Four Swimmers Sign with WSU for 2008-09

Nov. 21, 2007

PULLMAN, Wash. Four recruits signed National Letters of Intent to compete for the Washington State swim team announced WSU Head Coach Erica Quam. Emma Neely, Danielle Palumbo, Jessie Craig and Melissa Bogert will all be on the roster next season.

'We have an outstanding class coming in next fall. I'm excited about the talent, the level of improvement these four athletes have shown coming into our program and what that potential translates into for our team next year and beyond,' said Quam. 'I know they will elevate the level of our program and help Cougar Swimming continue to rise on the national scene. This is a group of outstanding students who have been incredibly committed in excelling in the pool as well as the classroom.'

Emma Neely is a native of Sunbury, Australia, who specializes in backstroke and freestyle. A member of Melbourne Vicentre Swimming Club, Neely currently ranks fourth in Australia in the 50 meter backstroke in the 17/18 age group. She also has top 10 rankings in the 100 meter backstroke, 50 meter freestyle and 100 meter freestyle. At the 2006 Commonwealth Games Trials, Neely won the silver as a member of the Melbourne Vicentre 400 freestyle relay. Individually, she has been a finalist for the past five years at the Australian National Age Championships and has been a four time recipient of the Melbourne Vicentre Club National Champion award.

Neely swam for Salesian College and her high school achievements include the 2006 Pierre De Coubertin Olympic Award and a selection to the Australian Secondary Schools Swim team to compete in Athens. She was also a team captain and member of the Victorian Secondary Schools Swimming Team from 2003-2007.

Neely has also competed at a state level in netball, basketball, Australian Rules football, cross country, and track and field.

'Emma comes to our program with great international experience in a country where swimming is in the limelight more than just once every four years. She has a strong background under a coach who has developed some of the best talent in the world. I believe that we can work with her to continue to improve,' said Quam. 'Emma has been a team captain and was named Sportsperson of the year at her high school. Her competitiveness and athleticism will serve her well as she continues to focus and develop over her collegiate career.'

Danielle Palumbo is a backstroke and individual medley swimmer from Sammamish, Wash. Palumbo was a Washington State Championship finalist in the 100 backstroke for the three seasons she competed at Skyline High School. She was also a championship finalist in the 200 IM for two seasons.

Palumbo is also a member of the Bellevue Club swim team, foregoing her senior year of high school competition to focus on club swimming. Palumbo qualified for the NCSA Junior National meet and was a finalist at the Western Senior Sectionals.

Palumbo has also been successful out of the pool, earning Scholastic All-American honors.

'Danielle trains hard, has a great attitude and has made steady improvements over the last several years. She made the decision to commit to club swimming this year for better overall development and to focus on the winter championships coming up this December. I think this shows Danielle's vision - knowing what she needs to do to take her swimming to the next level - and I believe she is truly going to excel at WSU,' said Quam.

Jessie Craig is a breaststroke specialist out of Etobicoke, Ontario. During her sophomore year at Mentor College, Craig qualified for the Canadian Senior Nationals in the 50 and 100 meter breaststroke events. At the Age Group nationals, Craig finished fifth in the 50 and 11th in the 100 breaststrokes.

Craig won both the 50 and 100 meter breaststroke events at the Eastern Canadian championships while taking second in the 200 meter breaststroke. She competed at the 2005 Commonwealth Games Trials and the 2006 Pan Pac Trials.

Craig plans on competing at the 2008 Olympic Trials before she comes to the Palouse to swim for the Cougars.

'Jessie has made incredible improvements over the last several years. She is a proven racer with experience in several major national competitions in Canada,' commented Quam. 'Jessie has the potential to be quite versatile as her free and fly have also come around significantly. She will be a serious contender for our relays as this is where she has truly excelled.'

Melissa Bogert will be making her way to the lower 48 states after her senior season at Juneau Douglas High School in Juneau, Alaska. The butterfly and freestyle swimmer is a two-time All-American in the 100 butterfly and holds the school record in that event. Bogert is also a two-time All-American as a member of a 200 medley relay that holds the Alaska state record.

Also in her junior year, Bogert earned All-American satus in the 400 freestyle relay and is the team record holder in the 200 freestyle.

Outside of her prep career, Bogert is a member of the Southeast Alaska swim club coached by Scott Griffith and has earned USA Swimming Scholastic All-American recognition.

'Melissa is quite a competitor as well as a student of the sport who asks great questions. She has shown me she is ready to take her swimming to the next level in college. Melissa has great racing experience and is the type of leader that will be a tremendous asset to our team,' said Quam.

The Cougars currently are 3-1 in dual meet action and will be competing at the Princeton Invitational Nov. 30-Dec.2.

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