PITTSBURGH, Penn, December 11. HEAD swimming and diving coach Chuck Knoles announced the signing of seven athletes to National Letters-of-Intent for the 2004-05 season. Included in the newcomers are three men and four women. The seven newcomers are Kristin Caiazzo, Ali Howell, Megan McCandless, Kelly O'Hara, David Anderson, Chris George, and Jeremy Stultz.
Caiazzo (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) placed 14th at the 2003 East National in the 1-meter diving competition, and placed 16th at the 2002 Summer Nationals on the platform. She has also been in the top four at the New Jersey state meet all three years of her high-school career.
"Kristin comes to Pittsburgh with a very impressive resume," Knoles noted. "We look for her to make a huge impact to our women's team as a freshman."
Howell (State College, Pa./State College) is a sprint specialist who also has an excellent individual medley. She placed 11th in the 200 IM (2:10.04) at the 2003 Pennsylvania State Championships and helped her team to a second-place finish in the team race. Her best time in the 50 free is 24.02 seconds.
"Ali has some great size to her and enormous talent. We look for her to add depth in the IM and to boost our sprint group," Knoles said.
McCandless (Bensalem, Pa./Nazareth Academy) has been diving for only four years but Knoles and his coaching staff believes she has great potential. She comes from a very athletic family as her sister, Maureen, is a member of the Panthers' track and cross-country teams. Megan was fourth at last year's Pennsylvania State Championships.
"Megan has great size for diving and has excellent strength. She will be a very welcome addition to our diving program," Knoles said.
O'Hara (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) placed in the top 12 in both the 50 (26.68 LCM) and the 100 frees (52.57 SCY) at this past summer's Speedo Series Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. She just missed qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the 50 free.
"Kelly improved greatly last year in the 50, becoming one of the faster high school seniors in the country," Knoles said. "We look forward to her making a big impression on the Big East Conference."
George (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School), a senior national qualifier in the 1650 free (15.34.22), will strengthen the Panthers' distance group. He is a member of the Florida State champion Bolles School swim team and was a 2003 state finalist in the 200 (1:44.04) and 500 freestyles (4:31.61).
"Chris has the ability to make an immediate impact in distance events at the Big East Championship Meet. He has been a part of a championship team his whole swimming career and he wants to continue those winning ways at the University of Pittsburgh," Knoles said. "We are very fortunate to have a swimmer of Chris' caliber in this recruiting class."
Anderson (Lawrenceville,Ga./Collins Hill) will add depth to the Panthers' butterfly and backstroke events. Already a solid competitor, he will most likely compete in the 100 and 200 fly.
"David has the potential to become a big player in the 100 and 200 butterfly events," Knoles said. "His swimming background and athleticism will only help him to improve during his years at Pitt."
Stultz (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) is one of the nation's top young divers. According to Knoles, he will be "able to compete for Big East and NCAA titles immediately." The addition of Stultz strengthens an already strong Panther diving team.
"Jeremy is one of the country's premiere high school divers," Knoles commented. "He will help us to achieve our goal of becoming a contender on the national level. We are also very proud to sign a great Pennsylvania athlete from right here in the Pittsburgh area."
"These seven athletes help us to become more quality teams", Knoles added. "We are continually striving to move forward on the national scene while maintaining a championship-caliber team in the Big East and we feel that these young men and women will help us to do that."