BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Florida Atlantic University Head Swim and Dive Coach Lara Preacco and her staff have worked extremely hard, both in-season and out, to put together an impressive 2017-18 recruiting class. They have exceeded expectations with the addition of 17 women and 10 men who will add depth, speed and experience to an already talented roster.
First, here is a look at the men who will join FAU for the upcoming season. The coaches focused their efforts on Florida as seven of the newcomers hail from the state. The other three call New York, Alabama and Georgia their homes. The group boasts multiple NCSA Junior National qualifiers and USA Swimming Scholastic All-American honors, as well as state, regional and district champions.
“This fall, the FAU Swimming and Diving Owls will welcome 10 talented, motivated and intelligent young men to help us reach the top of our conference,” said Preacco. “Whether it is dual meets, the Conference Championship or academic achievement, the 10 newcomers have one thing in mind and that is to be the best! I can’t wait to guide them toward personal growth, success and leadership and to continue to increase our athletic and academic standards. As a team, we really came together last year, and we can’t wait for this eager group to follow in our footsteps while continuing to improve and have fun.”
Below is an inside look at the 10 men who will join the program for the 2017-18 season:
Braxton Conners – Junior – Huntsville, Ala. – Westminster Christian Academy/Auburn
Braxton Conners joins the program this fall after two years attending, but not competing, at the University of Auburn. He was a standout high school swimmer who continued to swim at the club level while at Auburn. Conners was named a NCSA High School All-American as well as a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American. In 2014, he led Westminster Christian to a second-place finish at the AHSAA 5A State Championship meet where he was named All-State in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 medley relay.
Logan Downey – Freshman – Planation, Fla. – Florida Virtual HS
One of the state’s top divers, Logan Downey was just the fifth diver in the state of Florida to win four- straight Broward County Athletic Association Championships. He also was a four-time district and regional champion and was crowned the 1-meter Florida 4A State Champion and Florida Class 4A Region 3 Champion in 2016. Downey has also been an exemplary student and will graduate in the top 10 percent of his class in 2017. He will look to help fill the void left by two-time Conference Diver of the Year Ryan McIntire.
Josh Fountain – Freshman – Lilburn, Ga. – Parkview HS
Josh Fountain comes to FAU following a highly-decorated high school swimming career. He was twice named a team captain at Parkview High School, representing the school at the state meet four years in a row. During his final three seasons, he was a Georgia State finalist in multiple events. In addition to his high school success, Fountain was a Junior National qualifier while also being named a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American. He is part of strong distance group coming to FAU, and the Owls will look to him to become one of the premier distance swimmers in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.
Skyler Hamilton – Freshman – Largo, Fla. – Seminole HS
As a multiple Florida State High School qualifier, Skyler Hamilton brings tremendous strength in both the butterfly and freestyle. This past year, he was a district champion, regional runner-up and Florida 3A State finalist in the 100 fly. He has also excelled in the 200 fly, claiming fourth overall at the Florida Senior Championships. While swimming with the West Florida Lightning Aquatic Club, Hamilton qualified for the Futures Championship.
Reilly MaGuire – Freshman – Orlando, Fla. – University HS
Reilly MaGuire will be joining the Owls as an IM and backstroke specialist. He is a 2017 Speedo and NCSA National Qualifier in multiple events. The Florida native finished fifth in the 100 backstroke at FHSAA 4A State Championships. He served as the team captain during his senior season and holds school records in four individual events and three relays. He is a two-time Orlando Metro All-Conference honoree and a 2016-17 Scholastic All-American qualifier.
David Morales – Freshman – Ocala, Fla. – West Port HS
David Morales comes to FAU this fall from West Port High School where he was a four-time Florida State qualifier and a two-year team captain. Additionally, he holds both the county and school record in the 100 butterfly. Morales was a member of the National Honor Society and a dual enrollment student, coming to FAU with his associate’s degree. He is eager to start the next part of his swim career at FAU where he will swim the 100 and 200 fly.
Nick Neri – Freshman – Holbrook, N.Y. – Sachem East HS
Nick Neri is a five-year varsity swimmer and two-time captain of his high school team located on Long Island, New York, where he holds six team records. He is a four-time All-League and two-time All-County swimmer; in 2017, he was ranked first in Suffolk County in the 50 freestyle. Neri is ranked as an All-New York State swimmer in the 100 free and is a two-time qualifier in Junior Nationals through USA Swimming as well as a North, South and Southeast Zone qualifier and Northern and Southern Sectional qualifier.
Alex Phlegar – Freshman – Panama City Beach, Fla. – J.R. Arnold HS
Alex Phlegar joins the Owls after qualifying for the Florida State High School State meet in 15 events. During his senior season, he helped J.R. Arnold win the 200 medley relay at the Class 2A High School State meet. Phlegar is a four-time All-County honoree and holds school records in two individual events and as a part of three relays. In addition to his high school success, he qualified for three different NCSA Junior National meets. He will specialize in the backstroke and IM.
Will Smith – Freshman – Saint Petersburg, Fla. – Osceola Fundamental HS
Will Smith is coming to FAU this fall after being a multiple-time Junior Nationals qualifier. He is part of the 400 freestyle relay team that holds the high school record. Along with his in-pool achievements, Smith will be named a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American upon graduation from Osceola Fundamental High School. He will specialize in the distance freestyle and IM events.
Keenan Williams – Freshman – Panama City Beach, Fla. – J.R. Arnold HS
Keenan Williams comes to FAU after placing in the top five in the 100 breaststroke at the Florida State High School Championships. Additionally, during his senior season, he was part of the school’s State Champion 200 medley relay that was given All-American consideration. With his Panama City club team, Williams was a NCSA Junior National qualifier and holds the club record as part of two relays. A versatile sprinter, the Owls will look for him to contribute in both the fly and breast.