Swimming and Diving Inks Nine in Early Signing Period

Nov. 30, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- On the heels of a successful fall season which included many record-breaking performances, the University of Kentucky swimming and diving team, led by 21st-year head coach Gary Conelly, announced it’s 2012-13 early signees which includes nine new student-athletes for UK.

“We are very excited about our signees for the fall of 2011,” UK head coach Gary Conelly said. “It is a very impressive group of talented swimmers and divers who will all make an immediate impact for Kentucky swimming and diving when they arrive on campus next fall.” 

One of the most versatile swimmers of the newest signee class is expected to be Laura Dawson. “(Laura) Dawson has the ability to cover a lot of events. She will be critical help in our backstroke and butterfly events.  She is also a strong freestyler and should be on NCAA in the 200-and-400 freestyle relays.” Conelly said about Dawson. Dawson has recorded times for over 10 events in her career including a 1:50.80 in the 200-freestyle.

The Cat’s also recruited internationally, notching Frida Jakobsson from Linkoping, Sweden. “To bolster our sprint core, we have added Frida Jakobsson,” Conelly said. “She is coming to us from Linkoping, Sweden.  She will be into the top-three spots on the team in the 50-and-100-freestyles.  She will be a contender for top-team spots in the 200-freestyle. Additionally, she will add depth to our backstroke and IM events.” Jakobsson has posted times as fast as 1:50.80 in the 200-freestyle, and 4:52.70 in the 500-freestyle. Jakobsson also has tabbed a 23.20 and a 51.01 in the 50, and 100-freestyle respectfully.

Zach Zardona will come to Lexington next year, joining Matt Roman as the two Canadians in the incoming class of 2012. “Zack Zardona is an outstanding freestyler and backstroker. We expect him to be a part of our NCAA freestyle and medley relays.  He has come in with times that would put him in the team’s top three in the 50-and-100 of the freestyle and backstroke events.” Conelly said. In converted times from international competition, Zandona has swam a 20.55 in the 50-freestyle as well as charting a 45.74 in the 100-freestyle.

Matt Roman is expected to bring a big boost in the stroke events for the swimming program at UK. Conelly spoke highly of the Canadian, talking about his versatility on the water. “Matt Roman is a stroke specialist who will help us out in many events.  He could be one of the top two freestylers in the 500 and 1650, but more importantly, he is going to be a standout for us in the 200-and-400 individual medley events.  He should also be in the team’s top three in the 200-butterfly.  It is very exciting to have such a versatile swimmer.  He will be competitive in the Southeastern Conference in more than six events.” Conelly said. Roman has a career-best time of 1:51.74 in the 200-IM, and has charted a 3:57.36 in the 400-IM.

After diving for Ted Hautau as a member of the Kentucky Diving Club, Rebecca Hamperian will join the Wildcats diving team for the 2012 season. Hamperian attended Lexington’s own Lafayette High School. Hamperian was the Kentucky State Champion on 2010 and 2011, making her one of the best diving talents in Kentucky. Hamperian is a Beta Club member, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. Hamperian has qualified for the Junior Nationals for seven consecutive years. “She is a threat to score in the top-16 at the NCAA Championships in 2013.” UK head coach Gary Conelly said about Hamperian.

William “Colby” Coleman will join the UK diving program after attending George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester, Ky. Coleman dove for the Kentucky Diving Club under the direction of current UK head diving coach Ted Hautau. Coleman placed second in the Kentucky State meet in his high school’s first season in diving competition.

Kate Jones, a Junior and Senior National qualifier will join the Wildcats in 2012 after a four-year stint at Arrowhead High School. Jones swam for the Lake County Swim Team under the direction of Mark Kornhorst and Tom Coons. Jones has had a remarkable academic career, netting a 4.0 GPA in high school, and being named a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American. Jones’ high school team won the state championship three times, and Jones saw herself qualify for the state meet all four years of her high school career. “(Katie) is a strong freestyler and backstroker,” Conelly said. “Her strength and speed help to make us a formidable team in duel meet and championship competitions.” The Watertown, Wisc., native has swam numerous good times in her career, including a 23.95 in the 50-freestyle a 52.32 in the 100-freestyle.

Alex Neglich will join the UK swimming program after qualifying for the Pennsylvania state meet in high school in her junior and senior years. Naglich was a USS Academic All-American in 2009, and 2010, making his accomplishments out if the water just as commendable as in the water. Naglich posted a Pennsbury High School (Fairless Hills, Pa.) record time in the 500-freestyle. “Alex is going to going to give us some needed depth in the distance events.  He has the potential to be an SEC scorer in the 500-freestyle.” Conelly said. Neglich is a long freestyle specialist, and has been recorded as fast as 1:43.60 in the 200-freestyle, and a 16:01.59 in the 1650-freestyle.

Another new addition to the Wildcats will be a swimmer from Palm Harbor, Fla., in Zach Perrotti. Perrotti swam at the club level for the PYP Piranha’s under the direction of Lisa Bitting. Perrotti was named a scholastic All-American in 2010, and 2011 as well as named to the National Honor Society in those two years as well. Perrotti’s high school finished as state champions in 2008 and 2011. Individually, Perrotti finished in first place in the 200-medley as well as posting a third-place finish in the 200-freestyle relay. “Zack will be a good addition to our butterfly core.  He could certainly become a key part of our 200-butterfly event.” Conelly said about Perrotti.” Perrotti has gone as fast as 53.13 in the 100-backstroke, and 51.97 in the 100-butterfly.

For continuing team coverage of the winter season, and all of the most updated UK swimming and diving information, log on to UKAthletics.com.