Nov. 21, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- University of Wisconsin swimming and diving head coach Whitney L. Hite announced Wednesday that 13 high school seniors have all signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin and compete for the Badgers' swim and dive program beginning in the fall of 2013.
"Overall, this class is filled with lots of potential," Hite said. "We do have a lot of very good swimmers in this class right off the bat, but if you look at where they are now and where they're going to be in two years, it's going to be night and day."
MADISON BLAYDES (Vernon Hills, Illinois)
A U.S. Junior National qualifier and U.S. Scholastic All-American, Blaydes was also a five-time Illinois high school state finalist.
Whitney Hite on Blaydes: "Madison's one of those swimmers that not a lot of people may know about, but by the time she finishes up here everyone will know her name.
"She's got a lot of potential and can get a lot better and we're excited to have her join our program in the fall."
DANA GRINDALL (Orange, Ct.)
Dana Grindall was a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier in both the 100 and 200-meter butterfly. Grindall, who placed third in the 100-meter fly at the 2012 U.S. Junior Nationals, is a five-time Connecticut high school state champ and four-time state champ in the 100-meter butterfly and current state record holder. Grindall also competed at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships for Team USA and has been named a NISCA All-American.
Whitney Hite on Grindall: "Dana is one of the top swimmers in the country coming out. She's going to help us in a lot of different ways. As I told her when I was recruiting her, I think she's a perfect fit for Wisconsin. Dana is highly motivated, both academically and athletically.
"She's a four-time state champion in Connecticut. With that being said, anytime you can add a junior national team member to an incoming class it's a huge boost for our program."
MADELINE HAZLE (Kingwood, Texas)
A three-time Texas state champion and NISCA All-American, Hazle was a U.S. Junior National finalist and a swimming scholastic all-american.
Whitney Hite on Hazle: "Another swimmer with a ton of potential. I don't know yet if we know what her best is at so far. She's very versatile from the IM to swimming the backstroke -- she can swim the freestyle as well.
"I just think she's going to help us in a lot of different ways. Madeline can come in and really get better and help us in the long run."
CHASE KINNEY (Canton, Ohio)
A 2012 Ohio State champion in the 50-yard freestyle, Kinney is a three-sport athlete and a state finalist in Ohio for cross country. Kinney was also named an NISCA All-American.
Whitney Hite on Kinney: "Chase is a sprinter. She's going to help us a lot, not only in the sprint events, but also on relays. Again, I think she's someone not a whole lot of people know about, but they're going to know her name because she's going to be really good.
"She's pretty fast and she's relatively new to the sport. She runs cross country, she runs track, so she's a great athlete and someone I think that's really going to surprise a lot of people."
EMMA PAULSON (Wayzata, Minn.)
A two-time Minnesota state champion, Paulson was a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke as well as an NISCA All-American.
Whitney Hite on Paulson: "Emma comes from a great club program that's produced Olympians. She's another girl that has a lot of potential - she's also taller so that's going to help us in the backstroke and freestyle, which are two necessary areas for us moving forward. Her fastest swims are ahead of her."
GRACE WOLD (Mercer Island, Wash.)
A U.S. Junior National finalist and NISCA All-American, Wold is also an eight-time Washington high school state champ and U.S.A. Swimming Scholastic All-American.
Whitney Hite on Wold: "Grace comes from a great junior aquatics background. Her current coach was my assistant at Washington so I am familiar with her. She's pretty versatile - she's got a high hammer backstroke and butterfly.
"I think she has the potential to help us in a lot of different ways and also the capacity to work and train. That's pretty valuable for us right away."
RYAN BARSANTI (Brentwood, Calif.)
A Brentwood, Calif., native, Barsanti was a member of the U.S. Junior National team and an NISCA All-American. Barsanti placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle and medaled at the 2012 U.S. Junior Nationals, finishing first in the 400-yard medley relay.
Whitney Hite on Barsanti: "Ryan comes from a really talented area of the country in Northern California. He swims for one of the best club teams in the country, so he has a good base to work off of. He's going to help us in the sprints and on relays.
"As far as the sprint program is concerned, this is a the kind of guy we can build the program around."
CANNON CLIFTON (The Woodlands, Texas)
A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Clifton was a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events, placing fourth in the 200 at the 2011 U.S.A Junior National meet.
Whitney Hite on Clifton: "We kind of stole him away from a couple high profile schools. I was always taught that the strength of your team is the 200-free and this guy's as good as it gets in the 200-free coming out of high school. We're excited to build our mid-distance around him."
ALEX DELAKIS (Eau Claire, Wis.)
A native of Eau Claire, Wis., DeLakis is a five-time Wisconsin state champion, placing third in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2011 YMCA National Championships. DeLakis was also an NISCA All-American.
Whitney Hite on DeLakis: "Alex was our top in-state recruit. I think that he's going to learn a lot about swimming in his four years here.
"He's obviously very talented and anytime you can keep the home state kids in state, that's a huge plus for us. I know he's going to get a lot better very quickly."
BRETT PINFOLD (Sugar Land, Texas)
Pinfold is a Sugar Land, Texas, native who swam in the 2012 Olympic Trials and placed seventh in his individual event at the 2011 USA Junior Nationals.
Whitney Hite on Pinfold: "Brett is another 200-freestyler. Cannon Clifton can swim the backstroke and is really good, but Brett is a little more experienced in the backstroke and I think it's going to help us solidify the 200 and 200-yard freestyle area for us. "
Head diving coach Anton Slobounov announced the signing of the three divers who will join the program in the fall.
RACHEL STAVE (Greenfield, Wis.)
Anton Slobounov on Stave: "Rachel is one of two of the state's top divers that will be joining the Badgers next fall.
"She is an outstanding athlete and will impact us right away on platform. Rachel has been to several USA Diving Championships and brings a lot of experience to the team."
ASHLEY PETERSON (Denver, Colo.)
Anton Slobounov on Peterson: "She has very impressive dry land skills and has a hard work ethic that is consistent with our training. We are happy to welcome such a talented athlete to our swimming and diving team."
ANDREW SUCHLA (Mt. Pleasant, Wis.)
Anton Slobounov on Suchla: "Andrew has natural strength and ability that will help us in the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
"He is the current boy's diving state champion and has the tools to be a great springboard diver in college."