Nov. 24, 2004,p>By Lou Antoine
CARBONDALE, Ill. - SIU swimming and diving head coach Rick Walker added his first three recruits as the combined head coach of both programs, when Kelly Dvorak, Jenna Helm and Karin Mullendore signed letters of intent during the early signing period.
The three women are the first women signed by Walker in his career as a head coach.
"I'm extremely excited that these three young ladies choose to attend SIU," said Walker. "I'm very pleased with the potential they possess. Two are in state recruits, which is a bonus, and they all come from very good swim programs."
Dvorak, a sprinter from Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., qualified for the Illinois state meet in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle as a senior. She set the West Suburban Gold conference record, while winning the 100 backstroke title as a junior, and finished eighth at the state meet that season, earning all-state honors. Dvorak attends Willowbrook High School and has been a member of the YMCA Nationals short and/or long course teams the last two years.
Helm, a 200 and 500 freestyle swimmer from Springfield, Ill., is a three-time all-city and all-conference performer. She was undefeated in the four conference events she swam during her last three years at Springfield High School. Helm has also swam for Springfield USA and the Decatur Swim Club.
"Jenna is just one of those athletes a coach loves to work with. She has a lot of potential, and before she's done at SIU, she'll accomplish a lot of good things," said Walker.
Mullendore, a sprinter from Athens, Ga., has won six city championships in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle during her first three years at Athens Academy. She finished in the top ten at the state meet in the 100 (7th) and 200 free (10th) as a freshman, the 100 (8th) and 200 free (5th) as a sophomore, and the 200 (5th) and 500 free (6th) as a junior. Mullendore also holds school records in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyle, and is a member of record-setting teams in the 200 medley, and 200 and 400 freestyle relays entering her senior swim season.
"Karin is a sprinter, who I believe will do some fantastic things. We're looking forward to what she'll bring to the team next year," stated Walker.
Walker will complete the women's class and take care of the men's recruiting in the spring signing period in April.