Dec. 7, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State swimming and diving program signed a total of nine student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, as announced by head coach Matt Gianiodis. The six men and three women will enroll at MSU in the fall of 2013.
"As a staff we're very excited about this class, because they're already passionate about MSU and are learning what it takes to be a part of the Spartan swim and dive program,” said Gianiodis. “They're coming in with a lot of experience and accomplishments which will help them adapt to Big Ten swimming."
Below is a breakdown of each signee in alphabetical order.
Nicole Chapko (St. Charles, Ill.) Chapko comes to Michigan State after a successful high school career at St. Charles East. Representing her school at the 2012 IHSA State Championships meet, Chapko placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.62. In addition to being a member of the USA Swimming Scholastic All American Team in 2011, Chapko qualified for the U.S. Junior National meet in 2010 and 2011, the Speedo Sectional Championships and the Grand Prix meet in 2011.
Gianiodis on Chapko: “Nicole is someone who has close ties to MSU. Coming from St. Charles Swim Club, which is a well-known powerhouse, we're expecting Nicole to carry that success into next season.”
Adam Henley (Las Vegas, Nev.) Henley will join the Spartans after representing Palo Verde High School as a member of the three-time state championship team (2010-2012). Henley swam against some of the 2012 Olympic athletes at the 2012 Grand Prix and was also named to the 2011-12 Scholastic All America Team.
Gianiodis on Henley: “Adam comes from the well known Sandpipers of Nevada Club and brings much- needed experience to the distance events. Adam has had a lot of recent success, as well as being a part of three state championship teams for Palo Verde High School.”
Sam Hiller (Naperville, Ill.) Hiller was a 2012 Speedo Junior National and Champions Series qualifier and competed at the 2011 USA Swimming Gran Prix. He was the lead off of the 200 medley relay for Naperville High School that placed fourth at the IHSA State Championship meet.
Gianiodis on Hiller: “Sam comes to Michigan State after having a great summer at the Junior National Championships. We’ve done really well as a program getting athletes from the Chicago area and we firmly believe that Sam will fall in line with that success.”
Alec Kandt (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) Kandt was the 2012 LC USA Minnesota State Champion in the 100 and 200 breaststroke as well as the 50 freestyle. At the 2011 summer state championships meet, he took home first-place finishes in the 200 individual medley and the 100 and 200 breaststroke. A student at Simley High School, he also serves as a volunteer member of the Minnesota Swimming Athlete Advisory board.
Gianiodis on Kandt: “Alec is an athlete that is going to bring a lot to the table for us coming from the SEMS Club in Minnesota. The combination of his versatility and size will help him make an impact at the Big Ten level.”
Brennan LaBar (St. Johns, Mich.) LaBar competed for St. Johns High School coached by Kim Brewbaker. He won the 2011 MHSAA Division II State Champion in the one-meter with a score of 453.1. In 2012, he was first in the event at the DeWitt Invitational and second at the state championship meet.
Michigan State diving coach Eric Best on LaBar: “I have had the chance to coach Brennan as a part of the Spartan diving club. He was state champion as a sophomore and runner up last year, and also a Junior National qualifier.”
Sarah Love (Louisville, Ky.) Swimming for Dupont Maual High School, Love was named to the KHSAA First Team All-State in 2012. As an anchor in the 400 freestyle relay, Love led her team to a 2012 team win at the state championship meet. She also had a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle (51.18) and second-place finish in the 50 freestyle (23.77) at the state meet.
Gianiodis on Love: “We’re very excited to have Sarah as a Spartan next year. She’s a very talented sprint who has trained under Mike DeBoor at the Lakeside Seahawks. We look for her to make an immediate impact in the sprint events and relays.”
Adam Marsh (Okemos, Mich.) Marsh was a standout swimmer at nearby Okemos High School. He claimed an individual win in the 100 backstroke with a time of 50.83 at the 2012 MHSAA State Championship meet. He was also selected to the 2011-12 USA Swimming Scholastic All-American Team for having a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.
Gianiodis on Marsh: “Adam is a diamond in the rough who grew up just down the street. He knows our program very well and will have a very easy transition to training and competing for the Spartans next year. We believe that he has a lot to prove and will show it over the next few years.”
Benjamin Martin (Bay City, Mich.) A swimmer for Midland Dow High School, Martin is coached by Gary Strickler, the father of current Spartan Summer Strickler. He recently won the 200 individual medley and helped Dow to a fifth-place team finish at the 2012 Division III state championships. Martin was named to the Saginaw Valley All-Conference First Team.
Gianiodis on Martin: “Being the reigning Division II State Champion in the 200 individual medley, Ben comes to us with Spartan ties already in his family. We’re looking for him to bring his work ethic and strong character to enhance our team for next year.”
Madeline Sewell (Mason, Ohio) Sewell, competing for Mason High School, was named to the 2011 OHSAA Division I First Team after placing fifth at the state diving meet with a score of 449.95 on the one-meter.
Best on Sewell: “Maddie was a great find; she is incredibly powerful and already has a strong list of college dives. She is an AAU National finalist. Both Brennan (LaBar) and Maddie have huge untapped potential to become great divers.”
The Spartans will be taking their annual training trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., beginning Dec. 16 through Dec. 23.