June 1, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
With all the success the Florida State University swimming and diving team has had over the past few years, head coach Neil Harper and his staff is able to attract the best talent from all over the country while keeping some of the best in Florida. Following a strong recruiting class in the fall, Harper has rounded out his 2005 signing class with three more during the spring signing period.
Joining the six signees from the fall will be Kylen Huntwork (Apex, N.C.), Caroline Robertson (Ocala, Fla.) and Cameron Russell (Maryville, Tenn.).
“With the three girls we signed in the spring we were looking to address some areas, but also complement the class we signed in the fall,” Harper said. “We knew we’d have to make up for a deficit from a good senior class and between the fall and the spring we did that. It’s a well-rounded class and it’s really going to add some good depth to our existing roster.”
When 2005 Atlantic Coast Conference 100 breaststroke champion Lauren Brick (Culpeper, Va.) completes her tenure in two years, Huntwork will be among the ones in line looking to take her place atop the award stand. This year at the YMCA National Short Course Championships in April she posted her best finish, hitting the wall in 1:04.87 to take third. Just out-touching her to take the title was fellow FSU recruit Ann Cipoletti (Charleston, W.Va.).
Huntwork also took third in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:19.71, while her 2:10.49 was 27th in the 200 individual medley. She joined up with teammates from her club team, YMCA of the Triangle Area, to take second in the 400 medley relay with a fourth place at the 200-yard distance.
“Breaststroke has been a great success story for FSU the last 5-10 years and that makes our program very attractive to some of the best breaststrokes and Kylen is certainly one of them,” Harper added. “We’ve always had quality breaststrokers, but never quantity, but she gives us both. She comes from a great program and she going to contribute not only during the dual meets, but also at ACC’s and possibly the NCAA meet.”
The past two seasons Huntwork has been a finalist at the North Carolina state championships in the 100 breaststroke. A three-time conference MVP, she moved up two spots from her junior season to take fourth with a time of 1:08.03 as a senior. Named team MVP and all-conference all four years in high school, Huntwork also had two consolation swims in the 200 IM, while helping Apex High School to a second place finish in the 200 medley relay and fifth-place mark in the 200 free relay.
Battling side-by-side with Huntwork for the next four years in the breaststroke will be Robertson, one of the most talented breaststrokers in the state of Florida. A product of Forest High School, she collected a pair of 2A state titles at the 100-yard breaststroke during her freshman and sophomore years. Her second year at Forest she posted her career-best prep time with a 1:05.02 during her gold medal performance.
She continued her run as one of the top breaststrokes in the state with All-America honors with top three finishes the previous two seasons. In addition to her prowess in the breaststroke, Robertson also earned All-America accolades for her efforts in the 200 individual medley.
“Something we definitely want to do is keep the good ones in the state and Caroline certainly fits that bill,” Harper noted. “Again we’re trying to build quality and quantity in our breaststroke core and she’ll help us accomplish that. On top of that she’s just a great human being along with a great athlete and great student so she fits into our program perfectly.”
Following fourth and third-place marks her first two years in the 200 IM; Robertson was an automatic All-American with a career-best 2:05.36 during her junior campaign. She repeated the feat this last season with a third-place time of 2:05.58. Named Swimmer of the Year four times by the Ocala Star-Banner, Robertson garnered national attention even before her prep career began as she earned Swimming World Magazine’s TYR Swimmer of the Month for July 2001
When it comes to deciding what event FSU wants Russell to swim, Harper and his staff may be able to just pull events out of a hat. While she specializes in the 200 and 500 freestyle, she has a number of events in her repertoire. Team MVP all four years at Maryville High School, she earned All-America honors in the 200 free as a senior with All-America consideration at the 500-yard distance.
“Cameron is very versatile, she’s going to help in a lot of areas,” Harper said. “We’ve wanted swimmers like Cameron for a while where we’re going to be in a quandary as to where to put her. She’s going to help us any given weekend during the dual meets, but she can score in a number of events at the conference meet so we’re going to have to decide where to put here. That’s always a good predicament to be in.”
At the Tennessee high school championships this season, she finished second in the 200 while taking third in the 500. Proving her versatility, during the Southeastern Championships Russell captured first place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle while taking part in the winning 400 medley relay.
Her best times came at the NISC High School National Championships where she posted a time of 1:50.41 in the finals of the 200 free to go along with a 4:59.14 in the finals of the 500 free. In addition she swam five individual events and on a pair of relays at the American Short Course Championships. Russell also excels in the classroom where she is an Academic All-American.