University of Miami head swimming coach Andy Kershaw and head diving coach Randy Ableman announced the program’s 2017 signing class Friday.
Among those joining the program for the 2017-18 season will be swimmers Annie Kyriakidis, Carmen San Nicolas and Alaina Skellett as well as diver Zachary Cooper.
The team’s three swimming signees will provide top-end talent and bolster the depth of a unit on the rise in the ACC.
“I am already so excited about the swimming class of 2021,” Kershaw said. “Between the official signees we are announcing and soon-to-be Hurricanes, this is already the most solid class we have recruited in my tenure here.”
Kyriakidis, a breaststroke specialist, has already posted times in the breast, 200 IM and 200 butterfly that would rank in the top 16 of the ACC Championships from a season ago. A Nashville, Tenn., native, Kyriakidis, who swims for for Ensworth Aquatics, has posted a 100 breast time of 1:02.00, 200 breast of 2:13.50, 200 IM of 2:00.0 and 400 IM of 4:20.1. In addition her top times in the 100 fly (55.2) and 200 fly (1:59.0) provide Kershaw with excitement for her future.
“Every one of these signees comes into the program with USA Swimming Senior National Times and with times that will make an impact at ACC Championships right off the bat,” Kershaw said.
San Nicolas, a native of Marcia, Spain, swims for C.N. San Javier and will also be an immediate contributor. San Nicolas’s time of 1:47.60 in the 200 free would be in the top 24 of last year’s ACC Championships. She has also posted strong times in the 50 free (23.1), 100 free (50.2) and 500 free (4:53.5).
“Just as importantly these swimmers come in with the ability to contribute to the team every day in our training,” Kershaw said. “In the end, that is going to have just as much to do with our success, and theirs, as their current times.”
Skellett, from Flint, Mich., competes for the Flint Y Falcons and is a backstroke specialist. She will help replace the loss of Christina Leander, one of Miami’s top backstrokers set to graduate this spring. Her time in the 200 backstroke (1:58.6) would rank in the ACC’s top 24, and she has also delivered impressive performances in the 100 back (54.9) and 100 fly (55.2). Skellett has also seen great success in the long course pool, with best times in the 100 backstroke of 1:03.3, 200 back of 2:16.7 and 100 fly of 1:03.6.
Cooper, who won the platform event at the 2016 AT&T National Diving Championships, is one of the top youth platform divers in the nation. Originally from Greenwood, Ind., Cooper recently competed for Team USA at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Kazan, Russia. He advanced to the platform finals and finished ninth.
“He’s a 10-meter platform specialist, which means he has a lot of room to grow and improve into a springboard diver,” Ableman said. “Right out of the box, he’s a great diver on 10-meter and he should have some success right away in that event. Over the course of his college career, he will become a very well-rounded diver.”
Cooper will be joining a talented returning nucleus that includes fellow men’s divers David Dinsmore and Briadam Herrera.
“I’m very excited. They’re all very serious divers that take the sport seriously,” Ableman said. “They came here to get better and to be great, and see it as their responsibility. I have to make sure these kids reach their potential. It’s a great atmosphere because everyone wants to be the best.”
Kershaw said he sees a similar mindset in his new swimmers.
“The culture that comes with being a Miami Hurricane swimmer has been evolving in a very positive way, and this incoming class has openly accepted the challenge of continuing that evolution,” he said. “I have no doubt this program will be better because of this class.”
News courtesy of Miami Athletics.