Nov. 25, 2003
Champaign, Ill. - The University of Illinois swimming and diving team has signed four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the NCAA's early signing period, head coach Sue Novitsky announced today. The class includes athletes from Chicago, Ohio, Indiana, and a local standout from Champaign Centennial.
Kellie Stevens, Champaign, Ill./Centennial - Mid-distance/Distance Freestyle and Breaststroke
Third generation Illini, following her mother and grandmother * Honorable Mention Speedo All-American * High School State qualifier all four years * In 2003, placed in four events at the State Championships, sixth in the 500 free, fourth in 200 IM, 10th in 100 breast, and 12th in the 400 free relay * Placed seventh at State as a freshman in the 500 free * Top time in the 200 free is 1:54.21 * Swam a 5:00.43 in the 500 free * National Honor Society.
Novitsky on Stevens: "We are very excited to add Kellie, a 3rd generation Illini, to the Illinois family. Kellie has many of the characteristics that we look for in our student-athletes. She works hard at swimming and academics, is enthusiastic, likes to compete and is a very responsible young lady. I believe that Kellie is going to improve upon her high school success and be a tremendous college swimmer and member of our freestyle and breaststroke groups."
Meghan Bradley, Terre Haute, Ind./North Vigo - Backstroke and Individual Medley
School record holder in the 200 IM, 100 back, 100 free, and 100 fly * Finished eighth at the 2003 Indiana State Championships * Top time in the 200 IM was 2:09.90, 400 IM (4:39.34), 100 back (59.25), and 200 back (2:06.96) * Member of National Honor Society.
Novitsky on Bradley: "Meghan will be a great addition to our backstroke and IM groups. She is a very positive individual that has been improving greatly the past couple of years. She has an excellent technique background and we are excited to watch her continue to develop. Meghan is also a very fine student and will excel in all aspects of our program."
Jamie Acks, Solon, Ohio/Solon - Diving
Currently dives for the American Flyer dive club along with her varsity team * Earned three varsity letters * Placed second in her conference meet * Member of first team All-Conference * Three-time district qualifier * Member of team that has won three conference championships.
McGowan on Solon: "I am very excited to add Jamie to our roster for next season. She is a very hard worker and extremely talented diver. I'm confident that, with her drive and passion and determination, she will be a great fit for the team and the standards that Coach Sue Novitsky has set for us. I look forward to working with her next season and taking her diving to the next level."
Abbey Bernardo, Chicago, Ill./Northside Prep - Diving
Qualified twice for the State Championships * Successful in the JO arena, qualifying for US regionals * Summer 2003, qualified for the zone meet in the 1-meter competition * Member of the Windy City Club Diving Team * Carries a perfect 4.0 GPA.
McGowan on Bernardo: "Abbey is an extremely talented diver with a strong gymnastics background, that will serve her well as she makes the transition to College Diving and the Big Ten Conference. She is very passionate about diving and is equally excited about coming to the University of Illinois and joining the Illini next season. I know I will enjoy working with her and I look forward to the challenge of taking Abbey's diving to its highest level. Abbey already has a strong training regimen, which combined with her passion will make her a perfect fit for this program. Coach Sue Novitsky has set the bar extremely high for this team and I believe Abbey is up for the challenge and will be very successful here."