Nov. 24, 2004
Laramie, Wyo. - University of Wyoming swimmingand diving coach Tom Johnson announced today the signing of sixstudent athletes to national letters of intent. Three men and threewomen will join the program next fall. Curtis Smith of Columbus, Ohio, Sam Shook of Loveland, Colo. and Alex Larkin from Bend, Ore. will join the Cowboys while Cassidy Jo Bray ofOmaha, Neb., Aimee Stinson of Colorado Springs, Colo. and Krista Jonesof Loveland, Colo. will join the Cowgirls.
Curtis Smith, Columbus, Ohio (Upper Arlington High School)
Curtis Smith, from Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohiospecializes in middle distance freestyle events. His junior year, hewas a finalist in the 200 freestyle and a consolation finalist in the500 freestyle at the Ohio State Championships. He also swam on thestate champion 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams, both of which wereAll-American relays. He also swims for the Upper Arlington Swim Club,which is the same club team that` former Cowboy Bill Palmer (1980-83)swims for. He is also an accomplished water polo player.
"Curtis has improved a great deal over the past year, and I feel hehas much room to continue to grow and mature as an athlete," saidJohnson. "He will add great depth to our middle distance freestyleevents and will add a strong punch to all of our freestyle relays."Curtis was also recruited by Eastern Michigan, the Ohio StateUniversity and the University of Louisville.
Sam Shook, Loveland, Colo. (Thompson Valley High School)
Sam Shook, a native of Loveland, Colo., comes to Wyoming by way ofThompson Valley High School and the Loveland Swim Club. He is a verytalented and versatile swimmer. He excels in the IM and is also verygood in the backstroke and breaststroke. He placed second in the 200IM and 3rd in the 100 backstroke at the 2003 Colorado State HighSchool Championships, earning All-American status in both events. Hefinished fifth in the 200 IM and third in the 100 backstroke at the2004 Colorado State High School Championships. He will join his highschool teammate, sophomore Dan Jones, next season.
"I have known Sam since he was a little kid," said Johnson."He is immensely talented and very athletic. He has had outstandingcoaching from Jim Nickell at Loveland Swim Club and Tom Hewson atThompson Valley who I both deeply respect. Sam is fierce competitorand will be great contributor to our team." He was also recruitedby the Minnesota, Penn State, Florida State and West Virginia.
Alex Larkin, Bend, Ore. (Summit High School)
Alex Larkin, a native of Bend, Ore., will bring a punch to the Cowboybreaststroke and sprint freestyle. He is a teammate and friend ofcurrent Cowboy freshman Henry Holmberg, attended Summit High Schooland swam for the Bend Swim Club with him. His high school coach isformer Cowgirl swimmer Briana (Teets) Lasher who competed for theCowgirls from 1994-98 and also swam for coach Johnson in high schoolin Fort Collins, Colo. Alex placed second in the 100 breaststroke andfourth in the 50 freestyle at the 2004 Oregon High School StateChampionships. Along with Holmberg, he was a part of 200 medley and400 freestyle relay state championships. He was a member of the 2004Oregon State High School Championship team.
"Alex is a big, strong young man much like a current breaststrokerin the Wyoming swimming program," said Johnson. "He shoulddevelop into a very good breaststroker and sprint freestyler." Hewas also recruited by Arizona State and Washington.
Cassidy Jo (CJ) Bray, Omaha, Neb. (Millard West High School)
Cassidy comes to Wyoming from Omaha, Neb. where she was a standoutswimmer and soccer player and was recruited to do both sports at thecollege level. At the 2004 Nebraska High School State Swimming andDiving Championships , she placed fourth in the 50 freestyle and fifthin the 100 backstroke and led off her school's 200 medley relay.She also swims for Millard Aquatic Club in Omaha. She will compete inthe sprint backstroke and freestyle events.
"What CJ lacks in experience she makes up in talent and desire,"said Johnson. "She had a tough time deciding whether to be aDivision I soccer player or Division I swimmer. Soccer has taught hertoughness, teamwork and competitiveness that will serve her well as aswimmer. She has tremendous talent in swimming and we look forward toher joining us next fall at Wyoming." She was also recruited byKansas, Nebraska, Nebraska-Omaha, Truman State and CreightonUniversity.
Krista Jones, Loveland, Colo., (Loveland High School)
Jones is the sister of current Cowboy swimmer Dan Jones and comes toUW from Loveland, Colo. She is a talented middle distance freestylerand backstroker. She, unlike her brother and new Cowboy signee SamShook, swims at Loveland High School. Krista is a two time conferencechampion and a state finalist in the 200 freestyle and the 500Freestyle. She also swims with the Loveland Swim Club. She is amember of Loveland High School's National Honor Society.
"Krista is a talented freestyler with a lot of range," saidJohnson. "She can swim every freestyle event from the 200 free tothe 1650 free. She can also help us in the backstroke and the IM's. Krista with continued improvement can be a Mountain West Conferencefinalist and a National Qualifier." She was also recruited byToledo, North Dakota, and Seattle University.
Aimee Stinson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Wadefield High School)
Stinson is a tremendously talented middle distance and distancefreestyler. She swims at Widefield High School and for former UW headswimming coach Mike Doane for the Colorado Springs Swim Team. Mikecoached current Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson during Mike's stintas UW head coach from 1984-1988. Mike was also in Athens this summeras he helped coach the US Triathlon Team at the 2004 Olympics thispast summer. Stinson is a US Open qualifier in the 200, 400 and 800freestyles. She was a finalist at last Spring's USA Swimming'sSectional meet in four events. Her current times in the 100, 200,500, 1000, and 1650 freestyles would rank her in Wyoming Swimming'sTop-10 all-time times. At Wadefield High School, she is a Statefinalist in the 200 and 500 freestyles and is on her school'sNational Honor Society.
"We are so pleased to have Aimee at the University of Wyoming nextyear," said Johnson. "She will challenge many of our school'srecords and will help lead our distance and middle distance swimmers.She is a great athlete with a lot of talent and should make asignificant contribution to our team." She was also recruited byArizona State, UNLV, New Mexico and Texas Christian University.