Swimming & Diving Signs Seven In Early Signing Period

Nov. 17, 2015

DENTON -- North Texas swimming and diving head coach Brendon Bray announced the signing of five swimmers and two divers during the early signing period. The group includes Sara Whelan, who previously signed with the Mean Green and will enroll in January. Arizona transfer Katja Hjdinjak, a 2012 Olympian, will also enroll in January.

An Auckland, New Zealand, native, Bradley is the the national champion and current holder of three New Zealand age group records. She holds the record in the 50-meter backstroke for 16-year-olds, 50-meter backstroke for 17-year-olds and 50-meter freestyle for 17-year-olds. She represented her native New Zealand at the 2014 Junior Pan Pac Championships. She was a "B" finalist in both the 50-meter freestyle (LCM) and 100-meter backstroke (LCM). She placed 14th in the 50-meter freestyle and 16th in the 100-meter backstroke.

She also competed in the 2014 and 2015 New Zealand Short Course Championships, the 2015 New Zealand Age Group Championships and the 2015 New Zealand Open. At the New Zealand Open, the finished fourth in the 50-meter backstroke, seventh in the 100-meter backstroke and eighth in the 50-meter butterfly. She is a member of the United Swimming Club, where she is coached by Igor Polianski.

Head Coach Brendon Bray on Bradley: "Rebekah Bradley is another swimmer like Katja who I don't think has even come close to her potential. As good as she has been, she will be a spectacular swimmer in short course yards. She is a great underwater kicker, and coming in from short course meters to short course yards means that she will be even better than she is now. 

Rebekah has the potential to reach any height that she wants in her swimming career and I am so happy that we will be able to be partners together for the next four years to do that.  She is a very smart swimmer academically and will be a really fun person to have swim with us while also helping us compete at the highest level. We can't wait to get started with Rebekah in January as well. Rebekah has a great family that has clearly shaped her into someone who will thrive as a student/athlete here at North Texas."

Personal Bests
50 free 25.95 SCM
100 back 59.72 SCM
200 back 2:11.04 SCM

A Ljubljana, Slovenia, native, Hajdinjak is a senior transfer from Arizona, where she swam for three seasons. As a junior in 2014-15, she earned an NCAA "B" cut in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 54.24 at the Pac-12 Championships. There, she also posted a season-best time of 53.79 in the preliminaries and her final time of 54.24 earned her a 23rd-place finish.

As a sophomore in the 2013-14, she was a member of the fourth-place 200-yard medley relay team at the Pac-12 Championships. She also represented her native Slovenia in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics and 2012 Olympics in London, reaching the finals of the 50-meter butterfly at the 2010 games, where she placed eighth.

Head Coach Brendon Bray on Hajdinjak: "We are going to look to to Katja for instant leadership. Coming in as a senior transfer who has had experience at both major U.S. and international meets. Katja will make an instant impact in a range of events from the 50-100 fly to the 50-100-200 free. She will contend to put our relays in a position to potentially break out at the national level. She is very talented but the scary thing is that I don't think she has not even tapped her potential yet. We look forward to having her join us and compete on our team this January."

Personal Bests
100 free 51.05
200 free 1:49.19
100 fly 53.79
200 fly 2:01.15

An Auckland, New Zealand, native, Jensen is a member of the Tasman Swim Club. She's both a sprint freestyle and a butterflyer. She competed at the 2015 New Zealand Open, where she placed fourth in the 100-meter freestyle, sixth in the 50-meter butterfly and seventh in the 100-meter butterfly. She also plans to study fashion merchandising and design at North Texas.

Head Coach Brendon Bray on Jensen: "Emmabeth has a really fun and awesome personality which is going to bring a totally new dynamic to our team. She has a strong interest in fashion design and merchandising which makes her a perfect fit with us and our renowned fashion program here at UNT.  She has always been a great sprint and middle distance freestyler, but just recently she made a breakthrough in her 100 fly, so she will help us not only in the sprint free but add to our already formidable fly group. I can't wait to have Emmabeth join us and contribute to our program."

Personal Bests
50 free 26.68 LCM
100 free 57.62 LCM
200 free 2:03.78 SCM
100 fly 1:01.93 LCM

A Houston, Texas, native, Ransom is the first recruit signed by first-year diving coach Mark Murdock. The Stratford High School product placed second at both the 2015 5A/6A District Diving Meet and 2015 5A Regional Diving Meet. And then competing at the 2015 5A State Diving Meet, she finished sixth with a score of 366.20 on the 1-meter board. Her best 11-dive tournament scores are 375.00 on the 1-meter board and 205.80 on the 3-meter board.

Diving Coach Mark Murdock on Ransom: "We are very excited to have Jordan join the Mean Green Swim/Dive team. She brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy, which will help her become a very talented diver. I know that with her background in diving she will do well competing at the collegiate level."

Personal Bests
1-Meter 375.00
3-Meter 205.80

A Palos Verdes Peninsula, California, native, Silva currently dives for the UCLA junior olympic team, with coach Tom Davidson. She also used to compete in gymnastics at the national level in Brazil.

Diving Coach Mark Murdock on Silva: "We are looking forward to having Gaby be at North Texas and take her diving to her full potential. Although Gaby has not had a lot of time in the sport of diving, she shows great air awareness and body control from her extensive gymnastics background."

A Leander, Texas, native, Timmons is a two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American and a three-time TISCA All-State team selections. She is a three-time finalist in the 100-yard butterfly at the Texas 4A and Texas 6A State Championships. She placed third in the 2013-14 Texas 4A State Championships with a time of 57.15 and eighth in the 2014-15 Texas 6A State Championships with a time of 56.12.

She also competed in the 100-yard butterfly at the 2015 American Short Course Championships, where she finished 15th with a time of 57.04. She is a member of Nitro Swimming, where she is coached by Tim O'Brien.

Head Coach Brendon Bray on Timmons: "Haley Timmons will be a big contributor to our team, she will step in right away to challenge the top spot in our 200 fly and will contend to be one of the team's top 100 flyers. We want to continue to develop her as an IMer as well and I think she has a bright future in those events as well. 

"She comes to us from Nitro swimming in Austin and we know that she will have a great background of training since she had such great coaches there, so we plan on getting her stronger and getting her underwater kicking and race-pace swimming to improve to get her to the next level. She is a very high academic achiever and she will continue our strong tradition of outstanding academics on the team and as a cross-country athlete as well, she will come in with a great base of fitness. We are so excited to have Haley with us"

Personal Bests
100 butterfly 55.61 SCY
200 butterfly 2:02.47 SCY
100 butterfly 1:03.52 LCM
200 butterfly 2:17.46 LCM

A Port Coquitlam, B.C., native, Whelan joins the Mean Green program after an accomplished career at the national level in Canada. She most recently competed at the 2015 Mel Zajac International and also competed at the 2015 Speedo Western Canadian Open and joined future teammates Natalia Kwiatkowska and Isabelle Morris at the 2015 Canadian Swimming Trials.

At the 2015 Mel Zajac International, she reached the final of six different freestyle events, highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle and a fourth-place finish in the 1500-meter freestyle events. At the national trials, she competed in the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle events, reaching the final of the 800-meter, where she placed 21st overall. She is a member of the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club, where she is coached by Kelly Taitinger.

Head Coach Brendon Bray on Whelan: "We're excited to finally have Sarah join us this season. She will give our distance swimmers a great training partner and we will look to her to add some valuable points in the middle distance and distance freestyle races.  Sara is a hard worker and comes from a supportive family with great values and I know she will thrive with us"

Personal Bests
100 Free 58.10 SCM
200 Free 2:01.82 SCM
400 Free 4:17.68 SCM
800 Free 8:52.19 SCM



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