San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving head coach Sage Hopkins has announced the signing of five top student-athletes, two of them high school All-Americans, to a National Letter of Intent for the 2009-10 season during the early period.
The five newest Spartans are currently in their senior years in high school. All five hail from different cities outside of the Bay Area, with two from Southern California and one each from Arizona and Oklahoma. Of the five, four are swimmers, with three of them primarily freestyle competitors, and one is a diving prospect who will join the Spartans’ current crop of three divers.
“We are thrilled with this year’s group of early signers,” remarked Hopkins, now in his fourth year in charge. “Each of the four swimmers has a tremendous amount of potential to improve, and all have a reputation for being very hard workers. Additionally, Amy Kilby is an exceptional diver, achieving All-American honors as a sophomore and junior in high school.”
Julia Craddock hails from Litchfield Park, Ariz., and competes for former U.S. national team swimmer Matt Rankin with the YMCA Westside Silver Fins, the same club program as current Spartan sophomore Kirsten Trammell, in Goodyear, Ariz. At Millennium High School, also located in Goodyear, Craddock maintains a 4.04 grade point average, and was a 2007-08 USA Swimming Scholastic All-America Team honoree. She serves as Arizona Swimming’s athlete representative to USA Swimming.
A specialist in the individual medley and middle-distance freestyle events, Craddock was a two-time high school All-American as a freshman member of Millennium’s 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay in 2005. At the state meet earlier this year, she posted a pair of consideration All-America marks in individual events, the 500 freestyle and 200 individual medley. Her best times are 1:55.64 in the 200 free, 4:58.86 in the 500 free, 17:36.44 in the 1650, 2:07.06 in the 200 fly, 2:06.07 in the 200 IM and 4:26.69 in the 400 IM.
“Julia Craddock comes to us with the strongest possible recommendation of her club coach, Matt Rankin. Her current times would already make a significant impact at our conference championship, and Matt feels she is just beginning to scratch the surface of her potential in the sport. Matt’s swimmers are known to be tremendous workers, and we are excited to add more depth and talent to an already very committed and hard-working SJSU team.”
Elana Faria is a native of Auburn, Calif., who currently attends the same high school that Hopkins graduated from, Bear River High School in Grass Valley, Calif. Another accomplished student with a 3.6 GPA, Faria competes at the club level for Daryn Glasgow at the Bear River Swimming Association, based in Auburn, Calif. The sprint freestyle specialist has current best times of 24.79 in the 50 and 54.43 in the 100.
“Elana Faria looks to be a “diamond in the rough.” She has very limited exposure to the sport, only swimming on a year-round basis for a little over a year. With continued hard work and improvement, Elana will be able to make valuable individual and relay contributions at both dual meets and the conference championship.”
Amy Kilby is a diver out of Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, Okla. She competes for the Sooner Diving club program and head coach Scott Reich. Kilby is already a two-time high school All-American and two-time high school state champion on the one-meter board, prior to her senior season. Also a model student, she maintains a 4.0 grade point average.
“Amy Kilby was our top diving recruit this year, and is exactly the type of diver we are looking for to continue to improve our diving program. She will join an already much-improved group of divers here at SJSU, and help us on our path to becoming a diving powerhouse in the WAC.”
“I am very excited to bring on a diver of Amy Kilby’s ability on the diving boards and in the classroom,” added second-year San Jose State diving coach Brian Tanner. “Amy has demonstrated an extremely-high level of athleticism, and it shows in her accomplishments. She will make an immediate impact at the WAC Championship next year on both springboards and platform. Amy will be joining a very talented group of divers that has shown great improvement and is already among the best in the WAC.”
Caitlin Lipton is from Irvine, Calif., and swims there for Brian Pajer at AquaZot Swim Club, a program which also produced current Spartan freshman Kristin Yamaguchi. Lipton attends Irvine’s Woodbridge High School and specializes in middle-distance freestyle events. Her best times include 24.75 in the 50 free, 53.37 in the 100 free, 1:54.09 in the 200 free and 5:07.70 in the 500 free.
“Caitlin Lipton is another swimmer who will be able to contribute significant points for us with her current times. Her club coach, Brian Pajer, feels she has a lot of potential to improve over her college years, and we are very excited to have her be a Spartan! Our middle-distance freestyle group has moved from a weak point in our program, to a strength this year, and Caitlin will add even more depth to this facet of our program.”
Taylor Stoddard is out of Chula Vista, Calif., just south of downtown San Diego, where she attends Eastlake High School and boasts a 3.7 GPA. Stoddard swims for Tom Paradowski at South Bay Aquatics in National City, Calif., specializing in sprint and middle-distance freestyle events. Her top times are 25.74 in the 50 free, 52.97 in the 100 free and 1:53.19 in the 200 free.
“Taylor Stoddard continues our theme of swimmers who have a reputation for being very hard workers who also have a great upside for improvement. Similar to each of the other signees, Taylor looks to be a major player in our conference her freshman year. Her potential to improve, combined with her strong work ethic, make her exactly the type of swimmer we are looking for.”
2009-10 San Jose State Women’s Swimming & Diving Early Signings
Name Strokes Hometown/Current School/Club
Julia Craddock IM, Free Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium HS/Westside Silver Fins
Elana Faria Sprint Free Auburn, Calif./Bear River HS/Bear River Swimming
Amy Kilby Diver Oklahoma City, Okla./Putnam City North HS/Sooner Diving
Caitlin Lipton Free Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS/AquaZot Swim Club
Taylor Stoddard Free Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake HS/South Bay Aquatics