Illini Swimming & Diving Ink 4 in Class of 2015-2016

Fighting Illini swimming and diving head coach Sue Novitsky has received signed National Letters of Intent from four student-athletes in the Class of 2015. Samantha Gowdy of Carmi, Illinois, Gabriele Serniute of Downers Grove, Illinois, Megan Vuong of Mississauga, Ontario and Madeline Kuhn of Bloomington, Illinois will be joining the Orange and Blue next season.

“As a staff we are excited about the 2015 class that we signed this fall,” said Novitsky. “All of them have had success competing for their high school and at the national level. As a group, they have kept improving over their high school careers and have the desire to come in and help the team improve. They are hardworking athletes and students with great personalities. 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.”

Samantha Gowdy

Notes: Three-time Indiana High School State qualifier … USA Swimming Winter National qualifier … NSCA Junior National qualifier … Finished 12th in the 100 backstroke and 15th in the 200 medley relay at the 2014 Indiana State Championships … Placed fifth in the 200 medley relay, ninth in the 400 freestyle relay and15th in the 100 backstroke at the 2013 Indiana State Championships … Was fifth in the 400 freestyle relay and ninth in the 100 backstroke at the 2012 Indiana State Championships … Personal best 50 backstroke time of :26.95 … Lifetime best 100 backstroke time of :56.06 … 200 backstroke personal-best time of 2:06.16 … Has posted a 100 butterfly time of :57.63.

Coach Novitsky on Gowdy: “Sam is a fantastic addition to the team and can have an immediate impact in the backstroke events. Her 100 backstroke time would rank her in our top ten all-time and we are excited for the opportunity to help her continue to develop and leave her mark at Illinois. Sam has specific characteristics that we look for in our student-athletes: a great personality, strong work ethic and drive to improve.”

Gabriele Serniute

Notes: Four-time IHSA State qualifier … NSCA Junior National qualifier … USA Swimming Winter National qualifier … Finished first in the 200 freestyle relay, second in the 200 IM, second in the 200 medley relay and fourth in the 400 freestyle relay for the runner-up team at the 2014 IHSA State Championships … Placed first in the 200 medley relay and sixth in the 200 IM at the 2013 IHSA State Championships … Career-best time of :24.61 in the 50 freestyle and :52.92 in the 100 freestyle … Lifetime best of 1:05.21 in the 100 breaststroke … 200 IM personal best is 2:01.95.

Coach Novitsky on Serniute: “Gabby is coming off a terrific summer and high school season. She has continued to improve throughout her high school career and gained experience swimming for a team fighting for the state championship this fall. Gabby is extremely versatile and her time in the 200 Individual Medley would place her among our top ten all-time. With her fantastic personality and strong academics and athletics, Gabby fits the mold of the type of student-athlete that we want on the team.”

Megan Vuong

Notes: Canadian Senior National qualifier … 2015 Canadian Pan-American Games Trials qualifier … Lifetime-best performances of :26.42 in the 50 freestyle, :57.66 in the 100 freestyle and 2:04.00 in the 200 freestyle … Personal-best times of 1:02.36 in the 100 butterfly and 2:17.21 in the 200 butterfly.

Coach Novitsky on Vuong: “Megan is coming off a strong year of swimming and will fill some big needs for our team. She has good speed and will be able to help the team immediately on relays. Megan recently gained another Canadian Trials cut and continues to expand her range of events. Megan is a strong competitor, a hard worker and has outstanding character. We are excited about her joining the Fighting Illini family.”

Madeline Kuhn

Notes: Two-time Illinois State qualifier … University High’s six- & 11-dive record holder … Leader on the region’s all-time list … Competed in several US Diving Junior Regional and Zone meets … Qualified for Junior Nationals in platform diving … Top score of 248.00 on six dives at one meter … Personal-best score of 417.75 on 11 dives at one meter … Career-best score of 315.35 on nine dives at three meters.

Diving Coach Chris Waters on Kuhn: “Despite beginning her diving as an 11 and under with the Starz club out of Indianapolis, I feel that Madeline’s best diving is still ahead of her. The training she received as a club diver in Indiana, and continues with now under Coach Hoffman at Redbird Diving, has helped her build an incredibly solid base upon which she can expand in college. I believe she has a ton of upside and untapped potential. Our program will give her the opportunity to see just where all that can lead her. I’m looking forward to having her join our squad!”

College Swimming News courtesy of University of Illinois swimming and diving.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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