Dec. 8, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina swimming and diving program signed nine student-athletes during the early signing period, head coach McGee Moody announced Thursday.
The Gamecocks added two highly touted swimmers on the men’s side, as Alex Eiden (Raleigh, N.C.) and Kevin Leithold (Sandersdorf-Brehna, Germany) signed National Letters of Intent to join the program for the 2012-13 season.
On the women’s side, Ashleigh Ferguson (Rockville, Md.), Nicole Mertel (Henderson, Nev.), Casey Papp (Bloomington, Ind.), Elise Weisert (Southlake, Texas) and Lauryl Williams (Moore, S.C.) will join the swimming program, while Grace Kazmierski (Fort Worth, Texas) and Lauren Lamendola (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will strengthen the Gamecock diving team.
“I was happy with where we ended up,” Moody said. “We’ve met some of our needs. We got a lot of depth on the women’s side and picked up a good number there and we got a lot of quality on the men’s side. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and am looking forward to what the spring holds as far as rounding out this class.”
South Carolina Swimming & Diving Signing Class
Alex Eiden – Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield HS
Events: backstroke, freestyle (100 backstroke 50.95…200 backstroke 1:51.86…200 freestyle 1:42.49…500 freestyle 4:39.12)
Moody on Eiden: “Alex is a very talented young man that swam for Paul Silver on the Marlins of Raleigh. He had an outstanding summer, putting up some very fast long course times, specifically in the 200 back. He has the potential to be a strong contributor at SEC’s.”
Ashleigh Ferguson – Rockville, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross
Events: backstroke, freestyle, butterfly (100 backstroke 55.48…200 backstroke 1:59.19…50 freestyle 24.21…100 freestyle 52.48…100 butterfly 57.33)
Moody on Ferguson: “Ashleigh is a very talented backstroker that will help strengthen our backstroke squad. She will have an immediate impact in dual meets and at the SEC level. We look forward to watching her progress throughout the next four years.”
Grace Kazmierski – Fort Worth, Texas/Southlake Carroll HS
Events: diver (third and fourth place at 2009 Spring West Nationals…fifth place at 2011 Texas State Meet…2011 All-American).
Gamecock diving coach Todd Sherritt on Kazmierski: “Grace comes out of one of the top programs in Texas. She is one of the best divers coming out of Texas and will add depth to our team. She is an extremely accurate diver. She already consistently hits all of her dives.”
Lauren Lamendola – Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine Richland HS
Events: diver (competes for Pine Richland High School and Pitt Aquatic Club…2011 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League AAA diving champion…2011 Pennsylvania State Silver Medalist…currently holds the Pine Richland High School individual diving record…currently holds Pine Richland pool record…Pennsylvania All-State diving team…NICSA High School All-American…Competed at age group Nationals in 2011 and finished 13th)
Sherritt on Lamendola: “She is in the top 13 in the country coming out of high school and has only been diving for two years. She is highly talented and will add to our legacy of great divers.”
Kevin Leithold – Sandersdorf-Brehna, Germany/Sportgymnasium Halle
Events: sprint freestyle, butterfly (50 freestyle 20.08…100 freestyle 43.67…100 butterfly 48.76…200 IM 1:51.20)
Moody on Leithold: “Kevin is one of the fastest sprinters in the world in this year’s class. He’s somebody that we targeted really early on and worked really hard to recruit him. He’s going to be outstanding for us. We’ve got good sprinters on board right now, but with a young man like Kevin, he’s a game changer. He’s going to come in and make an immediate impact.”
Nicole Mertel – Henderson, Nev./Coronado HS
Events: backstroke, freestyle (100 backstroke 57.69…200 backstroke 2:05.03…50 freestyle 24.38…100 freestyle 53.99)
Moody on Mertel: “Nicole has flown under the radar somewhat. She has had a lot of success in long course racing over the summer. We believe she is going to really improve her short course times in the next 12 months. We are very excited to have her join our program.”
Casey Papp – Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington HS South
Events: butterfly, freestyle (100 butterfly 55.95…50 freestyle 24.20…100 freestyle 53.69)
Moody on Papp: “Casey brings good speed in the butterfly and sprint free events. She will be a valuable asset in our dual meet relays. We believe she will continue to improve during her time at South Carolina.”
Elise Weisert – Southlake, Texas/Southlake Carroll HS
Events: breaststroke, IM (100 breaststroke 1:04.40…200 breaststroke 2:21.78…200 IM 2:09.39)
Moody on Weisert: “Elise will bring depth to one of the strongest breaststroke groups in the SEC. She will allow us to have some flexibility with our dual meet lineups. We believe she has some great swimming ahead of her.”
Lauryl Williams – Moore, S.C./Dorman HS
Events: breaststroke, freestyle (50 breaststroke 29.2…100 breaststroke 1:03.71…50 freestyle 24.02…100 freestyle 53.01)
Moody on Williams: “She’s one of the top in-state recruits this year. I think she’s going to continue to develop. One thing we are very strong in is the 100 and 200 breaststroke, but we don’t have a lot of pure breaststroke speed, which is what Lauryl has. She’s going to be great for relays.”