Erica LaBont(Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional), Elyse Lee(Albion, Mich./Albion), Ashley McLaughlin(Monroe, Mich./Monroe), Wendy Shieh(Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron), Valeria Silva(Lima, Peru/Alexander Von Humboldt), Katie Skendrovic(Spring Lake, Mich./Spring Lake), Katie Smith(Plano, Texas/Hebron) and Michelle Uhlig(Boalsburg, Pa./State College Area).
Contact: Ryan Sosin (734) 763-4423