April 11, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Crimson Tide swimming and diving team held its year-end awards banquet in Smith Hall on the University of Alabama campus Friday evening.
In his second year at the helm at Alabama, head coach Dennis Pursley continued his turnaround of the program as the Tide had both an SEC Champion and NCAA Champion for the first time since 2007. The Tide's men also made the largest leap at both the Southeastern Conference (10th to 4th) and NCAA (28th to 12th) Championships. The men and women combined to break 21 school records this season, including an amazing 17 during the five days of the SEC Championships.
Junior Kaylin Burchell and freshmen Kristian Gkolomeev and Anton Mckee were named the Most Outstanding Swimmers, while senior Paige McCleary and freshman Brent Sagert were named the Most Outstanding Divers.
Burchell's season highlights include earning All-American honors in the 100 breaststroke and breaking the school record in the event at the SEC Championships. Gkolomeev earned All-American honors after becoming Alabama's first NCAA 50 freestyle champion and the Tide's first individual NCAA champion since 2007. Mckee won Alabama's first individual SEC title since 2007 on the way to breaking the league and school record in the 200 breaststroke as well as earning All-American honors with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in the 200 breaststroke.
McCleary closed out her career by earning honorable mention All-American honors off the 1-meter board at the NCAA Championships as well as breaking the school and Alabama Aquatic Center records off the 1 and 3-meter boards. Sagert got his career off to a strong start, earning Freshman All-SEC honors along the way.
Veterans Kristel Vourna and BJ Hornikel were tabbed as Most Valuable. Hornikel capped his stellar career by earning a trio of All-American honors to bring his career total to six, as well as setting the school 100 and 200 freestyle records. Vourna competed in the NCAA Championships for the third time in her career and scored in three individual events and two relays at the SEC Championships.
Senior Anna Rae Gwarjanski and junior Philip Deaton were honored with the Tide's Leadership Awards. Both were voted as captains for this year's squads. Deaton set a school record and competed at the NCAA Championships as part of the Tide's 800 freestyle record. Sophomore Victoria Hove and freshman Jacob Kelsoe were presented with the Coaches Award
Sophomore Emma Saunders and freshman Connor Oslin were named the Most Competitive while freshmen Caroline Korst and Pavel Romanov were recognized as Most Dedicated. Oslin and Romanov both earned individual berths in the NCAA Championships and Oslin earned All-American honors as part of the 200 and 400 medley relays. Saunders earned a berth in the NCAA Championships, swimming a leg on the 400 medley relay while Korst posted a top-ten finish at the SEC Championships and is ranked second all-time at UA in the 100 backstroke.
In addition to awards handed out, the Tide also honored several other team members who also earned All-American and All-SEC honors. Sophomore Brett Walsh earned three All-American honors after swimming legs on the 200 and 400 medley relays as well as the 400 freestyle relay. Senior Vlad Caciuc also swam a leg in the 400 freestyle relay to earn All-American honors. For the women, rookies Bridget Blood and Emily Zapinski were each honored for earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.