June 25, 2010
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
Kennedy Higdon, of Knoxville's Bearden High School, and Grace Anne Sanderson, of Harpeth Hall in Nashville, Tenn., joins an already stellar group of incoming freshmen that includes Courtney Ciesielski, Alexandra Frasier, Lindsey Gendron, Molly Hannis, Mary Kate McNeilis, Caroline Reeves and Lauren Solernou, who each signed with the Lady Vols this past winter.
Higdon shared the Tennessee Swimmer of the Year award in 2009 with rising UT sophomore Sloane Pitman after winning the 200y IM and nabbing a second-straight runner-up placement in the 500y free at the Tennessee State High School Swimming and Diving Championships before following her outstanding junior season with another spectacular year as a senior.
The Pilot Aquatic Club member finally snatched first in the 500y free with a mark of 4:52.48 at the 2010 state meet, and added a third-place finish in the 200y IM as well as top-six finishes as a member of the 200y medley and 400y free relays. Overall, she was a four-time National Intercollegiate Swimming Coaches Association/Speedo All-American in the 500y free and a two-time honoree in the 200y IM.
Higdon, whose brother, Cameron, swims for Western Kentucky,is expected to immediately contribute to the Lady Vols in a variety of events.
"Kennedy is the most versatile senior swimmer in Tennessee this year and we're really fortunate to keep her as part of the Tennessee family," Kredich said. "She can swim every distance of freestyle, and can make an impact in the SEC in the fly and IM events, as well. Kennedy is also a great competitor who is going to raise the level of enthusiasm for everyone around her. I love to watch her race and I'm thrilled that I'll be able to do that for the next four years."
Sanderson led Harpeth Hall to a runner-up team finish at the 2010 Tennessee Swimming and Diving Championships. She placed fourth in the 200y free, seventh in the 500y free and anchored the 200y free and 400y free relays to second and third place readouts, respectively.
On the club circuit, she competed for the Nashville Aquatic Club, and also earned NISCA/Speedo All-Americon honors as a member of the 200y free relay in 2009 and 400y free relay in 2008, where she was joined by rising Lady Vol junior Maddie Garrett.
"Grace Anne is one of the top freestylers in Tennessee and will give us a big dose of enthusiasm as well as some real strength across a number of different distances," Kredich said. "She's part of a very strong group of middle distance freestylers in this freshman class, and she'll be a great addition to an already outstanding training group."
The in-state pair, as well as the rest of the rookie class, is expected to provide immediate depth to a Lady Vol team that returns six All-Americans from last season's squad. UT will be looking to improve on its fourth-place SEC Championships and 13th-place NCAA meet performances in 2010.