Nov. 19, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Alabama swimming and diving teams put together an impressive showing for head coach Dennis Pursley's first Crimson Tide recruiting class, which includes five men and six women.
"Our number one goal is to bring in the kind of athletes that will help solidify the culture change we're implementing here at Alabama," Pursley said. "We're looking for swimmers and divers that bring the attitude, character and commitment we need to move forward. With that in mind, we feel really good about the group we have coming on board. They're all going to help us both in the pool and in terms of moving forward as a program."
The men have inked Reece Boyd, Taylor Charles, Scott Fortier, Jacob Kelso and Carl Madden to national letters of intent, while the women have signed swimmers Bridget Blood, Caroline Korst, Bonnie Macdonald, Emma Saunders and Emily Zapinski as well as diver Taylor Zablocki.
A member of the Australian National Team, Macdonald is coached by Denis Cotterell at Miami Swimming Club. The Australian National Champion in the 5km Open Water Swim and a bronze medalist in the 1500-meter freestyle, she swam in the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, winning the gold medal in the 1500m freestyle and silver medal in the 800m freestyle. She also competed for Australia at the FINA Junior World Championships, winning the 800m freestyle with a championship record and taking silver in the 400m freestyle.
A member of the British National Team, Saunders is coached by Mark Rose at City of Manchester Aquatics. At the 2011 World Junior Championships, Saunders earned a silver medal in the 50m backstroke and a bronze in the 100m backstroke. At the 2010 European Junior Championships, she won gold in the 50m backstroke, setting the British and European Junior Record, as well as taking fourth in the 100m freestyle. She was also a member of Great Britain's 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, and 400m medley relays, all of which won silver medals.
Blood, who is coached by Chris Wolford at the Cincinnati Marlins and Brad Isham at Ursuline Academy, won the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke at the 2012 Ohio State Championships. A USA Olympic Trials qualifier, she also competed in the Junior National Championships, taking 11th in the 100 breaststroke.
Korst, who is coached by Dan McDonough at Frisco Aquatics and by Jason Chagnon at Hebron High School, has competed in both the USA Junior National and Senior National Championships in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. The All-American is the Texas state champion and school record holder in the 100 backstroke.
Zablocki is coached by Larry Albright and Bill Cody at the Legacy Diving Club in Oakland and by Jerry Bondy at L'Anse Creuse North High School. Zablocki competed in the 2012 USA Diving Nationals in North Carolina.
Zapinski is coached by Bill Christensen at the North Texas Nadadores and by Kevin Murphy and Lynn Gorman at Southlake Carroll High School. Zapinksi is an 11-time High School All-American and a member of the Texas first team All-State swim team in 2011 and 2012. Zapinski was captain of the 2012 state and national dual meet champions.
Fortier is coach by Terry Maul at the Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club and by Karla Norris at Lincoln High School. A USA Olympic Trials qualifier, Fortier was also a Junior National finalist in the 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly. He was named to the USA Swimming Zone Select team and received National Age Group "Top Ten" Awards from USA Swimming in the 200 butterfly, 400 freestyle and 400 individual medley. A two-time high school All-American, he is the Florida Swimming record holder in the 200 butterfly.
Charles is coached by John Morse, Charlie Hodgeson, and Doug Wharam at the Nashville Aquatic Club. A USA Swimming Scholastic All-American, Charles has competed at the USA Olympic Trials, Senior National Championships and the Junior National Championships where he was a finalist in the 200 butterfly. Charles is also a two-time 400 IM Champion at the Southeastern Swimming Championships.
Madden is coached by Greg Davis at the City of Mobile Swim Association and by Victoria Bedsole at UMS-Wright Preparatory School. A USA Junior and Senior National Championships qualifier, Madden is a multiple time Alabama State High School Championship medalist and a three-time champion at the Southeastern Zone swimming Championships.
Boyd is coached by John Morse and Doug Wharam at the Nashville Aquatic Club and by Angela Curtiss at Ravenwood High School. A USA Swimming Scholastic All-American in 2012, he was a USA Junior Nationals qualifier in the 100 and 200 butterflies. Reece was also named to the Southeastern Zone Select Team.
Kelso swims for the Memphis Thunder Aquatic Club under coach Dan Schultz and Homelife Academy for Amanda Galbraith. A two time Santa Clara Grand Prix qualifier, he also qualified for the 2012 USA Junior National Championships.