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Trio Of Top-20 National Recruits Highlight Impressive Tiger Class Of 2018

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 06/11/2014
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The Princeton men's swimming and diving team will bring in several nationally ranked recruits in the Class of 2018.
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer
After seeing its reign of five straight Ivy League Championships end this past year, the Princeton men’s swimming and diving team has brought in a highly touted recruiting class that it believes will immediately strengthen its pursuit of the 2015 league championship.

Besides returning a number of championship finalists from the last two Ivy League Championship meets, the Tigers will bring in eight recruits (six swimmers, two divers) to comprise its Class of 2018. Among the group is a trio of the Top 20 recruits (#3, #9 and #19) in this recruiting class, according to collegeswimming.com.

“I’m excited to get this group of guys into DeNunzio Pool and our Princeton family,” head coach Rob Orr said. “Not only do their accolades and accomplishments speak for themselves, but they all passionately wanted to be part of our program. They are high-character guys who will strengthen the team both in and out of the water.”

Stay tuned to GoPrincetonTigers.com as we will be adding full profiles which will include all the accomplishments of these Scholar-Athletes in the classroom.

You can read about the incoming Class of 2018 below:

Zach Buerger
Fly/Back/IM/Free • Wexford, Pa. • North Allegheny

Quick Facts: ranked ninth among all incoming recruits nationally by collegeswimming.com … 2014 Most Outstanding Swimmer at the PIAA Championships … four-time Pennsylvania state champion (twice apiece in the 500 free and 200 IM) … invited to both short course and long course National and Junior National swim competitions.

Top Times
200 IM: 1:45.64
100 Fly: 48.21
200 Fly: 1:46.35
100 Free: 44.18
200 Free: 1:37.62
500 Free: 4:22.75
100 Back: 48.74
200 Back: 1:47.92

Why Princeton: I chose Princeton because I believe it is the best place for me to accomplish both my academic and athletic goals. I loved the campus and felt very comfortable with all the aspects of the University. I felt a strong connection with the swimmers on the team and believe I will fit in well with the entire group. I look forward to making a big impact to this driven team and swimming my heart out for Coach Orr and the Princeton family.

Liam Fitzgerald
Diving • Thornton, Pa. • Bayard Rustin

Quick Facts: PIAA AAA state runner-up as a senior; also placed fourth as a junior … three-time invitee to Summer Nationals and two-time invitee to Spring East Nationals … holds school records in both six-dive (297.90) and 11-dive (529.30) categories.

Why Princeton: My recruiting trip allowed me to see the team's genuine efforts to make incoming freshmen feel not only comfortable, but welcome. They introduced themselves, the team, and the school with enthusiasm that made their love for Princeton and its Swim/Dive program more than apparent. While the beautiful natatorium, unmatched academics and the campus itself persuaded me, hearing seniors discuss how they "never wanted to leave" solidified my opinion more than anything else. To be a part of a team that people did not ever want to part with is something that I could not find anywhere else.

Drew Jung
Diving • Belmont, Calif. • Carlmont

Quick Facts: CCS finalist … set the Carlmont diving record … captain of both high school and club team … three-time national qualifier in gymnastics.

Why Princeton: Princeton has an incredible training facility with innovative coaching, and a tight-knit team dynamic, which I experienced on my recruiting trip in the fall. Here, the academic focus is on the undergraduate experience, and I am encouraged to take a diverse course-load and explore new areas of study, rather than having to lock in to a specific field before necessarily discovering my passions. Having a campus that is notoriously beautiful during all seasons is an added bonus that I look forward to.

Liam Karas
IM • Los Angeles, Calif. • Corona Del Mar

Quick Facts: set the Corona Del Mar 200 IM record … 2013 CIS runner-up in the 200 IM; second to future teammate Corey Okubo … high school captain.

Top Times
200 IM: 1:46.54
100 Free: 45.28
200 Free: 1:39.54
100 Breast: 57.3
200 Back: 1:50.30

Why Princeton: I chose Princeton because the team was so close and Princeton's economics program is amazing!

Alex Lewis
Free/Fly/Back • Greenwich, Conn. • Greenwich

Quick Facts: ranked 19th among all incoming recruits nationally by collegeswimming.com … Summer and Winter Junior Nationals competitor … three-time state champion in the 100 back; also won state titles in the 100 fly and 100 free … holds multiple high school records.

Top Times
50 Free: 20.21
100 Free: 44.16
100 Fly: 48.13
100 Back: 48.59
200 Back: 1:47.28
200 IM: 1:49.43

Why Princeton: On my recruiting trip, I made an immediate bond with the team and truly felt that I was a part of the Princeton family. Overall, I felt that Princeton, through its resources and its students, could bring the most out of me as both a student and an athlete. It's truly a unique university, and provides an unparalleled experience for its students.

Corey Okubo
Fly/Back/IM • Irvine, Calif. • University

Quick Facts: ranked third among all incoming recruits nationally by collegeswimming.com … member of the National Junior Team (200 back, 200 fly, 400 IM) … competed in four events at the 2012 Olympic Trials, including 18th-place finish in the 200 fly … five-time All-America … competed at both Summer and Winter Nationals and Junior Nationals.

Top Times
100 Fly: 47.53
200 Fly: 1:44.50
200 IM: 1:45.42
400 IM: 3:48.95
100 Back: 48.74
200 Back: 1:43.61

Why Princeton: My deciding factor was the knowledge both Coach Orr and Coach Dalton had towards swimming as well as the cohesiveness they showed as they worked together to make the Princeton Men's Swimming and Diving Team as best it can be. All swimmers were in sync with the program and I really felt the power of both coaches. Coach Orr had the ability to greatly influence each and every swimmer to do better and to push each other to improve beyond a certain level. I could tell because as I talked to the current team members they all had something to say about Coach Orr that showed they looked up to him and respected him. Coach Mitch had the enthusiasm, passion, and focus on details to keep the team spirit up and carry everyone through both good and tough times. Ivy League swimming is getting very competitive and I wanted to be a part of the Ivy League excitement as it heats up over the next few years. I also felt that Princeton had a very strong swimming program with a potential to grow into a true contender at NCAA Championships. In addition to all of this, Princeton University has a world class education that I could not overlook.

Ben Schafer
Free/Fly • Sydney, Aust. • Sydney Grammar School

Quick Facts: won the bronze medal in the 100 fly at the Australian Age Championships … named Swimmer of the Meet at both his school conference and the independent schools conference championships … won gold in 4x100 Medley relay at Australian open championships.

Top Times
50 Free LC: 23.35
100 Free LC: 51.08
100 Fly LC: 54.79
200 Free LC: 1:54.38

Why Princeton: I chose Princeton not only because it gave me a great chance at both academic and swimming success, but because it was the team I bonded with the most out of the schools I visited. Coming so far from home, having people who I could relate to and would enjoy being around was the most important factor in my school choice.

Tyler Sullivan
Free/Back • Louisville, Ken. • Louisville Collegiate

Quick Facts: won three Kentucky state championships … qualified for Summer and Winter Junior Nationals, as well as Winter Nationals … graduates with two Kentucky state records and eight school records … four-time team MVP and club team MVP.

Top Times
100 Free: 46.02
200 Free: 1:39.06
500 Free: 4:30.57
200 Back: 1:48.43

Why Princeton: On my visit, I felt an incredible sense of community and friendliness both on campus and within the team. The outstanding academic opportunities Princeton offers combined with the swim program were unparalleled in my search. I am extremely grateful to Coach Orr and Coach Dalton, as well as my club coach, Mike DeBoor, for pushing me in practice every day and helping me to this point.

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