Mavericks loading up on talent in the pool
More than 30 men and women swimmers and divers are coming to Grand Junction to be a part of the first Colorado Mesa University swimming & diving program.
Mesa State College becomes Colorado Mesa University next month.
Mesa added 14 women and 21 men to its swimming and diving programs. Eight of them are from Colorado, including Montrose’s Jenny Nocas.
Four of the 14 women are divers. All 21 men are swimmers.
Nocas placed sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Class 4A state championships this past season.
Mesa diving coach Chuck Edgar picks up two divers from Colorado Springs, Amanda Jennings and Rachel McLaughlin, one from Alaska (Savannah Craft) and one from Texas (Brooke Lera) to give the women’s program depth. They join two returning divers on the women’s team.
Mesa head coach Brian Pearson didn’t add a lot of women swimmers, but with nearly two dozen returning swimmers, he didn’t need many more.
He did need more top-level swimmers and got a mixture of them from Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah and Washington.
Kieran Bender of Monticello, Minn., is a versatile swimmer and is expected to make a big impact in the breaststroke and freestyle events. Pearson believes she could be the key piece to getting the relay teams to nationals.
Jillian Hayes of Pueblo was pursued by Division I schools and is a competitive freestyler.
Robyn Meeks of Cheyenne, Wyo., is a state qualifier in the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Her personal best in the backstroke would contend for a top eight spot in the RMAC.
Ashley Oschsner of Gillette, Wyo., is already near NCAA automatic qualification time in the breaststroke. She chose Mesa after looking at some Division I schools.
The men added several multi-event swimmers in effort to build up its depth, including four college transfers and five from Colorado.
Taylor Adams, who is originally from Highlands Ranch, is transferring to Mesa from the University of South Dakota. He will add depth in the freestyle and backstroke.
Austin Detra of Sarasota, Fla., is coming from the University of Florida after overcoming a serious illness. He is an Olympian trial qualifier and trained with Olympian Ryan Lochte.
Brett Lowe of Pittsburgh, Calif., swam for a California Community College Athletic Association powerhouse program Diablo Valley (Calif.) College. Drew Vandermeer of Fairbanks, Alaska, is transferring from the Division II University of Seattle.Other boys to sign include: Alex Anderson (Green River, Wyo.), Chris Bell (Colorado Springs), Eric Black (Lakewood), Michael Carricato (Colorado Springs), Ryan Dake (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Jake Ekberg (Laramie, Wyo.), Austin Fitzgerald (Fairbanks, Alaska), Robert Ganick (Omaha, Neb.), Harrison Hapgood (Honolulu, Hawaii), Carter Heurlin (Highlands Ranch), Jeremy Jenkins (Rock Springs, Wyo.), Ryan Kawano (Hilo, Hawaii), Cole Kimble (Stafford, Va.), Kirk O’Connell (Kearney, Neb.), Lucas Scariano (Missoula, Mont.), Joshua Scheuermann (Newton, Kan.) and Peter Szekely (Florence, Mont.).
Other girls signings include: Carly Daniels (Mesa, Ariz.), Ali Murphy (Park City, Utah), Katie Odiorne (Camas, Wash.), Mara Von Holst (Buffalo, Wyo.) and Maddi Wigg (Jackson, Wyo.).