Wyoming Swimming And Diving Inks 15 Student-Athletes

Nov. 28, 2011

LARAMIE, Wyo. - Wyoming swimming and diving and head coach Tom Johnson are proud to announce the signing of 15 swimmers and divers to national letter of intents for next fall. This class comes from all over the country as well as Wyoming athletes and a swimmer from the other side of the world.

The following is a breakdown of the UW signees:

Cowgirl Signees:

Keara Chang

Chang is from La Habra, Calif. She is the daughter of Amy and David Chang. She will join the Wyoming Cowgirl team and will help the freestyle group contributing in multiple distances from the 100 to the 500. She swims out of Golden West Swim Team and Sunny Hills High School. Chang joins several swimmers from southern California as the Wyoming swimming and diving team has continued to get more and more athletes from California.

"She will come in the door and help with our depth in the freestyle events and we look forward to her improving in order to become a top athlete in our conference," Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson said.

Molly Coonce

Coonce joins the Cowgirls from Batavia, Ill. She is the daughter of Missy and Lisa Alajoki-Coonce and Scott Coonce. Her father is a Wyoming graduate ('87) and letter in football at UW. She swims for Academy Bullets and Rosary High School, and is coached by Coach Bill Schalz and Bill Capen. As a sophomore in high school, she won the 200 individual medley and was third in the 100 butterfly at the Iowa High School State championships. She was a High School All-American in the 200 IM that year. In 2009, she qualified for her first junior national championships. Later that year she moved to Illinois. She won the 100 breaststroke at the Illinois High School State Championships and was fourth in the 100 butterfly, again becoming a NISCA High School All-American in both those events. Her senior year she placed seventh in the 100 butterfly (55.51) and fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.86).

"I have known Molly since she was 12 and attended our camps," Johnson said. "She is a tremendous athlete who is good in almost every stroke and will develop better range. You can plug her in almost any event in a dual meet. Molly has the potential to be a star in this program, she was recruited by several top 25 schools, and we really look forward to her contributions to the team."

Emma Dow

Emma Dow is from Salem, Ore., and is the daughter of Dr. Roger and Janet Dow. She swims for Craig Charlson the head coach of Bearcat Swim Club. Emma is a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American athlete. She is a Grand Prix and Sectional qualifier in the 500, 1000, 1650 freestyles; 100 and 200 breaststrokes; and the 400 IM.

"Emma has tremendous range in the freestyle events have a strong breaststroke," Johnson said. "Emma is a strong individual medley swimmer as well. Another important aspect is what a terrific kid Emma is. Coach Charlson told me having Emma in your pool is like having another coach in the pool. We look forward to Emma's contributions to our program."

Sarae Dydo

Dydo is from Yorba Linda, Calif. and is the daughter of Marco Dydo and Lisa Weinstein. She swims for Golden West Swim Club and former US National Team director and Olympic coach Mark Schubert. Dydo also swims at Esperanza high School for Mat Slevcove. She is a strong 100 freestyle swimmer (52.89). She is also a strong backstroke swimmer and will work on developing better range in her freestyle events. She will also add strength to relays events. Sarae is also a good student and wants to study nursing at Wyoming.

"Sarae has nice height and will make a nice impact in our freestyle events and relays," Johnson added. "She also has a nice backstroke and we hope that will develop as well."

Lauren McClure

Coming to the Cowgirls from Carlsbad, Calif., McClure will make immediate impact on our distance freestyle events. She swims for North Coast Aquatics under Coach Jeff Pease. Her best times come from last summer season in 800 freestyle with 9:16.32 and 1500 freestyle with 17:39.40.

"After meeting with her on our official visit, I felt a great connection with her," assistant coach Manny Noguchi said. "She takes academics very seriously as well as her swimming. Coach Jeff is well known coach for years, and I am very excited to have his swimmer, Lauren, in our distance program."

Abbey Miller

Miller is a local talent for Laramie and 307 Diving Club. Miller is still relatively new to the sport of diving but has a strong gymnastics. Abbey is going to pursue a degree in physiology and hopes to go to medical school after college.

"I have been watching Abbey grow as a diver over the past year and she is a great local diver who is still very new to diving," Wyoming diving coach Pat Bukowski said. "She has a lot of potential and some great diving ahead of her. I know Trent is going to do a great job over the spring and summer to get her ready for college."

Lilly Parks

Parks is from Van Nuys, Calif. She is the daughter of Debby Shively and Rick Parks. Parks swims for the Rattler Swim Club and Sierra Canyon High School and is coached by Kevin Blum. Parks is a strong 100 breaststroke (1:04.54) and 200 breaststroke swimmer (2:22.36). She is also an excellent student and is on her schools honor roll.

"Lilly will add to an already very strong group of breaststrokers, she has shown continued improvement and can also contribute in the IMs." Johnson said.

Ashlyn Royce

Royce is from Chandler, Ariz., and is the daughter of Allen and Lorie Royce. Her best times in short course are 10:16.44 in 1000 freestyle and 17:06.9 in 1650 freestyle. She swims for Sun Devil Aquatics under Coach Patrick Nalley. Before joining with Sun Devil, she swam for Mission Viejo Nadadores in Southern California. She is a daughter of Allen and Lorie Royce. Her intended major is physical therapy/kinesiology.

"Her experience with those two great swim clubs is tremendous," Noguchi said. "She will make a great impact on our distance freestyle events as well as 400IM. I cannot wait to work with her."

Cowboy Signees:

Bryce Carter

Carter will be joining the strong contingent of male sprinters as he comes in as a Junior National Qualifier in the 50 freestyle (24.08 LCM) and 100 free (52.93 LCM). He also joins the long list of Colorado natives to become Cowboys. Cater is from Littleton, Colorado and swims from Foothills Swim Team. He intends on studying wildlife biology while at UW. Bryce is the son of Connie and Gerard Carter.

"Bryce will be able to come in and help our sprint group grow and will add to our depth," associate head coach Matt Leach said. "I have watched him transform from his Junior year to his Senior year. We look forward to that continued growth while Bryce is here."

Matt Cook

Cook is from LeGrande, Ore., and is the son of Christopher and Kelly Cook. He swims for LeGrande Swim Club for Darren Dutto and for LeGrande High School. Cook and his family lived in Wyoming when he was younger and later moved to Oregon. He is a terrific backstroke swimmer who qualified and competed at last summer's Junior National Championships in both the 100 and the 200 backstroke. He was the Oregon State Runner-Up in the 200 freestyle and in the 100 backstroke in 2011. He is also an excellent student being named a member of National Honor Society at and hopes to study engineering at UW.

"Matt follows a long group of Oregonians to join Cowboy Swimming," Johnson added. "Matt is a talented backstroker and middle distance freestyler who is really shown a lot of improvement in the last year. He should really contribute to our medley relays."

Brendan Costello

Costello is from Magnolia, Texas and is the son of Joseph and Jacqueline Costello. Brendan swims for the Magnolia Swim Club for coach Terry Jones. He is a Junior National qualifying backstroke swimmer and a very strong middle distance freestyle swimmer. Matt has also competed in the European forces Swim League as well as in Texas.

"Brendan is a very strong backstroker with terrific size and will be a great asset to both our medley and freestyler relays," Johnson said. "Brendan is also a teammate of Cowgirl freshman Melanie McDonough and was at Georgia Swim Camp back when coach Manny Noguchi was a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia."

George Eglesfield

Eglesfield is from Rangoria, North Cantebury, New Zealand and is the son of David and Louise. He is a butterfly and distance-freestyle swimmer who competed at the 2011 New Zealand Long Course Swimming Championship. He placed sixth in the 1500-meter freestyle and eighth in the 200 butterfly. He is the New Zealand national age group champion in the 200 fly and has a US Junior National qualifying time in that event. He has also excelled in the classroom earning honor roll in high school. He plans to study chemistry while at UW.

"George is a talented distance and butterfly swimmer," Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson said. "He will make a terrific impact in both the distance freestyle and butterfly events. We hope George will develop more range in his freestyle events. We are excited to have another New Zealander join the team."

Eric McMillin

McMillin comes to Wyoming from Ft. Collins, Colo. He brings competitive experience to the University of Wyoming and had a great summer of diving where he was fifth on the 1-meter springboard and seventh on the 3-meter at the AAU Nationals. In the spring of 2011, he was second at 5A Colorado State Championship missing his last dive to put him out of first place by only few points. He plans on to major in business at Wyoming.

"Eric is a big sign for us and already has the necessary dives on 1-meter and 3-meter to compete at a high level in college," Bukowski added. "I am eager to start working with him."

Ryan Nelson

Nelson will join in our Wyoming distance group focusing on distance freestyle events (1000FR with 9:48.19, 1650FR with 15:46.30) as well as 400 individual medley and 200 butterfly. His long-course times in 400IM is 4:33.30 and in 200FLY is 2:06.55. He currently swims for the former Olympic coach, Mark Schubert, under Golden West Swim Club in Huntington Beach, Calif. He is a son of Tim and Irva Nelson. His plans to major is biology/chemistry.

"He has multiple talents on many events," Noguchi said. "His versatility at high level will certainly help not only on his individual events, but also on our team score. Coach Schubert is one of the best coaches in the world. His recommendation on Ryan is very positive. I am very confident that Ryan's future will be very bright with our Wyoming program."

Ernest "Kevin" Waller

Waller will join as a Wyoming Cowboy coming from North Bend, Ore., with multiple summer junior national qualified events. He swims for South Coast Aquatic Team under Coach Chris Richmond. His best times are 1:40.83 in 200 freestyle, 4:31.70 in 500 free and 9:33.69 in 1000 free. Also he is the son of John and Christina Waller. He is interested in majoring in mechanical engineering at UW.

"We have been in touch with each other over a year through emails," Noguchi said. "I am very confident that Kevin will impact on our middle distance/distance freestyle events as well as our 4x200 freestyle relay. Coach Chris has done a great job working with Kevin for a number of years. With Kevin's size (190 pounds) and height (6-5), I am sure he will continue to make a great progress on his performance. I look forward to working with him very much."