December 10, 2010
Lady H2Okies ink eight in early signing
Arnett, Benson, Foster, Hammerberg, Justis, Rogers, Ryczek, Stockton to join Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech women's swimming and diving team has announced the signing of six swimmers and two divers to national letters of intent for the 2011-12 academic year.

Head Coach Ned Skinner on the fall signing class: “We are really pleased to sign these eight ladies during the fall signing period. As one of our best signing classes ever, these young ladies represent everything you want out of a student-athlete and will contribute to the team right away. We are not only thrilled about their classroom and pool excellence, but the quality of people that this class contains is immaculate.”

Kaylea Arnett, hailing from Spring, Texas, attends Spring High School where she dives for the Woodlands Diving Academy coached by Olympic Coach Kenny Armstrong and Bob Gunter. Kaylea has an incredible diving background that culminated in a Junior National title this past summer on three meter. She (and partner) were also Champions in the synchronized platform event. At the Sr. Nationals, she and partner Laura Wilkinson (2000 Olympic Gold Medalist) were second in the three meter synchro event, and she was second with her partner in the 10 meter platform synchro event. Kaylea also represented the USA in two international competitions this year, participating in the first ever Youth Olympic Games qualifier (which was held in Mexico) where she finished fourth in the three meter event. She also finished out the summer representing the USA in the Jr. World Championships where she was also a finalist on three meter springboard.

Piemonte on Arnett: “Kaylea will come in and impact our program from day one. Her background and accomplishments in diving have resulted in major success at the Junior National, Senior National, and International level in all events – one meter, three meter, and platform. I have watched Kaylea develop as a diver since she was 11, and I feel that she is perhaps the most overall accomplished female recruit graduating high school this year. We are thrilled to have her become part of our H2Okie family, and I am very anxious to see and be part of what she will accomplish in this next era of her career.”

Sabrina Benson, hailing from Raleigh, N.C., attends Needham Broughton High School where she swims for Richard Dubois and is also a member of the YMCA of the Triangle Area (YOTA) where she swims under the guidance of Chad Onken. The YMCA National Record Holder in the 100-yard backstroke (set in 2010), Benson is a national qualifier in multiple events. Regarded as one of the top backstrokers in this year’s class by, Benson has many titles under her belt both in the North Carolina High School Championship as well as the YMCA Championships.

Benson’s Top Times:
50 Freestyle: 23.36
100 Freestyle: 50.60
100 Backstroke: 53.86
200 Backstroke: 2:00.59
100 Butterfly: 54.58

Skinner on Benson: “We are thrilled to have Sabrina and the Benson family join the Hokie Nation. She is a very enthusiastic individual that will bring so many bright aspects to our program. Her underwaters would make any college coach’s jaw drop. The best part about Sabrina is that she wants to swim fast, really fast. Add that intensity with her bubbly personality and you have yourself a very delightful athlete to coach. Coach Onken has prepared her well for the next step in her swimming and it will be fun to see it unfold in an H2Okies cap.”

Erin Foster, from The Woodlands, Texas, attends Conroe Woodlands High School where she swims under Kent Keirchner and is on the high school’s Principal’s Student Advisory Committee. Foster also represents The Woodlands Swim Team (TWST) which is led by Tim Bauer and is an Olympic Trial Qualifier and national qualifier. The former Texas 5A state champion and multiple high school finalist, Foster is a member of the record-setting 200 free relay and 5A high school championship team. A three-time Academic High School All-American and five-time All-America honoree, Foster has been selected as team captain for her high school and club team.

Foster’s Top Times:
100 Freestyle: 51.48
200 Freestyle: 1:48.45
500 Freestyle: 4:46.57
100 Butterfly: 56.44*
200 Butterfly: 2:01.09*

*Denotes converted from LCM

Skinner on Foster: “It is always nice to have a young lady from Texas on the team, as they are always very charming and polite. Erin is a great addition and will impact us immediately. Her range in freestyle combined with her size and frame makes us excited about what’s to come. She swims with a great distance per stroke and a heavy six beat kick. When we first started recruiting Erin and learned of her positive work ethic from the Woodlands staff, we also realized that she portrays leadership qualities in and out of the pool. We are ready for the future with Erin in it.”

Kayla Hammerberg hails from Columbus, Ohio. She swims for Upper Arlington Swim Club under Todd Saltus and attends Upper Arlington High School. Hammerberg is a two sport specialist at UAHS as she is a key member of the swim team, guided by Dan Peterkoski, and is also a key member of the Ohio State Champion Water Polo Team, where she is a first team Ohio All-American. Hammerberg was part of the 200 freestyle and medley relay teams that broke the Ohio High School state record and is a multiple-time high school state finalist.

Hammerberg’s Top Times:
50 Freestyle: 23.66
100 Freestyle: 51.47
100 Butterfly: 57.11

Skinner on Hammerberg: “Kayla comes from my hometown area of Columbus, Ohio, and I felt an immediate connection with Kayla right out of the gates. She has a fun and energetic personality that really fits in well with our women’s team. She has a great feel for the water and has a lot of desire for her teams at Upper Arlington High School. In learning about her and talking to Coach Dan, we feel Kayla is going to develop into a natural leader and hit the ground running in the sprints. Being a two-sport star in high school, Kayla has certainly set herself up for a fun and successful career in college.”

Susan Justis is a Virginia native, residing in Chesterfield. She is a member of NOVA, where she swims under the guidance of Geoff Brown and also attends Cosby High School. Justis, a USA Swimming Scholastic All- American, has been a part of great club teams as she has also represented Poseidon Swimming before NOVA. A multiple individual and relay finalist at Junior Nationals, Justis has represented Virginia in the Zone Championships.

Justis’ Top Times:
50 Freestyle: 24.29
100 Freestyle: 52.75
200 Freestyle: 1:52.24
500 Freestyle: 4:59.16
100 Backstroke: 57.72
200 Backstroke: 2:00.14
200 IM: 2:07.19
400 IM: 4:26.13

Skinner on Justis: “Susan is from right up the street outside of Richmond and has grown up knowing the Hokies all along. We are not only really excited about the help she will bring in the backstroke events, but for her recent development in the sprint freestyle races as well. Coach Brown has gotten Susan rolling right now and she will surely be ready for the meticulous schedule of college swimming. One thing that we really noticed and are keen on is Susan’s direct desire for her long term goals in the sport. We feel Susan will fit right in our young backstroke group and aid us in the sprint freestyles, especially in relays.”

Katie Rogers, coming to Blacksburg from Gaithersberg, Md., represents Rockville Montgomery Swim Club, where she is guided by Scott Vekeman, and attends Academy of the Holy Cross, where she is coached by Kit Matthews. Rogers, an Honor Roll student, was named to the Washington Post All-Metro First Team, the Gazette all-county team and was named a USA Swimming Scholar Athlete. Rogers was also the 2010 champion at the National Catholic Swimming Championships in the 200 and 500 Freestyles while also earning the National Catholic Swimming Championships 2010 Most Valuable Swimmer. Rogers has been selected as the Holy Cross swim team captain for 2010-2011 and was recently awarded the Potomac Valley Swimming 18&U Outstanding Distance Athlete Award.

Rogers’ Top Times:
50 Freestyle: 24.21*
100 Freestyle: 51.88
200 Freestyle: 1:49.12
500 Freestyle: 4:51.33
1000 Freestyle: 9:58.39
1650 Freestyle: 16:54.46
100 Butterfly: 57.74

* Denotes converted from LCM

Skinner on Rogers: “Katie is such an enjoyable individual. She carries a flare about herself that is highly contagious and will only thrive in our environment. She has a tremendous work ethic and is a great team player and is ready for the challenge of keeping our distance tradition growing. Coach Vekeman and the RMSC program always produce great student-athletes and we are thrilled to have another athlete from that program join our squad. We will have a big focus on developing her over the course of her career, but she has loads of potential and has not even begun to scratch the surface yet.”

Emily Ryczek, from Olney, Md., is another Rockville Montgomery member, coached by Sue Chen with the help of Dave Kraft. A High School All-American, Ryczek attends Sherwood High School where she is a two-time All-Metro Champion and first-team member and is coached by Brendan Lees. Ryczek helped lead her team to the Division II team title in 2009. Ryczek is also a junior national finalist for RMSC and has aided Jr. national and national qualifying relay teams.

Ryczek’s Top Times:
50 Freestyle: 23.93
100 Freestyle: 50.98
200 Freestyle: 1:51.69

Skinner on Ryczek: “We are energized with the addition of Emily. She was our last addition of the fall class and we feel we have found a true diamond in the rough to finish off a great fall signing period. Being led by great coaching from Coach Chen and staff, Emily is primed and ready for college swimming. She has an eminent work ethic and positive attitude and will bring fire power to our sprint group. With her frame being built for sprinting, once she gains the strength needed to create more power, she will explode. We are excited to watch that explosion in a Hokies suit.”

Kelli Stockton hails from Fairfax, Va., where she has played a vital role in both the Patriot Dive Club, coached by Roland McDonald, and now Dominion Dive Club coached by John Appleman. Kelli had a great summer being a finalist on both the one and three meter springboards at the Junior Olympic National Championships, and was a Senior National qualifier on the three meter in 2009. Kelli was also the High School State Champion for Virginia last year as a junior.

Piemonte on Stockton: “I have been watching Kelli develop since she has started in the sport. I feel that she has all the tools to be a definite factor in the ACC on all levels. She’s fast, accurate, and has a great body line on entries. She has also just recently completed learning a very competitive platform list which I believe can really be another huge avenue of success for her. I am very excited for Kelli to be part of our diving squad, and if her progression continues, she can be one of the biggest surprises in the ACC next year.”

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

HokieSports Shop