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@ASUSwimDive celebrates Year-End with Annual Banquet

by ZwemZa on April 23rd, 2018

The No. 8/22 Sun Devil men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams celebrated a successful season Sunday night at the Arizona Country Club in Phoenix.

After head swimming coach Bob Bowman opened the evening, thanking Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson for “believing in and supporting Olympic sports more than any other athletics director in the country”, attention turned to the 2018 senior class, who shared remarks about their time at ASU.

Divers Mara Aiacoboae, Rebecca Deacon, and Heikki Makikallio, alongside swimmers Reid Elliott, Christian Lorenz, Ivana Ninkovic, Patrick Park, and Andrew Porter all shared memories and wise words with the crowd including Lorenz’s memory of one of Bowman’s workout plans that “The days are long but the years are short”.

Porter, who transferred to Arizona State midway through his collegiate career from the University of Arizona, summed it up saying “It’s a family [here at ASU]. Please do not lose that. And stay the course.”

During the awards portion, head diving coach Mark Bradshaw, who has over 20 years of coaching at ASU to his credit, awarded the Lee Brennan Most Improved Diver Award, named after a future Sun Devil who died in a car accident on his way to start school at ASU 20 years ago, to Frida Kaellgren.

Named after the previous diving coach who was in Tempe 23 years and designed the diving platform, the Ward O’Connell Most Valuable Diver Award was given to Mara Aiacoboae for the fourth consecutive season.

Attention turned back to Coach Bowman, who gave out the remainder of the awards as noted below. The Mona Plummer and Ron Johnson Most Valuable Swimmer Awards were named after former legendary coaches Mona Plummer and Ron Johnson.

After Bradshaw and Bowman recapped their seasons and gave final words to the crowd (noted below), Anderson closed the evening with an encouragement to the program.

“I just want to thank everyone in this room because you have validated, without even realizing it, the things we have been telling our institution and public about Sun Devil Athletics. We know our aspiration to be elite is possible across the board.”

Anderson continued, “When I’m asked ‘What makes you think you can be elite?’, I answer ‘Have you not seen what we’ve done with teams like swimming and diving over the past few years? And all we’re going to do is keep getting better.”

Diving Highlights

  • Mark Bradshaw: “There’s no try, there’s only do or not do”
  • Men’s victory against Texas
  • Third place finish at Pac-12 women’s championships (scored more women’s points on the diving side than ever before)
  • Ashley McCool set a 3-meter school record
  • Mara Aiacoboae repeated her Pac-12 championship on platform
  • Youssef Selim won his first Pac-12 title in the 1-meter dive
  • Frida Kaellgren finished fifth in the 1-meter at NCAA while Aiacoboe finished 14th on platform
  • Selim and Heikki Makikallio earned First Team Pac-12 All-Academic, Aiacoboae earned Honorable Mention

Swimming Highlights

  • Bob Bowman: “It’s a complete team effort”
  • Highest GPA at midyear mark
  • Several Pac-12 All-Academic honorees
  • Highest women’s Pac-12 finish in 25 years
  • Men won a hard-fought Territorial Cup Series point
  • Both men and women won T-Cup Series point, first for the women
  • First time ever beating Texas for the men
  • First time beating Arizona for the women in 25 years

Lee Brennan Most Improved Diver – Frida Kaellgren
Ward O’Connell Most Valuable Diver – Mara Aiacoboae
Mona Plummer Most Valuable Swimmer – Silja Kansakoski
Ron Johnson Most Valuable Swimmer – Grant House
Most Improved – Camryn Curry & Zach Poti
Hardest Worker – Chloe Isleta & Sidney Kao
Team Player – Nora Deleske & Patrick Park

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