Australia's 2013 national high school 400 meter freestyle bronze medalist Ella Kleinschmidt signed a Letter of Intent this week to attend Brenau University and swim for the No. 4-ranked Golden Tigers in the 2014-15 season.
Kleinschmidt, who is from Hervey Bay in Queensland, Australia, is the daughter of Alinda and Jon Kleinschmidt. She intends to pursue a degree in elementary/early childhood education. Hervey Bay is located on Australia's northeast coast about 180 miles north of Brisbane. She attended Fraser Coast Anglican College
Kleinschmidt also won a bronze medal in the Queensland Short Course 400 freestyle and a gold medal in the 10K open water event at the Queensland State Age Open Water Championships.
"Being an Australian, I have always been around water and swimming," said Kleinschmidt, who began competitive swimming when she was nine years old. "It is something that I have always enjoyed doing. Swimming gave me a sense of achievement."
She's also a competitor out of the water. In 2012 she received the Pierre de Coubertin Award for academic excellence and sporting prowess from the Australian Olympic Committee. And, in addition to being a self-described outdoorsy type, she is very involved in music and playing clarinet. "I love doing anything creative," she added, "like scrapbooking, arts and crafts, and photography."
Kleinschmidt said that one of her prime considerations in selecting a university was a school in which she could succeed in both the pool and academics in a motivating and encouraging team environment. "These are the things I found at Brenau," she said. "I know I have found the right place to continue my swimming while I complete my education."
Brenau swimming Head Coach Blaire Bachman announced the signing in Gainesville shortly after her national title-contending Brenau team nailed down the No. 4 ranking in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics first Top 25 Coaches Poll for the season. Kleinschmidt is the third new swimmer to commit to the 2014-15 team.
"Ella is a fantastic addition to the Brenau Swim Team," Bachman said. "I expect she will immediately impact our program and the NAIA scene. She has a strong competitive swimming background, with success in multiple events, ranging from sprint to distance free and IM events. Ella has a wonderful personality and is a natural leader. I couldn't be happier to welcome her to Brenau as a Golden Tiger."
Kleinschmidt is the second swimmer from Down Under that Bachman has recruited. Freshman Courtney Hayward, who has picked up "Swimmer of the Week" accolades three times this season, is also from Queensland -- the city of Townsville, which is also on the Australian coast about 700 miles northwest of Kleinschmidt's home town.