April 23, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Both the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams recently celebrated the success of the 2007-08 campaign with respective postseason awards banquet.
On the women’s side, head coach Carrie Nixon carried her team to its 12th consecutive team title at the BIG EAST Conference Swimming and Diving Championships commanding the point total with 767, which was 239.5 points higher than second-place Louisville. Nixon was named the 2008 BIG EAST Coach of the Year along with her staff for the second consecutive time. Her staff also sent three swimmers – Christa Riggins, Samantha Maxwell, and Amywren Miller – to the NCAA Championships.
The men were not only able to hold on to their lead heading in the final day of the 2008 BIG EAST meet, but the team flexed its muscle to extend their margin of victory over the league opponents as the Irish claimed their third conference title in four seasons. With 820 points Notre Dame ousted Louisville (615), Pittsburgh (436), and West Virginia (398.5) to round out the top four scoring squads that comprised the 11-team field. Notre Dame avenged a runner-up finish in 2007 when only five points kept them from standing on top of the podium. Irish head coach Tim Welsh was named the league’s Coach of the Year. It was the fourth time that he and his staff have earned the award. The team victory was the 30th overall league title Welsh has earned throughout his career.
Monogram Club MVP
(Awarded annually by the Notre Dame National Monogram Club and given to the most outstanding swimmer or diver during the season … in addition to points scored, this award should recognize and honor other contributions to the team, which help make this person `most valuable’)
W – Christa Riggins
M – MacKenzie LeBlanc
Knute Rockne Scholar-Athlete
(Given annually by the Notre Dame Club of the St. Joseph Valley to the swimmer or diver with the most outstanding overall academic record, academic performance, grade point average, and academic contributions during the season)
W – Georgia Steenberge
M – Sam Stoner
Most Improved (Given to the swimmer or diver who has shown the most improvement over the course of the season … the award should reflect improvements in leadership and attitude as well as performance)
W – Natalie Stitt, Maggie Behrens
M – Steven Brus, Patrick Augustyn, Wesley Villaflor
Meghan Beeler & Colleen Hipp Award
(Awarded annually to the outstanding freshman swimmer or diver who best exemplifies the vitality, competitiveness and love for Notre Dame as shown by Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp)
W – Lizzie Gormley
M – Steven Brus
Patrick Reilly McManus Captain Award (M)
(Given in honor of Patrick McManus, a team captain from 1987-88 … awarded to an individual selected by the captains … individual should perform well both in and out of the pool … the recipient should be a clutch individual, an outstanding swimmer, a spirited competitor, never awed by circumstances, reliable, cooperative, well-liked and accepted, and a hard worker … the swimmer should be a consistent pillar of the team who is willing to swim wherever he has to and is cooperative when other people need a chance … he is always there when his teammates need him and the ideal for what all Notre Dame swimmers should strive to be)
Blanchard Award (M)
(Given annually by the Dolphin Club to the swimmer or diver by performance, inspiration, and leadership has exemplified the personal qualities of former Notre Dame swimmer and 1963-64 Irish captain Charles Blanchard … the recipient should be an outstanding swimmer, able to inspire teammates, a good example through actions, one who thinks of others, one who gives a little bit more, spiritually good, clean cut in appearance, one who mixes well with the entire team, and one whose actions should speak louder for him)
Coaches Award (W) (Given to one swimmer and one diver who have made coaching most enjoyable and rewarding for the coaching staff … these athletes are great at listening, learning, and expanding their knowledge of the sport and have made great strides in improving their relationships with coaches and teammates through their supportive, positive, and enthusiastic leadership)
Caroline Johnson, Tara Hyer
Most Honorable (W)
(Given to the junior or senior swimmer or diver who best represents the Notre Dame image as a supportive, inspiring, and enthusiastic team member … this should be the individual who performs well in pressure situations, both in and out of the pool, and best exemplifies the term `teammate’)
Golden Dumbbell (W)
(Awarded annually by the Notre Dame strength and conditioning staff to the swimmer or diver that puts forth the greatest effort, excels at the highest level, and pushes themselves to the utmost limit of their potential throughout the season during weight and dryland training)
Men’s head coach Tim Welsh also presented diver Michael Bulfin with an award for being the first individual to score points for the Irish at the NCAA Championships … Bulfin did so in the 3-meter diving event at the national meet in March.