University of Minnesota women’s swim co-head coaches Kelly Kremer and Terry Nieszner has announced that Molly Belk (Minneapolis, Minn.), Megan Braun (Edina, Minn.), Allison Eggers (Rosemount, Minn.), Steph Hillstrom (Brooklyn Center, Minn.), Kaylee Jamison (St. Charles, Ill.), Meagan Radecke (Stillwater, Minn.), Kelsey Ridder (Ballwin, Mo.), Jillian Tyler (Calgary, Alberta) and Courtney Veerman (Verona, Wis.) have signed National Letters of Intent and will join the Golden Gopher women’s swimming and diving program in the 2007-08 season.
"This recruiting class is one of the best we have ever put together in early signing,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “The combination of keeping Minnesota's elite at home representing the University of Minnesota and bringing in outstanding student-athletes from Canada, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri makes this a well rounded and extremely competitive class. It is an outstanding group of students and athletes that we very happy and proud to call Golden Gophers."
Belk will stay close to home, attending Minneapolis South and a member of the Twin Cities Swim Team. Belk, who swims in the fly, free and IM events, was a multiple state high school finalist. Along with her high school accolades, Belk was a U.S. National Qualifier in the 100 and 200 fly. A national qualifier in the 200 fly, she is also a U.S. Olympic Trial Qualifier in the same event.
“Molly is a true Minnesota student-athlete, growing up in our pool, swimming for Twin Cities Swim Team and Coach Jim Andersen,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “As coaches there is always a deeper level of pride and honor to have the best swimmers in our state choose to represent the University of Minnesota at the Big Ten, NCAA, and National levels. There has been tremendous support of and for Molly in our community. She can now continue to enjoy that and add a whole new level along with it. Molly’s enjoyment of swimming and life is contagious. She will be a great contributor in and out of the pool.”
“I chose Minnesota because even though I’ve spent thousands of hours at this pool I have yet to experience it as a Gopher athlete and student, which to me is the ultimate accomplishment,” Belk said. “To now be associated with all the awesome girls and reputable coaches is truly an honor. My father and sister are Gophers as well so I know I can get a great education and a promising future.”
Braun, who competes with Edina High School and Team Foxjet club team under Coach Ann Urschel, swims both the butterfly and freestyle strokes. A well-known name in Minnesota, Braun holds the all-time 200 free record in Minnesota State High School history and is a state champion in both the 200 and 500 free events. A U.S. Olympic Trial Qualifier in the 100 free, Braun was also a U.S. National Qualifier in the 100 and 200 fly as well as the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events.
“It is very important for us to keep Minnesota’s finest at home representing Minnesota,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “Megan is definitely one of the most versatile swimmers to come out of Minnesota in years. Her competitive and fiery personality combined with her talent make her a very valuable addition to our Team.”
“I wanted to be a part of something really unique,” Braun said. “The combination of an amazing coaching staff, good team attitude and mind set, and representing my home state convinced me that this is where I wanted to be.”
Eggers is a member of the Rosemount High School swim team. She will add depth to the freestyle, competing in the sprint events. “Alison is one the top high school sprinters in Minnesota,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “She is a top competitor who loves to race. Her sprint freestyle will continue to improve in college and will make an impact here at Minnesota."
Hillstrom competes in the IM and backstroke events with Wayzata High School and Team Foxjet. A U.S. Sectional qualifier, Hillstrom is coached by Ann Urschel.
“Steph will bring the Team Foxjet work ethic and dedication to excellence,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “She is a proven hard-worker with a great attitude and we are looking forward to developing her potential.”
“Minnesota is the greatest place, with the best group of people; there’s no place I’d rather spend the next four years of my life,” Hillstrom said.
Jamison competes in the free, fly and IM strokes for the St. Charles High School and Club Team under Coach Rob Rooney. Jamison was a U.S. Junior National Qualifier and a U.S. Sectional Finalist. She also was a U.S. Junior National Triathlon Championship finalist. An Illinois high school state finalist, Jamison is an Academic All-American and will graduate near the top of her class.
“We are very excited to have Kaylee join the Gophers,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “She is an outstanding student and her swimming career is just beginning to take off. The improvements she made this summer, along with her present high school performances indicate her potential is unlimited. A multi-talented swimmer and athlete, her versatility will be fun to work with and even more fun to watch develop. She is definitely one to keep an eye on.”
“The University of Minnesota was my only recruiting trip when it was time to leave for home, I just wanted to stay,” Jamison said. “I love the team atmosphere and the girls were so genuine and welcoming. I feel the coaches really care about me as a person, as well as an athlete, and are determined to make me the best swimmer I can be. The facilities are phenomenal and there is a lot of support for the athletes. I love Minnesota!”
Radecke is a swimmer with the Star Swimming Club and Stillwater High School as a sprint freestyler. A Minnesota State high school finalist in the 50 and 100 free, Radecke is this year’s captain of the defending state championship team.
“Another outstanding student athlete from Minnesota, Meagan will bring tremendous leadership skills to our program,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “Her level of commitment and her loyalty to the team is enormous. Meagan is one of Minnesota’s top high school sprinters, and we are very excited to have her join our Golden Gopher Family.”
“I chose Minnesota because of the strong academic reputation, the knowledgeable and caring coaches, the fun and welcoming teammates, the school’s commitment to a high quality swim program, and the proximity to my Stillwater home,” Radecke said. “I was born and raised in Minnesota and I am proud to be representing my home state as a student athlete at this outstanding University.”
Kelsey will join the Gophers after competing with Parkway West High School and the Parkway Swim Club Team under Coach Nick Rudich. During her high school tenure, Ridder was a multiple Missouri high school state finalist. She was also a U.S. Junior National Qualifier and a U.S. Sectional Qualifier.
“Kelsey is an outstanding student-athlete who will only get better during her college career,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “We are very excited to have another Parkway Swim Club athlete join our program. Kelsey will be counted on to help our Team improve in the butterfly and freestyle events.”
“I chose Minnesota because I love the coaches and the team,” Ridder said. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”
Tyler, who swims the breaststroke and individual medley events, competes with the Nose Creek Swim Association. A Canadian Olympic Trial Qualifier in the 100 and 200 breast, Jill finished seventh at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships in the 100 breaststroke.
“Jillian was developed by one of Canada’s top coaches, Nandi Kormendi, and now is swimming under the tutelage of Dave Lloyola,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “She is certainly one of the top breaststroke prospects coming out this year, and we are thrilled she has chosen to call Minnesota her home. Jill brings international experience to our team, and will be counted on to lead us in the breaststroke events in the years to come.”
“I chose Minnesota because to me it felt like home,” Tyler said. “Coming from a different country I wanted to go to a place where I not only felt comfortable with the team and coaches, but where I loved the University. With Minnesota, I could tell right away that it reminded me of home – the city, the people, the facilities. That and the fact that I fell in love with the team and coaching staff right away! Sometimes the best things in life just can’t be explained!”
Veerman competes with Middleton High School and Badger Aquatics as a freestyler and was a Wisconsin state high school finalist. Veerman not only was a U.S. National qualifier, but a finalist in the freestyle events.
“Courtney is a strong competitor who brings a high level of experience with her,” Kremer and Nieszner said. “Swimming for Coach Jack Pettinger, Courtney has learned how to work hard for her successes. She will set a very high standard of commitment. Courtney has proven herself at the Junior National level and we look forward to helping her get to the next level.”
“I chose Minnesota because the quality of academics is outstanding,” Veerman said. “The team was such a family, I felt welcomed the moment I arrived on campus. The coaching staff had such a desire to see each member of the team succeed, they truly believed in the team. And I felt the GOPHER SPIRIT everywhere I went!”
Name Event(s) Hometown (High School)
Molly Belk Fly/Free/IM Minneapolis, Minn. (Minneapolis South)
Megan Braun Free/Fly Edina, Minn. (Edina)
Allison Eggers Sprint Free Rosemount, Minn. (Rosemount)
Steph Hillstrom IM/Back Brooklyn Center, Minn. (Wayzata)
Kaylee Jamison Free/Fly/IM St. Charles, Ill. (St. Charles)
Meagan Radecke Sprint Free Stillwater, Minn. (Stillwater)
Kelsey Ridder Free/Fly Ballwin, Mo. (Parkway West)
Jillian Tyler Breast/IM Calgary, Alberta (Bishop Carroll)
Courtney Veerman Free Verona, Wis. (Middleton)