BLACKSBURG, Virginia, December 14. THE Virginia Tech men's swimming and diving team has announced the signing of four swimmers and one diver to national letters of intent for the 2011-12 academic year.
Head Coach Ned Skinner on the fall signing class: "We are welcoming a great group of young men to our program with the fall signing period. Our men's team has had great growth since joining the ACC and this class is one that we feel excited about continuing that path of excellence. The one aspect of this group that the staff is very keen on is the development that these athletes have shown in the past two seasons and the direction they are heading. I can't wait to see how these individuals advance in the classroom and water for the H2Okies."
Kyle Butts, hailing from Silver Springs, Md., attends Paint Branch High School where he competes for the Montgomery Dive Club under the direction of Ivan Bondarenko. This past summer, Kyle qualified for the Age Group National Championships in all three levels —one meter, three meter, and platform—where he was a finalist in the one meter competition.
Piemonte on Butts: "Kyle has been in the sport of diving for only a short time, however, I feel his potential to be remarkable. I am amazed with his athleticism as well as his aesthetics. He possesses an innate ability to do difficult dives very correctly and easily, he has a great body line, and can get in the water really clean. It's these qualities that I truly feel will make him have an immediate impact as a freshman, on all levels. Kyle is truly the definition of the saying ‘a diamond in the rough' and I am really looking forward to working with him, and seeing him develop as an H2Okie."
James Crabb, who hails from Manassas, Va., attends Woodberry Forest School, where he is coached by the legendary Don Easterling and Gregory Guldin and is the team captain. He also represents Curl-Burke Swim Club and is coached by Jeremy Linn. A multiple-time High School All-American, Crabb was also a finalist at NCSA Junior Nationals and holds the Curl-Burke 15-16 team records in the 100 and 200 butterfly events.
Crabb's Top Times:
100 Butterfly: 49.09*
200 Butterfly: 1:47.60*
*Denotes conversion from LCM
Skinner on Crabb: "We are very excited about the addition of James to our squad coming this fall. He is an outstanding student-athlete and excels in the butterfly events. James will come in and add immediate fire power to a strong group and not only will elevate himself, but will help elevate others around him. Coach Jeremy Linn and Coach Easterling have really worked well together in guiding James along through his high school career and have readied him for college."
Collin Higgins, from Weddington, N.C., attends Charlotte Latin High School where he is coached by Patty Waldron. Collin is a multiple-time High School All-American and five-time high school state champion (three times in the 100 backstroke and two times in the 200 IM). Last season, Collin broke the North Carolina high school state record in the 100 backstroke and finished the high school season undefeated in that event. Collin also represents SwimMAC Carolina, where he is coached by Alan Pfau and guided by David Marsh. He is a US Open and USA National qualifier.
Higgins' Top Times:
100 Backstroke: 49.43
200 Backstroke: 1:47.15
100 Butterfly: 51.50
200 IM: 1:54.02
Skinner on Higgins: "Collin is an exceptional young man who is ready to explode in college. We have followed Collin for many years now and are thrilled that he will be headed to Blacksburg come next fall. He has an extraordinary feel for the water and his underwaters are improving. Since the beginning of the recruiting process, our staff have all had a great connection with Collin and have felt really comfortable about the possible future with Collin. When he then took a trip to Virginia Tech, we all knew we wanted Collin to be an H2Okie."
Morgan Latimer, another Virginia native, resides in Richmond and attends Monacan High School. Latimer is ranked in the top 10 in his high school class and was selected First Team All-Metro. He represents Poseidon Swim Club where he is coached by Ted Sallade, who helped guide Morgan to qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials. The repeat state champion and 15-16 Virginia state record holder in the 200 butterfly, Latimer is also a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.
Latimer's Top Times:
100 Butterfly: 49.61*
200 Butterfly: 1:46.81*
200 Freestyle: 1:40.53*
500 Freestyle: 4:32.38
1000 Freestyle: 9:17.08
400 IM: 4:02.30
*Denotes conversion from LCM
Skinner on Latimer: "Morgan has been on our radar for a long time now. Swimming just up the road with Coach Ted, we have been able to follow Morgan's career to date. He is the type of person any coach would want on their team and exhibits extreme passion for what he does on a daily basis. We have watched Morgan run down his competition numerous times now and it was always fun to think each time we saw him swim, we knew what he had coming home. We are thrilled he is going to be an H2Okie next fall."
Jacob Ores, from Loveland, Colo., is a distance freestyle specialist who attends Mountain View High School, where he is an honor student. Coached by Loveland Swim Club's Jim Nickell, Ores was awarded the Most Outstanding Performer award in 2007 and is a Colorado state record holder. Ores, a national qualifier and multiple-time sectional champion, has received two invitations to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs under the supervision of Bob Bowman. Jake is also a member of the All-Colorado Swimming Team.
Ores' Top Times:
200 Freestyle: 1:41.35
500 Freestyle: 4:28.49
1000 Freestyle: 9:09.18
1650 Freestyle: 15:27.72
Skinner on Ores: "Jake has incredible fire and tenacity and is eager to be the best. We enjoyed getting to meet Jake on his trip and treasured the fact that he said he loved swimming distance. Our distance group feeds off leaders that are die hard when it comes to training, and Jake certainly fits the part. He has great size and swims with his legs. We will graduate a large distance group in 2012, so it is nice to have Jake come in and train with these guys before they hit the real world. Coach Nickell instills incredible work ethic on his team and Jake has thrived because of it. Look for Jake to be at the big show early in his career."
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