COLLEGE STATION -- The eighth-ranked Texas A&M women’s swimming & diving team signed seven swimmers to a letter-of-intent during the most recent signing period, head coach Steve Bultman announced on Friday.
The Aggies signed the following swimmers to letters-of-intent in November: Kendra Chernoff (Saskatoon, Sask.), Meagan Hairston (Plano), Maureen McLaine (Plano), Liz Nelson (The Woodlands), Jaclin Rehring (Lucas), Tess Simpson (Ingleside, Ont.), and Allyson Sweeney (Snellville, Ga.). The Aggies will also add a summer signee, diver Jaele Patrick (Melbourne, Australia), to the roster in the spring.
“I’m very pleased with our group of fall signees,” Bultman said. “They’re very excited to have chosen Texas A&M and we are excited to have them. I feel like they can all contribute to our team’s continued improvement and some of these will contribute in a big way their freshman year.”
Kendra Chernoff will be a 2009 graduate of Holy Cross High School. She is a current member of the Canadian junior national team and swims for the Saskatoon Goldfins club team coached by Richard Millns. Chernoff finished in fourth place in the 100-meter butterfly at the 2008 Canadian Olympic Trials and later went on to compete at the FINA Junior World Championships in Monterrey, Mexico, where she placed seventh in the 100 fly. She will compete in the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Guam in 2009. Chernoff has long course best times of 27.6 (50-meter fly), 1:00.50 (100-meter fly), and 2:16.4 (200-meter fly).
“We recruited Kendra primarily as a sprint flyer but her 200 is really starting to come around,” Bultman said. “She broke the Canadian 17-18 short course meter record in the 100 fly this fall. She went to junior worlds this past summer and will go to another big international meet in January. That experience is going to help her in the future -- both with us and representing Canada internationally.”
Meagan Hairston will be a 2009 graduate of Plano West Senior High School. Hairston swims for City of Plano Swim Team, coached by Steve Mateer, and her high school coach Kris Jones. Hairston is a junior nationals qualifier, earning best times in both the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke this year. The four-year letterwinner is a member of the Plano West school record 200-yard free relay team. Hairston has best times of 52.25 (100 free) and 1:06.08 (100 back; long course).
“Meagan is somebody that made some great strides this past summer,” Bultman said. “She swam when she was younger, then took a break and came back to it somewhat recently. She is excited about swimming and getting better. We absolutely feel like her best swimming is ahead of her.”
Maureen McLaine will also be a 2009 graduate of Plano West Senior High School. McLaine swims for the City of Plano Swim Team, coached by Steve Mateer, as well as high school coach Kris Jones. She has been named the Plano West Athlete of the Year and a team captain and was a past Newcomer of the Year on her high school team. McLaine was also named the Class 5A Region 2 Swimmer of the Year last year as well. She has bests of 1:49.71 (200 free), 4:50.72 (500 free), 9:59.85 (1,000 free), and 16:35.36 (1,650 free).
“As a Texas girl, Maureen has been on our radar for a couple of years now,” Bultman said. “She is somebody that has been improving quite a bit. We feel like she has a lot of potential. Adding her and Liz (Nelson) to our distance group will be a big plus for our team.”
Liz Nelson will be a 2009 graduate of College Park High School in The Woodlands, Texas. She swims for The Woodlands Swim Team, coached by Tim Bauer, as well as high school coach Sara Bany. Nelson has numerous All-American and academic honors to her credit. Nelson has best times of 1:52.47 (200 free), 4:49.88 (500 free), 9:53.43 (1,000 free), and 16:29.04 (1,650 free).
“Liz is another Texas girl that we’ve watched for several years,” Bultman said. “She has an older sister at A&M right now. She is a very hard worker and in the last six months it has been really been paying off for her. She had outstanding performances at the Gulf Senior Championships a few weeks ago where she set several big lifetime bests.”
Jaclin Rehring will be a 2009 graduate of Allen High School. The Lucas, Texas, native swims for the City of Plano club team coached by Steve Mateer as well as high school coach Brent Mitchell. Rehring earned second place in the 200 IM at the state meet as a junior and placed highly at the 2008 junior nationals as well. Rehring has top times of 55.82 (100 fly), 2:01.20 (200 fly), and 2:03.01 (200 IM).
“Jaclin is another Texas girl we have been watching for a couple years now,” Bultman said. “She has always been a pretty good flyer. Last year at her state high school meet, she showed a lot of versatility, doing well in the 200 IM. She is also one of three of our signees from City of Plano Swimming (COPS). We’ve had several girls from COPS since I’ve been here. Steve (Mateer) has done a great job preparing them to swim well in college and they have all had a lot of success with us after coming out of the COPS program.”
Tess Simpson will be a 2009 graduate of Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School in Ingleside, Ont. Simpson swims for the Cornwall Sea Lions club team coached by Robert Eynon. Last spring, Simpson finished sixth at the Canadian Olympic Trials in the 100-meter backstroke and was named to the Canadian Junior National Team. Simpson went on to earn a bronze medal at the FINA Junior World Championships in the 100 back and finished fourth in the 50 back as well. She also made the Canadian Tri-Nations Cup team where she earned a second place finish in the 100 back. Simpson has best long course times of 29.61 (50-meter back), 1:02.28 (100-meter back), and 2:20.13 (200-meter back).
“Tess is a very good sprint backstroker but she has the versatility and the desire to swim other events,” Bultman said. “Her club team doesn’t have as much pool time as they would like but her coach Robert Eynon has done a great job getting her to swim as fast as she has already. I think the additional time to train once she gets here will be a big plus. Tess is someone that can be a big contributor for us not only at the NCAA meet but internationally for Canada as well.”
Allyson Sweeney will be a 2009 graduate of Brookwood High School in Snellville, Ga. Sweeney currently swims for the Swim Atlanta club team coached by Chris Davis as well as high school coach Greg Puckett. She is a former member of the Longhorn Aquatics club team coached by Randy Reese. Sweeney was the Georgia high school state champion in the 100-yard freestyle as well as the bronze medalist in the 200 free as a junior. She grabbed the bronze in the 100 free at the Texas high school state meet as a sophomore. Sweeney has best times of 23.46 (50 free), 50.77 (100 free), 1:49.47 (200 free), 55.16 (100 fly), 56.61 (100 back), and 2:04.76 (200 IM).
“Allyson lives in Atlanta but we’ve seen her from her days swimming with Longhorn Aquatics,” Bultman said. “She’s someone that was primarily a sprint to middle distance freestyler but Chris Davis has helped her other strokes to develop. We’re very excited about her future and happy to have her come back to Texas and be a part of our team.”
Diver Jaele Patrick will join the A&M roster in January and be eligible to compete immediately. Patrick was the runner-up on the one-meter at the Australian National Championships in 2008. Patrick was the three-meter champion at the 2006 Australian Elite Junior Diving Championships in Brisbane while also taking third on the one-meter. She earned top 10 finishes on both springboards at the 2007 Australian Open Diving Championships. Patrick, coached by Matthew Adamson, was named to the Australian Development Squad in 2008.
“I think Jaele is one of the most talented divers we’ve ever recruited,” A&M diving coach Kevin Wright said. “She’s a real strong, dynamic diver that just needs more competitions to bring out her best. Coming to the U.S. will help her become more seasoned meaning that she’ll be able to have more competitions all year long. She was second at Australian nationals last year which speaks to just how good of a diver she already is right now. We’re very much looking forward to her becoming a part of our program.”