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August 15, 2011

Swimming and Diving adds Nine for 2011-12 Season

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming and diving team has added nine student-athletes for the upcoming season, head coach Andy Johns announced. The recruiting class features six swimmers and three divers that will join the Lumberjacks after the program lost 10 letter winners following the 2010-11 season. Four of the recruits are from Arizona, including Flagstaff native Meagan Morrison, who will be the first local to compete for Johns in his 16 years leading the program.

"We're excited about our class," said Johns. "I think we did a good job of replacing what we lost from last year's team. All of these girls are really good academically as well, so that will be an added dimension of what they can bring to our program."

Of peak concern for Johns and his staff was replacing the loss of senior divers Lana Christensen, Taryn Harris and Megan Collier, who were all NCAA zone qualifiers last season. Kali Lents (San Antonio, Texas/Ronald Regan HS) comes to NAU after being a four-time high school All American while Gwen Smithberg (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Catholic HS/Bellevue College) transfers to NAU after being a state diving competitor and state champion gymnast in high school. Katie Dallmann (Peoria, Ariz./Cactus HS), the younger sister of NAU junior volleyball setter Kelli Dallmann, also comes to NAU after earning a high school state diving championship.

On the swimming side, NAU adds two butterfly specialists in Alexis Juergens (South Jordan, Utah/Skyline HS), who broke 100 and 200 fly records for her club team, and Caitlin Wright (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino HS), who was a state finalist in both the 100 fly and 200 free. Becky Russell (Arlington, Texas/Nolan Catholic HS) and Emily Lewandowski (Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol HS) join the NAU program after having great high school success in individual and team medley races, while Alex Huff (Highland Park, Texas/Highland Park HS) comes to Flagstaff after winning the Texas state title in the 100 backstroke and earning All-American honors. Morrison was a four year starter and two year team captain at Flagstaff High School while finishing second in the state in three events during her career as an Eagle.

"We lost some great divers but (diving coach) Nikki Huffman and I are pleased with the divers we have brought in and feel that they will add a lot to our program, especially on the platform," noted Johns. "We will really miss the leadership of the swimming seniors we lost, but we bring in a diverse group of newcomers."

Complete bios for the newcomers are available below.

Katie Dallmann - 5-6 - Peoria, Ariz./Cactus HS - Diving

Majoring in elementary education...Four year starter and letter winner, three year team captain in diving at Cactus HS...Won the state diving championship for 4A II in 2009...Dove for coach Marla Wasser...Also started and lettered two years in track...Daughter of Kerri and Larry Dallmann...One older sister, Kelli, and one younger sister, Kayla...Kelli is a junior on the NAU volleyball team.

Alex Huff - 5-10 - Highland Park, Texas/Highland Park HS - Free, Back

Major is undeclared... Graduated from Highland Park HS after spending freshman-junior years at Wakeland HS...Was not granted athletic eligibility for senior year at Highland Park...Held 10 of 11 girls swimming records at Wakeland HS prior to transfer...Set Frisco ISD Natatorium record in 100 backstroke after winning event at 4A State UIL competition and making the All-American cut...Second place in both 100 free and 100 back at state championship junior year...Named Wakeland HS team MVP three years....Daughter of Natalie and Joe Huff...One younger brother, Maxwell.

Alexis Juergens - 5-4 - South Jordan, Utah/Skyline HS - Fly

Major is undeclared...Attended Skyline HS...Swam for club team from 2008 to 2011...Two year club team captain...Holds eight club team records...Broke club records in the 100 and 200 butterfly for 17-18 age group...Team finished first in state in 15 and over age group and second overall in 2011...Utah Swimming Athlete Representative in 2009-2011...Daughter of Satomi and Dan Juergens...Only child.

Kali Lents - 5-4 - San Antonio, Texas/Ronald Regan HS - Diving

Majoring in exercise science...Four year letter winner in diving at Ronald Regan HS...Named an All-American all four years...Finished seventh in high school state championships in 2011...Finalist at nationals all four years, finished fifth on platform and tenth on 1-meter in 2010...Daughter of Don and Yvonne Lents...One older brother, Kyle.

Emily Lewandowski - 5-4 - Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol HS - Breast, IM

Major is undeclared...Four year starter and letter winner in swimming at Corona Del Sol HS...Named HS female swimmer of the year for 2010-11...Finished in the top-eight in the state in the 100 yard breaststroke three times...Also a state qualifier in the 200 IM...Part of 200 medley relay team that finished second in the state in 2008-09...Daughter of Ken and Lisa Lewandowski...Two older brothers, Kenny and Ben, and one younger brother, Erik.

Meagan Morrison - 5-8 - Flagstaff, Ariz./Flagstaff HS - Breast, Free

Plans to major in mechanical or environmental engineering...Four year starter and letter winner, two year team captain in swimming at Flagstaff HS...Finished second in the state in the 100 breaststroke, 500 freestyle and 200 individual medley (twice) during high school career...Part of high school record breaking 4x100 free relay team....Daughter of Steve and Dawn Morrison...One older brother, Brian, and one younger brother, Scott.

Becky Russell - 5-8 - Arlington, Texas/Nolan Catholic HS - Fly, Free

Majoring in exercise science with a minor in mathematics ...Four year letter winner and starter, one year team captain at Nolan Catholic HS...Earned first team All-State honors...Member of high school record breaking 400 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay teams...Daughter of Steve and Alicia Russell...One older brother, Thomas.

Gwen Smithberg - 5-6 - Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Catholic HS/Bellevue College - Diving

Majoring in exercise science...Attended Bellevue College in Bellevue, Wash. 2009-2011...Lettered one year in diving at Kennedy Catholic HS...Finished 20th in the state of Washington in 2006...Took first place on 3 meter at Pacific Northwest Diving competition...Took second place on 1 meter and platform at Oregon State Games...Also lettered three years in gymnastics...Was 2008 all-around Washington state champion...Daughter of Stacey and Matthew Smithberg...Two older sisters, Laura and Christine.

Caitlin Wright - 5-6 - Tucson, Ariz./Sabino HS - Fly, Free

Majoring in environmental engineering...Four year letter winner, one year team captain in swimming at Sabino HS for head coach Lora Wright, her mother...Named team co-most valuable swimmer as a senior...All-American with state and team record in 200 medley relay and team record in 400 free relay ...State finalist in 200 free and 100 fly...Competed at state meet in all-four seasons...Daughter of Bob and Lora Wright...Both parents swam at UC Irvine... One younger brother, Garrett, and one older sister, Courtney.