LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State women’s swimming and diving head coach Rick Pratt announced the signing of four swimmers to join the Aggie squad starting in the 2014-15 season.
Georgia Brown, Cori Molisee, Gabrielle Sanchez and Picabo Bender have all signed a National Letter of Intent to swim for NM State next season.
“Overall, I am very proud of our recruiting efforts,” Pratt said. “We still have a few more pieces to add for next year’s class, but these four individuals are going to bring great things to the table. They all have the tools to be successful here and help us take things to the next level.”
Brown swims for Central High School in Fort Worth, Texas, where she holds the school record for both the 100 back and the 100 free. Her visit to NM State left no doubt where she wanted to continue her swimming career.
“The coaches, girls and place itself surpassed all of my expectations, Las Cruces is such a beautiful place and the campus facilities are phenomenal,” Brown said. “I have a great feeling about next year and I’m so thankful that I’m going to have the privilege to be an Aggie swimmer.”
Brown also swims for the North Texas Nadadores under coach Bill Christensen where she specializes in the sprint backstroke and butterfly. She has a top time of 56.47 in the 100 back and 56.45 in the 100 fly.
“With Terrin [Seaver] and Tricia [Kiss] graduating we really needed to find someone who would come in and contribute in these events [back and fly] right away,” Pratt said. “Certainly Georgia has the talent and skills to do that and more. Georgia is a charismatic and hard working individual who we are thrilled to have join our program. Her leadership skills and personality really stuck out during the recruiting process and she will contribute in multiple ways to our team."
Molisee is one of the top freestyle swimmers in the state of Nevada. She resides in Boulder City where she swims for Boulder City High School and the Boulder City-Henderson Heatwave under coach Mike Polk.
Molisee helped her high school to a state swimming championship in the spring of 2013. Her fastest time in the 200 free of 1:51.66 came in a win at the Nevada Regional Championships. She also swam her fastest 500 free at regionals, a 4:59.91 that placed her in second place. Molisee’s also has a top time of 52.62 in the 100 free and a 10:22.06 in the 1,000 free.
"Cori swims the 50 through the 500 really well and has potential in the 100 fly as well,” Pratt said. “She is going to make a big impact in those events along with relays. She will also be an important part of the line-up immediately. Cori is a great person and has the potential to really excel as a swimmer for our program. Our team really connected with her during her trip, and with her personality and drive she will be very successful here at NM State."
Sanchez, a backstroke and distance free specialists, hails from Olive Branch, Miss., where she swims for Lewisburg High School as well as the Memphis Tiger Swim Club under coach Louis Demetriades. She will leave Lewisburg High School as a pioneer for the school’s swim team.
Sanchez has lettered all three years at Lewisburg and is the team’s captain during her final two years at the school. She holds the state-meet record in Class I for the 500 free and 100 back and also is the 500 free state-meet record holder in Class II. With Sanchez leading the way, Lewisburg has gone undefeated in county and district meets the previous three seasons.
“I’m really excited to be part of an amazing group of girls at NM State,” Sanchez said. “I look forward to swimming for coach Pratt and [assistant coach] Rachel [Judge] for the next four years and I feel I will be able to achieve all of my goals there.”
Sanchez’s top times include 58.69 in the 100 back, 2:03.76 in the 200 back, 5:06.89 in the 500 free and 17:26.91 in the mile swim. Sanchez has family ties to the Aggies as her mother, Melissa, also attended NM State.
"It has been a fun process recruiting Gabby because she has family living in New Mexico and her mom is an NMSU Alum,” Pratt said. “Gabby has great pride in becoming a part of our Aggie family and is an incredibly hard working and dedicated swimmer. She will contribute immediately and we look forward to her doing great things with our program."
Bender, from Buckeye, Ariz., is one of the top middle-distance freestylers in the state of Arizona. She swims for Verrado High School under coach Denise Stewart and also swims for Matt Benedict with the YMCA Westside Silverfins.
Bender is a three-time letter winner for Verrado and holds the school record in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events. She was the Division II state champion during both her junior and senior years in the 200 and 500 freestyle while also being part of three state-winning relay teams. She has a top time of 1:51.21 in the 200 free and 4:59.46 in the 500 free.
"[Assistant coach] Rachel [Judge] and I watched Picabo race last year and were very impressed with her physical presence and technique in the water,” Pratt said. “She has so much potential and is going to help our program grow in many ways. She is a very mature and smart young woman who has been great to get to know through the recruiting process. She is a very strong recruit for us to lure to NM State and I am very excited for Picabo to join our team."
Pratt credits his current team for helping bring in the four new signees.
“Our team's strong chemistry really helped them feel at home during their visits and they were all drawn to the environment we have here at NM State,” Pratt said. “They are all amazing young women who are going to add to the culture of our group and I'm very excited for the future.”
The NM State coaches will put their recruiting efforts on hold for a few days as the Aggie team focuses on competing at the Phil Hansel Invitational in Houston, Texas, which runs from Thursday, Nov. 21, through Saturday, Nov. 23.