California Women's Swimming Inks Six Recruits

Nov. 13, 2008

BERKELEY - Four high school swimming standouts - Mary Beck, Laura Evans, Caitlin Leverenz and Samantha Pearson - plus high school divers Rachel Becker and Kelsey Heiken have signed National Letters of Intent to join the University of California women's swimming and diving program for the 2009-10 season, Golden Bear head coach Teri McKeever announced Thursday. Beck, who will join the Bears in January of 2009, signed a Financial Aid Agreement.

'I can't stress enough how fantastic these student-athletes are,' said McKeever. 'They fit in perfectly with out team philosophy, and will provide immediate impact to our program.'

Beck, who hails from Austin, Texas, is widely considered as one of the top backstroke and individual medley prospects in the country. She owns the national high school record in the 200 IM with a time of 1:56.45 and holds the public high school standard with a 53.03 in the 100-yard backstroke. Beck scored 29 points, the highest among female swimmers, and helped the United States to a second-place finish at the 2007 Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii. She collected two gold medals and one silver medal, and established Junior Pan Pac meet records in the 200 IM (2:16.72) and 400 IM (4:46.30).

'She is a solid freestyler with world-class backstroke and IM talents,' said McKeever. 'She will provide a big boost to our team in January and she is a good fit for this community.'

Evans, a product of Greenwich, Conn., set a Class LL record in the 200 IM at the state championships this month with a time of 2:04.87 - breaking a mark that stood for eight years. She also claimed the state title in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 51.77. Evans is also a member of the Badger Swim Club based in New York.

'Laura is a real good athlete and was on the U.S. Junior National Team training roster,' said McKeever. 'Now she is focusing on swimming and we're real excited about her potential at Cal.'

Leverenz, who swam with the El Dorado Athletics Club in Tucson, Ariz., won a national championship in the 400 IM (4:40.81) at the 2007 Conoco Philips National Championships in Indianapolis, and in July of 2007, won a gold medal and broke the meet record at the Pan American Games in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:25.62. She was also at the 2006 World Youth Championships in Brazil and earned a bronze medal in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:09.94, as well as a bronze in the 200 breast with a time of 2:28.57. This past summer at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Leverenz placed fourth in the finals of the 200 and 400 IM events and third in the 200 breast, narrowly missing out on a spot on the Olympic team.

'Caitlin is someone who I felt would fit great at Cal athletically and academically,' said McKeever. 'She is a versatile swimmer and fits with our team philosophies.'

Pearson, who hails from Las Vegas, Nev., was a 2008 state champion in the 100-yard backstroke and earned Southern Nevada first-team all-region honors. She took third place at the 2008 Toyota Southern California Grand Prix in the 200-yard backstroke with a 1:58.79.

'Samantha brings a lot of talent to our program,' said McKeever. 'She has a really engaging personality that fits perfectly for this program.'

On the diving side, head coach Tom Davison announced the signing of Becker and Heiken, as well. 'They are both great girls and are very accomplished divers,' said Davidson. 'I'm looking forward to having them on campus next fall.'

Becker (Madison, Wis.) is a member of the Mad City Divers and competed at the 2008 USA Diving National Championships, placing fourth in the final with a total score of 371.40 on the three-meter board and second-place on the one-meter board with a score of 360.40. An NISCA All-American and four-time Spring West National Qualifier, she also competed at the 2008 USA Diving Junior Zone C Championships and garnered an eighth-place finish on the one-meter board.

Heiken, from San Clemente in Southern California, competes with the Crown Valley Divers, and was a Southern CIF champion in 2006 and a multiple Junior National qualifier. She was a senior National Zone Finalist this past summer and was recognized as an NISCA All American. She has two older brothers that currently attend Cal.

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