By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio – While the seniors of the Miami University women’s swimming and diving team prepare to close the door on their student athlete careers and begin new chapters in their lives, a new cohort of swimmers are about to begin their four-year journey at Miami.
A talented team is returning next season, but with 13 seniors graduating, head coach Dave Jennings was faced with filling some gaps in his roster. Up to the challenge, Jennings recruited eight outstanding high school seniors—six swimmers and two divers—to join the RedHawks starting fall 2013.
“I’m pleased with the girls coming in,” Jennings said. “I think we maybe didn’t fully replace what we lost, but I think we have a strong team coming in, a strong team coming back, and I think the incoming freshmen will compliment that.”
Two of the student-athletes hail from the state of Indiana, while Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin contributed one apiece.
After winning Miami 17th Mid-American Conference (MAC) title, Jennings and the out-going seniors will say goodbye to Miami’s swimming and diving program. With these eight new recruits, though, Jennings said he is confident the team will continue to be a powerful force in the MAC.
“I think when it’s all kind of put together in the fall, we should be a pretty good team.”
The incoming freshmen include:
Elise Campbell: A native from Marshfield, Mass., Campbell is a sprint freestyle and breaststroke swimmer, but is also talented in the backstroke and individual medley races. She holds top times in the 50 freestyle (23.46), 100 free (50.99) and 100 breaststroke (1:04.60). She comes from a family of swimmers with both her parents’ graduates from the University of Maine’s swimming program.
“Elise fits the bill in terms of hopefully replacing a couple of our sprinters we have graduating and complement the girls coming in,” Jennings said.
Julia Campbell: Julia Campbell is a distance freestyle and backstroke swimmer from Chesterton, Ind. Campbell holds pool records in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, was named All-Conference in the 200 and 500 freestyle in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She was the recipient of the Mental Attitude Award.
“She’s a real go-getter,” Jennings said. “Julia is very positive; she takes her swimming very seriously. She’s going to really help us in our middle distance events, but she also will swim some backstroke. Julia does a good job in having a good mindset for swimming.”
Kathleen Dodson: A native out of Springfield, Va., Dodson was part of her high school’s 2010 state championship team, and anchored the state-winning 200 medley relay. She holds a 2:03.71 record time in the 200 butterfly, which would have scored in the recent MAC Championship meet.
“We were looking for somebody who could swim a strong 200 fly, but also a good 100 fly, and Kathleen can obviously do both of those,” Jennings said. “I think Kathleen will be someone who can really help our depth, as well as fill some holes in the butterfly events.”
Brittany Dudzinski: Soon to be a graduate from Upper St. Clair in Pittsburgh, Pa., Dudzinski will be a strong backstroke and butterfly swimmer for the RedHawks. She holds the team record in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke (56.37), and was a two-time sectional championship in 2011 and 2012.
“Certainly, we need some help in butterfly so we’re looking at Brittany to swim the fly a little bit,” Jennings said. “She also has some speed as a back stroker. We lost two speed butterflyers, so I’m hoping Brittany can help us in that area.”
Jenna Karrow: Karrow, a native from Woodbury, Minn., is coming in as her high school’s record-holder in both the six- and 11-dive events, and was a two-time All-American Elite Eight in 2010 and 2011. She is part of the Minnesota Diving Academy, and was named all-conference and all-state all four years of high school.
“Jenna is an excellent one-meter diver and a real solid three-meter diver,” Jennings said. “She’s had a lot of success in club diving as well as high school diving. She’s a young lady who will really fit in to our program.”
Taylor LeCount: A native of Fishers, Ind., LeCount originally was a synchronized swimmer and won nationals in 2010. She transitioned into diving after that, and earned two varsity letters with Hamilton Southeastern High School, then moved into club diving year round.
“She’s a real solid one- and three-meter diver. We lost two seniors to graduation in diving, so Taylor hopefully will help us and definitely is going to be a top-16 scorer at the MAC meet,” Jennings said.
Stephanie LeMire: A native of Somerset, Wisc., LeMire is the Minnesota state record-holder in the 100 IM, and placed second at the state championship in the 100 freestyle during her only year swimming for Somerset High School. A powerful breaststroke, IM, and freestyle racer, LeMire has swam club competition for eight years, and is a 28-time Minnesota state champion.
“Stephanie can swim some IM and she can swim a lot of the other events, so she brings a lot to our program,” Jennings said. “We lost three of our breaststrokers to graduation, so with the girls we have coming back and the two breaststrokers coming in, I think we will fill that void very easily.”
Claire Mongenas: A native from Mariemont, Ohio, Mongenas specializes in breaststroke and IM racing, holding records in the 100 breast (1:05.03) and 200 IM (2:10.95). She attended the state championships in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and has been swimming club competition for two years.
“Claire is real bubbly young lady and will be a great teammate for our program,” Jennings said. “Judging from what she has accomplished this year, at least in the 100 breaststroke, I think she has some great potential to be a really solid breaststroker for us.”