Novitsky signed two swimmers and one diver to national letters of intent.
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.
Hometown - East Grand Rapids, Mich.
High School - East Grand Rapids High School
USA Diving Club - Grand Rapids Diving Club
Main Events - Diving
Two-time Division III Michigan state champion in 2010 and 2011 ... 2012 Division II Michigan state runner-up ... 2010 and 2011 NISCA All-American ... Finalist in her age group at Nationals in 2011 and 2012 (one-meter/three-meter/platform) ... Qualified for Winter Senior Nationals in 2011 and 2012 (one-meter/three-meter).
One-meter (10 dives) - 372.40
One-meter (11 dives) - 451.45
Three-meter (10 dives) - 390.35
Platform (9 dives) - 319.70
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."
Hometown - Shorewood, Minn.
High School - Minnetonka High School
USA Swimming Club - Aquajets Swim Team
Main Events - Freestyle, Backstroke
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.
200 Freestyle - 1:48.61
500 Freestyle - 4:48.96
1000 Freestyle - 10:15.10
1650 Freestyle - 16:59.21
50 Backstroke - 27.34
100 Backstroke - 59.30
200 Backstroke - 2:05.26
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
Hometown - Bettendorf, Iowa
High School - Pleasant Valley High School
USA Swimming Club - Bettendorf-Pleasant Valley Aquatics
Main Events - Freestyle, Butterfly, Individual Medley
Three-time Iowa high school state qualifier ... Iowa state record holder in the 200 and 500 free ... Member of the Iowa state record-holding 400 freestyle relay team ... At the 2012 Iowa high school state championships, finished first in the 200 free, 500 free, 200 free relay and 400 free relay ... At the 2010 state championships, finished third in the 200 IM, third in the 500 free, sixth in the 400 free relay and eighth in the 200 free relay ... At the 2009 state championships, finished third in the 500 free, eighth in the 200 free and 12th in the 400 free relay ... USA Swimming Scholastic All-American ... USA Swimming Junior National qualifier ... USA Swimming Winter National qualifier.
200 Freestyle - 1:49.64
500 Freestyle - 4:52.91
1000 Freestyle - 10:05.04
1650 Freestyle - 16:54.61
100 Butterfly - 57.88
200 Butterfly - 2:05.63
200 IM - 2:09.79
400 IM - 4:29.44
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."