Dec. 19, 2003
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia head men’s and women’s swimming coach Mark Bernardino has announced that 11 swimmers have committed to attend the University of Virginia. Six men’s swimmers and five women’s swimmers have signed national letters of intent with the Cavaliers during the early signing period and will enroll at Virginia for the 2004-05 academic year.
The six Virginia men’s swimming recruits are: Charles Cunnick (Davenport, Iowa/Davenport Central); Ryan Hurley (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep); Pat Mellors (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic); Brett Murphy (Oakmont, Pa./Shady Side Academy); Kevin Nead (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian); and PJ Sullivan (Franklin, Mass./Bishop Feehan). Three of the Cavaliers’ six men’s signees are members of the National Junior Team.
The five women’s recruits are: Amber Bialas (Virginia Beach, Va./Tallwood); Stephanie Glover (Raleigh, N.C./Athens Drive); Jess Lewis (Allentown, Pa./Parkland); Julie McLaughlin (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Bishop Hoban); and Anna Steenrod (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Latin). All five recruits are High School All-Americans.
Charles Cunnick is from Davenport, Iowa and swims for Bettendorf Swim Club. He is a High School All-American and an Iowa State champion. The U.S. Open qualifier’s top times include: 100y fly (49.55), 200y free (1:42.10), and 500y free (4:33.66). “Charlie is not only an exceptional swimmer but also a great tri-athlete. We think Charlie will make immediate contributions in the butterfly and freestyle events,” said Bernardino.
Ryan Hurley, from Potomac, Md., is a member of the National Junior Team. He also swims for Curl-Burke Swim Club. The breaststroker is a Senior Nationals scorer and Olympic Trials qualifier. Hurley’s top long course meters times include: 100 breast (1:05.56) and 200 breast (2:18.16). “Ryan is one of the top young breaststrokers in the country. He is one of three athletes that we’ve signed from the National Junior Team. Ryan comes from a long line of great breaststrokers from the Curl-Burke Swim Club”.
Pat Mellors is from Pittsburgh, Pa., and is also a member of the National Junior Team. He was one of the top-ranked Scholastic All-Americans in 2003. Mellors, who swims for JCC Sailfish, is a Senior Nationals scorer and 2004 Olympic Trials qualifier. His top long course meters times include: 200 free (1:52.79), 400 free (4:00.38), 200 I.M. (2:05.96) and 400 I.M. (4:28.22). “Pat will bring tremendous versatility in the freestyle and individual medley events. He is also a member of the National Junior Team. Pat’s teammate Brett Murphy will also join the Cavaliers next year,” he said.
Brett Murphy, from Oakmont, Pa., is a sprint freestyle High School All-American. He also swims for JCC Sailfish and is a U.S. Open qualifier. Murphy’s top times include: 50y free (21.25), 100y free (45.50), 200y free (1:42.06), and 200y I.M. (1:51.15). “Brett will be able to help us immediately in the sprint freestyle and individual medley events. Both Brett and teammate Pat Mellors will continue a strong tradition of Cavalier swimmers from the Pittsburgh area.”
Kevin Nead, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is the third UVa recruit who is a member of the National Junior Team. He is a 2002 U.S. Swimming All-American in the 400 I.M. In addition, Nead is a High School All-American, a Senior Nationals finalist as well as an Olympic Trials qualifier. Nead, who swims for the Anderson Barracudas, has top times of: 200y free (1:40.02), 500y free (4:22.95), 1000y free (9:08.73), 1650y free (15:20.51), 200y I.M. (1:52.50), and 400y I.M. (3:51.48). “Kevin is one of the fastest developing individual medley and distance freestyle swimmers in the country. Kevin is one of three incoming Cavaliers on the National Junior Team. We have high hopes for Kevin both nationally and internationally.”
Rounding out the men’s recruits is PJ Sullivan from Franklin, Mass. The Scholastic All-American competes for the Magnus Aquatic Club. Sullivan is a Senior Nationals participant. His top times include: 100y breast (58.20), 200y breast (2:03.28), and 400y I.M. (4:00.70). “PJ is an up and coming athlete in the breaststroke and individual medley events. PJ has had significant time drops over the past year and should continue his rapid progression well into his collegiate years,” said Bernardino.
“The coaching staff is extremely proud of the quality of people and quality of athletes that we’ve signed for the fall of 2004. This is probably the strongest class in terms of quality and depth that we’ve ever signed at Virginia during the fall signing period. Being able to add three members of the National Junior Team should prove to be quite a bonanza, at least on paper. Although we are graduating some of the finest swimmers Virginia has ever produced, we feel that the incoming class of first years will be up to the task of stepping in and contributing immediately. That being said, we are still in the process of recruiting two more elite international caliber swimmers. We believe that all of these athletes have their best swimming ahead of them in their collegiate and international careers while at Virginia,” he said.
Amber Bialas, from Virginia Beach, Va., is a High School All-American and a Scholastic All-American. The U.S. Open qualifier competes for Tidewater Aquatic Club. The sprint freestyler’s top times include: 50y free (23.67) and 100y free (51.94). “Amber is an up and coming sprinter and the top sprinter coming out of the state of Virginia this year. She will contribute immediately to the sprint freestyle events and sprint freestyle relays,” Bernardino said.
Stephanie Glover is from Raleigh, N.C., and is one of the top recruits in the nation. She is a High School All-American as well as a Scholastic All-American. The Senior Nationals scorer swims for the Raleigh Swim Association. Her top times include: 50y free (23.60), 100y free (51.33), 100y back (56.38), 200y back (2:00.58), and 100y fly (55.05). “Stephanie is one of the top recruits in the country and one of the top two recruits from the state of North Carolina. She will make immediate contributions in the sprint events, particularly butterfly, backstroke and freestyle.”
Jess Lewis, who is from Allentown, Pa., is also a High School All-American and a Scholastic All-American. The sprint freestyler competes for Parkland Aquatic Club and is a Senior Nationals qualifier. Lewis is a Pennsylvania State champion and record holder. Her top times include: 50y free (23.13), 100y free (50.21), and 200y free (1:50.75). “On paper Jess is the fastest incoming sprinter ever signed by the University of Virginia. Jess will contribute immediately at the NCAA level in the individual sprints and all relays,” Bernardino said.
Julie McLaughlin is a High School All-American from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. McLaughlin swims for the Bloomsburg Area YMCA and is a Senior Nationals participant. Her top times in the breaststroke are: 100y breast (1:04.18) and 200y breast (2:19.08). “Julie will add much needed depth in the breaststroke events and should challenge for a position on the ACC scoring team.”
The fifth women’s recruit is Anna Steenrod from Charlotte, N.C. Steenrod is the fourth recruit who is both a High School All-American and a Scholastic All-American. The Senior Nationals scorer swims for Mecklenburg Aquatic Club. Steenrod’s top times include: 100y breast (1:03.23), 200y breast (2:17.85), 200y I.M. (2:02.91), and 400y I.M. (4:19.08). “Anna is one of the top recruits in the country and one of the top two recruits from the state of North Carolina. Anna will be an immediate contributor in the individual medley and breaststroke races,” he said.
“Overall we feel like we have added tremendous front-line talent and depth in our two greatest areas of need: sprinting and breaststroke. These young women are just beginning to scratch the surface of their capabilities. We are excited to be able to sign women of their caliber, character and work ethic and look for great things from them over the course of their collegiate careers,” remarked Bernardino.