July 9, 2010
H2Okies welcome nine more to program
Seven swimmers, two divers join already strong class

BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams announced the spring addition of seven swimmers and two divers for the 2010-2011 academic year. England Barimo, Natalie Leake, Caroline Higgins, Zach McGinnis, Adrienne Pilchard, Heather Savage, Nicholas Tremols, John Trope and Chris Verboncoeur will join both the H2Okies and fall additions Kameron Ansley, Brittany Boone, Aubree Duncan, Abby Houchin, Rachel Sepanski, Emmett Dignan, Ryan Hawkins, Garrett Hehn, Nathan Hoisington and Danny Loftus.

England Barimo, hailing from Fairfax, Virginia, comes to the Hokies from Dominion Dive Club, coached by John Appleman. She was a standout diver for Robinson High School in Fairfax, placing fourth in the Virginia AAA High School State Championships. Barimo is also an AAU National qualifier for 2010.

Ron Piemonte on Barimo: “England is a very athletic diver, and is on the verge of breaking through to a new level. She took fourth place in the Virginia AAA High School State Championships and an AAU National qualifier for 2010. She had knee surgery earlier this spring, but is back up to strength and should prove to be a great addition to our women’s squad. I have watched England dive for the last couple years, and I am very impressed with what I have seen, and excited to work with her. ”

Natalie Leake, from Centreville, Virginia, comes to the Hokies from established Curl Burke Swim Club in northern Virginia and Centreville High School. Coached by Pete Morgan and Geordie Bigus, Leake holds CVHS records in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke and also posted top times in other events this season. A multiple high school finalist, Leake comes to Virginia Tech having excelled in the classroom and was named an USA Swimming Scholastic All American.

Leake’s Top Times
50 FR: 24.49
100 BR: 1:05.95
200 BR: 2:25.56

Ned Skinner on Leake: “We’re excited about the opportunity to coach Natalie and help her develop further in the sport. She comes to us with great enthusiasm and a desire to win. Natalie is a power swimmer in the breaststroke, which will not only help in those events, but on relays as well. We are ready for Natalie to take off in her swimming again and help our women’s team continue to grow.”

Caroline Higgins, coming to Blacksburg from Weddington, North Carolina, joins Virginia Tech from powerhouse USA Swimming program, Swim MAC Carolina and Charlotte Latin School. Under the guidance of David Marsh, Alan Pfau and Patty Waldron, Higgins has experience great improvement over the last few years which helped lead Charlotte Latin to a conference title. Higgins was the conference champion in the 100 backstroke. Higgins was also awarded the sportsmanship award with Swim MAC Carolina.

Higgins’ Top Times
100 BK: 57.37
200 BK: 2:06.69
100 FLY: 58.80

Ned Skinner on Higgins: “We were energized when Caroline told us she was coming to Virginia Tech! We feel Caroline is in the beginning stage of her swimming growth and we are ready for the next chapter in her swimming. We know she has great talent and leadership, now we are just ready to showcase it. She will do very well with our underwater kick training as that is her biggest weapon and the sky is the limit for Caroline. She comes from a great family that we know very well and it is exciting for what’s to come for Caroline.”

Zach McGinnis, from Raleigh, North Carolina, joins the Hokies as a transfer from the University of Kentucky. McGinnis, with three years eligibility remaining, follows a legacy of fast swimming in college. McGinnis, the last of three brothers with swimming in their genes, attended Ravenscroft High School. As a sprint freestyler and backstroker, McGinnis was named his high school’s MVP for his junior and senior and was a multiple state finalist.

McGinnis’ Top Times
50 FR: 21.06
100 FR: 46.66
200 FR: 1:41.85
100 BK: 49.28
200 BK: 1:49.71

Ned Skinner on McGinnis: “Zach was the last addition to our men’s squad and will add great depth in the sprint freestyle events as well as complete a fierce backstroke group. We are very pleased to have Zach join us as we feel his best swimming is soon to come. He has already shown development after his first year in college and with more strength, he will be a force to reckon with in his events. He comes from a lineage of fast swimming and we look forward to keeping that magic alive.”

Adrienne Pilchard, from Marietta, Georgia, joins the Hokies from Walton High School and Stingrays Swimming. Coached by Sharon Loughran and Ian Goss, Pilchard is a Junior National qualifier in the 400 IM and 1650 freestyle. As an honor roll member, Pilchard was a High School All American for Coach Loughran. Pilchard, who also had an older sister who swam in college, brings versatility to the Hokies. Pilchard was a Georgia High School State finalist in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle.

Pilchard’s Top Times
200 FR: 1:54.31
500 FR: 4:59.75
1000 FR: 10:19.01
100 BR: 1:08.92
200 BR: 2:23.43
200 BK: 2:05.94
200 IM: 2:06.75
400 IM: 4:28.09

Ned Skinner on Pilchard: “Adrienne is a fun and energetic addition to the team. She came to see the Hokies numerous times throughout her senior year and we were drawn to her interest in our program right off the bat. Once we began to get to know her, we knew she was someone we wanted on our team. She is a versatile threat coming in and once we specialize more with her, she will take off even more. We are happy her next step in swimming is in a Hokies cap.”

Heather Savage, a rising sophomore transfer from Clemson, hails from Canandaigua, New York. Savage, from Canandaigua High School, was named Co-MVP from 2005-2008 and was a member of the Finger Lakes All-Star Team from 2005-2008. Savage, holding school records in high school in the 200 freestyle, 50 freestlye, 100 butterfly and all three relays, was a High School All-American nine times. She was also a member of the track and field squad. During her time at Clemson, Savage scored in the 100 butterfly at the ACC Championships.

Savage’s Top Times
50 FR: 23.55
100 FR: 51.35
100 FLY: 54.70

Ned Skinner on Savage: “When Heather visited our campus in the late spring, we really felt a great connection with her. Heather is also a great competitor who is going to raise the level of enthusiasm for everyone around her. We love to watch her race and we’re thrilled that we’ll be able to do that for the next three years.”

Nicholas Tremols, hailing from Gainesville, Virginia, comes to the Hokies from Battlefield High School and also swims for Curl Burke under the guidance of Olympian Jeremy Linn. A multiple time Junior National qualifier and finalist, Tremols graduates his high school under the direction of Coach Karri Gulliani as a state champion in the 100 butterfly and a six-time individual school record holder (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 200 IM, 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly). Tremols also excelled in the classroom and was a member of the National Honor Society (NHS) and the Science National Honor Society (SNHS).

Tremols’ Top Times
100 FLY: 48.77
200 FLY: 1:47.07
100 FR: 46.28
200 FR: 1:40.54
50 FR: 21.24

Skinner on Tremols: “Nick is one of the top butterfliers in the east region and will give us a big dose of firepower as well as some real strength across a number of different distances in freestyle. He’s just now starting to hit his stride in the sport and he’ll be a great addition to an already outstanding training group. His potential is a great unknown and we are ready to see how far he can go on the conference and national level.”

John Trope, from Springfield, Virginia, has competed for both Patriot Dive Club and more recently Dominion Dive Club, coached by John Appleman. Trope has had a very good age group career being a silver medalist in the three meter event at the 2008 AAU Nationals. In the spring of 2010, he was a finalist in the USA Diving Junior East National Championships in the three-meter event. Trope is also a qualifier for the 2010 Junior Nationals on both one and three meter.

Ron Piemonte on Trope: “John is going to be a key factor in the men’s diving squad. He brings a very strong background in both one- and three-meter springboard and has been a multiple-time competitor at the USA Diving Junior Olympic Nationals. John has been having a very successful summer and has already qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals on both one and three meter. With also a pretty good background on platform, I feel that John will provide the depth we are looking for this season for the men. I am looking forward to working with him and I feel that he will be a great representative of the H2Okie diving squad.”

Chris Verboncoeur, from Potomac, Maryland, joins the Hokies’ sprint freestyle and fly groups from Winston Churchill High School and the Rockville Montgomery Swim Club where he was coached by Scott Vekeman, Dave Crocker and Rodney Van Tassell. The 2007 Freshman of the Year (WCHS), Verboncoeur was selected to lead his team as captain during the 2009-2010 campaign and was a 2009 Second-Team All-Gazette and 2009 Washington Post Honorable Mention All Met. A two-sport athlete up to his sophomore year, Verboncoeur played football before concentrating solely on swimming.

Verboncoeur’s Top Times
50 FR: 21.60
100 FR: 47.43
100 FLY: 50.13
100 BK: 51.73

Skinner on Verboncoeur: “You can tell Chris is a pure athlete, which we absolutely love. We have had great athletes come through our Hokie program and leave as amazing individuals and swimmers. We are pleased to have Chris join us and are ready to watch him improve with our fierce butterfly group. They provide a great environment with training with each other and Chris will fit right in and explode.”

For updates on Virginia Tech swimming & diving, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_SwimDive).

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