Nittany Lion Swimming & Diving Welcome 15 Newcomers for 2010-11
Jan. 12, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head Coach John Hargis was proud to announce the signing of 15 incoming student-athletes for the 2010-11 season on Tuesday. All told, seven men's will accompany eight women's swimmers next season in the most anticipated class of Hargis' tenure.
"As for both teams, we have a very deep group," Hargis said. "On the women's side I think we've got a lot of talent coming in. This is probably one of, if not the best, full depth class we've ever signed. It's got a couple of superstars but across the board it's a very, very good class. I think it's going to compliment well the [current] freshmen as well as the [current] sophomores.
For the women, assistant coach Liz Klink and Hargis teamed up to bring home stellar talent from the swimming hotbed of the American south, including Claire Singley (Southlake, Texas), Chelsea Howard (Durham, N.C.) and Leah Davis (N.C.).
Singley, a six-time All-American and 2008 Scholastic All-American, will help the Lions in distance events as well as the IM. Howard is a butterfly specialist who earned All-American accolades from 2007-09 while holding a number of records, including the state and high school regional marks in the 100 butterfly. Davis excels in the freestyle and breaststroke and garnered a number of school records as well, in the 100 breaststroke and 200 and 500 freestyle along with two relays (200 medley and 400 freestyle). She was also named All-Conference and All-State on several occasions.
Joining the trio of standouts are Becky Yokosh (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Mackenzie Powers (Sycamore, Ill.) and Hailey Campbell (Lakeville, Minn.), who are important recruits from Big Ten country.
Yokosh is a sprint freestyle and butterfly specialist, while Powers is a four-star recruit who swims in the butterfly and backstroke. She was a 2009 National Meet Qualifier and 2008 Olympic Trials Qualifier in the 100 butterfly.
Campbell, who adds depth in the backstroke and freestyle, earned All-American accolades as a junior and senior. She was also named the Lake Conference Swimmer of the Year those seasons and is the Lake Conference record holder in the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and a pair of freestyle relays.
The most-well rounded swimmers of the group are Chelsea Weedman (Poway, Calif.) of Pacific Swim Club and Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.). Both specialize in the IM and butterfly while Weedman adds the breaststroke and freestyle to her repertoire.
Weedman was a five-time individual champion who garnered a number of school and conference records. She was named her team's Rookie of the Year as a freshman while also earning team MVP twice.
Shishkoff earned All-State and All-Conference in each of her three seasons of competition. The two-time All-American in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle was also named team MVP her junior year.
"I think the best thing about this group of women is when they came on campus they fell in love with campus," Hargis added. "They fell in love with the academics, they fell in love with the athletics and they bought in to what we're trying to do."
On the men's side, the Hargis was able to sign six standout local products from Pennsylvania, while adding another budding recruit from Florida.
"From the men's standpoint, again we've got a very deep group. The thing that I really liked about the men was that we got a lot of Pennsylvania kids where we've struggled in the past. Pennsylvania is always one of the deepest states in terms of talent. We were actually, for the first time, able to retain a lot of the best kids in the state. That was what was exciting."
One of the top recruits in the state, Shane Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.), has decided to follow his bother, junior captain John Austin (Kennett Square, Pa.), and attend Penn State University. Austin is a standout sprint freestyle swimmer out of Golden Ram Aquatics in West Chester, Pa. under the direction of Scott Elliott. Currently, he holds the fastest 50, 100, and 200 freestyle swims in team history. In the high school ranks, Austin is already a seven-time All-American as well as a PIAA champion and record holder in the 100 free. He has served as captain of his team the past two seasons at Unionville High.
Other Philadelphia-area signees are Andrew Sideras (Philadelphia, Pa.), Tom Mershon (Malvern, Pa.), and James Wilson (Nottingham, Pa.), while Matt Salig (Downingtown, Pa.) and Sean Grier (Hummelstown, Pa.) round out the Pennsylvania contingent. John Silvers (Bradenton, Fla.) of the Sarasota Sharks is the lone non-Keystone State signee for the Nittany Lions.
Sideras joins Austin as a sprint free specialist while adding the butterfly to his docket. A 2009-10 Scholastic All-American with the Lower Moreland swim club, Sideras is a seven-time All-American. A teammate of current Nittany Lion Ted Walker (Philadelphia, Pa.) at La Salle College High, Sideras finished third in the PIAA 100 free, while also earning All-State honors in the 50 free, 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Other butterfly swimmers in the class include Mershon, who is also a backstroke and IM specialist, Salig, also an IM swimmer, and Grier, who adds the backstroke to his abilities as well.
Mershon, out of Philadelphia, is a two-time Inter AC team Champion while being named All-Inter AC and All-American in high school under the coaching of Paul Hornsleth and Jay Schiller. Currently, Mershon plies his trade on the club level with Upper Main Line YMCA coached by Glenn Neufeld. Mershon is a five-time YMCA National Chapmion, holding three long course YMCA national records while also being a junior national qualifier.
Salig also comes from the Upper Main Line YMCA with Mershon having been a long course champion this past year in the 200 IM and five other relays. In high school, Salig comes to Penn State with five All-American distinctions.
Grier is a member of the Hershey Aquatic Club under the direction of Greg Fastrich, who serves as his high school coach as well. Grier is an All-Conference, All-State and All-America swimmer from the Hershey area where his team has won four conference titles, three district titles and two PIAA championships. Grier has competed in the NCSA junior nationals as well as the USA junior national championships.
Silvers provides important depth in the distance freestyle events, while Wilson is an IM and breaststroke swimmer that will further bolster the Penn State rotation.
Silvers has Pennsylvania roots as a native of Reading, Pa. For the Sarasota (Fla.) Sharks, he had first-place times in the men's 16 YMCA short-course 500, 1,000, and 1,650 freestyle events. At Lakewood Ranch High, Silvers has been swim team captain every year and holds the school records in the 200 and 500 freestyle events as well as the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. He is a two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American (2007-09, 08-09) as well as a 2009 NISCA/Speedo All-American in the 500 free.
Wilson swims for the Suburban Seahawks under Charlie Kennedy, earning high school All-America status en route to being a junior national finalist and USA national qualifier. A multi-sport athlete, Wilson is a four-time letterwinner in swimming and golf. Additionally, Wilson participated in the PIAA Championships the last three years.
"On the men's side, we needed everything," Hargis said. "We got a lot of very good speed. We've got a lot of good butterfly. We've got a lot of good middle-distance freestyle. We picked up a breaststroker and an IMer."
The Nittany Lions are currently preparing for a meet in Pittsburgh starting Friday night. Both Penn State squads will take on the host Pitt and Maryland, while the women will also face Villanova. For all the results from Pittsburgh, check GoPSUsports.com this weekend.