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Swimming & Diving Signs Seven
Incoming swimmer Heather Farley signs her NLI

Nov. 19, 2013

VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova swimming & diving head coach Rick Simpson announced the signing of seven student-athletes to the class of 2018.

The signing class features three All-Americans and two Scholastic All-Americans. The new student-athletes have impressive swimming careers, including multiple trips to Speedo, NCSA, USA Swimming and Canada Swimming sponsored meets. They also hold numerous state, regional and conference championships. Each of the swimmers is an exemplary athlete and student and will look to make an immediate impact at Villanova.

Gabrielle Daigneault
Montreal, Canada/Dawson College
Freestyle/Individual Medley
Daigneault competed on Team Quebec in the 2013 Canada Games and was a participant in the 2013 Speedo Eastern Canadian Championships. Daigneault set two Class LL state records in Connecticut as a sophomore in 2012 in the 500 freestyle and 200 IM and was named an All-American. Daigneault was also an All-State swimmer and was named the Hartford Current's Swimmer of the Year. A mid- to long-distance swimmer, Daigneault holds a top time of 1:50.90 in the 200 freestyle and a 2:04.48 in the 200 IM. She is an honors student and a recipient of the Spanish Honors Award. Daigneault intends to enroll in the Villanova School of Business.

"Being a mid- to long-distance swimmer, I was interested and impressed by the past successes of the program," said Daigneault. "After touring the university, I felt an automatic connection and knew Villanova was the school I wanted to attend."

Heather Farley
Mendota Heights, Minn./Visitation High School
Farley is a two-time All-State swimmer and was named an All-American in 2012. She competed in the 2013 NCSA Junior National Championships and the 2013 Speedo Champions Series in breaststroke. Farley was twice named the captain of her high school team and also swam for Blackline Aquatics. The Mendota Heights, Minn., native specializes in short to mid-distance breaststroke including the 50 (29.40), 100 (1:03.97) and 200 (2:23.13). A dual-sport athlete in high school, she was named to the All-Conference team in softball. Farley has earned high honor roll throughout high school.



"I chose Villanova because of the incredible balance between academics and athletics and the great coaching staff," said Farley. "I am very excited to be part of a hard-working, successful and welcoming community."

Christine Sullivan
Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic High School
Freestyle/Butterfly/Individual Medley

Sullivan is a two-time All-American in the 200 freestyle relay. She holds Charlotte Catholic school record in the 500 freestyle and was named to the Charlotte Observer First Team in the event. Sullivan's high school team has won the State Championship the past three years in a row. She also swims for SwimMAC Carolina. Sullivan is a versatile swimmer, competing in every distance range and almost every event. She holds a top time of 4:57.82 in the 500 freestyle and a 2:07.79 in the 200 IM.

"I chose Villanova because I loved everything about the university," said Sullivan. "From the close-knit team and the experienced coaching staff to the academic opportunities and school pride, I feel it's a place I can success and grow."

Olivia Cacciatore
Rockford, Ill./Belvidere North High School
Breaststroke/Butterfly/Individual Medley

Cacciatore earned Scholastic All-American honors earlier this year. She was an NCSA Junior Nationals qualifier and a USA Swimming Summer Sectional finalist. Cacciatore has been an IHSA State qualifier and a NIC-10 All-Conference member three times each. She is an 11-time Conference Champion at Belvidere North, and a five-time Sectional Champion. Cacciatore also swims for Rockford Marlins Swim Club. The Rockford, Ill., native swims short distance and holds a top time of 57.38 in the 100 fly and a 1:05.28 in the 100 breaststroke. She intends to study Environmental Science and Biology.

"I chose Villanova because I absolutely fell in love with the team and coaches," said Cacciatore. "I loved the spirit of the team and can't wait to be a part of it!"

Mackenzie Niness
Sutton, Mass./Notre Dame Academy - Worcester
Butterfly/Backstroke/Individual Medley

Niness was named a Scholastic All-American in 2012 and 2013. She earned the Coach's Award in 2012 and was named a Worcester Telegram and Gazette All-Star in the same year. Niness is also a member of the Crimson Aquatics club team. She swims short and mid-distance and holds a 57.08 100 butterfly time and a 2:04.31 in the 200 backstroke.

"Villanova is beautiful, and stepping on campus asserted the fact that I wanted to attend the university," said Niness. "The atmosphere that the team and coaches create is electric, and I know I will excel both athletically and academically at Villanova."

Caitlin Daday
Allentown, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic High School

Daday is a two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American. She was a qualifier for the Speedo Summer Juniors and was a USA Swimming Open Water Nationals participant. Daday served as an athlete representative for the 2013 USAS Convention and for the Middle Atlantic Swimming Board of Directors. She also swims for Parkland Aquatic Club. Daday is a mid- and long-distance swimmer and holds a 1:54.20 top time in the 200 freestyle and a 2:06.39 in the 200 backstroke.

"Villanova is an excellent school academically and they have a strong tradition in swimming," said Daday. "I really liked the team environment and the coaching staff."

Laura Garcia
Potomac, Md./Stone Ridge High School
Butterfly/Backstroke/Individual Medley

Garcia was recognized with a PVS Scholar Athlete Award. Garcia earned honors as a 2013-14 National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. She was named her team's MVP in 2011. Garcia also swims for All Star Aquatics. She is a short and mid-distance swimmer with a 57.07 in the 100 butterfly and a 1:00.15 in the 100 backstroke.

"I chose Villanova for the balance between competitive athletics and prestigious academics," said Garcia.