Nov. 20, 2012
UCLA women's swimming head coach Cyndi Gallagher and head women's diving coach Tom Stebbins have announced their early signing class. A total of seven swimmers and two divers have signed National Letters of Intent to become Bruins starting with the 2013-2014 season.
Maggie Burton - Breaststroke - Irvine, Calif. - University High School - Orange County Waves
Burton preps at University High School in Irvine, Calif., under head coach Tom Norton. Burton is the two-time defending CIF Southern Section Division I champion in the 100 Breaststroke, and also specializes in the Sprint Freestyle, IM and team relays. The three-time All-County swimmer helped University HS to CIF Championships in 2010 and '11. She is a 10-time All-American heading into her senior year, held the top time in California in the 100 Breast for each of the last two seasons and a Top Ten National Time of 1:01.69 in the event in 2011.
Burton swims club with Orange County Waves under coach Chris Duncan. She was a 2011 Junior National Finalist and has also been a National and Junior National Qualifier.
"Maggie fills a breaststroke need for us and she is also a great sprint freestyler," Gallagher said. "She is a total team player and loves to be on relays and swim fast for the team. I am looking forward to having her as a Bruin."
Emily Hammond - Backstroke/Freestyle - Hilton Head Island, S.C. - Heritage Academy - Hilton Head Aquatics
Hammond attends Heritage Academy in Hilton Head Island, S.C., which does not have any athletic teams. Her club squad is Hilton Head Aquatics, under coach Michael Lane, where she specializes in the Backstroke and Mid and Distance Freestyle events. Hammond holds over 50 team records for various age groups, as she was named Most Valuable Female Swimmer for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.
A Scholastic All-American in each of the last two years, Hammond is a member of the 400 Freestyle and 800 Free Relay teams, which hold the South Carolina State record for long course 13-14. In 2009, she was invited to the Southern Zone Select Camp. Hammond has also been invited to the South Carolina Select Camp for each of the last five seasons.
"I am excited that Emily chose UCLA and am happy that her family is supporting her to come across the country for college," Gallagher said. "She comes from a very small island and you have to have a lot of confidence to make the move to Los Angeles. We are looking forward to working with her."
Nina Hayes - Backstroke/IM - Livermore, Calif. - Granada High School - Livermore AquaCowboys
Hayes preps at Granada HS in Livermore, Calif., specializing in the IM, Backstroke and Freestyle. Coached by Julian Avilla, she was a North Coast Sectional finalist in the 200 IM in 2012, the 200 IM and 100 Back in '11 and the 100 Free and 100 Back in '10. An All-American in the 200 IM and 100 Back, she was voted Granada High's MVP in 2010 and '12. Hayes was a Scholastic All-American in 2011 and '12 and an NCS Scholar Athlete.
Hayes' club team is Livermore AquaCowboys, under coach Alex Silver. She was named MVP and team captain in 2012 and Most Dedicated in '10. A First National Team member, she finished first in the 100 Backstroke at the 2009 North American Challenge Cup and third in the 100 Butterfly in 2010. Invited to the Western Zone Select Camp in 2010, Hayes placed second in the 100 Backstroke at Summer Sectionals in 2011.
"Hayes is a versatile swimmer that has a ton of potential, as she has not been in the sport for that long," Gallagher said. "She is going to fill our Backstroke and IM needs for the three swimmers we have graduating from those same events."
Annika Lenz - Diving - Altadena, Calif. - Poly High School - SoCal Dive Club
Lenz attends Polytechnic School in Pasadena, Calif., where she has been on the varsity diving squad for four seasons. Coached by Ryan Katsuyama, she was a CIF Champion, Prep League Champion and All-American in each of her previous three seasons.
Lenz's club team is SoCal Dive Club, under coach Scott Reich. In 2012, she was an Olympic Trials semifinalist on the Platform. At the 2012 Junior Nationals, Lenz was fourth in the One-Meter event, fifth in the Platform and 11th in the Three-Meter. She has been a member of the Junior Elite Performance squad since 2010 and was a National Team member that year as well. Lenz placed fourth in the Platform at both the '10 Youth Olympic Games and the '10 Junior World Championships. A year prior, she was the Junior National Diving champion on the Platform. At the Junior Pan Ams, she finished second on the Platform in '07 and '09.
"Annika is the most accomplished diving athlete UCLA has ever signed," Stebbins said. "She is a complete diver, having great strengths in all three events. She will be very tough to beat going forward."
Linnea Mack - Free/Back/Fly - San Jose, Calif. - Pioneer High School - Osprey Aquatics
Mack is a two-sport star at Pioneer HS in San Jose, Calif., having participated on the varsity swimming and volleyball teams. Coached in swimming by Gordon Smith, Mack is a nine-time All-American, earning the honors in the 50 Free, 100 Free and 400 Free Relay in 2012, the 50 Free, 100 Free and 100 Fly in '11 and the 50 Free, 100 Free and 100 Back in '10. Named all-league in 2012, she was also team MVP each of the last three seasons, and owns six school records.
Mack swims club with Osprey Aquatics, under coach Brian Bolster. She has been named Most Outstanding Osprey three times and owns numerous Pacific records, including the 100 Back (55.05) mark set in 2010, breaking 12-time Olympic Medalist Natalie Coughlin's record. Mack has participated in the Olympic Trials, the 2011 Winter and Summer Junior Nationals, the '11 U.S. Open, the 2010 Pacific All-Star Meet and the 2008 NACC Meet in Edmonton, Canada.
"Linnea is a very versatile sprinter who can sprint freestyle, backstroke and butterfly," Gallagher said. "She has just scratched the surface on what she is capable of."
Michaela Merlihan - Freestyle - Yorba Linda, Calif. - Esperanza High School - Irvine Novaquatics
Merlihan attends Esperanza HS in Anaheim, Calif., where her specialties are the 200 and 500 Freestyle. Coached by Matt Slevcove, she was an All-American in both events in 2010 and '12, and was also an All-American on her 400 Free Relay team. Merlihan broke the 500 Free league record for the second year in a row at the '12 Century League Championships, earning league MVP honors. In each of the last two seasons, Esperanza was undefeated in Century League play. In 2012, the Aztecs, behind 200 and 500 Free victories from Merlihan, won the Division II CIF title after placing third the year prior. She has been named Esperanza's Swimmer of the Year three straight seasons.
Merlihan's club team is Irvine Novaquatics, under coach Ken LaMont. A Scholastic All-American in 2011 and '12, she was fifth in leader points at the Southern Section sectionals in the summer of 2012. Merlihan finished Top 16 in the 200- and 400-Meter Freestyle at Junior Nationals, and also competed in the Olympic Trials in the 400-Meter Freestyle.
"Michaela is an extremely hard worker and loves to train and race," Gallagher said. "She will be great competition for our mid-distance freestyle swimmers."
Danni Repper - Diving - Laguna Niguel, Calif. - Dana Hills High School - Turn & Burn Diving
Repper preps at Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, Calif., where she will begin her fourth year on the diving squad. She also spent her freshman and sophomore seasons as a pole vaulter on the track and field team. Coached in diving by Cynthia Carlson, Repper has been a Sea View League Champion and multi-year CIF finalist and All-American, with her highest 11-dive meet score being 566. She is also a four-time scholar-athlete award winner.
Repper's club team is Turn & Burn Diving, under coach Jimmy Adams. She is a seven-year U.S. Diving Junior National qualifier, as well as a U.S. Diving Senior National qualifier. Repper has won an AAU National Championship in the One-Meter and Platform and was a silver medalist in the Three-Meter. Repper, a two-time U.S. Diving International Junior Team member, has also been a U.S. Diving West National Champion in the Platform and a U.S. Diving Region and Zone Champion.
"I have watched Danni's development closely over the last few years and am really looking forward to having the opportunity to work with her," Stebbins said. "Danni comes from a fantastic background and long lineage of diving programs, but her leap over the last year has been exceptional."
Ashley Tse - Breaststroke/IM - Chino Hills, Calif. - Ayala High School - Brea Aquatics
Tse has swum for three years at Ruben S. Ayala HS in Chino Hills, Calif. Coached by Bob Mount, she was named 2012 Sierra League Most Valuable Player and San Gabriel Tribune Swimmer of the Year after winning the league title in the 200 Individual Medley and 100 Breaststroke (second year in a row in that event). A three-time team MVP, two-time team captain and eight-race, school-record holder, Tse was a two-time All-American in the 200 IM and 100 Breast, a '11 CIF Southern Section 200 IM Master Champion and a '12 CIF 100 Breaststroke Champion, also finishing second in the 200 IM last year.
Tse swims club with Brea Aquatics, under coach Jim Johnson. She was an Olympic Trials qualifier in 2012 and a Junior National qualifier from '10-'12. In 2010 and '11, she had a National Top Ten time in the 200 Breaststroke and was also a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American each year.
"Ashley comes from a club program where their coach prepares them to take a step up in swimming when they go to college," Gallagher said. "I believe Ashley will have major improvements in college and will come in as our top 200 Breast and IM freshman."
Madison White - Backstroke - Danville, Calif. - Carondelet High School - Crow Canyon Sharks
White preps at Carondelet HS in Concord, Calif. She has swum on the varsity team all three years and was named team captain heading into her senior campaign. Coached by Jasmine Millan, White has been an All-American every season and was the NCS Champion in the 100 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke in each of her last two years. Her top time in the 100 Backstroke is 53.73, while her best 200 Back time is 1:55.03.
White's club team is Crow Canyon Sharks, under coach Dan Cottam. She was named Swimmer of the Year in 2010 and 2011 and earned Silver Medal Club honors in '10, '11 and '12. White has also swum with the National Youth Team in 2008 and '09 and was a member of the 2010 U.S. National Team. She qualified for two events at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and for eight events at the 2012 Trials. White finished in seventh in the 200 Back at the 2010 Short Course World Championships in Dubai.
"Madison was our first commitment last Spring and she got the ball rolling on getting this great recruiting class committed," Gallagher said. "Madison is hard-working, talented and super competitive, and wants to be the best. She comes in with international competition experience from being on the 2010 U.S. National Team."