ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- First-year University of Michigan men's swimming and diving head coach Mike Bottom announced Wednesday (Nov. 26) that 11 student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period to join the team next season.
The list of future Wolverines includes diver Kasey Allen(Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual)and swimmers Hassan Abdel-Khalik(Mississauga, Ontario/Silverthorn Collegiate Insitute),Ryan Feeley(Rye, N.Y./Rye),Sean Fletcher(Vienna, Va./Madison),Evan Gregg(Blacksburg, Va./Blacksburg),Eric Huffman (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington),Connor McCarroll(Portland, Ore./Jesuit),Andrew Novakoff(Lighthouse Point, Fla./Pine Crest School),Michael Swain(Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron),Roman Willets(Whitehouse, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) and Kevin Wilson (Short Hills, N.J/Seton Hall Prep).
"I want to commend assistant coach Dr. Josh White on the incredible job he has done recruiting," said Bottom. "He's been instrumental in bringing guys in. We both got here so late in the recruiting season but he did an amazing job. We will have a very strong class; I feel this is the best recruiting class in the country. That's not proven as yet but I really believe this class has the potential to be great, not just good. I feel that the guys that we have are an exciting bunch of guys who are just starting to blossom and get better. We are excited to coach these guys."
Abdel-Khalik competed in the Canadian Trials in 2008 in both the 200- and 400-meter freestyle events. He is the Canadian junior record-holder in both the 100- and 200-meter freestyles, posting a top time of 49.69 in the 100- and 1:47.74 in the 200-meter short course distances. In long course meters, Abdel-Khalik's personal-best times are 24.08 in the 50, 50.98 in the 100, 1:50.15 in the 200 and 3:58.18 in the 400.
"He is the best swimmer coming out of Canada," said Bottom. "Hassan has broken the Canadian junior freestyle records and he is the fastest young Canadian coming out of high school. He swims the 100 free, the 200 free and the 500 free."
Huffman, a sprinter, won the Division I 50- and 100-yard state championships in Ohio in 2008. Huffman's personal bests are 20.77 in the 50-yard short course freestyle, 24.36 in the 50-meter long course free, 45.23 in the 100-yard long course free and 52.99 in the 100-meter long course free.
"Eric will be a great swimmer," said Bottom. "I think he will prove himself during his senior year of high school, and he will be one of the top sprinters coming out of high school this year."
Swain is a breaststroker who placed ninth at junior nationals in the 200. He has posted top breaststroke times of 1:07.58 in the long course 100 meters and 2:20.86 in the long course 200 meters. In short course yards, Swain's top breaststroke times are 59.39 in the 100 and 2:04.70 in the 200. Swain can also swim the individual medley and has posted top IM times of 1:55.26 in the 200-yard short course, 2:11.29 in the 200-meter long course, 4:02.19 in the 500-yard short course and 4:26.61 in the 400-meter long course.
"We're very proud to get a local in breaststroker Michael Swain," said Bottom. "We are excited to have him join our group."
Feeley competed in 1,500-meter freestyle at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, finishing in the top three in his class. Feeley's personal-best freestyle short course yard times are: 21.90 in the 50, 46.58 in the 100, 1:39.87 in the 200, 4:28.93 in the 500 and 15:25.40 in the 1,650. In long course meters, Feeley's top times are: 25.20 in the 50, 52.91 in the 100, 1:53.70 in the 200, 3:59.60 in the 400 and 15:36.20 in the 1,500.
"Ryan Feeley is a distance specialist who also likes to swim short distances," said Bottom. "He is going to be a great distance swimmer, but we will train him from the 100 all the way to the mile. He is excited about that, and I don't think that can be done anywhere else in the country but here."
Fletcher won a pair of state championships at the 2008 Virginia AAA Swimming and Diving Championships, including a record-setting win in the 100-yard butterfly. Fletcher also won the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly state championships in 2007. Fletcher's top 100-meter freestyle time (long course) is 52.16. In the 100 butterfly, his top times are 48.49 (short course yards) and 55.10 (long course meters). In the 100-yard (short course) backstroke, Fletcher's personal best is 51.54.
"We believe Sean will be one of the fastest 100-meter butterflyers coming out of high school," said Bottom. "We expect that he is going to make some drops and be one of the fastest 100 flyers coming out of high school in history."
Gregg is a sprinter with top times of 20.98 in the 50-yard freestyle and 45.99 in the 100-yard freestyle (short course). In long-course meters, Gregg's top freestyle times are 23.74 in the 50 and 52.38 in the 100. Gregg also has personal bests of 50.49 in the 100-yard short course butterfly and 56.79 in the 100-meter long course butterfly. Gregg's father, John, ran track for Michigan (1959-61).
"Evan is an all-around swimmer," said Bottom. "We believe he will be a very good 200 IM swimmer and we are excited about him."
Wilson is another sprinter and has recorded top times of 21.18 in the 50-yard short course freestyle and 46.52 in the 100-yard short course freestyle. Wilson's other top 100-yard short course times include: 53.78 in the butterfly, 53.90 in the backstroke and 59.00 in the breaststroke.
"I think the sleeper of this class is Kevin Wilson," said Bottom. "Kevin's brother goes to Texas, but we were excited that Kevin chose to come to Michigan. He wants to swim the sprints but he is an all-around swimmer that could swim the 200 IM."
Novakoff has swum with The Race Club in Tavernier, Fla., the club that Bottom was associated with prior to his arrival at Michigan. Novakoff's top short course yard freestyle times are: 21.68 in the 50, 45.59 in the 100, 1:39.36 in the 200 and 4:33.37 in the 500. In long course meters, his top times are 24.50 (50), 52.27 (100), 1:53.72 (200) and 4:04.22 (400).
"I've worked with Andrew before as a club coach," said Bottom. "Andrew is a great leader and is a great 200 guy. He is one of the fastest 200 high schoolers coming out; he also swims the 500 and the 100."
Willets has earned high school All-America honors in both the 200-yard freestyle (1:40.2) and the 100-yard butterfly (51.21). At short course yard distances, he also has personal bests of 21.70 in the 50 free and 47.08 in the 100 free. In long course meters, Willets' top times include: 24.39 in the 50 freestyle, 53.07 in the 100 freestyle, 1:54.14 in the 200 freestyle and 59.18 in the 100 butterfly.
"Roman is another great 200 specialist that will be coming in to join the strong 200 specialists that we currently have on the team," said Bottom.
McCarroll is a butterfly and backstroke swimmer and has posted top times of 58.39 in the 100-meter backstroke, 2:03.54 in the 200-meter backstroke, 58.19 in the 100-meter butterfly and 2:08.35 in the 200-meter butterfly. McCarroll won the 2008 Oregon class 6A state championship in the 100-yard backstroke with a personal-best time of 51.20. His other short course yard personal bests include: 1:50.26 in the 200 backstroke, 50.77 in the 100 butterfly and 1:54.31 in the 200 butterfly.
"Connor McCarroll is going surprise some people," said Bottom. "He is a very talented swimmer who will swim the 100 fly and will be swimming the 100 back as well."
Allen won the 2008 Kentucky state high school diving championships with a score of 433.40, repeating as state champion after winning the 2007 crown with a score of 431.20.
"He is a kid that is gaining in strength and we believe that, working with our diving coaches, he'll prove to be a great diver in the future," said Bottom.
The 2008-09 Wolverines will return to the pool Dec. 4-6, when they compete in the USA Swimming Short Course Nationals in Atlanta, Ga.
Contact: Jeremy Reid (734) 763-4423