BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Florida Atlantic University Head Swim and Dive Coach Lara Preacco and her staff will welcome 16 women to the Owl squad for the upcoming season.
Ten newcomers hail from Florida while the others span from several states east of the Mississippi, including an addition from Ontario, Canada. FAU will add seven transfers from some of the nation’s most historically prominent programs such as Florida State, Tennessee and Tulane. These women are coming in with valuable experience that will immediately make an impact. The group boasts several collegiate All-Conference swimmers, Junior Nationals qualifiers, state champions, high school record holders and Scholastic All-Americans.
“This fall, the FAU Swimming and Diving Owls are welcoming a very strong class of young women,” said Preacco. “In all, 16 fast and intelligent newcomers will help us in our goal of reaching the top of our conference. We are excited about this young group of determined women joining us in the fall; they will impact our dual meets, Conference Championship and academic achievements from day one. I am look forward to leading them toward great achievements on and off the deck. This past year, our team displayed teamwork, determination and incredible success in the classroom, and I know that this new batch of swimmer and divers will be great contributors in and out of the pool. I am excited about the potential of this young group being added to the new culture we have been establishing during the last few years as we continue to raise our standards. Owl Power!”
Below is a sneak peek at the 16 women who will call themselves Owls in 2017-18.
Spence Atkins - Sophomore - Sarasota, Fla. - Riverview HS/Tennessee
Spence Atkins will begin her sophomore campaign at FAU after spending a season at the University of Tennessee. As a freshman, Spence was named to the SEC All-Freshmen team after placing in the top 16 at the SEC Championships in both the 1650 freestyle and 200 butterfly. Prior to her freshman year, Spence was named the 2016 HT Preps Florida Swimmer of the Year as well as the 2014 USA Swimming Florida Swimmer of the Year. As a swimmer at Riverview High School, she was a Florida High School State Champion as well as a state of Florida record holder.
Natalie Clausen - Sophomore - Trinity, Fla. - East Lake HS/Tulane
Natalie Clausen joins the Owls this fall after spending one season at Tulane. She was the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Champion in the 1650 freestyle while also placing second overall in the 500 free. Her time in the 1650 free also set an AAC record. Prior to Tulane, Clausen was a Florida State High School Finalist, a Speedo Sectional Champion and qualified for multiple Junior National meets. She was a strong student in high school and continued that streak in college, earning the Tulane Scholastic Honors Award as a freshman.
Caitlin Dunne - Sophomore - Ocala, Fla. - Trinity Catholic HS/Pepperdine
Caitlin Dunne begins her sophomore season at FAU after spending one year at Pepperdine. She had a strong showing during her freshman campaign, contributing heavily in the 200 and 400 IM. Prior to college, Dunne was a Florida High School State qualifier in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM. Additionally, she won the 400 IM and finished ninth in the 200 breast at the 2015 Florida Senior Championship meet.
Victoria Ellwood - Freshman - Tampa, Fla. - Hillsborough HS
Victoria Ellwood is a three-time Florida State High School finalist while also reaching the finals at both the Florida Senior and Florida YMCA State Championships. She holds numerous high school and club records and was named the Bay News 9 Athlete of the Week (9/16/16). In addition, she earned Hillsborough High School’s Most Outstanding Swimmer and Female Athlete of the Year awards. A member of both the National and Spanish Honor Societies, Ellwood plans to major in biological sciences.
Miranda Fellowes - Freshman - Glen Allen, Va. - Glen Allen HS
Miranda Fellowes comes to FAU this fall after a stellar career as both a backstroker and breaststroker for NOVA of Virginia Aquatics. She has competed at three straight NCSA Junior National meets, swimming 10 total events. In addition, Fellowes has achieved National Time Standards as a member of six different relays. She plans to major in exercise science and health promotion and was a member of her high school’s Honor Roll, Latin Honor Society and the Beta Club.
Danica Garbett - Sophomore - Queensville, Ontario, Canada - Sir William Mulock Secondary/Bowling Green State
Danica Garbett joins the Owls after a strong freshmen season at Bowling Green State University. While there, she placed eighth overall in the 400 IM at the Mid-American Conference Championships. Prior to BGSU, she competed at both the Canadian Olympic Trials (April 2016) and the Canadian Pan Am Trials (April 2015). At both meets, Garbett was a “B” finalist. As an Honor Roll student each of her four years at Sir William Mulock, she also won multiple medals at both the Ontario Provincial and Eastern Canadian Championships. FAU will look to Danica to make a big splash in Conference USA in the 200 and 400 IM as well as the 200 butterfly.
Ashlyn Hunt - Freshman - Lafayette, La. - Lafayette HS
Ashlyn Hunt comes to FAU this fall after a standout career at Lafayette High School in Louisiana. As one of the top-ranked prospects in the state, she was a four-time State Champion in the 100 butterfly while also setting school records in the 100 fly and 50 freestyle. Hunt is a seasoned sprinter who will contribute right away. As a four-year letterwinner and Scholastic All-American, she maintained a 3.8 GPA and received Academic and Health Academy Letterwinner honors.
Madisyn Lyons - Junior - Hurricane, W.Va. - Hurricane HS/Indian River State College
Madisyn Lyons joins FAU after spending the past two seasons at Indian River State College. While at IRSC, she was a part of the school’s 38th and 39th Junior College National Championship teams. In addition, she swam as part of the National Champion 800 freestyle relay both years. Prior to attending IRSC, Lyons was a standout swimmer that helped Hurricane High School win four straight State Championships while taking home four individual state titles. She will contribute at FAU in both the distance events and the 400 IM.
Abigail Marshall - Freshman - Altamonte Springs, Fla. - Lyman HS
Though she has only been swimming for seven years, Abby Marshall has become one of the top competitors in the state of Florida. As a captain this past season, she was a finalist at the Florida State High School Championships while qualifying for and competing at Junior Nationals. A high school record holder in multiple events, Marshall will be a serious contender in Conference USA. She has maintained a 4.0 throughout high school and was named Engineering Student of the Year.
Lauren Meyrick - Junior - Miami, Fla. - Miami Killian HS/Indian River State College
Lauren Meyrick comes to FAU via Indian River State College where she was a standout breaststroker over the past two seasons. Meyrick was the national runner-up in the 50, 100 and 200 breast during both of her two seasons at IRSC, earning NJCAA First Team All-American honors. Additionally, she was a Florida High School State qualifier both her junior and senior year at Miami Killian placing sixth overall in the 100 breast her senior year. She is an experienced swimmer who will step right into one of the top breaststroke spots. The Owls will look for her to make a huge impact as part of the medley relays.
Kathleen Mulligan - Freshman - Dayton, Ohio - Oakwood HS
Kathleen Mulligan was an Ohio High School State finalist as a member of the Oakwood High School 400 freestyle relay team that holds the school record. She will compete in the sprint free and backstroke events. A serious student, Mulligan was a member of both the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society.
Ana Neff-Jendrasko - Freshman - South Portland, Maine - Catherine McAuley HS
Ana Neff-Jendrasko comes from Maine where she was named the 2016-17 Girls Class B Swimmer of the Year after winning the 100 breaststroke at the Class B Championships. A school record holder in both the 100 breast and 200 IM, the Owls will look for Neff-Jendrasko to come in right away and be successful in those events. She is a highly successful swimmer in the state of Maine, winning both the 100 and 200 breast at the USA Swimming State Championships. She also was a standout student at Catherine McAuley High School graduating in the top 15 of her senior class.
Haley O’Meara - Sophomore - Clearwater, Fla. - Clearwater HS/Florida State
Haley O’Meara will join the squad this fall after spending a season at Florida State University. After a successful year at FSU, she will look to make a big splash in the breaststroke and on several relays. In high school, O’Meara was a state finalist who graduated as the school record holder in the 100 breast, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay. She was a captain her senior year and was awarded the Female Athlete of the Year Award at Clearwater High School. She plans to major in biology and pursue a degree in medicine with the goal of becoming a doctor.
Madison Rizzo - Freshman - Port Orange, Fla. - Spruce Creek HS
Madison Rizzo comes to FAU via Spruce Creek High School where she was a standout student and state qualifier. As a team captain this past season, Rizzo qualified for the Florida High School State Championship in both the 200 and 500 freestyle. This past season she was named to the All-County team for the fourth time and was named an AP Scholar.
Allyson Schwarz - Freshman - Daytona Beach, Fla. - New Smyrna Beach HS
Allyson Schwarz was a Florida State High School State qualifier who was named First Team All-County. She was a team captain who claimed the 2016 Class 3A Region 2 Champion titles in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Schwarz holds the New Smyrna Beach school records in the 50 and 100 free. An Advanced Placement student, she will look to make an impact both athletically and academically.
Kara Wilkins - Freshman - Tampa, Fla. - Sunlake HS
A four-time Florida High School State finalist, Kara Wilkins will specialize in the butterfly and backstroke as an FAU freshmen. She is a four-time All-Conference honoree and the Sunlake High School record holder in three individual events and three relays. As a straight-A student and 2014-15 Scholastic All-American, she competed as a member of the Academy Aquatic Club National Team while also competing regularly in Open Water competitions.