The decision to return men’s swimming to status as an official WAC Championship is paying immediate dividends for the conference. Earlier this week, CSU Bakersfield junior Mitchell Huxhold was named the conference’s Male Athlete of the Year across all sports.
He was already named Swimmer of the Year a few months ago when he broke the WAC records in both the 500 and 1650 freestyles at the 2014 Championship meet. His times would qualify him for the 2014 NCAA Championship meet, where he finished 16th in the 500 free to earn All-America status from the CSCAA.
“Mitchell came to us as a recruited walk-on three years ago from the San Diego area,” said Bakersfield head coach Chris Hansen. “Within the first week of practice his freshman year, I knew we had something special. That summer he made the Olympic Trials and has been working extremely hard to make his goal of making the NCAA Championships. He came just shy of that goal his sophomore year but came through big time as a junior, finishing the championships as an All-American and having the ninth fastest time in the country in the 1650 free. He is the definition of a dedicated athlete. His hard work got him to where he is now.”
Huxhold is the first men’s swimmer to win the award since 1997-1998, and the first ever winner from CSUB – 2013-2014 was their first season in the conference. The WAC itself started sponsoring men’s swimming again last year after an extended absence. The conference last sponsored the sport from 1962-2000.