LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State swimming and diving head coach Rick Pratt announced Monday the signing of five athletes, three swimmers and two divers, to National Letters of Intent to join the Aggies for the 2014-15 season.
Swimmers Jennifer Brennecke, Jannah Sonnenschein and Amina Gummesson, along with divers Sheridan Decker and Abigail Watson, will all be competing for NM State beginning in the fall semester of 2014.
“I am very proud of our recruiting efforts and believe we have an incoming group that will help take things to the next level in many ways,” Pratt said.
Brennecke joins the Aggies from Allen, Texas, where she attended and swam for Allen High School while also swimming for Metroplex Aquatics. She specializes in the butterfly, breaststroke and individual medley events. Brennecke was awarded the swimmer of the year at her high school during both her freshman and sophomore years. She has been an all-state performer and was a district champion in 2012 and a Texas-5A regional champ in 2013. She is also ranked as one of the top 50 high school swimmers in Texas by collegeswimming.com. Brennecke’s best times are 2:06.59 in the 200 IM, 4:27.21 in the 400 IM, 2:05.50 in the 200 fly and 2:24.06 in the 200 breast. Her sister, Nicole, is a sophomore at NM State and is also on the swimming and diving squad.
“Jenny has the potential to make an immediate impact,” Pratt said. “We’re excited to have her as she is another hard working swimmer from the Metroplex club and she has the tenacity to take her swimming to the next level.”
Sonnenschein is originally from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, but she has spent most of her life growing up in Africa and also has citizenship in Mozambique. She recently qualified for the Mozambique National Team and has a good shot at making the Olympic team. Sonnenschein swims the butterfly and freestyle events. She has best times of 1:03.59 (LCM) in the 100 fly and 59.80 (LCM) in the 100 free.
“Jannah is a really interesting and passionate individual,” Pratt said. “She specializes in the butterfly events and will make an immediate impact in those events for us. She also has a good freestyle and will add depth for us in those individual and relay events. She has the personality and determination to be very successful at the Division-I level and is an excellent addition to our program.”
Gummesson is also coming to Las Cruces from overseas. She is a native of Lonsboda, Sweden, and has spent the past year attending Linne University in her home country. She specializes in the freestyle events and has best times of 56.69 (SCM) in the 100 free and 2:00.73 (SCM) in the 200 free.
“Amina will be a little older than the average freshman, but I think it will certainly be an advantage to her,” Pratt said. “She is one of the fastest freestylers to commit to NM State and has the potential to score big for us in the WAC. She is a great person and someone who I am very excited to have on the team. She will not only help us in her individual events, but will also be a huge factor in our relays.”
Decker hails from Colorado Springs, Colo., where she has competed for the Manitou High School Mustangs during the last two seasons. She is also part of the Mile High Dive Club, one of the premier diving clubs in all of the western United States. Sheridan was a high-level gymnast for many years in Colorado before making the move to diving.
“To sign any athlete from the Mile High Dive Club is an honor and a very safe bet, their training methods are sound and they constantly produce national champions,” Aggie diving coach Kyle Bogner said. “Sheridan has a great deal of untapped talent and potential as well as a positive attitude and the qualities of a great team leader. She is ready and excited to work hard and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her.”
Watson is also a Colorado product. She was part of the dive team at Mountain View High School in Lovelace, Colo. She lettered all four of her years in high school as part of the dive team and was the team’s captain for the final three. Watson also ran cross-country and track while at Mountain View, qualifying for the state championships in cross-country and receiving all-conference honors in track.
“To be a great diver requires natural athletic ability and Abby fits the bill perfectly,” Bogner said. “She is a multisport state qualifier and competitor, which speaks to her raw athletic prowess. Every conversation I have with her is positive and exciting. Her enthusiasm for NM State will make her a great asset as a team member and team leader, while her passion for diving will make her a great competitor for the university.”
Sheridan and Watson will join returning Aggie divers Audrey Ruiz and Lauren Reifel as part of the NM State diving squad.
“We are really excited about these two ladies from Colorado, they will both be great additions to the team and will be instrumental in pushing Aggie diving forward,” Bogner said.
The five signees join swimmers Georgia Brown, Cori Molisee, Gabrielle Sanchez and Picabo Bender, all who signed in the fall, as part of the 2014 recruiting class for NM State swimming and diving.
Brown swims for Central High School in Forth Worth, Texas, where she holds the school record in both the 100 back and 100 free. Molisee is one of the top swimmers in the state of Nevada. She swims for Boulder City High School and the Boulder City-Henderson Heatwave. Sanchez hails from Olive Branch, Miss., where she swims for Lewisburg High School as well as the Memphis Tiger Swim Club. She holds the state-meet record in Class I for the 500 free and 100 back and is also the 500 free record holder in Class II. Bender, meanwhile, is a native of Buckeye, Ariz., where she is one of the top middle-distance freestylers in the state. She swims for Verrado high School and the YMCA Westside Silverfins. She holds the school record in both the 200 and 500 freestyle and was the state champion in both events during both her junior and senior years.
“Overall this large incoming class will allow us to continue to move forward and bring some real excitement to the deck next season,” Pratt said. “They all have the attitude and drive to add to our already strong culture, and that is crucial for the success of our program.”