Grace Ariola & Sean Lehane Win Illinois Swimmer of the Year Awards

Karl Ortegon
by Karl Ortegon 4

October 04th, 2017 Club, News

Illinois Swimming held its annual awards banquet on October 1st, announcing recipients of various awards over the past year.

Teenage standout Grace Ariola won the women’s swimmer of the year award, while Sean Lehane took the men’s honors Sunday night.

Ariola had a huge summer, racing for Team USA at the World Junior Championships. She won individual medals in the 50 free (silver) and 50 back (bronze), then provided consistent big splits on US relays to help her country earn silver medals in the women’s 4×100 free relay, women’s 4×100 medley relay, mixed 4×100 free relay, and mixed 4×100 medley relay. She’s currently in high school season representing Normal Community HS, and she’ll head south to Austin to start her career as a Longhorn next fall at the University of Texas.

Ariola swims club with Waves Bloomington/Normal YMCA Swim Team.

Lehane reached A finals in both backstrokes at U.S. Nationals this summer. Representing the Academy Bullets, Lehane touched 4th in the 200 back and 7th in the 100 back. An alumnus of the University of Tennessee, Lehane already has international experience under his belt as a competitor at the 2015 Pan Am Games, where he won the gold in the 200 back.

Delta Aquatics’ Grace Cooper and Academy Bullets’ Spencer Walker took home awards for Breakthrough Athlete of the Year. Senior coach of the year went to Waves Bloomington’s Charles Yourd, while Kyle Bubolz was awarded both age group coach and developmental coach of the year.

Full list of award winners below:

2017 Illinois Swimming Recognition Banquet Award Winners

OCEAN’S APPAREL SCHOLARSHIP AWARD WINNERS

  • Female: Georgia White (DELTA)
  • Male: Jeffery Vitek (WEST)

CAROLYN LAMBERT AWARDS (Senior)

  • Short Course: Academy Bullets
  • Long Course: Academy Bullets

TOP PERFORMERS RECOGNIZED

DON DRUMM AWARDS (Age Group)

  • Short Course: Academy Bullets
  • Long Course: Academy Bullets

SENIOR

OPEN WATER

  • Athlete of the Year Mackenzie Arens (ACAD)
  • Coach of the Year Heather Fort (ACAD)

DISABLITY

  • Athlete of the Year:  Tucker Dupree (NTSC)
  • Coach of the Year:  Alexis Keto (NTSC)

COACHES

  • SENIOR Coach of the Year: Charlie Yourd (WAVES-BNY)
  • AGE GROUP Coach of the Year Kyle Bubolz (CWAC)
  • DEVELOPMENTAL Coach of the Year Kyle Bubolz (CWAC)

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

  • Joanie Gilbert – (GA)

PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

  • Female Performance of the Year – Grace Ariola for 100 Backstroke at World Juniors (WAVES-BNY)
  • Male Performance of the Year – Sean Lehane for 200 Backstroke at Summer USA Nationals (ACAD)

SWIMMER OF THE YEAR

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4 Comments on "Grace Ariola & Sean Lehane Win Illinois Swimmer of the Year Awards"

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Well deserved awards! I remember being at Senior Championships this year and looking at the state records on the heat sheet to find that the 50 free was the 25.0 Ariola had just swam at U.S. Nationals! (Since dropped to 24.8) I also remember being at Speedo sectionals in Minnesota as Grace Cooper dropped insane amounts of time in the 50m and 100m freestyle. (26.53-25.38) and (58.87-56.38)

I agree completely. As someone who grew up in IL Swimming and still follows it closely, I think all these awards were very well deserved.

Are these awards only for age-group swimmers? Or for swimmers who currently train year-round in Illinois? Smoliga and Cordes are both Illinois natives, and if they were eligible for these awards I don’t see how they would not have won it.

Swamfan – these awards are from the Illinois Swimming LSC, or Local Swimming Committee. Neither Smoliga nor Cordes are affiliated with clubs in the Illinois LSC. Cordes’ most recent swims are registered in the Southeastern LSC and Smoliga competes in the Georgia LSC.

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studies and swims at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and has been in the pool ever since. He misses Vine.

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