Novitsky Signs Two Swimmers, One Diver
Nov. 30, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois head coach Sue Novitsky announced the signing of three student-athletes to national letters of intent on Friday. Olivia Kassouni (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids), Amelia Schilling (Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka) and Gabrielle Stecker (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) will join the Orange and Blue for the 2013-14 season.
"As a staff, we are extremely excited about our 2013 signing class," Novitsky said. "We had some specific needs to fill in the pool and on the boards with this class, and we have some strong athletes who we expect to have an immediate impact right from the start. All three student-athletes have come on strong over the past year and had awesome senior high school seasons. As a group, they are fierce competitors who are also hard-working, conscientious students and quality people. As coaches, we are looking forward to helping them continue to develop as individuals and having them continue to add to the strong foundation of talent that we are building on the team. They are all excited to join the Illinois family and wear the orange and blue."
The 2013 recruiting class is highlighted by two USA Swimming Junior National qualifiers and a two-time Division III Michigan state champion in diving. Together, the signees have combined for three National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) All-America accolades and three USA Swimming Scholastic All-America honors.
Coach Waters on Kassouni: "Olivia is an incredibly energetic young lady who has a terrific personality and really made a wonderful impression on her recruiting visit. She fits in very well with the athletes on our team and will be a catalyst for our program's continued improvement. Simply put, Olivia is fun to be around. She is driven and will not only push herself to get better but those around her as well. I am very excited to have her joining us next year and look forward to coaching her through her college career."
Background Four-time Minnesota high school state qualifier ... NISCA High School All-American ... Minnesota state record holder in the 500 freestyle ... At the 2012 Minnesota high school state championship, finished first in the 200 and 500 free ... At the 2011 state championship, finished second in the 400 free relay, fourth in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free ... At the 2010 state championship, finished third in the 500 free, ninth in the 200 free, eighth in the 400 free relay and 14th in the 200 medley relay ... At the 2009 state championship, finished ninth in the 500 free and 19th in the 200 free ... USA Swimming Junior National qualifier ... USA Swimming Winter National qualifier ... Two-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.
Coach Novitsky on Schilling: "Amelia just came off a fantastic year and high school state meet, where she won two individual titles and set a state record. We have watched her over the past few years, and she has just kept getting better and better. Amelia has such a great personality and will bring strong academics, strong leadership and a strong work ethic to the team. She fills some big needs for our team in the freestyle events and is a strong competitor in the backstroke events, too. Her times in a couple of events rank right up there in our top 10 all-time. Amelia has the toughness, motivation and integrity that we want our athletes to have as representatives of the University of Illinois."
Gabrielle "Gabbie" Stecker
Coach Novitsky on Stecker: "Gabbie is coming off a tremendous year of swimming, culminating in four state titles and three state records. She has great versatility and a dynamic range of events that she can compete in to help out the team. Gabbie is a workhorse in the pool and has the drive to work towards challenging goals. She is a tough competitor who wants to win. Her times in multiple events would land in our top-10 individuals overall. With her strong academics, athletics and outstanding character, Gabbie fits the mold of the kind of person that we are looking to bring in to our program."