Although we’re still waiting on a few conference announcements, a number of the yearly swimming and diving awards have been presented. Below are the biggest swimming/diving-related awards for the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC, as voted on by the coaches of their respective conferences. Once we get word of the remaining big conferences (Big XII, Pac-12, Big East), we will post those, along with a round-up of some academic honors.
ACC awards (announced 04/04/2013)
Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Tom Luchsinger, University of North Carolina
Men’s Freshman of the Year: Luke Papendick, University of Virginia
Men’s Diver of the Year: Nick McCrory, Duke University
Men’s Coach of the Year: Braden Holloway, North Carolina State University
Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Cari Blalock, University of North Carolina
Women’s Freshman of the Year: Courtney Bartholomew, University of Virginia
Women’s Diver of the Year: Kara McCormack, University of Miami
Women’s Coach of the Year: Rich DeSelm, University of North Carolina
North Carolina won three of the six swimming awards, including both Swimmer of the Year honors, with Tom Luchsinger and Cari Blalock taking the men’s and women’s awards, respectively. Luchsinger won the 200 fly and 400 IM at the ACC Championships, and followed that up with 5th and 16th place finishes in those events at NCAA’s. He is the fifth UNC swimmer to win this award, but is the first in almost two decades (1996). Pablo Sankovich of Florida State looked to be the favorite to win after a brilliant performance at ACC’s, but he really underperformed at NCAA’s.
Blalock was a double event winner at ACC’s individually (winning the 400 IM and 200 fly), and really rose to the occasion a few weeks later in Indianapolis. There, Blalock scored in all three individual events, setting ACC records in both IM events and claiming a top three finish in the 200 butterfly (missing the ACC record there by 0.06).
A pair of UVA swimmers, (Luke Papendick and Courtney Bartholomew) earned Freshman of the Year honors for the Wahoos. At NCAA’s, Papendick, a first year from Kinnelon, New Jersey, bettered his time from the ACC Championships to win the consolation final in the 200 back. On the women’s side, in her first year, Bartholomew captured ACC titles in both backstroke events, and went on to finish 9th and 10th in the 100 and 200 at NCAA’s.
Braden Holloway became the first NC State coach to capture Men’s Coach of the Year honors since 1992 after leading the Wolfpack to an ACC-best 15th place finish at NCAA’s. With a young squad led by Jonathan Boffa and Barrett Mieseld and more talent coming in, the future looks bright for NC State.
Rich DeSelm of North Carolina was named Women’s Coach of the Year for the second year in a row after leading the Tarheel women to the highest NCAA finish of any ACC team, despite losing potential NCAA champion Stephanie Peacock to an illness.
On the diving side of things, Nick McCrory of Duke and Kara McCormack of Miami were named Male and Female Diver of the Year.
SEC awards (announced 2/28/2013)
Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Marcelo Chierighini, Auburn University
Men’s Freshman of the Year: Chase Kalisz, University of Georgia
Men’s Diver of the Year: David Bonuchi, University of Missouri
Men’s Coach of the Year: Gregg Troy, University of Florida
Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Breeja Larson, Texas A&M University
Women’s Freshman of the Year: Natalie Hinds, University of Florida
Women’s Diver of the Year: Tori Lamp, University of Tennessee
Women’s Coach of the Year: Jack Bauerle, University of Georgia
While most conferences wait until after the conclusion of NCAA’s, the SEC awards were selected immediately after the SEC Championships at the end of February. Marcelo Chierighini of Auburn and Breeja Larson of Texas A&M were named Men’s and Women’s Swimmer of the Year. Chierighini won two conference sprint titles, and was a part of four winning relays for the Tigers. In Indianapolis, the Brazilian native was runner-up in the 50 and 100 freestyle, and led off Auburn’s winning 200 freestyle relay. The Larson pick was a no-brainer; the Aggie junior broke NCAA, U.S. Open, and American records in both breaststroke events during the season. Although she didn’t live up to expectations at NCAA’s, she won the 100 breaststroke, was 3rd in the 200, and swam critical legs on three Aggie relays.
Chase Kalisz of Georgia was voted Men’s Freshman of the Year, thanks to victories in both IM events at the SEC Championships. He followed that performance up with a win in the 400 IM at NCAA’s that included [what we believe to be] the fastest breaststroke split (59.83) in history (if somebody was able to find one that was faster, please share in the comments section). Florida’s Natalie Hinds was given the women’s version of this award, thanks to a fantastic championship performance of her own. Hinds won the 100 fly title at SEC’s, finished in the A-Final in two other events, and scored 33 individual points at NCAA’s.
Gregg Troy (Florida) and Jack Bauerle (Georgia) were given Coach of the Year honors. Troy earned his fifth Men’s Coach of the Year honor after his Gator squad snapped Auburn’s streak of 16-straight SEC team titles this February. Florida eventually finished 6th at NCAA’s, just 3.5 points out of a top four spot. This is the 14th Women’s Coach of the Year award for Bauerle, whose Lady Bulldogs won their 10th conference championship, and went on to take the NCAA team title.
David Bonuchi, who swept the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards for Missouri at SEC’s, and Tori Lamp, who set an SEC meet record in the 10-meter platform event for Tennessee, were named Male and Female Diver of the Year.
Big Ten awards (women’s announced on 3/26/2013, men’s on 4/2/2013)
Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Connor Jaeger, University of Michigan
Men’s Freshman of the Year: Dylan Bosch, University of Michigan
Men’s Diver of the Year: Darian Schmidt, Indiana University
Men’s Coach of the Year: Mike Bottom, University of Michigan
Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Lindsay Vrooman, Indiana University
Women’s Freshman of the Year: Brooklynn Snodgrass, Indiana University
Women’s Diver of the Year: Maggie Keefer, University of Minnesota
Women’s Coach of the Year: Kelly Kremer, University of Minnesota
The University of Michigan men’s team captured the three high-profile swimming accolades handed out by the Big Ten, with Connor Jaeger, Dylan Bosch, and Mike Bottom being named Men’s Swimmer, Freshman, and Coach of the Year.
Jaeger was a double-winner individually for the Wolverines at Big Ten’s and NCAA’s, capturing the 500 and 1650 freestyles at both meets. The Fair Haven, New Jersey native was also a top 8 finisher in the 200 freestyle and 800 freestyle relay for Michigan at NCAA’s.
Bosch was also a big-time scorer in all three individual events for Michigan at both championship meets. The South African stud had a trio of top 3 finishes at Big Ten’s in the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 fly, and followed that up by being a triple A-Finalist at NCAA’s.
Bottom (and, really, the entire Michigan coaching staff deserves to be recognized) led the Wolverines to runaway team titles at Big Ten’s (their third straight) and NCAA’s (their first since 1995).
For the women, Indiana swimmers Lindsay Vrooman and Brooklynn Snodgrass claimed Swimmer of the Year and Freshman of the year honors. At Big Ten’s, Vrooman was named Swimmer of the Championship following her four Big Ten titles (two individual, two relay), championship meet record in the 1650, and overall conference record in the 500 free. The junior from Baden, Pennsylvania went on to earn multiple All-American honors at NCAA’s, including a 3rd place finish in the 1650. Vrooman is the fourth Indiana swimmer in the last five seasons to win this award.
Snodgrass was dominant in the backstroke events throughout her first season with the Hoosiers, winning the 100 and 200 backstrokes at Big Ten’s, and earning All-American honors in both events at NCAA’s. Her 400 medley relay leadoff leg at the big meet was the fastest in the field, and her 200 medley leg was 2nd only to eventual 100 back NCAA champ Rachel Bootsma. With just one point-scoring swimmer graduating (Ashley Specht), the Hoosiers are set up for a great 2013-2014 season.
Following a superb championship run, Minnesota’s Kelly Kramer was named Women’s Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. Kramer led a young Golden Gophers team to nine victories at Big Ten’s (six individual, three relay), an overall B1G team title, and a 10th place finish at NCAA’s. Like their rivals down in Bloomington, this Minnesota squad is in good position for next year. They lose Haley Spencer to graduation, but return a majority of their scorers and relay swimmers.