Redbirds Sign Four Swimmers and One Diver for the 2014-15 Season

April 17, 2014

NORMAL, Ill. -The Illinois State swimming and diving program added four new swimmers and one diver to their roster for the 2014-15 season, head coach Steve Paska announced Thursday. The new Redbirds are Jillena Everest (Holland, Mich./Zeeland East HS), Kristen Larson (Elmwood Park, Ill./Fenwick HS), Kelly Lehane (Bolingbrook, Ill./ Naperville Central High School), and Sara Stansell (Charleston, S.C./ First Baptist School), and Alyssa Swanson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie High School) signed their National Letters of Intent to continue their athletic and academic careers at Illinois State University.

"The coaching staff is thrilled to add five talented scholar-athletes to the Illinois State Swimming and Diving program for the 2014-15 season," said Paska. "These ladies have shown us tremendous passion for their sport and a strong desire to share in the team's success in the pool as well as in the classroom. This group will immediately contribute in a number of events to provide next year's squad with a great deal of quality depth that will be beneficial during the dual meets, and more importantly our championship meets. They also possess a strong academic background that will help us continue our high level of academic success. Each of these young women has great character and will bring tremendous spirit to the Redbirds next year."

Jillena Everest | Holland, Mich. | Zeeland East HS | Breaststroke, IM

Hometown: Holland, Mich.
High School: Zeeland East High School
Main Events: Breaststroke, IM

A four year Division I high school state qualifier in the 100 breaststroke, 200 IM, and 200-yard medley relay ... All-American and school record holder in the 200-yard medley relay ... All-conference and All-state every year in high school ... Team captain senior year ... Member of Junior National team in the 400 medley relay ... Holland Sentinel swimmer first team senior year ... Zeeland High School student athlete of the month ... Member of the honor roll ... Plans on studying exercise science 

Top Times:
100-yard Breaststroke: (1:06.33)
200-yard Breaststroke: (2:27.52)
50-yard Breaststroke: (29.98)
200-yard IM: (2:11.63)
400-yard IM: (4:43.48)
50-yard Freestyle: (25.95)
100-yard Freestyle: (55.20)

Paska on Everest: "Jillena will add great support to our breaststroke and IM groups. I believe she will excel at the collegiate level and she will be mainly training for the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM events.  Jillena will play an important role during her freshman season competing for us in the breaststroke events.  Her future as a Redbird is a bright one and I'm looking forward to being a part of it."  



Kristen Larson | Elmwood Park, Ill. | Fenwick HS | Diving

Hometown: Elmwood Park, Ill.
High School: Fenwick High School 
Club: Windy City Diving

2013 MCAC diver of the year ... Earned second-place at Sectionals ...Team captain ...Earned third-place in conference ... Regional Competitor spring and summer 2010-2014 ... On High School Honor Roll all four years.

Best Scores:
1 Meter 6 Dive: (196.95)
1 Meter 10 Dive: (276.60)
1 Meter 11 Dive: (334.55)
3 Meter 5 Dive: (154.85)
3 Meter 10 Dive: (240.55)

Hoffmann on Larson "I am excited to have Kristen as the newest member of the Redbird family. She is a relatively unknown in the Illinois diving scene. However, she has a huge upside. She comes in with a list of dives that will make her very competitive from the day she steps on campus, but with that she has so much untapped potential. I can't wait to begin coaching and I am so glad she chose to become a Redbird."


Kelley Lehane | Bolingbrook, Ill. | Naperville Central HS | Backstroke, Freestyle, IM

Hometown: Bolingbrook, Ill.
High School: Naperville Central High School
Main Event: Backstroke, Freestyle, IM

Dupage Valley Conference 500-yard freestyle Champion ... Four time Illinois High School State Qualifier ... Named Illinois High School All-Conference from 2010-2013 ... USA Swimming Grand Prix Qualifier 2009-2013 ... Junior National Qualifier for USA Swimming NCSA from 2011 to 2014 ... USA Swimming Speedo Sectional Qualifier 2011-2014 ... USA Swimming Senior State Qualifier 2011- 2014 ... majoring in marketing

Top Times:
200-yard Freestyle: (1:55.73)
500-yard Freestyle: (5:09.78)
200-yard IM: (2:11.03)
400-yard IM: (4:33.40)
100-yard Backstroke: (57.69)
200-yard Backstroke: 2:04.72

Paska on Lehane: ""Kelley fits well into the ISU mold of a talented and versatile student-athlete. She has the capability of contributing in the 200 & 400 IM, 100 & 200 backstroke, and middle distance freestyle events, and her best swimming still is ahead. I believe Kelley will challenge spots on our relays next year and make an immediate impact for us at the MVC Championship meet."

Sarah Stansell | Charleston, S.C. | First Baptist HS | Distance Freestyle

Hometown: Charleston, S.C.
High school: First Baptist High School
USA swimming club: Mount Pleasant Swim Club
Main events: Distance Freestyle

Current SCISA state record holder in 200 free, medley, and 400 free relays ... Five-time South Carolina Sports Report All-State award recipient ... Six-time South Carolina swimming All-State award recipient ...Twelve-time SCISA state championship ...  High school team captain senior year. ... Age-group Sectional high point winner ... Three-time Southeastern Zone Team ... Earned fourth-place in Southeastern Zone 5k open ... Member of National Honor Society since 2009 ... Plans to major in athletic training.

Top Times:
100 yard free: (53.9)
500 yard free: (5:11.6)
1000 yard free: (10:34.48)
1650 yard free: (17:44.49)
100 yard backstroke: (1.01.03)
200 yard IM: (2:14.00)
400 yard IM: (4:38.13)

Paska on Stansell: "Sara won over the team and staff during her official visit to Illinois State. She will easily blend in with the team in right away. I believe that she has her best swimming in front of her and we are very excited to add Sara to our group of middle & distance freestylers, plus she will add depth to the 400 IM group.  Sara is the first recruit from South Carolina to be a Redbird.  I'm very excited to watch her swim career begin in August."


Alyssa Swanson | Eden Prarie, Minn.| Eden Prarie HS | IM, Distance Freestyle

Hometown: Eden Prairie, Minn.
High School: Eden Prairie High School
USA Swimming Club: Aquajets Swim Team
Main Events: IM, Distance Freestyle

Four year varsity swimmer at Eden Prairie High School.... competed in a wide array of sectional and Grand Prix meets... Attended Minnesota state USA meets since age 8... Member of the high school honor roll... Plans on majoring in elementary education.

Top times:
400-yard IM: (4:38.27)
200-yard IM: (2:09.92)
200-yardButterfFly: (2:12.49)
500 Free: (5:05.44)

Paska on Swanson: "Alyssa is a young and talented distance freestyle swimmer who has range from 200 yards to the mile. In addition, she will be a strong option in the 200 fly as well as the 200 & 400 IM's.  She is a terrific young lady, and I really enjoyed her visit to ISU this spring.  I cannot wait to coach Alyssa, who is the first second generation Redbird Swimmer - her mom (Bess Farmer - Swanson graduated from ISU in 1988 and was a swim team member during my first three seasons at Illinois State)."