May 17, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State swimming and diving teams announced the signings of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The Seminoles second group of signees for 2006 features three male swimmers, three female swimmers and two female divers. The new additions on the men’s team will be Shawn Erickson (Tallahassee, Fla.), Matthew Skinner (Pensacola, Fla.) and Nick Graves (Lexington, Ky.) while the newcomers on the women’s squad will feature Kristina Helmers (Pennington, N.J.), Lindsay Guers (Orwigsburg, Pa.), Tiffany Elias (Phoenix, Ariz.), Katie Sirounis (Indian Harbor Beach, Fla.) and Melanie Cabassol (Montgomery, Texas).
“The signings this spring are a good combination of quality recruits that are going to help us at the conference and NCAA levels,” said head coach Neil Harper. “They are also going to provide us with some good depth. We are excited about the signings and the size of the class because we feel that we got quality in numbers. I think they are really going to provide a good complement to the fall signings and especially our two returning teams that are very strong. We are really excited to get started.”
Erickson comes to Florida State as a high school All-American in the 500 free. He is a member of the 2004 Florida Swimming Zone Team and is the regional record holder in the 500 free. He currently attends Lawton Chiles High School where he holds seven school records. Erickson is also a three-time Florida Swimming Senior Champs Champion. Throughout high school Erickson was on the honor roll 12 times.
Skinner is a nine time FHSAA State Finalist at Gulf Breeze High School. Skinner also swims for Club Makos where FSU assistant coach James Barber used to be head coach. Skinner was a Junior National Finalist and a three-time member of the Pinch a Penny All-Area Team. The Pensacola News Journal named him their All-Area Swimmer of the Year for the 2005-06 season. During his last three semesters of high school he was dually enrolled which allowed him to take college level courses for both high school and college credit.
Graves is a 2008 Olympic Trial Qualifier in the 1500 m free as well as a high school All-American in the 500 free. He currently attends Sayre High School, where he won the 2006 Kentucky State Championship in the 500 free. Graves, captain at Sayre in 2006, earned First Team All-State honors (2006), Outstanding Regional Competitor (2005, 2006) and All-Region Team honors (2004, 2005, 2006). He also had the prestigious honor of being selected to participate in the 2006 USA Swimming Open Water Select Camp which will occur this summer in Ft. Myers, Fla. At the 2006 Spring Nationals, he finished eighth in the 1500 m free and 16th in the 800 m free. At the 2005 Junior Nationals, he finished eighth in the 1500 m free and 12th in the 800 m free. Academically, Graves earned a spot on the director’s and faculty’ lists throughout high school and was the school, city and regional science fair category winner in 2005.
Helmers currently attends Hopewell Valley Central High School and during her freshman year she helped lead the team to their only sectional title in school history. She was also named to the New Jersey All-State Team that season. She gave up high school swimming after her freshman year to concentrate on her club team, USS Team: Scarlet Aquatic Club. She then became a Junior National Qualifier in the 200 IM, 400 IM, 100 fly, 100 free and was a member of the club’s National Qualifying relays (400 free, 800 free and 400 medley) for the last three years. She is currently a member of the 400 medley relay that holds the New Jersey state record. She earned scholastic All-American honors for three years, was a member of the National Honor Society in 11th and 12th grade and was on the honor roll throughout high school.
Guers, who currently attends Blue Mountain High School, brings with her an impressive sprint freestyle resume to Florida State. As a senior she won the Pennsylvania High School State Championship in the 50 and 100 free and also helped lead her team to a district championship. As a junior and sophomore, she was the runner-up at states in both the 50 and 100 free and as a freshman she finished third in the 50 free and fourth in the 100 free. Guers is a member of the National Honors Society as well as the Math Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta.
Elias is another solid all around swimmer who will add depth to the Seminoles in multiple areas. She won Arizona State High School Championship in the 500 free (2003), 100 fly (2004), and 200 free (2005) at Xavier College Preparatory. During all four years at Xavier, Elias earned All-American, All-State and All-Region honors as well as leading her team to four state / regional titles. She is a part of the relay that set the Arizona high school state record in the 400 free relay in 2004 and the National Independent School record in the 200 medley relay in 2005. She holds Xavier school records in the 100 fly, 200 IM and 400 free relay. Her team was Girls National Champions in NISCA National Dual Meet Ranking in 2005. She was team captain during her senior year and was three-time team MVP. In the classroom she earned first honors, was a NISCA Academic All-American (2005) and received the President’s Education Award (2006).
Sirounis is a two-time 2A Florida High School State Champion in diving at Satellite High School. She was also the regional, district and conference champion. She was named the Orlando Sentinel Athlete of the Year, made the Florida Today First Team for two years in a row and was selected as an All-American. Sirounis was also named to the Pinch a Penny All-State Team.
Cabassol, who graduated early from Montgomery High School in 2005, finished second during two consecutive years at the 4A Texas State Diving Championships and was fifth on the platform at AAU nationals in 2005. She won the regional high school diving championship in 2004. She earned First Team All-State honors and was an All-American Qualifier during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. She was named TAGDA Diver of the Year three times (1997, 1998, 1999) and NWTDA Diver of the Year four times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001). Cabassol earned Academic All-District in 2005.