LAS CRUCES, N.M. (May 6)-New Mexico State swimming and diving head coach Rick Pratt has added four swimmers to the Class of 2013, Brittney Awalt , Natalie French, Erin Giles and Kassandra Klose. They join fall signees Abbie Broome and Logan Morris that arrive in Las Cruces in the fall.
"I am really excited for next year's team," Pratt said. "All of our large freshman class have already come a long way this spring and will be much improved for the fall. We've got some sprinters coming in, along with a couple breaststrokers to add depth to that event. We still have a couple more in the works and next year’s team should be the best to step on deck at NM State."
A Ketchikan, Alaska native, Klose specializes in the breaststroke and individual medley events. She swims for the Ketchikan Killer Whales under coach Chad Winkle.
"Kassandra has lots of raw talent and is going to do very well in our program," Pratt said. "She has a great personality and is a hard worker and tough lady. Coming all the way from Ketchikan will be an adventure for her. She is really excited, and so are we."
Giles joins the Aggies from Magnolia, Texas, and swims sprint freestyle events under coaches Scott McFarland and Terry Jones with the Magnolia Aquatic Club.
"We were looking for sprinters, and I am really excited about Erin's commitment to our program," he said. "She came on late during her high school season and is going to make a huge impact on our program in many ways. She is super athletic and has the skills to be a real fast sprinter for us, which will benefit those events and help improve our relays. Besides her abilities in the pool, she is a strong student and a great lady, and is going add to the culture of our team in many ways."
French is a butterfly and distance freestyle specialist from Columbia, Mo., where she swims for the Columbia Swim Club under coach Phil Gaverick.
"This was a unique and special process with Natalie because both her parents taught at NM State, and Natalie was actually born in Las Cruces and spent the first eight years of her life here, and even learned how to swim in our aquatics center," Pratt said. "She is a very strong flyer and distance freestyler with much potential and is the perfect fit for our team. She is a great student, hard worker and a strong leader that will bring much to our group. It is really exciting that she choose to return to Las Cruces and spend the next four years of her life with us."
A Salem, Ore., Awalt will wear the Crimson and White after spending a year at Chemeketa Community College.
"Brittney is a special individual who is extremely dedicated, mature and has all the makings to be a great swimmer at NM State," he said. "Her drive and character really impressed us during the process, and she is someone who our team enjoyed being around immediately. She has strong leadership qualities and is someone who I am really excited to coach."
A sprint freestyle, butterfly and backstroke specialist, Broome, a Phoenix, Ariz., resident, swims for the Scottsdale Aquatic Club with coach Kevin Zacher, and attends Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. Broome led the Five Birds to a 7-0 record in 2012 and a sixth-place showing at state. She is both a team and conference record holder.
Morris is a breaststroke specialist from Montrose, Colo. She swims for the Delta Barracudas with coach Amanda Hatch and Montrose High School with coach Ellen Erickson. Morris was a two-time state champion in the 100 breaststroke in 2011 and 2012. She set the state record in the 100 breast (1:04.03) in 2011. Morris led the Indians to league crowns in 2010 and 2011.