Senior Natalie Stitt

Women's Swimming And Diving Signs Six Prep Student-Athletes

Dec. 16, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Women’s swimming and diving ead coach Brian Barnes recently announced the signing of six high school student-athletes who will continue their athletic and academic careers at the University of Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2010. Sarah Dotzel (York, Pa.), Mikelle Masciantonio (Emmaus, Pa.), Christen McDonough (Charlotte, N.C.), Sydney Rickelman (Evansville, Ind.), Kelly Ryan (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Lauren Stauder (Carmel, Ind.) have each signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Irish program.

The collective athletic resume of Notre Dame’s early signees includes high school state champions and state record holders, multiple top-8 Junior National performers and one member of USA Swimming’s National Youth Team. The class also boasts a bevy of U.S. Olympic Trials, World Championship Trials, U.S. Open and Senior National qualifying performances.

“Analyzing this class from a performance-only standpoint is really exciting,” Barnes said. “But when I put my excitement for our early signees into words, I find myself talking extensively about their caliber and character. This is a bright, motivated group of young women who share a love of competition, an understanding of the value of hard work and an appreciation of team concepts. During the recruiting process they came to the realization that Notre Dame was the very best place for them to develop and capitalize on their abilities and talents. When each of these six young women signed with Notre Dame, I took it as a major compliment to our coaching staff and the current team.

“As for the potential achievement of this class, I’d like to leave the door wide open. It will be another four years before the talents and abilities of the class of 2014 are fully realized. But one thing is certain, as our program will get a lot done with this class over the next four years and we will have a lot of fun along the way.”

Sarah Dotzel York, Pa.
York Catholic High School York YMCA

Barnes on Dotzel: “Notre Dame is a very authentic community. For those lucky enough to feel an immediate connection to the community, the results can be powerful. Sarah is one of those individuals. Right from the start of our first sit-down conversation, I knew that Sarah wanted to join the Notre Dame family. And it was a sentiment that we shared. Sarah is one of the top butterflyers coming out of Pennsylvania this year and I know that she is a highly coachable, highly disciplined athlete. I believe that the passion and grit Sarah will exude every time she puts on a Notre Dame cap will reap great things for the program.”

Top Times (short course): 100 butterfly (55.80), 200 butterfly (2:00.82)

Mikelle Masciantonio Emmaus, Pa.
Freestyle / Breaststroke / IM
Emmaus High School EMAC

Barnes on Masciantonio: “Mikelle is a true athlete who comes from a family of athletes. While she is the top ranked female recruit out of the state of Pennsylvania this year, I am far, far more excited about her future prospects than any of her achievements or accolades to date. There is a certain X-factor to Mikelle. She is a daring competitor with the spark, talent and imagination needed to perform at the highest levels.”

Top Times (short course): 50 free (23.22), 200 IM (2:00.83), 100 breast (1:03.41)

Christen McDonough Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte Catholic High School Swim MAC

Barnes on McDonough: “Christen comes highly recommended by Jeremy Knowles and David Marsh, her coaches at Swim MAC. While that carries some weight, it was my first meeting with Christen that sold me on her upside. When I saw Christen swim, it was clear that she is just now coming into her own as an athlete. Christen has an enthusiasm for swimming and a growing confidence that will serve her well. And coming from MAC, she has seen first-hand what it takes, both mentally and physically, to thrive as a swimmer.”

Top Times (short course): 100 breast (1:04.38), 200 breast (2:23.97)

Sydney Rickelman Evansville, Ind.
F.J. Reitz High School STARZ Diving Club

Irish head diving coach Caiming Xie on Rickelman: “We are very pleased to have Sydney commit to Notre Dame. Working with Sydney will be very exciting, as her extensive gymnastics background will aid in her development as a diver, and already she has finished among the top divers at the Indiana High School State Championships.”

Kelly Ryan Hinsdale, Ill.
Backstroke Freestyle
Fenwick High School Westmont Swim Club

Barnes on Ryan: “We’ve been excited about Kelly for quite some time now. She has had the benefit of having coaches who patiently brought her up through the ranks without trying to rush her development in the pool. On the heels of a breakthrough summer season, Kelly won the 100 backstroke title at the Illinois state meet in convincing style this fall. But at over six feet tall and with no weight training in her background, she’s still a raw swimmer. I am confident that Kelly will come into her own at Notre Dame. When you take into account her current level of poise and confidence, that’s an exciting thing for our program.”

Top Times: 100 back (1:03.94 long course, 55.42 short course), 200 back (2:17.69 long course, 2:02.00 short course), 200 free (1:51.88 short course).

Lauren Stauder Carmel, Ind.
Carmel High School Carmel Swim Club

Barnes on Stauder: “With a national record streak of 23 consecutive state championships, Carmel High School is one of Indiana’s great swimming traditions. And over the last three years, Lauren Stauder has been the go-to breaststroker for Carmel. Lauren knows the level of energy and competitive authority required of any championship team and she understands the role of the individual competitor within a larger team atmosphere. Lauren also brings with her a passion for the details of swimming: she’s the kind of swimmer who just loves to talk shop. Her coach, Chris Plumb, has done an amazing job with her development not only as a competitor but as a true student of our sport.”

Top Times: 100 breast (1:11.24 long course, 1:02.84 short course), 200 breast (2:30.49 long course, 2:17.92 short course)