Head coach Sue Novitsky signed seven to her 2008 recruiting class.
Nov. 19, 2007
Champaign, Ill. - Head coach Sue Novitsky of the Illinois swimming and diving team announced the signing of seven talented athletes to National Letters of Intent on Monday. The Illini traveled across the nation to sign one of the strongest classes in the program's history. Athletes from Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oregon will join the Orange and Blue in the fall of 2008.
The 2008 recruiting class includes Caitlin Conroy (Columbus, Ind./Columbus North H.S.), Britini Fisher (Salem, Ore./ North Salem H.S.), Kelly Kunkel (Omaha, Neb./ Marian H.S.), Torrey Loper (Scottsdale, Ariz./ Desert Mountain H.S.), Kristen Manias (Lakesville, Minn./ Burnsville Senior H.S.), Brittany McGowan (Beverly Hills, Mich./ Groves H.S.), and April McKee (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / Stevenson H.S.).
All six swimmers have earned National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) and Speedo All-America Team honors in high school. Kunkel, Loper, and McGowan bring experience of winning individual titles at their respective state championships.
The class fills a variety of areas for the Illini and should make an immediate impact once they reach campus. Loper in the 1000 free and McGowan in the 100 free and 50 back have already recorded times that would rank them in top-10 in those events at Illinois.
"Many needs have been addressed with the collective talent in the freestyle events and the versatility that many of the swimmers show," coach Novitsky said. "The class of 2012 is a great collection of quality individuals with strong character and work ethics that will continue to add to the practice and competitive environment that we are continuing to develop at Illinois."
Hometown: Columbus, Ind.
High School: Columbus North High School
USA Swimming Club: Donner Swim Club
Main Events: Sprint Freestyle and Butterfly
At the 2006 Indiana State High School Meet, she placed seventh in the 100 Freestyle and 200 Freestyle...Was a key member of the third place 200 Freestyle Relay and fourth place 400 Freestyle Relay...She has earned two NISCA/Speedo All-America Team honors during her high school career...Is a USA Swimming Sectional qualifier, as well.
50 Freestyle - 24.26
100 Freestyle - 52.56
200 Freestyle - 1:54.42
100 Butterfly - 59.25
Coach Novitsky on Caitlin- "She is a fantastic addition to the Illinois family and will be a great addition to our sprint group. She has been a dynamite relay swimmer for her high school and we will look for her to compete for relay spots at Illinois. She is continuing to develop her range of events and we expect her to continue with that work ethic in the fall. Caitlin is a terrific team player that will add to the quality of our team."
Hometown - Salem, Ore.
High School - North Salem High School
USA Diving Club - Tualatin Hills Dive Club
Main Events - Diving
An all-around diver, competes in both springboard and platform events for the Tualatin Hills Dive Club...Has been training with the club for six years and competed in numerous Region X and West National meets...She broke into the top-20 this past summer at the West Nationals on platform...Her high school does not have a diving program, so she swims for her high school instead and has recently taken up the pole-vaulting chores for her high school's track team...Was elected class President her junior year is active as a peer mentor and even serves as a volunteer at a local elementary school in the library.
1M - 9 dives: 319.30
3M - 9 dives: 344.70
Platform - 8 dives: 266.40
Diving Coach Chris Waters on Britni- "I'm really looking forward to working with Britni. She is a terrific young lady that is enthusiastic and motivated to excel in college. She has the talent and work ethic to do just that too. As an all-around diver competing in both springboard and platform events, I really feel that Britni will make an immediate impact on our program. "
Hometown - Omaha, Neb.
High School - Marian High School
USA Swimming Club - Swim Omaha
Main Events - Sprint and Middle Distance Freestyle
Has helped Marian has win the Nebraska High School State Championships every year she has been on the team...Individually, is a three-time state champion, winning the 100 freestyle her sophomore and junior years, while taking the 200 freestyle title her junior year...Has been on the winning 200 freestyle relay each year as well...Has earned NISCA/Speedo All-America Team honors for her relay swims and consideration honors for her 200 freestyle swim her junior year...She also, earned USA Swimming Scholastic All-America honors in 2007...Kelly is the cousin of current Illini Volleyball player Lizzie Bazzeta.
50 Freestyle - 24.65
100 Freestyle - 52.88
200 Freestyle - 1:52.98
500 Freestyle - 5:06.31
Coach Novitsky on Kelly- "We are excited to have Kelly join the Illini family. Not only is she a fantastic person and athlete, her family has a rich tradition of wearing orange & blue. Kelly has continued to improve during her high school career and we feel that she can continue to get faster at Illinois. She will come in and add to our middle distance and sprint freestyle group and with her success on relays during her high school career we expect her to compete for relay spots at Illinois."
Hometown - Scottsdale, Ariz.
High School - Desert Mountain High School
USA Swimming Club - Brophy East Swim Team
Main Events - Distance Freestyle and Backstroke
As team captain, in 2007, helped Desert Mountain High School to a second place team finish at the Arizona High School State Meet...At the meet, she placed fourth in the 500 Freestyle and tied for 11th in the 100 Backstroke...In 2006, she was the state champion in the 100 Backstroke and as a member of the 200 medley relay...She has earned NISCA/Speedo All-America Team honors and has earned two USA Swimming Scholastic All-America honors.
500 Freestyle - 5:00.05
1000 Freestyle - 10:12.96
1650 Freestyle - 17:03.71
100 Backstroke - 1:01.39
200 Backstroke - 2:06.44
Coach Novitsky on Torrey- "She is an awesome addition to our distance freestyle and backstroke group. She has dropped loads of time during her high school career and continues to get faster. We feel that Torrey will continue to put in the work needed and excel during her time at Illinois. Torrey is an excellent student and understands what it takes to be a student-athlete at Illinois."
Hometown - Lakeville, Minn.
High School - Burnsville Senior High School
USA Swimming Club - Black Dog Swim Club
Main Events - Sprint and Middle Distance Freestyle
In 2006 and 2007, helped Burnsville High School to a second place finish at the Minnesota High School State Championships...In 2007, she placed seventh in the 200 freestyle and eighth in the 100 freestyle and swam on the fourth place 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay...So far, she has earned seven NISCA/Speedo All-America Team honors during her high school career...Was named team captain for her high school team this past season.
50 Freestyle - 24.21
100 Freestyle - 52.02
200 Freestyle - 1:53.56
Coach Novitsky on Kristen- "She is a great addition to our squad for the upcoming year. We look for her to come in and help to continue to rebuild our sprint freestyle group. She has had success and steady improvement throughout her high school career and has competed well under pressure situations. In addition, Kristen is a terrific person and student that is ready to come in and represent the Orange & Blue."
Hometown - Beverly Hills, Mich.
High School - Groves High School
USA Swimming Club - Birmingham-Bloomfield Atlantis
Main Events - Sprint Freestyle, IM, Butterfly and Backstroke
At the 2007 Michigan Division II High School State Meet, she was the state champion in the 200 IM and runner-up in the 100 freestyle as well as being on the fourth place 200 medley relay...In her first three years, Groves High School won the division II state title...Has earned multiple NISCA/Speedo All-America Team honors during her high school career...She is also a USA Swimming Junior National qualifier.
50 Freestyle - 24.68
100 Freestyle - 51.57
50 Backstroke - 27.33
100 Backstroke - 59.24
200 Backstroke - 2:07.17
100 Butterfly - 57.67
200 Butterfly - 2:08.58
200 IM - 2:06.67
Coach Novitsky on Brittany- "She is an exceptionally versatile swimmer that has a very wide range of events and strokes that she can compete in successfully. We expect her to be able to come in and compete for relay spots and provide us with many options throughout our line-up. In addition to being an outstanding athlete, Brittany is dedicated, ambitious and has a great personality that will add to our team."
Hometown - Buffalo Grove, Ill.
High School - Stevenson High School
USA Swimming Club - Patriot Aquatic Club
Main Events - Butterfly and IM
Helped Stevenson High School to a third place finish at the 2007 Illinois High School State Meet...At the meet, she tied for ninth place in the 100 Butterfly and was on the 200-medley relay and 400 freestyle relay that finished fourth...Has earned three NISCA/Speedo All-America Team honors, so far, in her high school career.
100 Butterfly - 57.38
200 Butterfly - 2:08.85
200 IM - 2:08.24
400 IM - 4:33.10
Coach Novitsky on April- "She is a very versatile swimmer that has continued to develop a wide range of events and that will help us tremendously in dual meets. April also showed that she was a team player during her senior high school season by swimming in the sprint freestyle spot on all three relays to help out her team. We are excited to be able to continue to develop that talent. April has a great personality and is a strong student that can't wait to begin her career at Illinois."