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Dec. 4, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Virginia swimming and diving head coach Mark Bernardino announced Tuesday (Dec. 4) that Zach Bunner, Andrea D’Arrigo, Gabriel Espinosa, Robert Leasure, Austin Quinn and Adam Whitener have signed National Letters-of-Intent to join the Cavalier men for the 2013-14 season.

“We’re very pleased with this group of men,” Bernardino said. “We feel we still have some unfinished business to do in the spring in terms of recruiting, but there is no question in our mind that this group is going to have a significant impact on Virginia swimming for many years to come. They’re versatile, which is critically important, and they understand what is so important to us: being part of a great team and being willing to make personal sacrifices for the good of the team.”

Zach Bunner
Marietta, Ga. – Lassiter High School
Chattahoochee Gold (Pat Murphy)

– NISCA All-American
– Georgia state champion in 200 IM
– Competed in the 100m back at the U.S. Olympic Trials

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters
100 Free – 46.27 100 Back – 57.31
100 Back – 49.14
100 Fly – 48.83
200 Fly – 1:46.96
200 IM – 1:50.31
400 IM – 3:53.57

Bernardino on Bunner: “Zach had a major breakthrough in the last 12 months with his swimming. He was a Junior National finalist and is a terrific kid. We’re very fortunate to get Zach. Some great programs recruited him, but he chose UVa. He has a world of potential in front of him in the butterfly events, the individual medley events and the backstroke events. He’s a six-event swimmer. We know that we need him immediately in the butterfly events for next year and he will be a critical part of this team. Much like Austin Quinn, the following year, he may be specializing in other events because that’s where the team needs him. He has good size, but has not matured physically yet. We’re excited in the knowledge that there is still a lot of physical growth and strength to come.”

Andrea D’Arrigo
Gainesville, Fla. – PK Yonge High School
Gator Swim Club (Jaime Lewis)

– Bronze medalist in 400m free at 2012 European Championships
– Italian U18 national record holder in 200 free
– Member of the 2011 Italian World Junior Championship roster
– Placed fifth in 200m free, 400m free and 4x200m free relay at WJC
– Won the 100m and 200m free at the 2011 European Youth Olympic Festival
– Ranks 74th in the 400m free in the current World Rankings

Short-Course Meters Long-Course Meters
100 Free – 49.71 100 Free – 51.38
200 Free – 1:45.16 200 Free – 1:49.34
400 Free – 3:42.32 400 Free – 3:51.72

Bernardino on D’Arrigo: “Andrea is fresh off of a phenomenal performance at the European Championships. He finished third in the 400-meter short course freestyle, setting a new Italian junior-national 18-and-under record. He’s a very good back-half swimmer and he splits his races very well. He’s a big, strong kid, who has very good underwater skills for such a young athlete. He is a very intelligent student and we are most fortunate to have him in this class. Andrea is really a gem. We feel he has the potential to challenge for a berth on either the Italian Olympic team or the U.S. Olympic team, as he is a dual citizen. He is top of the charts in terms of his ability and we still feel he has a lot of room for growth and improvement.”

Gabriel Espinosa
Phoenix, Ariz. – Brophy Prep
YMCA Westside Silver Fins (Matt Rankin)

– 2012 Arizona state champion in 50 and 100 free, as well as 200 free and 400 free relays
– Arizona Male Swimmer of the Year
– NISCA All-American

Short-Course Yards
50 Free – 20.67
100 Free – 45.04

Bernardino on Espinosa: “ Gabriel’s is a really interesting recruiting story. I saw Gabriel swim as a high school junior. I was impressed with him, and kept a watchful eye on him. A few weeks ago, Gabriel had an outstanding meet at the Arizona State high school championships, where he won both the 50 and 100 free. We’ve been searching for a sprinter for the future of our team. (Associate head coach) Chip (Kline) got on the phone with Gabriel and told him we really wanted him to come down and visit UVa and he came down a week before signing. He had a terrific visit and within 24 hours of his visit, he committed to UVa. He is a very impressive young man. He’s intelligent, and a kid of real character. He understood that he could come here and immediately become an impact player, not only in the 50 and 100 free, but also on our relays. He has potential for growth in the 200 free, and he is excited about that potential. He comes from the same program as freshman Chris Webb. He has swum on an outstanding high school team that won multiple state championship, so he understands what team is all about.”

Robert Leasure
Louisville, Ky. – St. Xavier High School
Lakeside Seahawks (Mike DeBoor)

– High School All-American
– All-Kentucky Second Team

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters
500 Free – 4:31.88 200 Back – 2:05.39
200 Back – 1:48.41 400 IM – 4:36.99
400 IM – 4:31.16

Bernardino on Leasure: “I feel really good about Robert. He’s a strong, powerful young man, who comes from a wonderful program under Mike DeBoor at Lakeside. The athletes that come from Lakeside historically show really good improvement in their college careers, including former UVA standout, Amanda Faulkner, our last great Lakeside swimmer. Robert is going to bring us some much needed help in the middle distance freestyle events, the individual medley events and the backstrokes. Another versatile athlete, he comes from a hard-working program. We like Robert’s attitude, his work ethic and his potential. We think he is going to give us some solid performances in events that we are going to need help in next year and down the road. He’s also a strong academic student.”

Austin Quinn
Chagrin Falls, Ohio – Chagrin Falls High School
Lake Erie Silver Dolphins (Jerry Holtrey)

– USA Swimming Scholastic All-American
– NICSA All-American
– Finalist in 400m IM at U.S. Junior Nationals
– Named an all-star by Cleveland’s Plain Dealer

Short-Course Yards Long-Course Meters
500 Free – 4:30.40 200 Back – 2:05.39
1650 Free – 15:41.98 200 IM – 2:06.62
200 IM – 1:51.44 400 IM – 4:28.25
400 IM – 3:57.27

Bernardino on Quinn: “Austin really caught our attention last spring. He made an unofficial visit to UVa and was an impressive young man in terms of personality, energy, poise and intelligence. He had a breakthrough summer and was a finalist at Junior Nationals in multiple events. He has a lot of versatility, so he’s going to come here and help us as an individual medley swimmer, as a middle distance/distance freestyler and as a backstroker. It may be that one year we need to utilize his skills in certain events and in the following year we need to use him someplace else. He’s a leader, a hard worker and he comes from a program that values a strong work ethic. We feel that he’s going to fit in really well with the direction our program is taking.”

Adam Whitener
Saline, Mich. – Saline High School
Club Wolverine (Kelton Graham)

– Back-to-back Michigan state champion in the 100 and 200 free
– NICSA All-American
– Silver medalist in 4×100 free relay at U.S. Junior Nationals

Short-Course Yards
50 Free – 21.10
100 Free – 45.32
200 Free – 1:39.11

Bernardino on Whitener: “Adam is a really nice young man. He has been on a state champion high school team a number of times, is a high-school All-American, and was Michigan state champion in the 100 and 200 free. You can never have too many good freestylers on your team. We think he has the potential to make an impact on our relays, most specifically our 400 and 800 free relays. He is a very smooth swimmer and is very strong. Adam had a really nice breakthrough year his junior year of high school. He really should develop into quite a swimmer in his senior year. We’re very excited about his leadership skills. He is an outstanding student and a terrific musician. He was very impressed with our academic programs here at UVa, as he had a very discerning eye when looking at schools that were strong in business and strong in music. We look for him to really become a major player on our freestyle relays all through his career, and hopefully to bolster our our opportunities for continued high finishes at the national level.”

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