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Dec. 5, 2006

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head swimming and diving coach Don Gibb recently announced the commitment of five signees to the swimming team for the 2007-08 season. Signing confirmed letters of intent for the Gamecocks are Cassandra Cregar (Sewell, N.J.), Megan D’Urso (Suwanee, Ga.), Megan Sparks (Carmel, Ind.), and Christine and Claire Thompson (Largo, Fla.).

“I am extremely excited about this year’s recruiting class,” said Gibb. “All of these ladies will impact our program in so many different ways. This is without a doubt, the strongest incoming class we have had in my eight years at USC. I look forward to sharing in all their future successes both in and out of the pool.”

Cregar is a distance freestyle and butterfly swimmer that hails from Washington Township H.S. in Sewell, N.J. Cregar, an Olympic Trial qualifier, has U.S. Open, Junior and Senior National qualifying times and plans to study biology at USC.

“Cassie is an extremely driven and hard working individual who will add energy to our middle distance and distance freestyle corps,” said Gibb. “I have no doubt that she will get her name on the record board quickly and help the Lady Gamecocks climb the ladder of success in the SEC and the NCAA.”

D’Urso is the 2005 Georgia senior state breaststroke champion and has qualified for Junior Nationals and the U.S. Open. An All-American in the 100 breaststroke, D’Urso has three state titles, is the captain for North Gwinnett High School and is a scholar athlete. She swims for the club team, Swim Atlanta.

“Meg is a breaststroke specialist who will look to fill the shoes of Gamecock record holder, Lindsey Tiberio,” said Gibb. “She has a tremendous amount of potential and will play a key role in the success of our medley relays, as well as in the breaststroke and IM events. She has the capability of re-writing the breaststroke records before she graduates.”

Sparks is a nine-time NISCA All-American and a three-time Top 16 finisher at the U.S. Senior Nationals. She has finished among Indiana’s Top Ten for seven consecutive years, dating back to the 1998-99 season. Recruited to swim backstroke for the Gamecocks, Sparks is a three-time Indiana state champion and is a three-time runner-up, including finishing second her junior year in the 100-yard backstroke. A senior at Carmel H.S., Sparks plans on studying psychology at South Carolina.

“Megan Sparks is high energy and is a very versatile swimmer with a great competitive spirit,” said Gibb. “She can make a huge impact immediately both individually and on relays. Her enthusiasm and smile make everyone want to be around her.”

Rounding out the early signing period for the Gamecocks are the Thompson twins, Claire and Christine, from Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Fla. Christine is a five-time All-American that will swim distance events for the Gamecocks, and is a U.S. Open, Junior and Senior National qualifier. Christine plans to study pre-med at South Carolina.

“Christine is an outstanding trainer and competitor from West Florida Lightning Aquatics in Largo and Admiral Farragut Academy. She is extremely enthusiastic and eager to compete at the NCAA level,” said Gibb. “Tremendous student and energetic personality, who will bring a great deal of positive exposure for our program from the first day she steps on campus, I look for her to battle with the best the SEC and the NCAA has to offer.”

Claire is a four-time All-American who has also qualified for the U.S. Open, Junior and Senior Nationals, in addition to the U.S. Olympic Trials. Claire was named Pinellas County Athlete of the Year in 2004 and will compete in the mid-distance freestyle and butterfly events. Claire wants to pursue a degree in law.

“Claire also hails from West Florida Lightning Aquatics in Largo, Fla. and Admiral Farragut, where she is a standout club swimmer and high school star,” said Gibb. “She is a tenacious workout and meet swimmer who should make her mark at NCAA’s and the Southeastern Conference level right off the bat. Her broad range in the freestyle events will make her dangerous throughout the season.”