McCord inks four during early signing period

Lexy Raybon, Paige McCord
Lexy Raybon, Paige McCord

Paige McCord Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman swim coach Paige McCord announced the signings of Paden Duke, Mary Northcutt, Regina Zipperer and Leah Allen Thursday as the four newest members of the Eagles' swim team.

"What we wanted to do was get after some really quality young individuals that could contribute both in the pool and out of the water," McCord said.

Leah Allen (Aranda, Australia): Allen, the son of Ric and Martha Allen, swims the mid-distance Free and Individual Medley. She will join Carson-Newman after graduating from Hawker College. She is undecided on a major. Allen is a four-time Australian National Age Championship Finalist; twice in 400 IM, once in 400 Free and once in 800 Free and has competed as an Australian National Age Championship Qualifier in 22 additional events from 2012 to 2015.  In state and country-level Championships during that same period, she won 17 titles, earned medals in 44 individual and three relay events and tallied 134 top-10 finishes.

Allen has been a Pan-Pacific School Games Australia Schools Swimming representative, an Australian Open Championships qualifier, a Commonwealth Games Australian Trials qualifier and a NSW Institute of Sport Development squad member.  Since 2014, she has received mention for one Australian National Top-10 ranking and nine Australian National Top-25 rankings.  In addition, in the past four years Allen has been named an Australian Swimming Youth Performance Squad Silver Awardee three times and a Bronze Awardee once.

McCord on Allen: "She is an incredibly talented mid-distance to distance. She comes out in the 200 Free to about a 1:50 is her converted time; 400 I.M. and 500 Free will be some big events for her. She's pretty versatile. The reason we really wanted to recruit her is because as some of our athletes that really score high in those areas right now will becoming upperclassman so it is a big deal to go ahead and replace that."

Paden Duke (Memphis, Tenn.) @paden_duke: Duke, a Freestyle swimmer from Memphis, Tenn., joins the Eagles after finishing up his homeschool education. He is the son of Kenneth and Cheryl Duke. He was coached by Amanda Galbraith during his high school career. Duke was born Dec. 9th, 1997 and is undecided on a major.

McCord on Duke: "We were really excited. Paden comes to us with some strong times already and a leader out of the pool. We are excited to combine both of those and see what we can do time-wise and also build this program even farther with him."

Mary Northcutt (Huntsville, Ala.) @lovetoswimMN: Northcutt, the daughter of Scott and Sara Northcutt, swims the Free and Back and will graduate from Virgil I. Grissom High School in May. As a freshman, she finished eighth at the Alabama High School Athletic Association state meet in the 200 Free and 10th in the 500 Free. During her sophomore campaign, she placed third in the 500 Free and fifth in the 200 Free at the ASHAA state meet and followed that up with a second-place finish in the 400 Free Relay as a junior. During her time with the Tigers, she was coached by Barbara Belyae. Academically, Northcutt is a member of the National Honors Society, National Latin Honors Society and Mu Alpha Theta, a mathematics honor society. Her cousin, Tyler Warmath, plays baseball at Roane State. She was born on Aug. 17th, 1998 and will study Exercise Science at C-N.

McCord on Northcutt: "A great young lady in the classroom and in the pool. What we were looking for specifically when we recruited her was a strong sprinter and she's got some really competitive times in the 100 and 200 Free. I think there is a lot of potential with her as well especially as we develop into her sophomore and junior years."                   

Regina Zipperer (Germantown, Tenn.): Zipperer, the daughter of Mark and Leigh Zipperer, joins the Eagles after graduating from Saint Benedict at Auburndale High School in Cordova, Tenn. She has finished in the Top-20 on multiple occasions at the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association state championships; she also finished in third in the 200 and 500 Free at the Shelby County meet as a senior. Zipperer is a recipient of the 2015 Wendy's High School Heisman School Winner for St. Benedict's and has been named Best of Preps All-Metro as a sophomore and junior. She is the three-time reigning St. Benedicts's team MVP and was named a Southeastern All-Star in the 800 Free Relay. Academically, Zipperer is a member of the Honor Roll and National Honor Society and is the secretary for the French National Honor Society.

McCord on Zipperer: "She's another great fit in that distance group. She brings a lot of talent in the Backstroke, which is a need for us right now. She has really strong grades. Lastly, I think very competitive in the 500 Free and I'm excited to see what we can do in the 200 Free for her as well."