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Nov. 29, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Virginia swimming and diving head coach Mark Bernardino announced Thursday (Nov. 29) that Kaitlyn Jones, Erin McElfresh, Shannon Rauth, Kaleigh Rosenburg, Laura Simon, Maddy Smart, Leah Smith and Ellen Thomas have all signed National Letters-of-Intent to join the Cavalier women for the 2013-14 season.

“We are very excited about this group of women,” Bernardino said. “We have definitely improved our team and are lucky enough to have three of the top 25 swimmers in the world at their age. We have found young women who are not only talented swimmers, but who are also excellent students and have very strong leadership skills and personal character traits. We think this is a special class that can help us move forward in the national rankings and remain one of the elite programs in the country.”

Kaitlyn Jones
Newark, Del. – The Tatnall School
Delaware Swim Team (Sean Dougherty)

– Finalist in the 200m back at 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
– Gold medalist in 200m IM at 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore
– Silver medalist in 200m back at 2010 Youth Olympics
– Silver medalist in 200m back at 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships
– Member of the 2012-13 U.S. National Junior Team
– Competed at U.S. Olympic Trials in 100m back, 200m back, 200m IM, 400m IM
– USA Swimming Scholastic All-American
– Ranks 50th in the 200 back and 67th in the 200 IM on this year’s world rankings

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters Short-Course Meters
200 Free – 1:48.97 100 Free – 57.90 100 Back – 58.91
500 Free – 4:50.91 200 Free – 2:03.65 200 Back – 2:08.08
100 Back – 54.27 100 Back – 1:03.00 200 IM – 2:10.34
200 Back – 1:55.05 200 Back – 2:11.08
200 IM – 1:59.03 200 IM – 2:14.31
400 IM – 4:11.67 400 IM – 4:47.57

Bernardino on Jones: “Anticipating the graduation of Meredith Cavalier in 2013 and Charlotte Clarke in 2014, we felt it was pivotal to find a backstroker who could either sprint or provide us with IM versatility. In Kaitlyn Jones, we found more than that athlete. She is an exceptional 100 and 200 backstroke athlete, an exceptional 200 and 400 IM athlete and an exceptional middle-distance freestyler. She has been a member of the U.S. National Junior Team, is decorated at the world-junior level, has had international experience with the USA national team and she was a finalist at Olympic Trials this summer. She is poised, tough, and a great leader. She is very outgoing, but very humble and hardworking.”

Erin McElfresh
Moravia, N.Y. – Moravia Central High School
Lansing Cats (Reed Dewey)

Competed at U.S. Olympic Trials in 100m and 200m fly
– USA Swimming Scholastic All-American

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters
100 Fly – 54.63 100 Fly – 1:01.49
200 Fly – 1:59.88 200 Fly – 2:15.00
200 IM – 2:02.74

Bernardino on McElfresh: “Erin McInfresh is another versatile up-and-coming athlete with great character, great leadership and is a great student. We primarily see Erin swimming the fly and individual medley events while she’s here at UVa. Erin may get some big breakthroughs as a senior in high school. She’s a very good 100 and 200 butterfly athlete, a good 200 IM swimmer and comes to us with a really strong work ethic. I think plugging her into our IM/stroke group, with the quality of athletes that she’s going to have the opportunity to train with, is really going to allow her to blossom into quite an outstanding collegiate swimmer. She’s strong, smart and we’re thrilled to add her to our individual medley and stroke training group.”

6698481.jpegShannon Rauth
Sprint Free/Fly
Glenmoore, Pa. – Downingtown East High School
Upper Main Line YMCA (Glenn Neufeld)

– Competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50m free
– Part of the third-place 200 free relay at the 2012 YMCA National Championships
– Named to West Chester Daily Local All-Area First Team

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters
50 Free – 23.19 50 Free – 26:36
100 Free – 50.63 100 Fly – 1:02.85
100 Fly – 55.89
100 Back – 56.65

Bernardino on Rauth: “Shannon is our top freestyle sprint prospect coming in. She is a terrific all-around athlete. She is strong, quick, has good instincts and comes from an outstanding program. She can contribute immediately in the 50 free, the 100 free, and the 100 fly. I look at Shannon and Ellen Thomas and they are bookends (on relays), bring the same type of energy, work ethic and leadership skills. She will be an outstanding swimmer for us and her best days are in front of her. She may have a breakout year in her senior year in high school even before she gets to college. She has a lot of promise and is someone who will add a lot to our relays.”

6698485.jpegKaleigh Rosenburg
Leesburg, Va. – Heritage High School
Snow Swimming (Eric Adams)

– Virginia state champion in 100 breast
– Competed at the 2012 U.S. Junior Nationals in the 100m and 200m breast
– USA Swimming Scholastic All-American

Short-Course Yards
100 Free – 52.88
100 Breast – 1:03.21
200 Breast – 2:17.52
200 IM – 2:05.94

Bernardino on Rosenburg: “Kaleigh is an in-state athlete and our second breaststroke recruit in this class. It was very important to secure the services of two if not three breaststrokers in this particular recruiting class. So with the addition of Kaleigh we’ve shored up what has been a small weakness for two out of the last three years. We add depth and a young breaststroker who will be ramping up her training significantly upon arrival, but someone that has a lot of upside. She’s one of the finest student athletes we’ve recruited this year so she brings a lot to the program in terms of her leadership abilities in the classroom and in the pool. She brings a lot to the table as the prime training partner with Laura Simon. Having each other to work with and to feed off will help both of them improve at a faster rate.”

6698484.jpegLaura Simon
Simmern, Germany – Gymnasium Mainz
SG EWR Rheinhessen Mainz (Lothar Schubert)

– Third place in 100m breast at 2012 German Olympic Trials
– Also finished fifth in 200m breast at German Olympic Trials
– Placed fifth in the 50m breast and 100m breast at the 2011 World Junior Championships
– Represented Germany on 2012 FINA World Cup circuit
– Ranks 36th in the 50 breast in this year’s world rankings

Short-Course Meters Long-Course Meters
100 Breast – 1:06.84 100 Breast – 1:09.55
200 Breast – 2:24.19 200 Breast – 2:30.17
200 IM – 2:18.26

Bernardino on Simon: “Absolutely an answer to our prayers in the breaststroke events. For some unknown, crazy reason we have struggled in the past couple of years to have a world-class breaststroker. This young lady is an incredibly vibrant human being. She is highly ranked on an under-18 level in the world, has experienced international swimming at very high levels and she has the potential to represent Germany in the 2016 Olympic Games. We couldn’t be happier as we targeted her as the number one breaststroke recruit prospect and good fortune came our way. We had a wonderful visit when she came to the States to see the University. She’s going to be a huge difference maker for us as she’s going to propel our relays to unparalleled success in my opinion. In terms of filling a need, nobody fills a need more than Laura Simon for our women’s team in the breaststroke events. She, along with Leah Smith and Kaitlyn Jones, has the ability to challenge for top-eight spots at the NCAA Championships very early in her career.”

6698482.jpegMaddy Smart
Brookfield, Conn. – Brookfield High School
Wilton Y Wahoos (Randy Erlenbach)

– Competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100m free
– YMCA National Champion in 100m free
– USA Swimming Scholastic All-American

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters
100 Free – 50.99 100 Free – 57.38
200 Free – 1:49.90 200 Free – 2:04.51
500 Free – 4:52.28

Bernardino on Smart: “Maddy’s best years are in front of her. She is a significant recruit for us because she is a really good middle distance freestyler. We needed an athlete with those special skills in this recruiting class. We see her contributing in the 100, 200 and 500 free. She also has some versatility, so she can swim other events on occasion. We are really thrilled to have an athlete who specializes in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyle in this class and Maddy fills that role in this class. She is a legacy as both of her parents are UVa graduates.”

6698483.jpegLeah Smith
Pittsburgh, Pa. – Oakland Catholic High School
Jewish Community Center Sailfish (Al Rose)

– Placed 12th in the 800m free and 14th in the 400m free at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
– Gold medalist and record holder in 400m free and 800m free and bronze medalist in 200m free at 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships
– Also competed in 200m free at Trials
– Silver medalist in 400m free and bronze medalist in 800m free at 2011 Winter National Championships
– Member of the 2012-13 U.S. National Junior Team
– USA Swimming Scholastic All-American
– Ranks 20th in the 400 free, 23rd in the 800 free and 51st in the 200 free in this year’s world rankings

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters
100 Free – 51.33 100 Free – 57.27
200 Free – 1:46.84 200 Free – 1:58.56
500 Free – 4:39.96 400 Free – 4:07.10
1000 Free – 9:42.63 800 Free – 8:28.01
1650 Free – 15:57.21

Bernardino on Smith: “Leah comes with the type of credentials rarely seen. She is versatile, but in her best discipline, the freestyle, her range is outstanding. She can swim the 100 all the way up to the mile and all at a national and world-class level. It is very unusual to find an athlete with that range of events. Also, she can swim a good butterfly and the 400 IM. When we began the recruiting process, we identified Leah, Laura (Simon) and Kaitlyn (Jones) as the three most important athletes we could add to our program. Fortunately, all three of them identified UVa as the school they wanted to attend. We see her as a swimmer who will attract other USA Swimmers to the program; she is a real difference maker. We have extremely high expectations for her and I see her challenging for NCAA Championship titles and a berth in the 2016 Olympics. Her father, Dan, was a member of the UVa track and field program as a pole vaulter.”

6698486.jpegEllen Thomas
Sprint Free/Fly
Guildford, UK – Guildford High School
Guildford City Swimming Club (Richard Garfield)

– Second place in the 50 fly at the 2012 British Olympic Trials
– Finalist in the 50 free at the 2012 British Olympic Trials
– 2012 British Youth and Senior Championships qualifier in the 50m free, 100m free, 200m free and 100m fly

Short-Course Meters Long-Course Meters
50 Free – 26.21 50 Free – 26.39
100 Free – 56.76 100 Free – 57.26
200 Free – 2:02.97 200 Free – 2:05.23
100 Fly – 1:02.02 100 Fly – 1:02.26

Bernardino on Thomas: “Another wonderful international recruit for us. We feel she is a diamond in the rough and just needs to be polished. She has the gift of speed and you cannot coach that. You can improve on it maybe, but it’s not something you can just acquire. We are very excited to work with her. Ellen is a wonderful human being; she is bright, sophisticated, and a natural leader. She is going to bring a special element of quickness to the sprint butterfly and sprint freestyle events and she will add a really positive, upbeat personality to the team. She brings a lot to the table and will surprise people. She will contribute immediately in freestyle and medley relays and we feel we can get her to the point where she can contend at the British national level as well.”

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