CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia swimming and diving team celebrated the 2007-08 season Saturday with its annual team awards banquet and hall of fame ceremony. Both the men and women claimed the ACC title in Atlanta before moving on to NCAA competition. Both squads sent 10 individuals to nationals, with the women recording a 20th-place finish and the men a 15th-place finish.
First-years Matt McLean and Liz Shaw not only were awarded the Rookie of the Year trophy but also took home MVP honors. McLean, the 2008 ACC Rookie and Swimmer of the Year, rewrote the school and ACC record books this season, breaking the two oldest conference records with wins in the 200 free and as anchor on the 800 free relay at the ACC Championships. McLean also won the 500 free and was a member of the champion 400 free and 400 medley relay teams. At the NCAA Championships, McLean bested his previous record in the 500 free and finished fourth to earn All-America accolades. He also was an All-American in the 200 free and 800 free relay.
Shaw, the 2008 ACC Rookie of the Year, won two individual events at the ACC meet, setting conference records in the 200 IM and 200 fly. She earned a third ACC title as a member of the 400 medley relay team. At the NCAA Championships, Shaw was an All-America performer in the 200 fly with a fourth-place finish, lowering the mark she set at the ACC Championships. She also recorded a 10th-place finish in the 400 IM at NCAAs.
The Coaches Award, presented to the athlete who is a significant athletic contributor by his/her dedication, attitude, commitment and performance, was shared by John Azar, Mei Christensen and Megan Evo.
McLean and the women’s 800 free relay team were given the award for Performance of the Year. McLean posted the highest finish in an individual event at the NCAA Championships since Ed Moses won the breast events in 2000. His fourth-place finish in the 500 free broke his own ACC record, and, with a time of 4:14.10, it was a 12-second drop from his previous lifetime best.
The women’s 800 free relay team of Stephanie Glover, Evo, Jenna Harris and Jessica Lewis lowered the conference record by over six seconds with a nine-place finish (7:09.44) at the NCAA Championships. The quartet earned honorable mention All-America honors for the second straight year.
The Ramirez Family Leadership Award, presented to the student-athlete who exhibits the traits of superior leadership ability, high ethics, excellence in the classroom and preeminence in the University community, was awarded to Michael Miller and Stephanie Glover.
Fourth-year members of the swimming and diving team were also recognized. The Class of 2008 includes Kenton Harris, Michael Miller, Jake Shrum, Bryan Stahl, PJ Sullivan, Amber Bialas, Stephanie Glover, Jessica Lewis and Julie McLaughlin.
Five former Cavaliers were inducted into the Virginia Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame, including Rebecca (Cronk) McGeary, Scott Meredith, Laurie (Wagner) Nieves, Shamek Pietucha and Austin Ramirez.
A complete list of award winners follows:
Dave Fafara Diving Award of Excellence Alex D’Ambrosio
Academic Award Michael Miller, Jackie Apple
Hardest Worker Award Pat Reams, Claire Crippen
Coaches Award John Azar, Mei Christensen, Megan Evo
Performance of the Year Matt McLean, women’s 800 free relay team
Unsung Hero Award Jenna Harris, PJ Sullivan, Bryan Stahl
Rookie of the Year Matt McLean, Liz Shaw
MVP Matt McLean, Liz Shaw
Ramirez Family Leadership Award Michael Miller, Stephanie Glover
Gus and Becky Ramirez Swimming and Diving Scholarship Liz Shaw, Lee Robertson
Bernardino Scholarship Claire Crippen