North Carolina Swimming held its annual awards ceremony this week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually, and featured a special introduction from Olympic gold medalist Mel Stewart, who was himself an NCS age group swimmer.
The ceremony honored North Carolina club teams with several awards, including Swimmer of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Phillips Volunteer Award, and Life Member Awards.
Age group record-holder Claire Curzan was recognized as the 15-16 age group female of the year. Curzan broke the 15-16 National Age Group record in the 100 fly at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A State Championships in February, posting a personal best of 50.35. In 2019, Curzan also became the youngest female in history to break 22 seconds in the 50-yard free, swimming a time of 21.89 at the 2019 ESSZ Age Group Championships.
Also winning an award was Ross Dant, a freshman at NC State who gained attention when he swam a 1,650-yard backstroke at the GCY Winter YMCA last winter. At the 2019 YMCA Short Course National Championships last April, Dant won the 1,000 free in 8:50.29. That time is the 7th-fastest time in history for 17-18 boys. It also broke YMCA meet record by over 5 seconds.
Notably, Terry Fritch of SWIMMAC Carolina was honored as the Senior Coach of the Year. However, Fritch has since left his post there, having announced his resignation in August.
Here are the 2020 award winners:
|Swimmer of the Year|
|11-12 Girls||Mere Whelehan||TAC|
|11-12 Boys||Albert Smelzer||SGSA|
|13-14 Girls||Lily Welsh||TAC|
|13-14 Boys||Will Thompson||NCAC|
|15-16 Girls||Claire Curzan||TAC|
|15-16 Boys||Sam Hoover||NCAC|
|17-18 Girls||Ellie Marquardt||ATOM|
|17-18 Boys||Ross Dant||YSST|
|Andy Craver Award||Davis Carson||YOTA|
|Coach of the Year|
|Age Group Coach of the Year||Katherine Holian||SGSA|
|Age Group Coach of the Year||Sherwood Watts||NCAC|
|Senior Coach of the Year||Terry Fritch||MAC|
|Coach Leadership Award||Jon Jolley||YSST|
|Team of the Year|
|Division 3||Swim GSA|
|Phillips Volunteer Award||Lisa Olack|
|Life Member Awards||Jay Dodson|
The awards ceremony is available in segments on the NCS website.