San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving head coach Sage Hopkins has announced the signing of five prospects, including two high school All-Americans, to a National Letter-of-Intent for the 2008-09 season during the early period.
“Saying that we are thrilled with our list of fall signings would be an understatement,” said Hopkins, currently in his third year at the helm. “It would be hard to see how recruiting to this point could have gone any better. We were able to get nearly every swimmer and diver that we were highly interested in.”
Three of the five NLI signings are currently at California high schools, with the other two from out of state.
Tomi Petty, out of Carmichael, Calif., hails from the same hometown as current Spartan standout Brie Marhenke. The two-time All-American is currently at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, Calif., and is a member of the Arden Hills Swim Club, also in Sacramento, Calif., under coach Brian Nebata. Petty was a high-school All-American in the 100 backstroke a year ago with a mark of 57.73, and in the 400 freestyle relay in 2005-06 (3:35.11). She was a first-team all-section honoree in the 100 back. Petty’s best freestyle times are 24.8 in the 50, 52.4 in the 100, 1:52.6 in the 200, 4:58.3 in the 500, 10:16.0 in the 1000 and 17:05.5 in the 1650. Her best backstroke marks are 57.7 in the 100 and 2:04.1 in the 200. For the Spartans, she is expected to swim the middle-distance and distance freestyle events, as well as backstroke.
“Last July, when we were ranking our prospects, Tomi was clearly at the top of the list,” said Hopkins. ”She is a tremendous freestyler across every distance, and should emerge as one of the top distance swimmers in the WAC over the coming years. She is also a fairly versatile swimmer, and will certainly be swimming backstroke events throughout her career.”
Heather Denman, a high school All-American in the 100 backstroke, comes to San Jose State all the way from Brookeville, Md. She currently attends Sherwood High School and competes for Dan Haines at the Flying Gull Aquatic Club, based in Laurel, Md. Her top times are 56.7 in the 100 back, 2:03.8 in the 200 back, 57.1 in the 100 fly, 2:06.4 in the 200 fly, 53.0 in the 100 free, 1:53.9 in the 200 free, 2:08.2 in the 200 individual medley and 4:35.1 in the 400 IM. She is expected to swim backstroke, butterfly and lower middle-distance freestyle events at San Jose State.
“When I mentioned putting together our list of prospects in July, Heather was the other name at the top of the list along with Tomi,” commented Hopkins. “She has tremendous potential, and will make an immediate impact in the WAC in the backstrokes. Her butterfly and sprint freestyle abilities will also play a major role in the program’s success.”
Amy Friedhoff, from Kent, Wash., currently competes for coach Ted Rychlik with the Valley Aquatic Swim Team in Puyallup, Wash., having just completed her senior season at Thomas Jefferson High School. The top times for the middle-distance and distance freestyle specialist are 53.1 in the 100, 1:53.6 in the 200, 4:58.5 in the 500 and 17:28.8 in the 1650.
Said Hopkins, “Amy is a great freestyler who has just begun to scratch the surface of her potential. We see great things in her future as a Spartan. Her freestyle times in the 200, 500 and mile (1650) already would place her in the top eight at the WAC Championship (based on last year’s results).”
Megan Mills, out of Redlands, Calif., and Redlands High School, competes under Chuck Riggs for the Redlands Swim Team. The top times for the middle-distance and distance freestyle swimmer include 1:55.2 in the 200, 5:05.4 in the 500 and 17:47.2 in the 1650. She produced a high school All-America consideration qualifier in the 500 free as a freshman.
“We are thrilled to have Megan Mills as a Spartan,” explained Hopkins. “She has already posted times that score in multiple events at the WAC Championship. She is also the type of person that’s going to help everybody around her be better.”
Finally, Jessica Holden will be a third diver added to the current mix of freshman Jo Thibodaux and redshirt Melissa Hymes. Holden is from Fair Oaks, Calif., and Roseville High School. She competes for Dos Rios Divers, based out of Sacramento, Calif. During the 2007 high school season, Holden collected four high school All-America consideration qualifying scores and finished third at her section championship meet. She also qualified for the 2007 Amateur Athletic Union Nationals on both springboards and the platform, with a best placement of 20th out of over 50 participants on the one-meter board.
Said Hopkins, “Jessica is exactly the type of diver we are looking for. She has a high level of talent, and more importantly, she is very motivated to work hard to further develop that talent.”
Added first-year diving coach Brian Tanner, “Mike Brown, Jessica’s present coach at Dos Rios, has done a tremendous job. Jessica has performed most of the dives necessary to be very competitive at both the zone and NCAA meets, for which I predict she will be a perennial qualifier on both springboards as well as the platform event. Jessica has great ambition, along with diving talent. She will fit in very well with our already strong diving team.”
Concluded Hopkins, “We are looking to wrap up next year’s class with two or three more prospects in the spring signing period.”
2008-09 San Jose State University Women’s Swimming & Diving Signees
Name Strokes Hometown/Current School (Club)
Heather Denman Back, Fly, Free Brookeville, Md./Sherwood HS (Flying Gull Aquatic Club)
Amy Friedhoff Free Kent, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS (Valley Aquatic Swim Team)
Jessica Holden Diver Fair Oaks, Calif./Roseville HS (Dos Rios Divers)
Megan Mills Free Redlands, Calif./Redlands HS (Redlands Swim Team)
Tomi Petty Free, Back Carmichael, Calif./Rio Americano HS (Arden Hills Swim Club)