May 30, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Since the Tulane University women's swimming and diving program was reinstated for the 2009-10 season, the Green Wave team has accomplished several "firsts". By inking nine incoming freshmen to National Letters of Intent during the 2012 NCAA Signing Period, head coach Lena Guarriello added another first to her resume as Tulane will field its first four-year class in over two decades.
Joining the Green Wave for next year are Elizabeth Cook (Texarkana, Texas/Texas HS), Holly Grender (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton HS), Harley Jackson (Goshen, Ky./South Oldham HS), Emily Josef (Corte Madera, Calif./Redwood HS), Maren Kjell (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo HS), Anna Lewis Matson (Germantown, Tenn./St. George's School), Roni Meyer (El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills HS), Mia Schachter (Arroyo Grande, Calif./Arroyo Grande HS) and Rachel Schneider (Medina, Wash./Bellevue HS).
The 2012-13 season will mark the first time the program will feature a full four-year recruiting class since the program was dropped in 1990. Tulane reinstated the program for the 2003-04 season and the team took the pool for the next three seasons until the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina forced the University to suspend operations following the 2005-06 schedule.
"Overall, this is a very well-rounded class that we have brought in to complete our program," Guarriello said. "They are the final component to completing this program and will have an immediate impact on our team as well as our conference. We are looking to these young women to fill some big shoes in the next year and I expect that they will rise to the occasion. I can't speak highly enough of this class. They are gifted both athletically and academically. I'm ready to get them here and start next season with freshmen through seniors for the first time in over 20 years."
Cook is a four-year letterwinner from Texas High for coach Carl Auel. She earned first-team 4A all-state honors in the 100 back her final three seasons, the 200 medley relay as a freshman and senior, and the 200 free and 400 free relays as a freshman. Cook claimed Most Valuable Freshman honors in 2009 while claiming Most Valuable Female Swimmer recognition and being named team captain as a senior.
Away from the pool, Cook was a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Mu Alpha Theta, Quill and Scroll Journalism Honor Society and Rosebuds Service Organization while serving as the managing editor of the Tiger Times Newspaper staff and the reporter for the Calculus Club.
"Elizabeth has made some remarkable improvements over the last year," Guarriello said. "We had the opportunity to see her compete at the Texas High School State Meet in Austin this February and her competitive drive is remarkable. She'll add some depth to an already impressive group of backstrokers."
Grender - a second-generation Tulanian whose father, Andy, swam for the Green Wave - comes to Tulane following a four-year stint at Princeton High for coach Chris Wolford. She was a Scholastic All-American in 2011 and 2012 and was named team MVP of each year.
She set PHS records in 100 back, 200 free and 500 free, finished 15th in state in 200 free in 2012, and was an Ohio state qualifier in 100 back and 200 free as well as 400 free relay in 2011. Grender also earned three varsity letters in tennis. Away from the pool, she was a member of the National Honor Society and served as president of the Student Council.
"We're excited to have Holly as a part of our program next year," Guarriello said. "Holly comes from an impressive club team and she'll make a positive impression in our backstroke group both as a training partner and as a competitor. I'll also be looking to Holly to fortify our middle distance freestyle group."
Jackson joins the Green Wave program following four stellar seasons at South Oldham High where she was a 10-time KHSAA state qualifier and was a Regionl II finalist in the 500 free as a junior and senior. She was named the 2010 and 2011 Oldham County Athlete of the Year, claimed Scholastic All-America honors and was named MVP of her prep team as a freshman.
She set school records in the 100 breast, 200 IM, 200 free and 500 free while helping establish a pair of relay records. Jackson was a finalist at the Speedo Championship Series Southern Zone Eastern Region in the 200 breast in 2010 and 2011 and posted lifetime best times of 5:06.45 in the 500 free, 2:25.63 in the 200breast, 1:08.35 in the 100 breast, 17:38.64 in 1650 free.
Away from the pool, Jackson was a member of Mu Alpha Theta and ranked second in graduating class of 371 with AP Scholar distinction. She also served as the junior class president, co-editor of the yearbook and co-president of the French Club.
"Harley was a great surprise to our group of spring recruits," Guarriello said. "She's versatile and will really help us in the 200 breaststroke as well as middle to long distance freestyle. She's tenacious and ready to compete wherever we need her. One of the things I am most impressed by with Harley is her excitement to train at the Division I level."
Josef is a three-year letterwinner from Redwood High for coach David Winters where she was voted team captain as a senior. She earned All-America honors in the 200 medley relay in 2009 when she helped set a Marin County Athletic League record with a 31.1 breaststroke split en route to a 1:47.09 finish.
A sectional qualifier for the Speedo Championship Series and North Coast from 2009-11, Josef finished second in the MCALS in the 100 breast in 2009 and third in the 100 breast in 2011 She also swam for the Bay and Ocean State Squids before becoming a member of Marin Pirates for coach Warren Lager, and participated in the 2001 JCC Macabia Games Summer for the San Francisco delegation and won nine medals - six individual, three relay. Away from the pool, Josef was a member of the Redwood Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation
"Emily will be adding some much needed depth to our breaststroke group," Guarriello said. "She was the first of this class to visit Tulane and we're ready to start working with her."
Matson earned four varsity letters at St. George's for coach Rob Snowberger where she was an All-Metro Girls Swim Team member for Shelby County from 2010-12. She was named Commercial Appeal "Best of the Preps" All-Metro Team her final three season, including being named a finalist as a senior. She was her team's top female point scorer 2010-12, qualified for the 2010 Southeastern All-Star Championship Zone Team, claimed Scholastic All-America recogntion in 2011 and served as team captain of prep and club team in 2012.
Away from the pool, Matson was a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Junior Classical League Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society, and was an AP Scholar.
"Anna Lewis is just raw talent waiting to be molded," Guarriello said. "She's competitive sprinter and ready to fight for some relay positions this year. She hasn't been swimming long and we've got a lot of work to do with her, but I expect some great things very early on with Anna Lewis."
Meyer swam for coach Cathy Elgas at Granite Hills High for four years and earned league championships in the 200 and 500 free from 2009-11. She finished third in the CIF in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free in 2009 while posting third-place showing sin the 200 and 500 free in both 2010 and 2011. A second-team All-CIF honoree in 2010-11, Meyer was named first-team Union Tribune All-Academic in 2011, Grossmont Hills League Female Swimmer of the Year in 2010, and a 2010 and 2011 Scholastic All-American.
She helped set school record in 4x50 free relay and 4x100 free relays and posted an All-American cut in the 500 free in 2010. Meyer was tabbed 2009 Granite Hills Female Freshman of the Year, 2010 Granite Hills Female Sophomore Athlete of the Year and 2011 Top 6 Granite Hills Female Junior Athlete of the Year
In addition to her prep accomplishments, Meyer also swam for the Heartland Swim Association and coach Pat Tope where she claimed Most Valuable honors in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and picked up Pride Award in 2005, 2008 and 2010. She posted San Diego-Imperial Zones Team in 2007 and 2008, was tabbed the Florence Chadwick Award winner and earned Club Team Swim of the Year.
Away from the pool, Meyer was a three-year member of the Key Club, two-year member of the California Scholarship Federation, served as the CSF vice president in 2012 and was a Freshman Mentor her final two prep seasons.
"I expect Roni to become an instant leader in our distance group," Guarriello said. "One of the greatest things about Roni is that I'm really familiar with the type and level of training that she brings to Tulane. Roni comes from a small team that is great at developing good college swimmers. She's tough and versatile and that will take her a long way in our conference."
Schachter, meanwhile, was a four-year letterwinner at Arroyo Grande High for coach Claudia Souder where she was voted team captain as a senior. She won the female championship at Clovis West Invitational as a senior, placed in top eight every year at the CIF, earned All-America honors in each of her final three prep seasons, and set all but three of the school's swimming records.
Away from the pool, Schachter was a member of the Red Cross Club and Interact Club all four years.
"We have been interested in recruiting Mia for about a year now and our level of interest improved tremendously when we had an opportunity to see her race last summer at Junior Nationals," Guarriello said. "Mia is competitive and will be one of our top sprinters coming in as a freshman. Mia will have an immediate impact on our relays as well as our IM group."
Rounding out the list of swimming signees is Schneider, who is a four-year letterwinner at Bellevue High School for coach Lisa Van Loben Sels. A four-time first-team All-KingCo Conference honoree, Schneider claimed team MVP honors and earned the Coaches Award in 2008 , and was named team captain as a senior.
Schneider placed in top eight at the WIAA 3A state championships six times individually and 14 times overall. As a senior, she finished third in the 200 and 500 free at the state meet while posting a third-place showing in the 500 free as a sophomore. Schneider helped lead the Wolverines to the KingCo Conference title and fourth-place finishes in the state championship each year as a prepster.
She also swam for Chinook Aquatic Club for coach Kevin O'Shea where she was a Senior Sectional qualifier and posted the second-fastest times in the 200, 500 and 1650 free in club history for 15-16 year olds. Away from the pool, Schneider was an AP Scholar, claimed WIAA Scholar Athlete recognition from 2008-11 and was named both SeaKing and Bellevue High Scholar Athlete honors in 2011.
"Like Roni, Rachel will be joining our distance group," Guarriello said. "Rachel is a true distance swimmer that will have the ability to become a team leader as early as her first semester her at Tulane."
Kjell, the lone diver to sign with Tulane for the upcoming year, lettered four seasons at Campolindo High for coach Marie Estorge. She won league meet and made both cuts in sectionals as a freshman. Away from the pool, Kjell was a Bronze, Silver and Gold Award recipient as a member of the Girl Scouts.
"Maren is a top-class recruit who has a bright future both in the pool and in the classroom," Tulane diving coach Justin Montrie said. "I'm excited to bring on such a rising star. I think Maren has the potential to be a scorer for us within the first year on the conference level. Speaking with her, it is clear that this young woman has a drive to compete. She has a strong hurdle and well-trained fundamentals. We will work this summer towards her first Senior Zones/Nationals and bolster her platform take-offs. Maren has a fantastic approach to success and teamwork."
The nine newcomers will join a Tulane program that is expected to return 22 letterwinners from last year's squad. In addition to the incoming freshmen, the 2012-13 Green Wave roster will also feature the talents of seniors Kayla Alf-Huynh, Kristin Ates, Gisele Calderon, Erin Cunningham, Jillian Daleiden, Allie Evans, Kristine Gu, Rebekah Harris, Emily Needham, Lauren Pfohl, Grace Tarka and Elizabeth Whitaker, juniors Cari Caprio, Caitlin Corcoran, Sadie Eicher and Rachel Ranson, and sophomores Rebecca Dugan, Morgan Evans, Molly Jubas, Vanessa Loewen, Amy Needham, Claire Schelske, Laura Turpen.