Tuscaloosa, AL, December 16. ALABAMA swimming head coach Eric McIlquham announced that five student-athletes committed to the Crimson Tide during the early signing period.
Van Diehl, Curtis Kelly and Chris Perry will join the men’s squad while Caitlin Anderson and Amanda Maher will join the women’s team.
“We’re very excited about this group of student-athletes,” McIlquham said. “They’re all great athletes, with a lot of upside, who should be able to come in and help us right away. In addition, they are all quality people and good students, which is important to the type of team we’re building here at Alabama.”
Diehl, from Nashville, Tenn., was coached by John Morse at Nashville Aquatics. A senior at Montgomery Bell Academy is the son of Kenny and Patty Diehl.
“Van is a great kid with a huge love for the University of Alabama and swimming,” McIlquham said. “We are excited to have such a great team player joining our Crimson Tide swimming family.”
Kelly, a two-time high school All-American in 2004, is a native of Pittsburgh, Penn. The son of Curt Kelly and Sandy Davis, he is coached by Sharon Zacharda at North Hills Aquatics. Kelly was the 2004 WPIAC District Champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle, leading his team to the district title. He also competed in the Speedo Championship Series, taking fifth in the 100 freestyle. A senior at North Hills High School, Kelly is a member of student council and diversity alliance.
“Curtis had huge success at the Pennsylvania state meet and we look for him to grow into an elite level athlete,” said McIlquham.
Perry, a six time All-American, is from Hartland, Wisc. He is the son of C. Allen and Karen Perry and is coached by Bob Jenkyns at Arrowhead High School and Steven Bowman and Lake Country Phoenix swim club. As a junior, Perry won the Wisconsin State 100 backstroke title. Perry is also a national record holder as part of the medley relay team.
“We feel Chris will be able to step in and help the medley relays right off the back,” said McIlquham. A senior at Arrowhead high school, Perry participates in Citizenships Forum and is a three time team state champion.
Anderson, a member of the 2003 U.S. Junior National 800 freestyle relay squad, is from Richmond, Va. The daughter of Robert and Leigh Anderson, she is coached by Geoff Brown at Nova of Virginia Aquatics. A Virginia state record holder as part of four separate relay teams, Anderson is also a senior national qualifier and was voted first team All-Metro by the Richmond Time-Dispatch in 2003. A senior at Mills E. Godwin High School, Anderson is a member of National Beta Club.
“We are excited to have Caitlin on the roster next year,” McIlquham said. “I have watched and coached many athletes out of Jeff Brown’s program and feel as though Caitlin’s ability to swim anything will allow her to see much success at the SEC level.”
Maher, from Nashville, Tenn., has been a state finalist in the 100 backstroke for three straight years and was named All-County and All-Region in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The daughter of Tony and Ginny Maher, she is coached by John Morse at Nashville Aquatic Club and Dawn VanCurren at Brentwood High School. In 2003, she led Brentwood to the Tennessee State Championship. Maher is a 2004 Southeastern Zone team member and took first place in the 200 backstroke at the Edmonton Keyano International in the spring of 2004. Maher also competed for two years in varsity softball and volunteers her time at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
“Amanda is a diamond in the rough,” said McIlquham. “From being a very successful two-sport athlete and now turning her focus totally on swimming, she is only going to grow into an excellent addition to the Crimson Tide program.”