While an era ended when the Clemson swimming program competed for the final time in the NCAA Championship Meet in March, the transition to a women's diving program is moving forward - first with the promotion of long-time assistant coach Leslie Hasselbach to the position of head diving coach, and now with Hasselbach's signing of her first recruiting class.
Clemson's signees - who will compete beginning with the 2012-13 season - include Tabitha Banks, from Lilburn, Ga., Megan Helwagen, from Mason, Ohio, Jessica Resler, from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Courtney Shepler, from Reading, Pa.
A schedule for the diving program will be announced later in the summer.
"With the addition of these four spring signees along with our two fall signees, we will have a very solid freshmen class going into our first women's diving season," said Hasselbach. "I am impressed with their overall maturity as a class and they all know how to work hard through adversity. The fall could not come soon enough! I am looking forward to working with each of these young ladies."
Hasselbach brings a wealth of experience to her new position, having coached both Clemson's men and women divers under head swimming and diving coach Chris Ip for the past 10 years.
Ip has described Hasselbach as "the cornerstone of the program."
"She is the longest tenured staff member on board, she knows the ins and outs and the philosophy of Clemson University," Ip said. "We rely on her a lot. She does an unbelievable job of keeping us on track as a staff."
Hasselbach, who has coached numerous divers to school records and NCAA appearances over the past decade, previously served as the head diving coach at the University of Toledo from 1998-2000. She first served as Toledo's head coach while finishing her undergraduate degree. She oversaw the rebuilding of the Rockets' diving program, and more than tripled the squad size in her last two years.
In her two-year stint at Toledo, Hasselbach coached four Mid-American Conference diving finalists and two MAC All-Academic team members. She also had three divers qualify for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships.
Hasselbach earned a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education with an emphasis in Social Sciences from the University of Toledo in 1999. She graduated from Clemson in May 2008 with a master's degree in Guidance and Counseling with an emphasis in Student Affairs Administration.
In addition to her academic work, Hasselbach is U.S. Diving Safety Certified, she is a member of the U.S. Diving Association and the Professional Diving Coaches Association. She is also CPR, AED, and First Aid certified. Hasselbach aslo serves on the NCAA Diving subcommittee representing Zone B.
Following is a look at Hasselbach's first Clemson recruiting class:
Tabitha Banks, Lilburn, Ga.
High School: Parkview High School
Diving Club: Atlanta Diving Association
Hasselbach Says: "Tabitha is a United States diving regional, zone, and East National qualifier. Tabitha is an eager young lady who has a passion for diving. These qualities among many others will help her to contribute greatly to our program."
Megan Helwagen, Mason, Ohio
High School: Mason High School
Diving Club: Tri State Diving
Hasselbach Says: "Megan is a four-time Ohio High School State meet finalist. She has competed at AAU Nationals, United States Diving Regionals, Zones, and the National Preliminary Zone Championship. I am thrilled that Megan has joined our Tiger Diving program. She is a diligent worker and fearless competitor. I am looking forward to Megan making an immediate impact in our program."
Jessica Resler, Regina, Sask., Canada
High School: Winston Knoll Collegiate
Diving Club: Regina Diving Club
Hasselbach Says: "Jessica was an elite level gymnast for 13.5 years before transitioning to diving. She has quickly excelled at the sport of diving because of her strong gymnastics background. Jessica competes on all three levels, 1m, 3m and platform. The Tiger Diving team is excited to welcome Jessica. She comes from a very strong diving club and has learned great fundamentals. I cannot wait for her to hit the ground running here in Clemson. She will definitely make an immediate impact in our program."
Courtney Shepler, Reading, Pa.
High School: Berks Catholic High School
Diving Club: Red Dragon Diving
Hasselbach Says: "Courtney is a former gymnast and has accelerated on the diving scene in a short amount of time. I am excited about working with Courtney and know she will continue to make great strides."