Men’s Swimming and Diving Welcomes Nine Roster Additions

Swimming & Diving | 7/12/2022 12:44:00 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota men’s swimming and diving program welcomes nine newcomers for the 2022-23 season. The class will feature eight swimmers and one diver representing three different countries and six states, including a pair of Minnesotans.

“We have an outstanding group of young men who will join us this fall,” Gopher head coach Kelly Kremer said. “We have strengthened our sprint core and have added depth in areas that will compliment our returners well. I can’t wait to have these men on campus.”

Jack Ballard

Fort Collins, Colo. – Fort Collins High School

Fort Collins Area Swim Team


Top Times:
200 Free – 1:38.70
500 Free – 4:33.60
200 IM – 1:51.06
400 IM – 3:57.01
100 Breast – 56.64
200 Breast – 2:04.89

Prep: A four-year letterwinner at Fort Collins High School … earned all-state honors in 2021 and was an All-American that year in the 200 free … broke school records in both the 200 free and 100 breast … also was a four-year letterwinner in golf … was a three-time academic all-state honoree in both swimming and golf … swam for the Fort Collins Area Swim Team since 2013 … has competed at sectionals and is planning to go to Junior Nationals in December … with his club team, set program records nine times across five different events (200 free, 3x; 500 free, 2x; 100 breast; 200 breast; 400 IM; 2x)

Personal: Parents are Beth and Mike Ballard … has two older siblings, Molly and Max … enjoys skiing and surfing

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota for the incredible team and coaching staff. They create such a good culture in and out of the pool and make it fun while doing it. With that, the University has great academics; it is truly a place where I will get the best education I can to set me up for success later in life.”

Drew Bennett

Madison, Wis. – Madison Memorial High School

Schroeder Diving Team


Drew Bennett Welcome Graphic

Top Scores:
1-Meter – 475.90
3-Meter – 524.35
Platform – 439.70

Prep: Attended Madison Memorial High School where he was all-state in diving in 2019 (second place) and 2020 (third place) … owns school record and Middleton High School pool record for 1m … also earned one letter each in volleyball and baseball … competed at the club level with Schroeder Diving Team from 2019-22 … competed at USA Diving Regionals, Zones and Junior Nationals in 2019 and 2021

Personal: Parents are Victoria and Thomas Bennett … has one brother, TJ … dad, Thomas, played baseball at Wisconsin … plans to major in genetics, cell biology and development … hobbies include traveling, downhill skiing, skating and jet skiing

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because of the strong academic programs that are offered in addition to the great swim and dive team.”

Connor Groya

Elmhurst, Ill. – York Community High School

Hinsdale Swim Club


Connor Groya Welcome Graphic

Top Times:
50 Free – 20.27
100 Free – 44.52
200 Free – 1:38.94

Prep: Attended York Community High School where he set school records in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 breast, 200 free relay and 400 free relay … named all-state in 2021 … tabbed Junior Athlete of the Year … also lettered three times in water polo … made the High Honor Roll every semester … also earned NHS honors and was a Scholastic All- American for the 2020-21 school year … swam at the club level for Hinsdale Swim Club since 2019 … competed at Winter Juniors, Summer Championships and NCSA’s

Personal: Parents are Katey and Steve Groya … has one brother, Will …mother, Katey, was a swimmer at Notre Dame … plans to major in finance or accounting

Why Minnesota: “I chose the University of Minnesota because it gave me the opportunity to swim in a world class facility, be coached by amazing coaches, and be surrounded by a great team atmosphere. It also gave me the opportunity to study at a well-known university that will help prepare me for the future.”

Alberto Hernández

Barcelona, Spain – Club Natació Sant Andreu


Alberto Hernandez Welcome Graphic

Top Long Course Times:
100 Free – 52.32
200 Free – 1:53.54
400 Free – 4:01.37
100 Back – 56.25
200 Back – 2:02.87
100 Fly – 55.03
200 IM – 2:03.88
400 IM – 4:28.06

Prep: Competed at the club level for Club Natació Sant Andreu

Personal: Parents are Andrés Hernández and Isabel García … has an older brother, Andrés, who swims at St. Cloud State … plans to major in mathematics … is interested in motor sports, especially F1 racing

Drew Kistler

Spokane, Wash. – Mt. Spokane High School

Spokane Waves Aquatic Team


Drew Kistler Welcome Graphic

Top Times:
100 Breast – 54.17
200 Breast – 1:59.18
100 Fly – 49.33
200 IM – 1:49.22
400 IM – 3:59.49

Prep: Attended Mt. Spokane High School … swam at the club level for the Spokane Waves Aquatic Team since 2011 …owns nine club records in short course yards and seven in long course meters … competed at Summer Juniors and Winter Juniors … twice named Swimmer of the Year at the team banquet

Personal: Parents are Juli and Mike Kistler … has one younger sister, Jena … hobbies include video games and volleyball … can solve almost any rubik’s cube 

Why Minnesota: “The amazing facilities, teammates, coaching staff, and scenery around the campus.”

Luke Leonidas

St. Paul, Minn. – Cretin-Derham Hall

Minnesota Flyers


Luke Leonidas Welcome Graphic

Top Times:
100 Back – 50.35
200 Back – 1:53.32
200 IM – 1:51.09

Prep: Attended Cretin-Derham Hall where he lettered in swimming each year … named all-state and all-conference in three of his years … finished fourth in state as a junior … holds school record in 200 IM … also played baseball … swam at the club level for the Minnesota Flyers since he was seven years old … competed at Junior Nationals and Speedo Sectionals … earned a second-place finish at Speedo Sectionals … club teammates with current Gopher teammate Josh Johnston

Parents are John and Beth Leonidas … has one sister, Leah … cousin, Olivia King, plays on the Minnesota women’s hockey team … plans to major in marketing, business … enjoys selling sneakers in his free time

Why Minnesota: “Because of the community, and I knew some of the teammates from past experiences.”

Yash Salunke

Eden Prairie, Minn. – Eden Prairie High School

Foxjets Swim Team


Yash Salunke Welcome Graphic

Top Times:
100 Fly – 49.00
200 Fly – 1:48.33

Prep: Attended Eden Prairie High School … competed under coach Bryce Boston, who swam at Minnesota from 2014-17 … earned all-state honors in 2021 and 2022 … swam at the club level for Foxjets Swim Team since 2011 … competed at Winter Junior Nationals … holds club records in 100-yard fly, 200-yard fly, 200m fly and 200m free relay

Personal: Parents are Swapnil and Aditi Salunke … plans to major in computer science … has two siblings, Tanay and Eshaan

Why Minnesota:
“I chose the University of Minnesota for its excellent academic and athletic programs. The team felt  like a family, and I feel like both the coaches and other athletes would push me to be my best.”


Lovro Serdarevic Welcome Graphic

Top Long Course Times:
50 Free – 23.22
100 Free – 50.74
200 Free – 1:52.78
50 Back – 25.82
100 Back – 56.15

Prep: Attended the School of Natural Sciences Vladimir Prelog … swam for Swimming Club Dubrava since 2017 … holds club records in six different events … competed at the European Junior Championships in 2019 and 2021 … finished fifth in the 50 back at the 2021 EJC

Parents are Marko and Anita Serdarevic … planning to major in business or psychology … hobbies include listening to music, hanging out with friends, James Bond movies and history shows

Why Minnesota:
“I chose the University of Minnesota because it is the best fit for me. I immediately felt a connection with the coaches, and that is very important for me. The team seems awesome, and I can’t wait to continue my academic and athletic career as a Gopher.”

Denton Smith

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Saguaro High School

Phoenix Swim Club


Denton Smith Welcome Graphic

Top Times:
200 Free – 1:40.06
500 Free – 4:31.66
200 Fly – 1:48.69
400 IM – 4:00.14

Prep: Attended Saguaro High School where he earned four letters in swimming … helped his team to a state championship as a junior, its first in 41 years … member of relay state champion as a junior and took home an individual state title as a sophomore … four-time team MVP and was a team captain … part of two school record relay teams and finished career in the top three of four individual events … was a four-time winner of the Scholar-Athlete Award … swam at the club level for Phoenix Swim Club since 2016 … twice won the team’s Coaches Award

Parents are Matthew and Shalayne Smith … has two younger brothers, Bronson and Treyton, and a younger sister, Faith … dad, Matthew, swam at Iowa …grandfather, Darryl Blair, competed in men’s gymnastics at Arizona State … uncle, Cameron Blair, played football at Illinois State … uncles, Roderick Blair and Tyler Blair, both, played baseball at Grand Canyon … plans to major in biology … hobbies include making sushi, fishing with friends and playing the drums

Why Minnesota:
“I chose the University of Minnesota because of its amazing coaching staff, beautiful facilities, the abundance of resources, phenomenal team environment, and academic excellence.”