Nov. 21, 2007
Berkeley - Six high school swimming and diving standouts, three of whom are local products -- Alissa Barker, Kirstyn Colonias, Shelley Harper, Sara Isakovic, Liv Jensen, Mattea Perrotta, have signed National Letters-of-Intent to join the University of California women's swimming and diving program for the 2008-09 season, Golden Bear head coach Teri McKeever announced Wednesday.
"We're really excited on two different levels," explained McKeever. "We're certainly excited about the California flavor that we are bringing in. These young women have a huge upside to their athletic ability. On the other hand, we are bringing in an international flavor as well to our program. These girls will bring valued experience to Cal and they will be a nice compliment to what we have here."
Barker will be a valuable addition to the Cal diving program because of her national and international experience as a three-time junior national finalist from Sydney, Australia. Her best event is the platform, where she placed fourth at the 2007 Australian Elite Junior Championships this past July.
Colonias, a breaststroke specialist from Danville, will transfer her experience from the Crow Canyon Sharks - a year-round swim team in the Contra Costa area - to the Spieker Aquatics Complex. Under the direction of coaches Dan Cottom and Ethan Hall, Colonias posted Olympic Trials qualifying times in the long course season of 2007 in both the 100 (1:12.03) and 200 breaststroke (2:35.05) events.
Another local product, Harper (Walnut Creek), will bring her athleticism to Cal after competing on the Walnut Creek Aqua Bears club team. A mid-distance and distance freestyle swimmer, Harper posted personal-bests in the 400 (4:19.91 LCM), 500 (4:49.11 SCY) and the 800 freestyle (8:54.34 LCM) with the Aqua Bears this season. She also had a prolific high school water polo career scoring nearly 300 goals in her four years.
The other international addition is Isakovic, who hails from Bled Slovenia. As an international force in both freestyle and butterfly events, Isakovic has top world rankings in the 200 free (11th 1:58.19 LCM), the 200 Butterfly (14th 2:08.69) and the 400 free (89th 4:14.79 LCM). Isakovic was also a 2004 Olympian and World Championship finalist.
Specializing as a sprint freestyler, Jensen (Palo Alto) is expected to compete at a high level in the 50 free next season for the Bears. Under the direction of PASA Swim Team club coach Tony Batis, Jensen has posted top short course times in the 50 (22.84), 100 (50.60) and 200 free events (1:49.52).
From El Segundo in Southern California, Perrotta is a 2007 Junior National Team captain. Also a member of the Trojan Swim Club, Perrotta posted best times in the 200 (1:48.73 SCY and 2:03.76 LCM) and 100 freestyle (51.34 SCY and 58.23 SCY) events this season.
California is currently ranked third in the country and will next compete at the USA Short Course National Championships in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 29-Dec. 1.