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Swimming and Diving Commits Three for 2011 Class

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona swimming and diving program finished its recruiting season with three signees.  Head Coach Andy Johns brings in swimmer Alex Huff (Dallas, Texas) while Diving Coach Nikki Huffman adds a pair of divers in Kali Lents (San Antonio, Texas) and Gwen Smithberg (Seattle, Wash.). 

Huff swims for the Dallas Mustangs club team under Coach Mook Rhodenbaugh.  She joins the Lumberjacks next fall and will be counted on to contribute in the freestyle and backstroke events. 

"She is from a great program with a great coach," Johns said.  "We feel like Alex is going to be a great addition to our squad next year.  We got involved kind of late in the process.  She came on a visit and everything clicked.  She is also a good student so we are really excited about what she can potentially bring to our squad."

Lents dives under Coach Stan Randall and Tommy Law with Alamo Area Aquatics Diving in San Antonio.  She trains at the Palo Alto Natatorium, the same facility where the Lumberjacks compete at the WAC Championships.

"We are pretty excited about Kali," Huffman said.  "She is already very strong on 1-meter, 3-meter, and platform.  I think she could come in and be top three in the conference on platform.  With her being from San Antonio, it is nice to have someone on our team that is familiar with that area and facility and have that connection there."

Smithberg is a junior college transfer who will join NAU next fall as a sophomore.  She is new to the sport of diving after a standout prep career in gymnastics.  Smithberg was the all-around Washington state champion for Kennedy High School in 2008.  She dives for Pacific Northwest Diving Club in Seattle. 

"Gwen is a great find," said Huffman.  "She was a very talented gymnast and was going to college for gymnastics.  She got hurt then switched over to diving and did a year at community college.  She is new but has already been to senior national preliminary meets.  She had a great time with the girls on her trip up here so I think it's going to be a great fit."

DID YOU KNOW…The Northern Arizona University athletics department ranked 78th to place among the Top 100 in the final Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings. NAU ranked among the top 100 schools for the seventh time in the last eight seasons and 12th overall in the last 14 years.