Dec. 17, 2010
Also: Women's Swimming & Diving Adds Six Recruits for 2011-12
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Head Coach John Hargis has announced the addition of five standout recruits who will begin competing for the Penn State men's swimming & diving program starting with the 2011-12 season.
Ian Decker, Jonathan Ekstrom, Kurt Ratcliff, Nate Savoy, and Pierre Keune will join the storied Penn State program next year. A diverse group of athletes spanning three states and two countries, the five student-athletes come to Happy Valley looking to make an impact right from the start.
"The whole class is made up of immediate-impact guys," said Hargis. "They were so impressed with Penn State and our team. They're very goal-driven athletes, and they're excited for the future of Penn State men's swimming. They're all going to play a major role in the direction that we're going. Getting them from the clubs, schools, and communities that we got them from and the character that these kids are coming in with really has us excited."
Along with Hargis, the entire swimming staff at Penn State worked tirelessly to put together a recruiting class that looks to serve as a cornerstone of the Nittany Lion program in the coming years.
"Recruiting is a full-time job," said Hargis. "I want to commend the staff that I have, from Aaron Workman, our men's recruiting coordinator, to Liz Klink, our women's recruiting coordinator, and really, our entire staff for the hours that they've put in. They put in the time to assemble a class that we think is really going to help us jump back on the national scene. We're very excited for these young people coming in, and we're very excited for them to be part of the blue and white."
PSU Men's Swimming & Diving Recruits
Hometown: Fairfax, Va.
High School: Bishop O'Connell
Club: Curl-Burke Swim Club
Club Coach: John Flanagan
Intended Major: Business
Honors & Highlights: Won Metro Conference 50 free title in 2009-10...Placed third at Metros in 200 free in 2009-10...Earned All-America consideration for the 2009-10 500 free...Placed second in the 500 free at National Catholics (2009-10)...Named team MVP in 2009-10, serving as team captain in 2010-11...Competed in the 2009 and 2010 junior national meet as well as the 2010 Super Sectionals.
Decker on Penn State: "I chose Penn State because of the school's great academics, spirit, and reputation. Also, the swim team shares a bond to one another that is rare to come by in a sport like swimming."
Hargis on Decker: "The upside with Ian is pretty exciting. The more we watch him improve, the more we realize he's somebody who's going to come in and make an immediate impact in areas that I think we need an impact in. We're pretty excited about Ian. It'll be fun to get him on campus and see what he can do."
Silver Spring, Md.
Rockville Montgomery Swim Club
Scott Vekeman, Dave Crocker
Honors & Highlights:
Member of the current USA Swimming Virtual Club Swimming champions...Earned four high school All-American honors in 2010 (100 back, 200 IM, 200 medley relay, 400 free relay)...Member of the 2009 All-American 400 free relay squad...Named 2010 Washington Post Boys' Swimmer of the Year...Named to the Washington Post All-Met First Team in 2010 while gathering first-team honors from the All-Gazette Boys' Swimming Team, All-IAC, and All-WMPSSDL...Named a Scholastic All-American for 4.0 GPA in 2009...Competed in the short and long course junior nationals in 2009 as well as the NCSA junior nationals...In 2010, finished seventh (200 back), ninth (200 IM), 17th (100 back), 18th (200 breast) and 27th (50 back) at the NCSA Junior National meet...Competed in the 2010 ConocoPhillips National Championships.
Ekstrom on Penn State:
"I chose Penn State because the great coaches, a great team and great academics made it the perfect fit for me."
Hargis on Ekstrom:
"Jonathan is going to come in and help us with everything from backstrokes to breaststrokes to IM. He's very versatile and can swim pretty much anything, which has us pretty excited. He's a kid who is on the upswing. What we think he can do at the Big Ten and NCAA level is pretty special. We're excited to get him on campus and have him as part of the Penn State family."
Hometown: Centreville, Va.
High School: Westfield
Club: Curl Burke Swim Club
Club Coach: John Flanagan
Intended Major: Business
Honors & Highlights: Three-time USA Swimming Top 10 in the 200 butterfly (2006, 2008, 2009)...Earned 2006 and 2009 Potomac Valley Swimmer of the Year honors...2009 Virginia States Open Water Champion...Member of the Curl Burke National Team since 2008...Owns five 100 All-Time Top Times in USA Swimming during the 2010 season...Named to the Washington Post All-Met swimming team with honorable mention (2009, 2010)...Named 2010 Scholar Athlete...Earned 2009 and 2010 All-Concorde District Team accolades...Earned high school All-American honors in the 2009 100 butterfly...Owns Westfield High School 500 free record (2010) as well was the 100 fly record set in 2009...Named Westfield Rookie of the Year in 2008...Garnered Westfield MVP honors in 2010.
Ratcliff on Penn State: "I chose Penn State because everybody on the team and the coaches are all motivated to win. Also, I loved the campus and spirit."
Hargis on Ratcliff: "Kurt is going to be a good 200-, 500-freestyle type guy and possibly up to the mile. He's coming in with a dedication to get us to the next level. He understands what we're doing here and how we're building it. He's pretty excited to be a part of it, just like we're excited to have him be a part of it."
Hometown: Reading, Pa.
High School: Wilson
Intended Major: Engineering
Honors & Highlights: Earned All-America, All-State, All-Conference, All-District and All-League honors in the 100 free, 100 back, 200 IM, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay...Three-time PIAA gold medalist and a two-time silver medalist...Member of the 2008 PIAA State Champions at Wilson...Member of the state record-holding 400 free relay...Holds Wilson records for 200 IM, 100 free, 400 free relay and 200 medley relay...Captained team in 2009-10...Named USA Swimming All-American as well as All-State, All-Conference, All-District in 100 back, 200 IM, 400 free relay and 200 medley relay during the 2009-10 season.
Savoy on Penn State: "I chose Penn State because I really connected with the team and coaches. I have dreamed about going to Penn State since I was little and my dad took us to football games. Also, the engineering program cannot be matched."
Hargis on Savoy: Nate is one of the top kids in the state of Pennsylvania. We always enjoy keeping kids in the state. What he's able to do in the water in multiple events is pretty special. He's going to come in and have a huge impact in multiple events and multiple relays. We're excited to keep top talent in Pennsylvania."
Hometown: Rooderkraans, South Africa
High School: Tuks Sport School
Club: Players Academies
Club Coach: Nenad Milos, Ryk Neethling
Intended Major: Undecided
Honors & Highlights: Member of the second-place 400 medley relay and third-place 400 freestyle relay at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games...Placed third on the 400 free relay at the 2009 Youth Olympics...Won the 50 and 100 free events while taking place in the 50 and 100 fly at the 2008 Level 3 Championships...Set the 50 fly record for 17-18 year age group in South Africa...Participated in the 2010 Youth Olympics.
Keune on Penn State: "I chose Penn State because of its high academics, helpful and friendly staff as well as being part of the team and its amazing spirit."
Hargis on Keune: "Pierre is a great sprinter, and he's very excited to have the opportunity to come to Penn State University for an American education. He's on the national junior team in South Africa. His coach speaks the world of Pierre, and what he thinks Pierre can do at the college level gets us very excited."