Alabama swimmer Anton McKee was presented as the 2017 H. Boyd McWhorter Male Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year during the league’s annual awards banquet held Thursday night in Destin, Fla., during the league’s spring meetings.
McKee, who graduated in May with a degree in management information systems and a 4.0 grade point average, closed out his Crimson Tide career in April as the 2017 NCAA 200 breaststroke runner-up. He also earned multiple CoSIDA Academic All-America honors while helping lead Alabama to three consecutive NCAA top-10 finishes, marking the first time Alabama has posted a trio of top-10 finishes in a row since 1981-83.
“As he proved again tonight, Anton is a tremendous ambassador for The University of Alabama and our Athletics Department,” UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said. “He is someone who worked extremely hard from day one to be his very best in all aspects of the collegiate experience, which is why he is the epitome of what we look for in a student-athlete at Alabama.”
In addition to Byrne, Alabama President Dr. Stuart Bell, Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. James King and Senior Associate Athletics Director and swimming and diving administrator Marie Robbins were among those on hand to honor McKee.
McKee thanked SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and the conference as well as the Alabama administration during the evening’s events, saying, “the work that you do makes our dreams as student-athletes possible.”
McKee also thanked his parents, Helga and Róbert, who were in the audience.
“Lastly, and most importantly, I must thank my parents for their enduring love and guidance – without them none of this would be possible,” McKee said. “They have been with me every step of the journey, and are the foundation upon which everything I have accomplished is built.”
With McKee’s honor, Alabama has the most in the award’s 32-year history with 11. The Crimson Tide has earned eight honors since 2000, the most in the SEC over that span. McKee’s win also puts Alabama in first place when it comes to the men’s side of the slate with six.
“Throughout his career, Anton continued a Crimson Tide tradition of overall excellence that has resulted in an SEC-best 11 of our men and women being named the H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year,” Byrne said. “To lead the SEC in this singular honor is a great accomplishment for our University and a point of great pride for the Alabama family.”
McKee joins Julie Estin (1987, gymnastics), Jeff Laubenthal (1992, baseball), Meredith Willard (1997, gymnastics), Kristin Sterner (2003, gymnastics), Lauren Imwalle (2004, soccer), Emeel Salem (2007, baseball), Joseph Sykora (2008, golf), Barrett Jones (2013, football), Cory Whitsett (2014, golf) and Haylie McCleney (2016, softball) among the Tide’s SEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
McKee and female honoree Sarah Gibson, a swimmer from Texas A&M, were chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from SEC universities and both will receive a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship.
McKee set the SEC record on the way to winning the 2014 SEC 200 breaststroke title and is the Alabama record holder in the 100 and 200 breaststroke as well as the 200 individual medley and as part of the 400 medley relay.
“I share this award with my teammates,” McKee said. “Their encouragement, inspiration and continued brotherhood helped me grow not only as an athlete, but as a person and together we brought Alabama Swimming and Diving to new heights. To my coaches, Dennis Pursley, Will Leonhart and our entire staff, thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to succeed.”
He competed for Iceland at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, posting a top-20 finish in the 200 breaststroke at the 2016 Rio Olympics. At the 2015 FINA World Championships, he recorded top-20 finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, setting the Icelandic national record in both events.
Follow Alabama swimming and diving on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at AlabamaSwimDive.
Swimming news courtesy of Alabama Athletics.