FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona swimming & diving team added six new Lumberjacks over the spring semester to continue to fill the holes left by their graduated senior class for the upcoming season. Head coach Andy Johns announced his newest student-athletes on Thursday with five swimmers and one diver joining the three-time Western Athletic Conference champions this fall.
"They all have a lot of potential," Johns said. "We're looking forward to developing them and hopefully turn them into scorers at the conference meet. We've got a nice mix who are going to give us some balance and continue to add diversity to our team."
Allison Baldwin is a butterflier from Temecula, Calif. who was a two-time Southwestern League champion in the 100 butterfly at Great Oak High School. Baldwin was a four-time CIF qualifier who also qualified for the CIF state meet as part of her high school's 200 medley relay squad. An integral member of three league runner-up teams, Baldwin holds the individual school record in the 100 butterfly (57.85) as well as relay records in the 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays.
Monique King continues the New Zealand pipeline to NAU, coming via Massey University – the same school that produced Lumberjack senior Hayley Edmond. King, from Browns Bay, Auckland, is an acclaimed distance freestyler who competed in the 400m, 800m, 1500m and 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2015 World University Games. She most recently placed first at the 2014 New Zealand Open Championships in the 1500m freestyle and will be the third current Lumberjack along with Edmond and junior Kimmy Richter from New Zealand.
Emily Martin was the Female Athlete of the Year at Boulder Creek High School and will bring depth to NAU's breaststroke group. Martin, out of Anthem, Ariz., placed fourth as a senior at the 2015 Arizona Division I state championships in the 100 breaststroke, an improve on her sixth-place finish the year prior as a junior. She exited her school with records in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley in addition to the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay records.
Fernanda Montiel hails originally from Los Mochis, Sinaloa in Mexico but comes directly from the state of Texas where she swam for the Nitro Swimming club. Montiel won her first gold medal in 2014 at the Olimpidia Nacional meet in the 50 backstroke. With the ability to compete in the backstroke events as well as sprint freestyle events, Montiel carries a wealth of national experience competing at meets in her home country with two gold medals this year in the 50 and 100 freestyles at the Circuito Mexicano de Natacion meet.
Olivia Payne makes the move to NAU after a year competing in the ultra-competitive Pac-12 Conference as a member at the University of Utah. The Long Beach, Calif. native arrived at Utah after being a four-time CIF qualifier at Saint Anthony High School and proceeded to compete in seven years in her lone year in Salt Lake City. She recorded her season-best score on platform at the Pac-12 championships on platform, while tallying her best springboard performances versus Washington State.
Erin Spielman was a part of the Arizona Division I state championship team at Desert Vista High School in 2013 and in her final season helped her team to a state runner-up finish. Spielman, from the Valley in Phoenix, Ariz., collected a pair of top seven finishes at the state championships as a senior placing fourth in the 100 freestyle and seventh in the 200 freestyle. She was also a part of her high school's record 200 freestyle relay team.
"We still have a few gaps in the lineup, but we're happy with this class overall," Johns said. "They're happy to be here and that's important. We're excited to see what this group can do once they get to Flagstaff."
Allison Baldwin – Temecula, Calif./Great Oak HS
Johns: "Allison Baldwin is going to be a solid contributor in the butterfly group. We feel she will be a good training partner for Andrea Schmidt for sure."
Monique King – Browns Bay, Auckland/Massey University
Johns: "Monique King is another New Zealander and is probably the most decorated in this class. She's a great distance swimmer who's competed in World University Games and will be competing at Oceania Championships this summer and is a nice replacement for Kendall (Brown)."
Emily Martin – Anthem, Ariz./Boulder Creek HS
Johns: "Emily Martin has spent some time in Flagstaff with her club team and we've known her for a long time. We think she can develop into a contributing breaststroker."
Fernanda Montiel – Los Mochis, Sinaloa/IESM
Johns: "Fernanda comes from Mexico and she's been spending time in Austin, Texas developing into a better backstroker. She will help us with some of the athletes we've lost and will fill that spot in the backstroke, as well as help in the sprint freestyle."
Olivia Payne – Long Beach, Calif./University of Utah
Johns: "Olivia Payne is a transfer diver coming in from Utah. (Diving Coach) Nikki (Huffman) is excited about her joining her diving crew. We lost Chelsea (Jackson) and Carlye (Townsend), so she is a step towards filling those gaps."
Erin Spielman – Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS
Johns: "Erin Spielman can really help us in the mid-distance freestyles. She's a club teammate of Alice Hick and we're really happy that late in the process we found out about Erin and it worked out for her to come up here."