DURHAM, N.C. – After sending a school-record six representatives to the 2014 NCAA Championship, including the first relay in program history, head coach Dan Colella and the Duke women’s swimming and diving team will welcome nine freshmen this fall as the Blue Devils begin preparations for the 2014-15 campaign.
The class of 2018 features nine swimmers and divers from seven different states. The group includes Verity Abel, Abby Artmann, Lizzie Devitt, Leah Goldman, Hanna House, Catie Miller, Isabella Paez, Maria Sheridan and Mary Ellen Targonski.
The group was tabbed the No. 12 recruiting class in the nation by SwimSwam earlier this week.
Here is a closer look at the newcomers to the Duke women’s team:
Verity Abel - Mid-Free/Distance/IM - Westport, Conn. - Staples
Best SC Times: 200 Free - 1:50.05; 500 Free - 4:51.34; 1,000 Free - 9:55.98; 1,650 Free - 16:30.21; 100 Back - 56.83; 200 Back - 2:02.46; 400 IM - 4:18.34
Best LC Times: 200 Free - 2:05.00; 400 Free - 4:20.98; 800 Free - 8:57.06; 1,500 Free - 16:57.45; 400 IM - 4:59.83
Abel joins the Duke program from Staples High School in Westport, Conn., where she was an NISCA All-American, conference, state and open champion and all-state and all-conference performer. As a senior, she won state, conference and open titles in the 200 and 500 freestyle and broke the state record in both events en route to earning multiple MVP honors. A member of the Wilton Wahoos club team under the direction of former Blue Devil Randy Erienback, Abel was a Summer and Winter Junior Nationals qualifier as wells as a 2013 U.S. Open qualifier and 2012 Long Course YMCA national champion in the 1,500 freestyle.
Colella’s Take: “One of the priorities for us was really great distance swimmers. Verity not only has excelled in the distance events but also has developed in the 400 IM as of late. We’re confident that she’ll be very competitive for us at the ACC level and potentially at the national level.”
Abby Artmann - Breast/IM - Cedar Park, Texas - Round Rock
Best SC Times: 100 Breast - 1:02.58; 200 Breast - 2:14.49; 200 IM - 2:03.66; 400 IM - 4:21.83
Best LC Times: 100 Breast - 1:13.60; 200 Breast - 2:35.01; 200 IM - 2:20.01; 400 IM - 5:03.96
Also a USA Summer and Winter Junior Nationals qualifier, Artmann was a World Championship trials qualifier as well during her prep career. She won a state title in the 400 IM as a freshman and went on to earn several finals appearances in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 IM at her sectional meet, while placing sixth in the 200 breaststroke at Junior Nationals as a junior.
Colella’s Take: “With Emily Barber and Christine Wixted leaving the program, another priority for us was getting a breaststroker this year. Abby has excelled at the high school and national level. We’ll be looking to her to carry on with the breaststroke tradition that’s been developing the last several years. We’ll be looking to her to really be an impact both in-season and post-season, and we’re confident that she’s going to be a big contributor in the breaststroke and IM.”
Lizzie Devitt - IM/Free - Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. - Santa Margarita Catholic
Best SC Times: 200 IM - 2:01.63; 400 IM - 4:21.66; 100 Free - 51.58; 200 Free - 1:50.04; 500 Free - 4:56.66
Best LC Times: 100 Free - 58.83; 200 Free - 2:08.21; 400 Free - 4:24.30; 800 Free - 9:07.11; 200 IM - 2:21.43; 400 IM - 4:56.54
An All-American and Academic All-American at Santa Margarita Catholic, Devitt guided her team to the CIF championship as a senior, as well as four league titles. She is a USA Summer and Winter Junior Nationals qualifier and was tabbed her league’s swimmer of the year. Devitt also competes for the Mission Viejo Nadadores club team.
Colella’s Take: “Lizzie brings some real versatility to our program. Bill Rose, her coach at Mission Viejo, feels that she’s got some tremendous potential in her collegiate career as she specializes more. She’s actually branched out this summer and will give us the opportunity to utilize her in a variety of places. Lizzie is one who will only enhance our depth at the ACC Championship.”
Leah Goldman - Fly/IM/Back - Burlingame, Calif. - Burlingame
Best SC Times: 50 Free - 23.69; 100 Free - 50.65; 100 Back - 56.10; 200 Back - 2:02.60; 100 Breast - 1:03.07; 100 Fly - 53.69; 200 Fly - 2:03.36; 200 IM - 1:59.82
Best LC Times: 50 Free - 26.46; 100 Free - 57.01; 200 Free - 2:07.35; 100 Back - 1:04.79; 100 Fly - 1:02.34; 200 IM - 2:22.34
Goldman was a six-time NISCA All-American during a standout prep career, having also represented Team USA internationally at the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel. At Burlingame High School, she was a two-time Central Coast Section champion in the 100 butterfly while also collecting a title in the 100 breaststroke and as a member of the 200 medley relay that broke the California CCS record. Goldman was a four-time all-league selection and qualified for the USA Summer and Winter Junior Nationals.
Colella’s Take: “Leah is incredibly versatile and has already done great things throughout her high school and club career. She brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the program. We will be looking to her to be a big impact for us in multiple events, as well as someone who can be factor on a lot of relays.”
Hanna House - Fly/Back/IM - Carmel, Ind. - Carmel
Best SC Times: 100 Fly - 54.4; 200 Fly - 2:00.64; 100 Back - 54.11; 200 Back - 1:58.6; 200 IM - 2:02.90; 400 IM - 4:22.60
Best LC Times: 100 Back - 1:03.96; 200 Back - 2:17.80; 100 Fly - 1:02.34; 200 Fly - 2:19.16; 200 IM - 2:21.85; 400 IM - 5:00.95
A multiple-year Summer and Winter Junior Nationals qualifier, House will come to Durham from Carmel High School in Carmel, Ind., where she was an all-state and all-conference selection all four years. She helped her squad win the Mythical National High School state meet as a junior and took second in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke at the IHSAA state meet that year. House also helped set the national high school record in the 200 medley relay and previously qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 100 backstroke.
Colella’s Take: “Hanna is one of the top backstrokers and butterfliers coming out of Indiana, a state that has a great tradition of high school swimming. She is going to be a real factor throughout the season but also in the postseason, whether we’re talking at the conference or NCAA level. She’s extremely excited about coming to Duke and being a part of something that is growing. In addition, her best time coming in would break our current school record in the 100 back.”
Catie Miller - Breast/IM - Las Vegas, Nev. - Bishop Gorman
Best SC Times: 100 Breast - 1:04.82; 200 Breast - 2:15.65; 200 IM - 2:03.06; 400 IM - 4:18.55; 100 Fly - 57.51
Best LC Times: 100 Breast - 1:15.94; 200 Breast - 2:40.32; 200 IM - 2:20.76; 400 IM - 4:54.00
Miller will also bring national-level experience to Duke, having previously qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, World Championship trials and the Summer and Winter Junior Nationals. She was a three-time All-American at Bishop Gorman and a member of the Sandpipers of Nevada club team, posting personal-bests of 1:04.82 in the 100 breaststroke and 2:15.65 at the 200-yard distance.
Colella’s Take: “We’re very excited about Catie Miller. She will add some much-needed depth in the 400 IM as well as the 200 breaststroke, her specialties. Catie is incredibly competitive and is just really excited about the coming four years of collegiate swimming and how she can contribute to the program.”
Isabella Paez - Fly/IM - Medley, Fla. - Ronald Reagan Doral
Best SC Times: 200 Free - 1:51.36; 500 Free - 4:59.39; 100 Fly - 54.45; 200 Fly - 1:57.40; 200 IM - 2:04.5
Best LC Times: 200 Free - 2:06.60; 100 Fly - 1:01.59; 200 Fly - 2:13.81; 200 IM - 2:24.78
Paez claimed state, district and regional titles in the 100 butterfly as a senior at Ronald Reagan Doral High School in Doral, Fla. She was also a district and regional champion in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly as a junior and was named an All-Dade Miami Herald athlete all four years. A 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, 2013 World Championship trials and Summer and Winter Junior Nationals qualifier, Paez also competed at the 2010 Junior Worlds in Peru as a member of the Venezuelan junior national team, placing 16th in the 200 butterfly.
Colella’s Take: “Isa is coming off another great short course season, swimming times that would break our current school record in the 200 fly. She is going to be a major contributor in the 200 butterfly as well as in the sprint fly and mid-distance freestyle. We’re excited for Isa competing internationally this summer for her home country of Venezuela, and we’re looking forward to her contributions in the coming year.”
Maria Sheridan - Fly/Back - Charlotte, N.C. - Charlotte Catholic
Best SC Times: 100 Free - 51.7; 200 Back - 2:01.0; 100 Fly - 55.33
Best LC Times: 100 Free - 58.36; 100 Back - 1:04.67; 200 Back - 2:17.51; 100 Fly - 1:01.84; 200 Fly - 2:19.04
A product of nearby Charlotte, N.C., Sheridan guided Charlotte Catholic to four NCHSAA titles during her prep career. She captured an individual championship in the 100 backstroke as well as a member of her team’s 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays. Sheridan won a national championship with her club team, SwimMac Carolina, and qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and the Summer and Winter Junior Nationals.
Colella’s Take: “Maria Sheridan is very versatile, specializing in the fly and backstroke. She has also branched out into some of the sprint freestyle events. Her skills will allow us to utilize her in different places and we’re looking forward to her contributions this coming year.”
MaryEllen Targonski - Diving - Gastonia, N.C. - South Point
Best Scores (6 dives): 1-Meter - 201.90; 3-Meter - 207.40; Platform (9 dives) - 378.35
A two-time North Carolina 3A state champion, Targonski was also a regional and state medalist at South Point High School in Belmont, N.C. As a member of the Carolina Diving Academy, she qualified for the USA Diving Summer Nationals and East Nationals and earned AAU national medalist honors while winning the platform title at the 2013 Junior Olympics Zone B meet.
Head Diving Coach Nunzio Esposto’s Take: “She is an accomplished junior national diver with much potential who comes to us from Carolina Diving Academy in Huntersville, N.C.”