Swimming and Diving Welcomes 14 for 2014-15 Season

Nov. 15, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky swimming and diving program and head coach Lars Jorgensen announced the commitment of 14 student-athletes that will join the Wildcats for the 2014-15 season.

Bridgette Alexander, Graham Baird, Morgan Belli, Shelby Cline, Ann Davies, Phillip Emerson, Jack Gunning, Aubrey Jones, Isaac Jones, Steven Richardson, Alyssa Ruffing, Celene Steele, Paige Wells and Joshua York will make up part of Kentucky’s 2014-15 freshman class. The class will be completed with additional commitments in the spring.

“We are really excited about our incoming class,” Jorgensen said. “They will bring a great amount of talent to the team next year and will certainly help us continue to take this program to the next level. Our staff did a great job, everyone contributed to our recruiting efforts and I’m proud of our first class. The class includes several swimmers from Kentucky, which is very important as well.

“On the women’s side, we’re really happy with this group of women. It fills our needs and adds some much-needed depth. As a staff, we tried to identify some weaknesses that we had, and I’m pleased with our recruiting efforts. For the men, we landed two real stars with Isaac Jones from Australia and Steven Richardson, both outstanding recruits who have bright futures. Graham, Phillip, Jack and Joshua will also bring great competitiveness. We have a lot of freestylers coming in, which is something we tried to identify as a need on the men’s side.”

Alexander is a backstroker from Milton, Wis. A product of the J-Hawk Aquatic Club and head coach Cheri Zimdars, she has qualified for U.S. Nationals and boasts a time of 1:57.20 in the 200 yard backstroke and a 54.79 in the 100 yard backstroke along with a 51.78 100 freestyle. Alexander also has long-course times of 1:03.25 and 2:16.20 in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke, respectively. She attends Milton High School and is interested in studying biology or anatomy at Kentucky.

A sprinter and middle distance freestyler, Baird will come to Kentucky from Chevy Chase, Md. As an important part of the 15-16 year-old national record holders in the 400 medley relay team at the Nations Capital Swim Team under head coach Bruce Gemmell, he has recorded a 46.32 in the 100 freestyle, 1:39.15 in the 200 free and 4:32.72 in the 500 free. He has long-course times of 52.56 in the 100 free and 1:53.48 in the 200 free. Baird will graduate next spring from Bethesda Chevy Chase High School.

From Columbus, Ohio, Belli competes in the individual medley and as a backstroker for the Greater Columbus Swimming Association and head coach Justin Max. She has posted times of 56.63 in the 100 backstroke and 2:04.79 in the 200 individual medley and will add to UK’s depth next season. Belli is interested in pursuing a degree in a science-related field and will graduate from Gahanna Lincoln High School.

Cline comes to Lexington from Cedar Falls, Iowa, where she competes for the Black Hawk Area Swim Team under the instruction of head coach Nick Lakin. She boasts times of 24.01 in the 50 freestyle, 51.98 in the 100 free and a 100 backstroke time of 57.48. The high school senior attends Cedar Falls High School.

A Kentucky native, Davies will come to Lexington from Fort Mitchel, where she swims for Jason Roberts and the Northern Kentucky Clippers. Primarily competing in the individual medley, she has posted times of 2:03.41 and 4:28.11 in the 200 and 400 IM, respectively. In long course competition, she has notched a 1:04.25 in the 100 breaststroke and 2:18.52 in the 200 breaststroke. Davies is a senior at Beechwood High School, and her major and academic interests are undecided at UK.

Emerson comes to UK from Franklin, Pa., He excels as a sprint freestyler at the Franklin YMCA with head coach Robin Frye. He has recorded times of 20.78 in the 50 freestyle and 45.54 in the 100 free and is a junior national qualifier. Emerson will graduate from Franklin High School in the spring.

From Marietta, Ga., Gunning is coached by Ian Goss and competes for Stingrays Swimming. He has posted top times of 4:33.23 in the 500 freestyle and 2:07.10 in the 200 meter backstroke event. Gunning attends George Walton High School and hopes to study physics or engineering upon arrival in Lexington.

A freestyler, Aubrey Jones hails from Suwannee, Ga., where she competes under Jeff Hike at Swim Atlanta. Primarily a middle distance specialist, she registered a 52.0 in the 100 freestyle, a 1:51.76 in the 200 freestyle and a 200 backstroke time of 2:03.14. Jones attends Lambert High School.

A member of Australia’s Junior World Championship team, Isaac Jones comes to UK from Allansford, Victoria, Australia. He has excelled in butterfly and freestyle events and earned a silver medal in the 800 freestyle relay, with the fastest lead-off time of 1:49.90 at the Junior World Championships. Jones also has long course best times of 51.28 in the 100 meter freestyle and 3:58.32 in the 400 meter freestyle while swimming the 200 butterfly in a time of 1:59.81. In the 400 meter individual medley, he swam a best time of 4:29.70. He currently attends Emmanuel College in Australia.

Richardson hails from Humble, Texas, and swims for the Eagle Swimming Association and head coach Michael Robinson. A competitor in the freestyle event, he has notched a 20.94 in the 50 free and a 45.55 in the 100 freestyle. In long course competition, he is a 2013 junior national long course finalist in the 50 meter freestyle with a time of 23.21 and he swam the 100 free in 51.04 and the 100 back in 58.18. Richardson is interested in studying biology at Kentucky.

From Murrysville, Pa., Ruffing is a freestyle swimmer for the Franklin Area Swim Team and head coach Lucas Marsak. She has recorded times of 23.36 in the 50 free and 51.08 in the 100 free and is a sprint specialist. She will graduate from Franklin Regional High School in the spring.

Steele is a Lexington native and swims for the Bluegrass Marlins Swim Team and head coach Roger Kehrt. She boasts a top time of 1:08.04 in the 100 yard breaststroke competition. Steele is a senior at Lexington Catholic High School and will graduate in the spring.

From Gurnee, Ill., Wells competes for the Blue Devil Swim Club and Chris Bertana. She has recorded a 50 freestyle time of 23.97 in addition to a 52.28 in the 100 freestyle. A student at Warren Township High School, Wells hopes to study exercise science or kinesiology at UK.

A Midlothian, Va., native, York is a backstroker and competes for Quest Swimming under the direction of Dudley Duncan. He has posted times of 23.08 in the 50 backstroke, 50.47 in the 100 backstroke and 1:48.14 in the 200 backstroke. Interested in studying physical therapy or sports medicine, York attends Clover Hill High School.

For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Swimming and Diving program, go to UKathletics.com/SwimmingDiving. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKSwimDive and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive.