Illinois State Brings In 7 Swimmers and 1 Diver for Class of 2026

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Illinois State head coach Caitlin Hamilton has announced the signings of eight student-athletes to the women’s swimming and diving team, including seven swimmers and one diver.

“Looking at this class as a whole, we are excited about the versatility, depth and diversity that they will bring the program,” head coach Caitlin Hamilton said. “As we put this group together, we wanted to make an emphasis on bringing in athletes that could mix potential with making an immediate impact within the Missouri Valley Conference. Our team is hungry, and these new Redbirds match that energy. The future continues to be exciting for this team, and no doubt this class adds to that.”

Giulia Basco (Arese, Italy)

Basco swims with the club team Nuotatori Milanesi and specializes in butterfly and backstroke.

Hamilton on Basco: “Coach Sean and I loved getting to know Giulia throughout the recruiting process. She brings a wealth of international racing experience and will elevate our level of competitiveness. We have been looking for an athlete like Giulia to add into the program and are excited to have her as a Redbird.”

Best LCM times:

50 back – 30.42 (26.86)
100 back – 1:05.58 (57.99)
200 back – 2:22.81 (2:06.49)
50 fly – 28.31 (24.87)
100 fly – 1:02.24 (54.81)
200 fly – 2:20.58 (2:04.12)

Her best (converted) times would have scored at last year’s MVC Championships in the A finals of the 100/200 fly and the C finals of the 100/200 back.

Delaney Boulden (Lee’s Summit, Missouri)

“I’m beyond excited to announce that I have verbally committed to continue my academic and athletic career at Illinois State University! Big thank you to all the people in my life, especially my friends and family, for supporting me to make this possible! Can’t wait to be a Red Bird!”

A back/free specialist, Boulden swims for Empire Kansas City Swim Club.

Hamilton on Boulden: “Delaney’s versatility was always something that stood out for her. She has worked over the last couple of years to add events to her repertoire, which will make an immediate impact from a depth aspect within the team. Delaney was a great fit into this class from the beginning and it’ll be fun to watch her career progress.”

Best SCY times:

50 back – 26.48
100 back – 56.67
200 back – 2:04.10
100 free – 53.71
200 free – 1:55.76

Boulden’s best times would have scored in the B finals of the 100/200 back at the 2021 MVC Championships.

Maya Burkstrand (Richfield, Minnesota)

“I’m excited to share my verbal commitment to Illinois State University. I’m grateful to my coaches, teammates, and family, who have supported me in getting to this point, and also to American College Recruiting for telling me about this great program.  I can’t wait to be part of the Redbird Family! Go Redbirds!”

A senior at Richfield High School, Burkstrand swims year-round with Piranhas Swim Club and specializes in freestyle.

Hamilton on Burkstrand: “I always love to recruit a freestyler that has range, and Maya has that. She fits into our goals both on the academic side and athletic side of the program which is exciting. Looking at Maya and her background, I think she has just scratched the surface of what she is capable of in the water. She will be another fun athlete to watch develop as a Redbird.”

Best SCY times:

1650 free – 17:35.59
1000 free – 10:26.86
500 free – 5:02.58
200 free – 1:52.72
100 free – 53.54

Burkstrand’s best times would have scored in the top-16 of the mile at the MVC Championships last season. She also would have been an A finalist in the 200 free and a B finalist in the 500 free.

Ria Dietz (Seven Fields, Pennsylvania)

“I am so excited to announce my verbal commitment to swim and study at Illinois State University! I can’t wait to be part of such an amazing team! I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and team for helping me along the way! Go Redbirds!❤️🤍”

Dietz is a senior at Seneca Valley High School. A backstroker, she swims year-round with Seneca Valley Swim Club.

Hamilton on Dietz: “When Ria and her family came to Normal, I knew that ISU was going to be a great fit for her. She has a drive and a passion for her future that is easy to see. Ria is another athlete that will help add depth into the program and brings a lot to the table. We are lucky to have her.”

Best SCY times:

50 back – 26.78
100 back – 57.15
200 back – 2:07.22
100 fly – 57.61

Dietz would have made the B final in the 100 back and the C final in the 200 back at the 2021 MVC Championships.

Ashley Hodge (Rochester, Canada)

Hodge trains with Mississauga Swimming and focuses on sprint free and butterfly.

Hamilton on Hodge: “Ashley is another athlete that brings a wealth of international racing experience to the team. Her commitment to her academic goals and athletic goals were obvious while we went through the recruiting process. Ashley is going to be another athlete that makes an immediate impact upon arrival.”

Best times:

100 fly – 55.67
50 free – 24.20
100 free – 53.31

Hodge’s best times would have landed her in the A final of the 100 fly and the C finals of the 50/100 free at the 2021 MVC Championships.

Ronja Rundgren (Finland)

Rundgren is a diver who competes internationally for Finland. She placed 11th on the platform at 2021 European Junior Championships this past summer.

Lamp Wood on Rundgren: “It has been wonderful getting to know Ronja through the recruiting process. Her work ethic and personality will be a great fit here at ISU. She is bringing a wealth of international experience to our team and will make an immediate impact on and off the boards.”

Ella Turken (Englewood, Colorado)

“I am extremely excited to announce my verbal commitment to swim and study at Illinois State University! I chose Illinois State because of the amazing academic and swim programs, as well as the outstanding coaches. I would like to thank my coaches, teammates, family, and friends for helping me along the way. GO REDBIRDS!!”

Turken attends Cherry Creek High School and swims for Aquawolves Swim Team. She is a sprint freestyle specialist

Hamilton on Turken: “Ella is a swimmer that we have seen continual improvement in her events throughout the recruitment process. She has an elite level of attention to details and commitment to her swimming that will go far for her. I think Ella has an incredible amount of potential and can’t wait to see how she continues to progress.”

Best SCY times:

50 free – 24.20
100 free – 52.35
200 free – 1:57.83

Turken’s best times would have put her in the B final of the 100 free and the C final of the 50 free at last year’s MVC Championships.

Chloe Tyler (Sweet Home, Oregon)

“The chemistry with the coaches and the team was great. It felt like a great fit. I’m excited to get out there and be a Redbird!”

A senior at Sweet Home High School, Tyler does her year-round swimming with Sweet Home Swim Club. She is a sprint freestyle and back specialist and is an Oregon state champion in the 100 back (twice), 200 free (once) and on multiple relays. She is a four-year varsity letter-winner and captain of the high school team, and she holds the state record in the 200 free relay.

She also played volleyball in high school and was Oregon State 4A Champion in 2020 and runner-up in 2019. A three-year varsity letter-winner, she was named to the all-league team in 2021.

Hamilton on Tyler: “As we began recruiting Chloe her overall athleticism really stood out to us. She has a drive and passion that no doubt will take her far. It’s going to be exciting to see what she can accomplish as she continues to grow in the sport.”

Best SCY times:

50 back – 26.80
100 back – 57.39
200 back – 2:06.55
50 free – 24.57
100 free – 53.33
200 free – 1:55.73

Tyler would have been a B finalist in the 100 back and a C finalist in the 100 free and 200 back at the conference meet last season.

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