Dec. 3, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina swimming and diving program signed 10 student-athletes during the early signing period, head coach McGee Moody announced today.
The Gamecocks signed Bryce Kananowicz (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho), Patrick McCrillis (Reno, Nev.), Travis Morrin (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.), and Tomas Peribonio (Atlanta, Ga.) to the men’s team.
“This isn’t the biggest class that we’ve ever had, but it’s one of the most talented” Moody said. “They have some of the top times in country in their events and it’s going to be fun working with them and watching them continue to develop and get faster. These guys have very big goals; they want to swim internationally and in the Olympics so it’s our job to get them there.”
The women’s side added Kersten Dirrane (Rumney, Mass.), Heather Merritt (Charlotte, N.C.), Brittany Oxley (Folsom, Calif.), Marissa Roth (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Tierney Shimansky (Gainesville, Fla.) and Taylor Worrell (Westampton, N.J.).
“We do have some pretty big numbers in terms of our total class and I think we’ve hit the top end well and have also filled the needs that we have,” Moody noted. “We’re really looking forward to bringing them into the existing roster. I think we have a good group that will fit into the dynamic that we’re trying to build.
“With the addition of a number of walk-ons on both teams, we have an outstanding class coming in, one of the best that we’ve brought in, so we’re excited to see how this develops for us.”
South Carolina Swimming and Diving Early Signing Class
Bryce Kananowicz – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Event(s): IM/Backstroke/Butterfly/Middle Distance Freestyle
Moody on KananowiczÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “He’s considered the most underrated senior coming out this year in terms of having the most upside. We saw him as someone who can immediately make our program better. He’s already put up some of the top times in the country in the IM, backstroke and even early this season in the fly and freestyles. We see him as a guy who can get very good very quickly. We see him scoring at SEC’s and making it to NCAA’s in his first year.”
Patrick McCrillis – Reno, Nev.
Event(s): Sprint Freestyle/Breaststroke
Moody on McCrillisÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “He’s a sprint freestyler who finaled at junior nationals a couple times and has put up some very fast times. Assistant coach Kevin Swander recruited him most of the way and he spoke very highly him, said he thinks he’s someone who can break our sprint free records which is a pretty big deal since those records are held by Zsolt Gaspar. He’s a guy who we’ll look to bring in and get in the weight room and get him stronger. He’s already a big, tall kid so he fits the mold of an SEC sprinter.”
Travis Morrin – Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Event(s): Distance Freestyle/Middle Distance Freestyle
Moody on MorrinÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “He’s an in-state kid who I’ve known for awhile. His older sister attends East Carolina and is a distance swimmer as is he. Every time I see him I think he’s about two inches taller than before. He’s about 6-5 or 6-6 now and has the potential to add another inch or two when it’s all said and done. He’s listed as distance freestyler now, but if he’s closer to 6-8, we’re going to try and work his yardage down a bit and make him a middle distance guy. We’re glad to keep him in state as we want to keep our best athletes in the state and provide them an environment at South Carolina where they can stay and get the best swimming here.”
Tomas Peribonio – Atlanta, Ga.
Event(s): IM/Middle Distance Freestyle
Moody on TomasÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “Between Tomas and Bryce, they will create quite the training environment for our IMs. Both have posted some of the fastest 400 IMs in the country for high school seniors. Tomas is also a very good 500 freestyler and we need some guys to fill that roll next year since we’re losing Michael Falch and Gerard Rodriguez. I think that’s where we see him going and I think he’s going to shine in that spot very early. He’s from a very big program in SwimAtlanta where they’ve given him the tools, and it’s just our job to fine tune it and make him faster.”
Kersten Dirrane – Rumney, Mass.
Moody on DirraneÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “We were looking for breastrokers since we’ll lose Amanda Rutqvist so we’re looking for Kersten to come in and fill that roll. We have Ellen Johnson and Elise Weisert coming back but we need depth in that event and we look to have Kersten fill that roll.”
Heather Merritt – Charlotte, N.C.
Moody on MerrittÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “Heather comes in right on our varsity records in the 100 and 200 backstroke. Middle distance freestyle, she will be one of our fastest in that event and we’ll also look to work her into the IM. That’s an event she likes to do, but really her main focus for us will be the backstroke and freestyle and I think she has big upside. She’s going to continue to get better. We’ll look for her to score some pretty big points for us at SEC’s and hopefully within a year or so she’ll get to NCAA’s.”
Brittany Oxley – Folsom, Calif.
Moody on OxleyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “A breaststroker from California, she has some great times in the 200. Along with Kersten, we’ve hit both the 100 and 200 as they each bring something different. They have some big shoes to fill, but I’m confident that they can do it. The thing that I love is that she’s excited to be here. She’s coming a long way, but she wants to be a Gamecock.”
Marissa Roth – Chattanooga, Tenn.
Diving coach Todd Sherritt on MarissaÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “She is not just the top female diver coming out of Tennessee, but one of the top recruits in the country. She will immediately impact our program and bring points to the SEC and NCAA Championships. She will be part of an already good team we have returning next year. I look forward to seeing her diving go to a new level and will enjoy coaching her and very talented group of divers.”
Tierney Shimansky – Gainesville, Fla.
Event(s): Distance Freestyle
Moody on ShimanskyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “She was a very big get for us. I know there were a lot of schools after her. She’s a distance freestyler, which we need. We have Victoria Mitchell, but we need depth in the distance freestyle events. We’re looking forward to getting her up here and continue to watch her develop over the next four years. She’s going to fill a big role for us in the distance group.”
Taylor Worrell – Westampton, N.J.
Moody on WorrellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ “Her older sister swims for Louisville and we talked about that a lot. She wants to be here and we wanted her to be here. She has amazing upside. She’s a freestyler and she has pretty good range from the 200 up to the distance, and even down if we need her on relays too. She’s somebody who can help solidify things. She will help free up other girls to swim other events.”