Friday Feature: Swimming Freshmen Making Impacts

San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving head coach Sage Hopkins has 17 newcomers out of 29 student-athletes on the 2007-08 roster. Among the newcomers are 15 swimmers and divers that are true freshmen. Of that group, 13 have seen action in at least one meet this season, with the other two redshirting this year.

Hopkins, now in his third year in charge, has received significant contributions from his freshman class through the first half of the current campaign. Eight different freshmen appear among the top 20 in the Western Athletic Conference in 14 separate individual events in the latest top performances listing through December 3, while six of them already rank among the top 10 all-time at San Jose State in 10 total events.

“Our freshman class has really been getting the job done, both athletically and academically,” said Hopkins. “Every single one of them has contributed at some point this season, and several of them have contributed in a big way. All of them have been performing very well, and I especially have been impressed to date with the performances of Jo Thibodaux, Kirsten Trammell, Ashley Krisman, Caitlin Macky, Meghan McCurley and Daphne Yeung. Trammell and Macky are already challenging for school records in the breaststroke and individual medley events, while McCurley and Yeung will be competing for conference titles and school records (in relay events) at the WAC Championship.”

The tandem of Macky (San Diego, Calif./West Hills HS) and Trammell (Goodyear, Ariz./Xavier College Prep) has been particularly impressive so far, especially in individual events. They rank one-two in the WAC both the 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, with Trammell notching the top time in the 200 breast (2:19.78) and Macky in the 200 IM (2:06.12), both at the 2007 Nike Cup in Long Beach, Calif., last month. Trammell’s mark in the 200 breast during morning prelims on November 17 fell just .45 seconds shy of the school record.

Macky is currently first in the 200 IM, second in the 200 breast (2:20.42), fourth in the 400 IM (4:32.30) and fifth in the 100 breast (1:06.08) in the WAC, while ranking second in the 200 IM, third in the 200 breast, fifth in the 400 IM and eighth in the 100 breast at San Jose State. Trammell is first in the 200 breast, second in the 200 IM (2:07.24), fifth in the 400 IM (4:32.42), sixth in the 100 breast (1:06.13) and 10th in the 1000 free (10:44.11) in the conference. She is second in the 200 breast, third in the 200 IM, sixth in the 400 IM, ninth in the 100 breast and 10th in the 1000 free on the school listing.

Trammell and Macky placed fourth and ninth, respectively, in the 200 breast, 11th and 10th in the 100 breast and 13th and ninth in the 200 IM, all in best times, at Nike Cup. Macky was also the breaststroke leg on the season-best 200 and 400 medley relays, including the fifth-best 200 in school history (1:46.44). Both rank second in the WAC.

“I knew that both (Macky and Trammell) would swim well (at Nike Cup), and both really stepped up and exhibited many of the improvements that they have made over the last three months,” added Hopkins. “As I am with all of our current freshmen, I am very excited for their futures and look forward to the rest of their careers at San Jose State.”

“My freshman year has gone well,” said Trammell. “A number of the goals I had set at the start of the season, I’ve achieved already, so I’m pretty happy, but I still want to go even faster at the WAC Championship. I know I can still do a lot better than I have been doing.

“Going into a race, I try not to think about my time, just the race. So at Nike Cup, for instance, I didn’t know that I had gotten so close to the school record until (Coach Hopkins) told me. At Nike Cup in general, I would have liked to have gone a little faster, but they were all best times.”

Added Macky, “I think I have adapted pretty well (to college swimming). It’s really different (than high school or club swimming), but it’s been a lot more fun so far than I expected. The training has been very beneficial, my times are improving and I’m really enjoying it. It’s been a little shocking to see myself so high up on the (WAC and school records lists), but I’m glad I am, and hopefully I can stay up there.

“I though I performed well at Nike Cup, and came off our taper very well. I don’t think anything could have gone much better than it did. Now my goal at the WAC Championship is to be among the top eight in all of my events and drop my times.”

The sprint freestyle duo of McCurley (Fair Oaks, Calif./Bella Vista HS) and Yeung (South San Francisco, Calif./South San Francisco HS) have both made contributions in individual events, but even more so as part of the Spartans’ top 200 freestyle relays, with each even having taken at least one turn as the anchor leg. McCurley and Yeung swam third and fourth, in that order, behind senior co-captain Brie Marhenke and junior Lauren Mar, for a season-best 1:35.60 at the Nike Cup on November 15. The relay, ranked first in the WAC, placed fourth and also matched the second-best performance all-time at San Jose State.

Individually, McCurley is seventh in the WAC in the 100 free (52.92) and ninth in the 50 free (24.37). Yeung is 12th in the 50 (24.79) and 18th in the 100 (54.27).

“My freshman season has gone really well,” said McCurley. “It’s been fun because we are such a big group (of freshmen) and we are all really close. I’m excited (for the future) of our class, because we are a strong class with a lot of really fast swimmers and we work together very well.

“It’s sort of a surreal experience for me,” went on McCurley about being a part of her team’s top sprint relay in just her first year of college swimming. “Coming from a recreation team, the same as Brie (Marhenke), and now being on the A’ relay of an NCAA Division I program, it’s been surreal and like a dream come true. It’s been a really fun experience.”

“It’s very different from club swimming,” agreed Yeung. “It’s definitely a different mentality (in college swimming). Everyone wants to work hard, which makes you push yourself even harder. It’s always a really positive environment.

Said Yeung about being on the relays, “It’s a huge adrenaline rush and an honor. It makes me push myself more.”

Krisman (Wildomar, Calif./Elsinore HS) rates sixth in the 1650 free (18:02.68) and seventh in the 1000 free (10:43.14). She is ninth all-time at the school in both events.

As the lone active diver on the squad this season, Thibodaux (Alvin, Texas/Alvin HS) is 10th in the conference on both the one-meter (235.95) and three-meter (253.56) springboards.

Two other Spartan freshmen that are ranked in the conference are Julia Koch (San Diego, Calif./Grossmont HS) and Rudie Guerrero (Vacaville, Calif./Vacaville Christian HS). Koch is fifth as the top Spartan in the 200 free (1:55.56) and 12th in the 500 free (5:10.84). She also swam the third leg of the season-best 400 free relay (3:37.35) and the season’s first 800 free relay (7:51.22) at Nike Cup. On the 800 relay, which ranks second in the conference, she was joined by Trammell to lead off, fourth-year senior Amanda Carr and Krisman to anchor.

Guerrero is 14th in the 100 back (1:01.22) and 19th in the 100 fly (1:00.58). Her top 50 backstroke relay split of 28.65 from Nike Cup ranks ninth all-time at San Jose State.

Other true freshmen who have seen action this season for the Spartans are Jillian Cureton (Walnut Creek, Calif./Northgate HS), Stephanie Hampton (North Pole, Alaska/West Valley HS), Taryn Krische (Reno, Nev./North Valleys HS), Ashley Ladd (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo HS) and Julie Wynn (Topanga, Calif./Palisades Charter HS). Ladd and Wynn each had a pair of season-best marks at Nike Cup, with Cureton adding one. Melissa Hymes (Los Angeles, Calif./Taft HS), a diver, and Linzy Warkentin (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo HS) are redshirts.

Past 2007-08 Friday Features

August 24 - Jackie Zabek, Women's Soccer
August 31 - Ed Brand, Men's Soccer
September 7 - Keri Anglin, Volleyball
September 21 - Jennifer Senftleben, Volleyball
September 28 - Jacob French, Football
October 19 - Erica Sahli, Women's Cross Country
November 9 - Dominique Hunsucker, Football
November 16 - Juliet Moss, Water Polo
November 23 - John Booker, Football
November 30 - Justin Graham, Men's Basketball
December 7 - Freshmen, Swimming & Diving