April 29, 2010
The University of Northern Iowa women's swimming and diving team will add six student-athletes to the fall roster, head coach Stacey Simmer announced today. Caryn Knight, Kayla McCormick, Rebecca Ortman, Jamie Pearson, Mackenzie Smith and Kathleen Varner will all swim for the Panthers next season.
Caryn Knight (Pewaukee, WI/Arrowhead HS)
Knight is a high school All-American and was a member of a two-time state champion high school team. She was part of the Junior National team twice and served as team captain in high school. She swam the breaststroke leg of the state championship 200 medley relay. Knight maintained a 4.0 GPA and was part of the Arrowhead chapter of the National Honor Society.
"Caryn is one of the top breaststrokers coming out of Wisconsin," Simmer said. She has excelled in her senior year of high school and is ready to be a top competitor in the Missouri Valley Conference. Her IM is just as good so look for her to make an immediate impact."
Kayla McCormick (Caledonia, MN/Caledonia HS)
McCormick swam for the YMCA participating in the Wisconsin Y State meet every year. She qualified for the YMCA national swim meet four years in a row. She received the YMCA team spirit award and was named the Most Outstanding Female Swimmer. McCormick also participated on the track and soccer teams throughout high school. In the classroom, McCormick has a 3.95 GPA and is part of the National Honor Society. She received the Female `Triple A' Award and has been on the honor roll all four years of high school. She is also involved in student council and athletic letterperson's club.
"Kayla will add to our butterfly group and will be a contender for the butterfly spot on our top relay," Simmer said. "She has been consistently dropping time this past year to get herself ready for UNI. Our butterfly group will be a strong one next season."
Rebecca Ortman (Woodstock, Ill./Woodstock HS)
Ortman was a four-year varsity swimmer and a three-time MVP swimmer at Woodstock High School. She was captain of her team senior year and was an all-conference swimmer her junior and senior year. Ortman also played soccer. She has also been on the honor roll throughout her high school career.
"Rebecca is a talented sprinter who coming in will be able to place in the top 16 in the MVC. She is eager to train specifically for her sprinting and she will be used in a lot of relays," Simmer said.
Jamie Pearson (Fort Dodge, IA/Fort Dodge HS)
Pearson was a four-year state qualifier both individually and in relays. She was named the captain of her team her senior year. Pearson was a top-10 finisher at state in 2009 in both the IM and butterfly. She also was the district champion in the 100 butterfly and qualified as the second seed for the state meet. Pearson currently holds the school record for the 500 freestyle. Outside of swimming, Pearson participated in golf and was part of the state championship cheerleading squad. She is also active in National Council on Youth Leader, CIML All-Academic and honor roll all four years of high school, and was the editor for her school newspaper. She also received the Math and Science Achievement award for her school. In her free time, Pearson volunteers at the local hospital and teaches swimming lessons.
"Jamie's best swimming will come in college," Simmer said. "She is so excited to come to UNI and train with the team and really work hard to achieve the goals she has set for herself. She will surprise herself with how fast I think she is capable of going."
Mackenzie Smith (Cresco, IA/Crestwood HS)
Smith was an Iowa All-State swimmer in 2008 and 2009. She was the 2009 North Iowa Swim Conference Athlete of the Year. Outside of swimming, Smith is involved in Speech, Choir and a member of National Honor Society.
"Mackenzie is an awesome relay swimmer and steps up to the challenge every time she is placed on one," Simmer said. "She will add a lot of depth to our sprint group, look for her in our top relays next season."
Kathleen Varner (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg HS)
Middle Distance Freestyle
Varner participated in varsity swimming for all four years and was the captain of her team as a senior. Her team was the conference champion three years in a row. Varner was a state and YMCA qualifier, as well as, a YMCA National qualifier in 2009. She was named to the all-conference team and academic all-conference team. She is on the Galesburg student council and participates in Project Graduation. She was on the honor roll all four years of high school. In her free time, Varner volunteers as a reading buddy for the elementary school and in the church nursery.
"Kathleen will add depth to our middle distance group," Simmer said. "She is a hard worker and will be that swimmer that I look to for relays and added points."