MU swimming boasts strong recruiting class

Friday, April 22, 2011 | 7:59 p.m. CDT; updated 8:42 p.m. CDT, Friday, April 22, 2011

COLUMBIA — In his first season as head coach of the Missouri swimming team, Greg Rhodenbaugh hasn't worked with any swimmers he recruited.

Next year, Rhodenbaugh will have his own recruiting class, and he expects big things from it.

MU Recruits

Emily Doucette - Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tasha Truscott - Georgetown, Ontario

Jacey Hodan - Rockwall, Texas

Danielle Spradlin - Universal City, Texas

Kellie Barbiea - Springboro, Ohio

Lauren Callin - Middleton, Wisc.

Igor Kozlovskij - Klaipeda, Lithuania

Neil O'Halloran - Portland, Ore.

Connor Nolan - Southlake, Texas

Eegan Groome - Shreveport, La.

Mack Darragh - Ontario, Canada

Stephen Sobczak - Dexter, Mich.

Griffin Peavey - Leawood, Kan.

Alex Glogoza - St. Peters, Mo.

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"The guys recruiting class was kind of a wholesale, we got somebody in everything," Rhodenbaugh said.

Three of the eight men that Rhodenbaugh signed are ranked in the top 75 on

Igor Kozlovskij, Missouri's top male recruit who hails from Lithuania, boasts a personal best in the 100-meter breaststroke of 54.14, already faster than the MU record. He also swims the 200 breast, 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 individual medley.

"(He) contacted us," Rhodenbaugh said of Kozlovskij. "He wrote us an e-mail, and we responded and got to know him. He sent us some YouTube videos, and I watched it, and I think he's going to get a lot better."

Neil O'Halloran, from Portland, Ore., and Connor Nolan, from Southlake, Texas, are the other highly-ranked male recruits with strong times in freestyle events. O'Halloran is also strong in the butterfly and Nolan in the breaststroke.

Mack Darragh is another of Rhodenbaugh's international recruits, coming to MU via Ontario, Canada. Among other events, Darragh will swim the 400 IM, which Missouri was very weak in this season.

Two Canadian women join Darragh in signing with MU. Emily Doucette of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Tasha Truscott of Georgetown, Ontario, were both members of the 2010 Canadian North American Challenge Cup Team. 

"The girls class is smaller, but it's the right mixture of what we needed," Rhodenbaugh said of the five swimmers and one diver joining the team. "We filled holes with it."

Rhodenbaugh said he expects Doucette and Truscott to fill holes in several relay events. He also hopes that they can find the same success as some of their Canadian predecessors at MU.

Senior Lauren Lavigna of Vancouver, British Columbia, qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of her last three seasons, and sophomore Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ontario, has qualified in both of her first two.

This isn't the first time Rhodenbaugh has worked with Canadian swimmers, though.

"At Arizona we had quite a few (Canadians), and when I was at SMU we had some," Rhodenbaugh said. "They're further along in development when they get to you (than they used to be), but they're behind where the United States development is, so they can get a lot better."

Rhodenbaugh expects to continue bringing top recruits to MU.

"Missouri, it's a good place to sell," Rhodenbaugh said. "Between the academics, the facilities, the campus and the people, it's a really good place to sell. Once you get them on campus here and show them what we have to offer, it gets a lot easier."

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