Poppell inks three for 2009-10

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Third-year University of Arkansas swimming and diving head coach Jeff Poppell announced his signing class for the 2009-10 season this week. Poppell and the Razorbacks will welcome Chelsea Franklin, Haley Smith, and Dannica Brennan to the starting block next season, adding depth in the distance freestyle and backstroke events. “We’re very excited about our three additions to next season’s team,” Poppell said. “Dannica, Haley and Chelsea will be fantastic additions to our program, and help fill some key need areas for our team.” The daughter of Rick and Sandy Franklin, Chelsea Lynn Franklin is a distance freestyler from Fort Meyers, Fla. where she lettered in swimming each of her four years at Cypress Lake High. While at Cypress, Franklin has earned multiple All-America honors in the 200 and 500 free, winning conference championships in the 200 free and a state title in the 500 free. At age 14, Franklin was a member of the National Junior Team. In the summer of 2008, she was the sole female from the Gulf Coast Swim Team to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, competing in the 400-meter freestyle. “Chelsea Franklin is one of the top freestylers in the country,” Poppell said. “Her career best times would have scored high at the SEC Championships last season, and we will look to her to fill the void left by Stephanie Carr’s graduation this year.” Another accomplished addition to the Razorbacks’ squad is Haley Madison Smith, a three-time All-American out of Blue Valley North High in Overland Park, Kan. An all-state swimmer in the backstroke and individual medley, Smith is also one of the top backstroke competitors for the Kansas City Blazers, consistently one of the top eight swimmers in the region. “Haley Smith is a top backstroker from this part of the country who has improved dramatically over the past year,” Poppell said. “We expect her to continue to improve over the course of this year as well as when she arrives at Arkansas. Haley posses a tremendous amount of potential and we’re truly excited about the opportunity to help her reach it.” Putting as much effort into her school work as she does in the pool, Smith is a member of the National Honors Society, a Kansas Honor Scholar, a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American, and was named to the Missouri Valley All-Academic Team. The final piece in the 2009-10 swimming and diving puzzle for the Razorbacks is Dannica Brennan, another top swimmer in the backstroke. Hailing from Great Falls, Mon. where she swims for the King Aquatics Club, Brennan was a 2008 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke and the 200 individual medley. “Dannica comes to us as an Olympic Trials competitor,” Poppell said. “She is currently one of the top backstrokers in the country to come out of high school this year, and we’re very excited to have her with us as we will look to her to strengthen our backstroke events next year.” This season, the Razorbacks (6-1, 2-1) are ranked No. 22 in the nation and have one more meet left in their fall schedule, traveling to the Mizzou Invite Dec. 5-7, in Columbia, Mo. For complete coverage of Arkansas swimming and diving, log onto ArkansasRazorbacks.com.