Bryant Swimming & Diving Celebrates 2020-21 Season With Year-End Awards

Courtesy: Bryant Athletics

Smithfield, R.I. – The Bryant University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams celebrated the 2020-21 season with their annual end of the year banquet on Saturday, April 17.

It was a historic year for both of the programs as the men and women won the 2021 Northeast Conference Championships this season. The women won their fourth straight, and the men won their first NEC title in program history.

Teammate of the Year

Award Description: The Teammate of the Year Award is given to the individual who embodies what it means to be a team player – to push, cheer, and help their teammates throughout the entirety of the year. This award is voted upon by their teammates.

Chris McHeffey earned the award on the men’s side. McHeffey competed in the breaststroke for the Bulldogs and posted top times of 1:05.36 and 2:27.55 in the 100 and 200 breast.

Meghan Veenstra claimed the award on the women’s side. Veenstra recorded times of 2:09.07, 2:10.33, and 4:36.39 in the 200 fly, 200 IM, and 400 IM at the NEC Championships. She was also a captain this season.

Nicole Salzano Perseverance Award

Award Description: The Nicole Salzano Perseverance Award is not given every season, the individual has to be completely deserving of the award. It is awarded to an individual who has been faced with adversity and was courageous and strong to overcome it.

This year’s award recipient is Gabrielle Ritzer. Ritzer was named the NEC Diver of the Week twice this season and placed third in the one-meter dive (188.25) at the NECs.

Most Improved

Award Description: The Most Improved Award is given to the individual who showed the most improvement during the course of the season. This is awarded to the person who has shown great time improvements, as well as personal growth in the sport.

Sara Gendron won the most improved award for the women. Gendron earned second-place in the 200 fly (2:04.94) and a bronze medal in the 100 fly with a time of 55.84 at the NECs.

Jackson McDonough was named the most improved on the men’s team. McDonough registered times of 21.34, 52.95, and 47.15 in the B finals of the 50, 200, and 100 free during the NECs.

Rookie of the Year

Award Description: The Rookie of the Year is awarded to the freshman Bulldog swimmer or diver who made a big impact on the team. This person dealt well with the transition into collegiate swimming and demonstrated their ability to contribute in all aspects of the team.

Chase Konstantakos took home the award on the men’s side. Konstantakos won a silver medal in the 500 free (4:33.22) and helped the 800 free relay team win the bronze at the NECs. He was also named the NEC Rookie of the Week this season.

Julia Stenhård was named the women’s Rookie of the Year. Stenhård had a great debut for the Bulldogs. She was awarded the NEC Rookie of the Meet after winning silver medals in the 100 fly (55.79) and the 100 back (54.72). She also earned the honor of NEC Swimmer and Rookie of the week.

Most Valuable Player

Award Description: The MVP Award is given to the individual who has a large contribution to the team. This individual is extremely vital to the program during the course of the season including practice, dual meets, and the NEC Conference meet.

Alexa Rivera received the MVP award for the women’s team. Rivera won a gold medal in the 100 fly (55.48) and a silver in the 50 (23.22) and 100 free (51.25) during the NECs. Rivera was named the NEC Swimmer of the Week three times this season.

Matthew Mastroianni earned the male MVP award. Mastroianni placed third in the 100 free (45.46) and was a part of three relay teams that made it to the podium at the NECs.

Diving High Point

Award Description: The Diving High Point Award is given to the individual diver that scores the most points throughout the course of the season, including dual meets and the NEC Conference meet.

Kyri Chambo earned the Diving High Point award this season. Chambo won her second NEC Diver of the Meet honor in a row after winning gold in the one and three-meter dives with scores of 241.20 and 215.80.

Bulldog Award

Award Description: The Bulldog Award is given by the athletic department, is the highest honor in our program.  It is given to the male and female swimmer who has displayed all-around excellence.  High GPA, team leader, active participant in community events and recruiting events, and of course success in the pool.

Matthew Mays took home the Bulldog Award on the men’s team. Mays earned the NEC Swimmer of the Meet award at the NEC Championships. Mays won gold medals in the 200 IM (1:48.21), 100 back (48.17), and the 200 back (1:44.06). He also set the school record in the 200 back.

Erin Doruska won the Bulldog Award on the women’s team. Doruska placed third in the 100 and 200 free with times of 51.54 and 1:51.34. She was also a part of the 200 free relay team that set a school record (1:32.83) at the Championships.

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