Swimming & Diving Holds Annual Banquet

by Jesse Delerno
Swimming & Diving Holds Annual Banquet

BATON ROUGE — The LSU swimming and diving programs recognized the accomplishments of the men’s and women’s teams from the this past season and handed out individual awards Saturday evening in The Stadium Club at Tiger Stadium.

Junior co-captain Jane Trepp and freshman Andrei Tuomola earned the men’s and women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer honors, while sophomore Brian Gemberling and freshman Rebecca St. Germain were tabbed the Most Outstanding Divers.

Trepp added two more All-America honors to her collegiate resume this past season as a pivotal member of the women’s 200-yard freestyle and 200 medley relay and improved all three of her school-record times in the 50 free, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke.

The Estonian also reached the finals of all three of her individual events at the 2010 SEC Championships and made her mark in international competition, capturing a silver medal in the 50-meter breast at the 2009 European Short-Course Championships.

Tuomola, who was also named the men’s Newcomer of the Year, proved to be an impact performer for the Tigers in his first season. A native of Haarajoki, Finland, Tuomola picked up four All-America accolades in relay competition and recorded program top-10 marks in the 50 and 100 free and 100 breast with top-16 finishes at SEC’s. He also earned a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team.

“Jane and Andrei had amazing years,” LSU head swimming coach David Geyer said. “Jane represented the team internationally and earned second-place in the 50-meter breaststroke at the European Short-Course Championships. Collegiately, she broke three school records and reached the finals of all three of her events at SEC’s with one of the toughest doubles in the sport with the 100 fly and 100 breast on the second day.

“Andrei captured four All-America honors and three top-16 finishes at SEC’s as well as being named to the All-SEC Freshman Team. I think his potential over the next three years is outstanding.”

Gemberling emerged as one of the men’s most valuable athletes during the dual-meet season and SEC’s. The Levittown, Pa., product shattered the school record in the three-meter dive (393.07) against nationally-ranked Texas A&M and took sixth in both springboard competitions at SEC’s. In addition, he registered career highs and program top-five marks in the one-meter and platform.

St. Germain, the SEC Female Freshman Diver of the Year and another member of the All-SEC Freshman Team, posted program top-five marks in all three diving events and claimed ninth in the three-meter at SEC’s.

“It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to recognize Brian and Becca at this banquet,” LSU head diving coach Doug Shaffer said. “In a short span of time, Brian has made the transformation into an elite-level diving contender. I believe he has garnered and earned a tremendous amount of respect in diving circles, and he should be an NCAA All-American next season.

“Becca was a very solid and consistent performer all season. She was named SEC Freshman Diver of the Year, recorded all-time LSU scores in all three events, received SEC weekly awards on three occasions and posted sweeps against both nationally-ranked Tennessee and Texas A&M.”

Freshman Amanda Kendall received the women’s Newcomer of the Year Award. A two-time All-American in relay competition, Kendall also earned second swims in all three of her events at SEC’s and came away with program top-10 times in the 50, 100 and 200 free.

Senior Sean LeNeave and sophomore Morgan McGee were the Recipients of the Hammer Award, which is given to an athlete on each team who demonstrates exceptional team character and puts the team first in all situations. LeNeave and McGee were two of the most versatile swimmers on the men’s and women’s squads this season, and both stepped up and produced in relay competition at NCAA’s and SEC’s.

Sophomore Simon Diefenthal and junior Ali Sanford took home the Most Improved Swimmer Awards. Diefenthal swam to a 13th-place finish in the 200 backstroke and moved into fourth all-time at LSU with his personal best of 1:46.26. The German also recorded a personal best in the 100 back, 49.28, seventh in program annals. Sanford persevered after an early-season ankle injury to post a career best in the 100 fly, 54.92, which is eighth in school history.

Juniors Shanna Spears and Clint Hallum were given the Stripes Award for exhibiting outstanding leadership in the pool, weight room, classroom and community. The duo represents the programs on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, and both were named to the Southeastern Conference Community Service Teams for their contributions to the Baton Rouge community

In addition to handing out individual awards, the programs also recognized this year’s NCAA All-Americans – senior LeNeave, juniors Hannes Heyl, James Meyers and Trepp, sophomores Samantha Goates and McGee and freshmen Kendall and Tuomola.