April 17, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men's and women's swimming and diving program held its annual Team Banquet on Apr. 6th at the Rome Ball Room in Storrs.
UConn swimming coach Bob Goldberg and diving coach John Bransfield both spoke at the banquet, as they reflected on all the highlights and accomplishments from the 2013-14 season to the 135 people in attendance. Academic counselor Lindsay Darcy also gave a speech, discussing the academic accolades earned by the Huskies in the past year.
"The fact that our men's team was undefeated was a tremendous accomplishment," Goldberg said. "The men were able to beat three teams that defeated them the previous year, and the women beat two teams that beat them last season, which made for a great dual meet season."
The event also featured an awards ceremony, during which several swimmers and divers were honored for their performances this past season. Christine Pedersen (Vinterbro, Norway), Sophie Nothnagle (Victor, N.Y.) and Chris Girg (Burbach, Germany) all earned the Outstanding Freshman Award for the Huskies, who will announce the team captains for next season later this month.
Girg was tremendous in his first season with UConn, and he finished his freshman campaign in style, winning the 500-yard freestyle final at the inaugural American Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships back in February. Pedersen, who earned American Athletic Conference Female Swimmer of the Week honors on Feb. 4th, was a force in the backstroke all season, while Nothnagle placed in the 200-yard butterfly at the conference meet.
Junior swimmer Katy Munzenmaier (Lake George, N.Y.) and sophomore Greg Baliko (Fanwood, N.J.) won the John Squires Most Improved Swimmer Award, and senior Sean Battle (Allison Park, Pa.) was given the Pete McDevitt Inspiration Swimmer Award. Munzenmaier helped the Huskies finish fifth in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the conference meet, while Baliko earned a sixth-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke final at the same event. Battle has been one of Connecticut's most consistent swimmers during his four-year career, and he was named to the American Athletic All-Conference team this spring for his efforts in the conference meet.
Sophomore diver Taryn Urbanus (Quincy, Mass.), who won the 3-meter final at the conference meet with a tremendous final dive, was named the Outstanding Diver at the banquet, and sophomore Kennedy Meier (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and senior Keith Piper (Naperville, Ill.) were both recognized as an Outstanding Scholar Athlete. Meier, who can swim a variety of events, has thrived in and out of the pool, and Piper is one of several Huskies being honored as an Outstanding Senior Scholar Athlete by the UConn Club.
The final award of the night, the Most Outstanding Swimmer honor, was given to juniors Chinyere Pigot (Miami, Fla.) and Sawyer Franz (Pine, Colo.). Both UConn swimmers were individual winners at the conference meet, as Pigot won the 50-yard freestyle with a school record time of 22.81, and Franz earned first place in the 400-yard IM final. The Huskies set 16 school records at the Conference Championship, and Goldberg looks to build off the program's success heading into next season.
"The staff and swimmers and divers are excited and committed to next season's schedule with an eye on seriously contending for the Conference Championship for both the men and the women," Goldberg said.