Liberty Swimming & Diving Head Coach Jake Shellenberger has announced the addition of five student-athletes to the Lady Flames' swimming & diving program. During the early signing period, Caroline Allen, Hannah Baker, Colleen Donlin, Taylor Lynch and Brittany Weiss have all signed commitments to attend Liberty starting in the 2016-17 academic year.
"After two consecutive large recruiting classes, our goal for the 2016 class was small and elite, and I am happy to announce that we have done just that," Shellenberger said. "Assistant Coach Jessica Barnes has done a fantastic job putting this class together. On paper, this is the fastest class we have ever recruited in our six years of program history here at Liberty, with many of them turning down well known Power 5 programs during the recruiting process."
Shellenberger added, "We addressed specific stroke related needs, and also bolstered our sprint relays for years to come. Speaking of, we have had one NCAA qualifying relay in program history, and this class will go a long way in helping us consistently send relays to the NCAA Championship Meet. As Liberty continues to grow and new academic and athletic facilities come online, we expect to recruit similar classes in the future, and the best is yet to come. Aside from being the fastest class we have ever recruited, all five of these young women are a great fit for Liberty and our program, and the future of our swimming & diving program is bright!"
Taylor Lynch Hometown: San Diego, Calif. High School: Christian High School High School Coach: Shannon Beezer Club: College Area Swim Team Club Coach: Dave Kilmer Intended Major: Pre-Med (Biology/Kinesiology) Honors and Highlights: Scholastic All-American Holder of multiple club and high school team records Three-time varsity MVP Four-year varsity swimmer (including 2016 season) Team captain for high school varsity team (2016 season) Qualifier for the first ever CA State Championships CIF champion in 100 breaststroke (2014 and 2015) 200 IM (2015) Best Times: 100 Breast: 1:05.30; 200 Breast: 2:22.45; 200 IM: 2:06.06; 400 IM: 4:35.16 Quote from Lynch: "I chose Liberty because when I walked onto the campus I just felt at home. I loved everything about it, especially how close all the girls on the team were and the passion that the coaches have for this sport. I am so excited to get to spend my next four years training here and seeing what the future holds." Quote from Shellenberger: Taylor continues our tradition of California student-athletes choosing Liberty, and we are thrilled to have her join our team next fall. Taylor will provide depth in the breaststroke events and the 200/400 IM, and is a tremendous fit for our program and the culture of our university. Taylor has had a fantastic club career under coach Dave Kilmer's guidance, and will no doubt continue her fast swimming here at Liberty!
Hannah Baker Hometown: Fairfax, Va. High School: Robinson High School High School Coach: Michael Fones Club: Machine Aquatics Club Coach: Dan Jacobs Intended Major: Nursing Honors and Highlights: Two-time Virginia state champion in the 100 free 2014-15 All-Met first team Eight-time automatic All-American Winter Nationals qualifier Best Times: 50 Free: 23.12; 100 Free: 50.37; 200 Free: 1:49.19; 100 Breast: 1:03.47; 200 IM: 2:02.91; 50 Free LCM: 26.29; 100 Free LCM: 56.91; 200 Free LCM: 2:03.52 Quote from Baker: "I chose liberty because for me it was the perfect combination of everything. A great swim team, being able to do the major I want, and a Christian environment. I can't wait to be at a large university that is not just concerned about my academic achievements but also my walk with the Lord." Quote from Shellenberger: "I had the pleasure of coaching Hannah's older sister, Sarah, while the sprint coach at Penn State, and our assistant Jessica Barnes was a teammate of Sarah's at PSU. We are excited to welcome the youngest Baker to Liberty next fall and continue our relationship with the Baker family. Hannah enters our program as the fastest 50/100/200 freestyler and 200 IMer we have ever recruited, and will provide an immediate impact in the sprint freestyle and relay events. We have built quite the sprint tradition in a short time here at Liberty, and Hannah will do much to continue said tradition. Aside from her times, Hannah is a tremendous fit for Liberty and our program, and will excel in our highly competitive nursing program."
Brittany Weiss Hometown: Sellersville, Pa. High School: Pennridge High School High School Coach: Ryan Griffiths Club: Central Bucks Swim Team Club Coach: Stu Kukla Intended Major: Undecided Honors and Highlights: Six-time All-America Two-time state runner-up Holds six high school team records and two District I records Two-time District I champion Twice named Scholastic All-American Best Times: 50 Free: 23.88; 100 Free: 51.61; 200 Free: 1:52.08; 100 Back: 56.77; 100 Breast: 1:03.87; 100 Fly: 54.45; 200 IM 2:06.51 Quote from Weiss: "I chose Liberty because I absolutely loved the team and the coaches! It also has everything that I was looking for athletically, academically and spiritually. I cannot wait to be part of such an amazing team!" Quote from Shellenberger: "Brittany enters our program as the fastest butterfly recruit in our young history, and aside from a great 100 fly she is quite versatile with top times in the sprint free events, 100 breast, and 100 backstroke, and will provide an immediate impact on our sprint relays. Brittany joins a large contingent of Pennsylvania student-athletes on our roster, and has had a tremendous high school career under Stu Kukla's guidance at Central Bucks in suburban Philly. As Pennsylvania natives, Jessica and I are thrilled to welcome Brittany to the Liberty family, as she is a great fit for Liberty and our program in all areas!" Colleen Donlin Hometown: Plymouth, Minn. High School: Wayzata High School High School Coach: Elizabeth Hansen Club: Lifetime Swim Club Club Coach: Tom Franke Intended Major: Business Best Times: 50 Free: 23.37; 100 Free: 50.87; 200 Free: 1:57.30 Honors and Highlights: Swimming: Three-time All-State Two-time All-American 2014 Scholar All-American Two-time all-conference Helped team win back-to-back team state championships in 2013 and 2014 Synchronized Swimming: National Qualifier 2009-2015 Zone Solo Champion 2014 National Figure Champion 2015 High School Synchronized Swimming: State Champion Team 2011-2015 Solo State Champion 2014 and 2015 Duet State Champion 2011 and 2012 Trio State Champion 2011-2013 Figure State Champion 2011-2015 Quote from Donlin: "I chose Liberty because I love the school and how close the women are and how well they work together. As soon as I stepped onto campus I knew that Liberty was going to be my new home!" Quote from Shellenberger: "Colleen is one of two dual sport recruits in the 2016 class, and we are thrilled to welcome her to The Mountain next fall. Not only is Colleen an excellent sprint freestyler and the second fastest 50/100 recruit in our history, she is a multiple time state champion synchronized swimmer as well, and her synchro background will help her tremendously as she transitions full-time to the pool in our sprint group here at Liberty. Colleen's potential is largely untapped, as she split time between the two sports in high school, and she will provide an immediate impact on our sprint relays next year. Colleen is a fantastic fit for Liberty and our program, and we are excited to welcome our first Minnesota recruit to Liberty!"
Caroline Allen Hometown: Watkinsville, Ga. High School: North Oconee High School High School Coach: Scott Burrell Club: Athens Bulldog Swim Club Club Coach: Harvey Humphries Intended Major: Political Science and International Relations Honors and Highlights: Holds four high school records Holds five club team records Six-time Southeastern Sectional qualifier GAHS State Medalist in 200 SCY freestyle relay Eight-year Georgia All-Star National Honor Society AP Scholar Best Times: 500 Free: 5:14.60; 100 Back: 59.79; 200 Back: 2:08.01 Quote from Allen: "Liberty University has all the characteristics I was looking for in a college-an accessible campus, medium sized school, nice facilities, plenty of athletic and academic opportunity to grow, and somewhere I would be taught from a Christian worldview, especially for politics. However the three main reasons Liberty won me over more so than other good colleges was team unity, an atmosphere of being a second family, and the fact that the coaches believe so much in me." Quote from Shellenberger: "Caroline comes to Liberty from a club program and coaching staff that needs no introduction, and we are thrilled to welcome our first ever Athens Bulldog Swim Club recruit and coach Harvey Humphries student-athlete. Caroline will provide depth in the backstroke and freestyle events, and at 6-2 and having never strength trained before, her potential in the sport is largely untapped. Caroline is a fantastic fit for Liberty and our program, and her future is a bright one here at LU!"
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