Dec. 4, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah swimming and diving team signed 19 athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, head coach Joe Dykstra announced.
The Utes signed nine to the women's team: Shayla Archer (Bainbridge Island, Wash.), Dorien Butter (Cairo, Egypt), Sophie Fiscella (Valencia, Calif.), Lauren Hall (Pleasanton, Calif.), Megan Kawaguchi (Normandy Park, Wash.), Jenna Marsh (Billings, Mont.), Maddie Meisel (Long Beach, Calif.), Hailey Pabst (Logan, Utah), and Kat Wickham (Palm Springs, Calif.).
The men's team added 11 swimmers: Sean Bloore (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Jay Bolinger (Allen, Texas), Jack Burton (Ringwood, Hants, Great Britain), Peter Kotson (Helena, Mont.), Austin Phillips (Centennial, Colo.), Benjamin Scott (Steilacoom, Wash.), Keith Schendel (Seattle, Wash.), Brandon Shreeve (Corvallis, Ore.), Niksa Stojkovski (Oslo, Norway), Chris Taber (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), and Ganem Tebet (Murrieta, Calif.).
"I am absolutely thrilled with this recruiting class," Dykstra said. "Coming in to this program last spring I knew recruiting had to be made the absolute highest priority for us to move up both in the Pac-12 and nationally. I am really proud of all the hard work my staff put in through the summer and fall to secure this group. It has to be one of the best recruit classes in Utah history both in terms of top line quality and incredible depth. This group will completely remake our roster for the 14-15 season and beyond, and will propel us up the national rankings. It is a rare thing to sign 19 swimmers and a diver all in one fall signing period, but it goes to show that there is excitement about Utah swimming and diving among prospects, and that we've got one of the hardest working coaching staffs out there. GO UTES!"
The class includes 18 swimmers and one diver, and hails from four countries and seven states.
Including the 2013 recruiting class, which also signed 19 swimmers, Dykstra has brought 38 new athletes into the program in his first year as head coach.
Continue below to read more about each athlete.
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, Wash.
High School: Bainbridge High School
High School Coach: Greg Colby
Club Coach: Carolyn Ackerley
Accomplishments: Five time state champion, including back-to-back individual titles in the 100 back, and three consecutive titles as the leadoff on the 200 medley relay ... USA Swimming Junior National and National qualifier in the 100 back ... high school team captain ... school record holder in the 100 backstroke and 200 medley relay, and Ironwoman (qualified for state in all events).
Why I chose Utah: "Utah's campus, facilities, and welcoming coaching staff and team members made me a tough sell to anywhere else. Getting to see just a glimpse of all of those wonderful qualities in a mere 48 hours and loving it makes me eager to dive in next fall."
Best Events: 50 back (25.84); 100 back (56.18); 200 IM (2:08.55); 50 free (24.01- relay); 200 free (1:56.84).
Chose Utah over: Denver, Purdue, LSU
Coach Dykstra on Shayla: "Shayla is a great fit for our program. When she was here on her visit it felt so natural, as if she had already been in our program. There have been some very good swimmers out of Bainbridge Island who have all gotten a lot faster in college and we expect exactly the same from Shayla."
Hometown: Dutch by nationality, born in Oman, living in Egypt, and have moved all around the world.
High School: Cairo American College (Egypt)
High School Coach: Coach Sayed Hassan and Coach Char Webb
Club Team: Fox Team Swimming (Egypt) and Racing Club (The Netherlands)
Club Coach: Coach Omar Taalab (Egyptian) and Lars Wouters (Dutch)
Accomplishments: International School Sports Tournament (ISST) Swimming Championship Junior Varsity 50 and 100 free records and Varsity 100 breast and 200 IM records ... Junior Varsity MVP (2011), and Varsity MVP (2012, 2013) ... participated in Dutch Nationals, Egyptian Nationals, and Swim Cup multiple times ... 2013 World Cup (Eindhoven).
Why I chose Utah: "I was, and still am amazed with the athletic facilities and program at Utah. It seems like a place I will be able to excel, both academically and athletically. The coaches seem really friendly and fun, and as for the team, it seems like they are very close knit and it's almost like a big family, which is really what I was looking for. The idea of being able to compete in Pac-12, both with and against some of the best swimmers in the world, is incredibly exciting and motivating. Overall, I could not be more thrilled to be able to swim for Utah."
Best Events: 100 free (LCM: 58.08, SCY 51.34); 50 free (LCM: 26.87, SCY 23.47); 200 free (SCM: 2:05.02, SCY 1:52.83); 200 IM (LCM: 2:25.93, SCY 2:07.98).
Chose Utah over: BYU, Missouri State, Ohio, Toledo
Coach Dykstra on Dorien: "I am so excited to welcome Dorien to Utah next fall. She obviously has a unique background living in the Middle East and North Africa, and having spent time training and competing in The Netherlands and here in the US. Her times to date don't really tell the story of how good I think Dorien can be. When she arrives next fall and gets into our sprint program the sky is the limit as to what she can achieve."
Hometown: Valencia, Calif.
High School: Valencia High School
High School Coach: Mike Bechtholdt
Club Team: Canyons Aquatic Club
Club Coach: Coley Stickels
Accomplishments: Junior National Qualifier ... third place in 100 back at D1 CIF High School Finals ... in Hall of Fame at Valencia High School three times ... league champion in 100 back last two years.
Why I chose Utah: "I choose Utah because of the new age coaching techniques, sprint group especially. I love the coaching staff as a whole and how they work as a unit. I was very impressed with the sports medicine program and the academic support that is provided. The campus was absolutely beautiful and the facilities are very impressive. I had an immediate connection with the team because all the girls are fun loving, very motivating, and down to earth! I would say the real reason I chose Utah is because winning is top of mind and they have a lot of full hearted passion for what they do. :)"
Best Events: 50 free (23.96); 100 free (51.96); 100 Back (56.52).
Chose Utah Over: San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara, Wyoming
Coach Dykstra on Sophie: "Sophie is another talented, athletic sprinter that will add great depth and versatility to our women's lineup for the next four years. She is going to continue to get better and better during her collegiate years."
Hometown: Pleasanton, Calif.
Club Team: Santa Clara Diving Club
Accomplishments: Junior National Qualifier in 2011 and 2012 ... bronze medalist at 2013 Age Group Nationals on 1-meter.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose Utah because the team atmosphere was extremely close which was something I was looking for and the challenge of diving at a Pac-12 school is something that also pushed me to choose Utah!"
Diving Coach Richard Marschner on Lauren: "Lauren is an extremely talented diver. Couple that with her strong work ethic and her desire to be a true team player makes her a perfect fit for us. I believe she is one of those athletes that will really surprise people as her college career progresses."
Hometown: Normandy Park, Wash.
High School: Mount Rainier High School
High School Coach: Chris Veraya
Club Team: WhiteWater Aquatics
Club Coach: Joel Schweiger
Accomplishments: Scholastic All American ... USA Swimming Junior National Qualifier ... All American Consideration in 2011 and 2013.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose the University of Utah because I fell in love with the beautiful campus, the coaching staff is awesome and I'm confident that the coaches and the energy that the team brings will help me achieve my goals. I knew as soon as I stepped on campus that I could see myself spending the next four years of my life there!"
Best Events: 100 back (55.58); 200 back (2:00.83); 200 IM (2:04.91); 100 free (54.48).
Chose Utah over: TCU, Pacific, Arizona State
Coach Dykstra on Megan: "Megan is another swimmer that just seemed like a perfect fit in our program during her visit. She is a very talented underwater kicker and with some further development and training can be one of our top performers in a number of events during her career. Her positive energy and outgoing nature will also be great assets to the building of a top-ten caliber women's team."
Hometown: Billings, Mont.
High School: Billings Central Catholic High School
High School Coach: Brenden Smith
Club Team: Billings Aquatic Club
Club Coach: Brenden Smith
Accomplishments: Collegeswimming.com 59th-ranked recruit ... Montana Athlete of the Year 2012 ... three-year team captain ... National Honor Society ... Scholastic All American ... high school state champion 2011-14 ... numerous state records.
Why I Chose Utah: "Utah is where I felt most at home. The team and the coaches were so welcoming and so much fun to be around! The campus is also beautiful and I love all the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors."
Best events: 100 fly (54.05); 50 free (23.43); 100 free (50.57)
Chose Utah over: Notre Dame
Coach Dykstra on Jenna: "We were so thrilled when Jenna Marsh decided to come to Utah. She is one of the top sprint and fly recruits in the nation and will be an immediate contributor on the Pac-12 and NCAA level. One of our goals is to make Utah the destination school for swimmers in the Rocky Mountain region and getting Jenna to join the Utes goes a long way towards that."
Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.
High School: Millikan
High School Coach: Chris Itson
Club Team: JCC Waves
Club Coach: Chris Duncan
Accomplishments: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 NCSA Jr. National Qualifier ... 2013 USA Swimming Junior National qualifier ... 2013 USA Swimming Winter Nationals qualifier (200 fly) ... 2011, 2012, 2013 Millikan Varsity MVP ... 2011 and 2012 Long Beach's Swimmer of the Year ... 2011, 2012, 2013 CIF Finalist ... 2013 Southern California Swimming record holder in the 400 medley relay, 200 free relay ... Millikan HS record holder in the 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, 100 fly and 100 back ... 2012-13 USA Swimming Scholastic All-American ... 2013 JCC Waves record holder in the 500 free, 200 fly and 400 free.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose Utah because when I was leaving my recruiting trip, I felt like I was leaving my team. I really loved the campus atmosphere, the tight-knitted team, and all of the positive coaches. I knew this was the program I wanted to spend the next four years of my life with."
Best Events: 200 fly (meters, 2:17.65); 100 fly (56.78); 200 free (1:51.15); 500 free (4:53.38); 100 free (52.70); 100 back (56.36); 200 back (2:05.34)
Chose Utah over: UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Davis, Northern Arizona, Duke
Coach Dykstra on Maddie: "Maddie is going to be such a fantastic addition to our team. She is always positive and will be a joy for us to coach. She is coming off a pretty serious knee injury but based on the amazing progress of her rehab and the big improvements she was making prior to the injury, we feel she will be a major contributor right off the bat as a freshman."
Hometown: Logan, Utah
High School: Mountain Crest High School
High School Coach: Thomas Williams
Club Team: Cottonwood Heights Aquatic Team
Club Coach: Todd Etherington
Accomplishments: Holds 23 Utah swimming state records ... High School All-American (200 free) ... two-time Scholastic All-American ... holds three 4A high school state records ... Mountain Crest Swimmer of the Year ... won multiple high school state and region championships.
Why I Chose Utah: "I really like the coaches and their innovative training, as well as the unity of the team."
Best Events: 50 free (23.73); 100 free (51.83); 200 free (1:51.33); 200 back (2:02.72); 200 IM (2:06.06)
Chose Utah Over: Indiana, BYU,Boise State
Coach Dykstra on Hailey: "Hailey is by far the top swimmer coming out of Utah in this class and thus was a high priority recruit for us. She brings such tremendous versatility in terms of events to us that it will strengthen our lineup in many ways. She often trains alone up in Logan and we know that she is going to thrive in the team environment we have here at the U."
Hometown: Palm Springs, Calif.
High School: Palm Springs High School
High School Coach: Shawn Drennan
Club Team: Piranha Swim Team
Club Coach: Jeff Conwell
Accomplishments: Two-time All-American and Scholastic All-American ... two-time CIF Southern Section Champion ... MVP for Piranhas and PSHS Swim Team 2011 ... USA Swimming National and Junior National qualifier.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose Utah because of the great coaching staff and I'm excited to be part of the Pac-12. I really felt at home with the team and I loved the gorgeous campus. I'm looking forward to actual weather, too."
Best Events: 200 free (1:50.36); 500 free (4:54.34); 1000 free (10:08.46); 1650 free (17:13.80).
Chose Utah over: Rice, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego
Coach Dykstra on Kat: "Kat will step in and immediately be one of our top distance freestylers. From very early on in the recruiting process we felt Kat would be an incredible addition to our team and that she was a very natural fit into the program we are building. I couldn't be more excited to have her arrive next August."
Hometown: Walnut Creek, Calif.
High School: Monte Vista High School
High School Coaches: Dow Stewart / Trent Richardson
Club Team: Livorna Swim Team (Rec) 2001-2012 / Crow Canyon Sharks (USS) 2012-Present
Club Coaches: Bryan Diffenderfer (LIV) / Dan Cottam (Crow)
Accomplishments: County champion in 50 fly at age 14 and set a county record of 23.78 ... county champion in 100 free at age 15 in 46.5 ... swam finals at NCS sophomore year in 100 free and junior year in 50 and 100 free ... NCS second overall in the 200 free relay in 2013.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose Utah because I not only found the team to be extremely welcoming as well as the coaches, but also because of the team's increasing success so far this season and it's a team that I know is going to achieve greater successes in the future. I also found the campus to be extremely beautiful as well as Salt Lake City itself. Reminds me a bit of San Francisco and makes me feel at home. I am also super excited to be part of this team that will do great things!"
Best Events: 50 free (21.05); 100 free (46.00); 200 free (1:44.49); 100 fly (51.29).
I chose Utah over: UC Santa Barbara, Indiana, TCU
Coach Dykstra on Sean: "Sean was our first commitment this fall and will be a great piece of this incredible men's class. He has just given up being a multi-sport athlete and is for the first time focusing on swimming full time this year. With the success he has already had and his size, athleticism, and attitude, he will be a great member of our sprint program over his career. He is also highly active in student government and leadership qualities are always something we look highly upon in recruiting."
Hometown: Allen, Texas
Club Team: Metroplex Aquatics
Best Events: 200 free (1:43.91); 500 free (4:29.24); 1000 free (9:16.07); 1650 free (15:24.00); 400 free (4:04.07, LCM); 800 free (8:18.17, LCM); 1500 free (15:49.78, LCM)
Chose Utah over: TCU, Texas A&M
Coach Dykstra on Jay: "We wanted to add to our distance group in this men's recruiting class and Jay is certainly a big part of that. He is a dedicated, disciplined student-athlete who wants to achieve at the highest level in everything he does. I see no reason why Jay won't become one of the best distance swimmers in the Pac-12 right away."
Hometown: Ringwood, Hants, Great Britain
Club Team: Plymouth Leander
Club Coach: Jon Rudd
Accomplishments: Collegeswimming.com 55th-ranked recruit ... represented England at the 2013 World School Games in Brazil ... British Gas National Champion (200m breast) ... British Olympic Trials Qualifier.
Best Events: 100 breast (55.57); 200 breast (1:59.91); 200 breast (2:18.14, LCM)
Coach Dykstra on Jack: "We knew we needed a front-line breaststroker in this class and Jack fits the bill in every way. He is a rapidly improving swimmer and is ranked as one of the top 60 recruits in the NCAA. He has just finished competing in the World School Games in Brazil for England and we are thrilled to have his international experience and Olympic aspirations here at Utah."
Hometown: Helena, Mont.
High School: Helena High School
High School Coach: Carrie Brown
Club Team: Helena Lions Swim Team
Club Coach: Jacob Byrne
Accomplishments: Collegeswimming.com 100th-ranked recruit ... selected for 2013 Diversity Select Camp ... 2013 NW section champion in the 1650 and 1500 ... ranked 62nd all-time in the 500 & 21st in the 1650 for 15-16-year-old boys.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose Utah because the campus and the team were both really nice, and Utah is close enough to home that it will be easy to come home for visits but it is also far enough away that I will learn what it's like to live in a bigger city."
Best Events: 1650 free (15:16.85); 1000 free (9:12.83); 500 free (4:25.72).
Coach Dykstra on Peter: "Peter is one of the best, if not the best, swimmer to ever come out of Montana. He holds dozens of Montana state records and his time in the 1650 freestyle as a 16-year-old would have finished in the top eight at Pac-12's. We expect Peter to immediately be one of our premier distance swimmers, to final at Pac-12's, and make NCAA's. It is so exciting to welcome him to Utah."
Hometown: Centennial, Colo.
High School: Regis Jesuit High School
High School Coach: Mike Doherty/Nick Frasersmith
Club Team: Colorado Stars
Club Coach: Todd Schmitz
Accomplishments: Named Most Valuable Junior at Regis Jesuit ...top five in 100 back in the state in high school in 2012-13 ... top five in Colorado in both 200 free and 200 back ... 2013 Winter and Summer Junior National Qualifier.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose the University of Utah because I fell in love with the campus as soon as I went on my recruiting trip. The coaches, team, and school are amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better conference to be in."
Best Events: 200 free (1:40.31); 200 back (1:50.32); 100 back (51.72); 100 free (56.94); 500 free (4:37.47).
Chose Utah over: Connecticut, Miami (Ohio), Denver
Coach Dykstra on Austin: "Austin is a great addition to our backstroke and middle distance core. He has the long, lean frame that you look for in swimmers and with some added strength should become a great Pac-12 swimmer. He also has a great attitude and will greatly add to the dynamic positive team environment we are creating."
Hometown: Steilacoom, Wash.
High School: Steilacoom High School
High School Coach: Kathy Casey
Club Team: Tacoma Swim Club
Club Coach: Adam Martinez
Accomplishments: Qualified for 2013 Summer Junior Nationals (100 back, 100 fly) ... 2013 Washington State 2A HS champion (100 free, 100 back) ... two-time Scholastic All American ... Tacoma Area Athletic Commission 2013 Swimming Athlete of the Year.
Why I chose Utah: "I love the academic and swimming atmosphere of excellence at Utah. The team is very supportive and positive towards each other. The coaching staff is superior in many ways with a diverse background of experience. Utah provides the best of everything for me."
Best Events: 100 back (51.25); 200 back (1:50.99); 100 fly (51.46)
Chose Utah over: Denver, Indiana
Coach Dykstra on Benjamin: "Ben is another guy loaded with potential. He has the frame, the mindset, and the desire to achieve at the highest level of our sport and I'm so excited to get to help further his career. His club coach is a former college teammate of mine and Ben will continue to strengthen the bonds between Utah and talented swimmers from the Pacific Northwest."
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
High School: Roosevelt High School
High School Coach: Chris Holland
Club Team: King Aquatic Club
Club Coach: Doug Djang
Accomplishments: Junior National qualifier ... 2012 Scholastic All-American ... Eagle Scout.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose Utah because of the great academics, swim team and location."
Best Events: 100 breast (57.20); 200 breast (2:02.98); 200 IM (1:57.22); 400 IM (4:13.11).
Chose Utah over: Cal Poly, Ohio State, UNLV
Coach Dykstra on Keith: "Keith is another Northwest guy that will add great depth to our rapidly improving core of breaststrokers. Like almost everyone in this class, Keith is not just a great swimmer but also a phenomenal student and will be a tremendous addition to the team."
Hometown: Corvallis, Ore.
High School: Corvallis High School
Club Team: Corvallis Aquatic Team
Club Coach: Rick Guenther
Accomplishments: Chosen for the Western Zone Select Camp in 2011 ... National Qualifier ... 4.0 GPA.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose the University of Utah because the campus is beautiful and it made me feel right at home. There's a lot of excitement with the team on the ascension too and I really wanted to be part of that!"
Best Events: 500 free (4:30.88); 1650 free (15:40.82); 200 back (1:51.95); 400 IM (4:09.64)
Chose Utah over: Ohio State
Coach Dykstra on Brandon: "Another great swimmer from the Pacific Northwest, Brandon brings an incredible work ethic, both academically and athletically to our program. Between Peter, Jay, and Brandon we may have the top group of incoming distance swimmers in the NCAA."
Hometown: Oslo, Norway
High School: Norgestoppidrettsgymnas
High School Coach: Gard Kvale
Club Team: Lambertseter
Club Coach: Joacim Lilleaasen
Accomplishments: Collegeswimming.com 76th-ranked recruit ... member of the Croatian national team... ninth place in the 50 free at the European Junior Championships ... sixth place with Croatia team in the 4x100 free at the European Junior Championships ... Norwegian junior champion in the 50 free, 100 free, 50 fly and 100 fly and senior champion in the 50 and 100 free... swam under the Norwegian junior record in all four events and some relays.
Why I chose Utah: "I chose University of Utah because they have an excellent swimming and academic program. I feel I'll be able to achieve my goals both in the classroom and pool. In addition, I heard that swim team is like one big family. I am looking forward to meet them. GO UTES!"
Best Events: 50 free (22.96, LCM); 100 free (50.96, LCM); 50 fly (24.88, LCM); 50 free (22.28, SCM); 100 free (49.55, SCM); 50 fly (24.39, SCM); 100 fly (54.39, SCM)
Coach Dykstra on Niksa: "We are so excited Niksa decided to come to Utah. We obviously have a long tradition of Scandinavian swimmers coming to Utah and Niksa is another great addition to that legacy. He comes from the same club team in Oslo as current freshman Stina Colleou and is one of the top teenage sprinters in Europe. He will help us in all the relays and will be a cornerstone of the team during his career with the Utes."
Hometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
High School: Santa Margarita Catholic High School
Club Team: Aquazot Swim Club
Club Coach: Brian Pajer
Best Events: 100 fly (51.00); 100 fly (57.71, LCM); 200 fly (1:49.40); 200 fly (2:02.17, LCM);
Coach Dykstra on Chris: "Chris is a very talented 200 flyer that will bring a lot to our team. His 2:02 long course 200 fly this summer was an awesome swim and he has the potential to get quite a bit better still. It is very exciting to have him as a part of this class."
Hometown: Murrieta, Calif.
High School: Murrieta Valley HS
High School Coach: Genevieve Barrow
Club Team: Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team
Club Coach: Brian Brown
Why I Chose Utah: I chose Utah because I really loved the campus and the team was awesome and very welcoming!
Best events: 200 breast (2:21.9, LCM); 100 breast (1:06.11, LCM); 400 IM (4:38.5); 200 IM (2:10.5)
Coach Dykstra on Ganem: "Ganem is one of the nicest kids I've ever recruited. He lights up the room with his smile and will be a great addition to our team in terms of attitude, effort, and performance. His improvement this summer in the long course pool will translate very well into short course and he will be another great asset in our breaststroke group."