MSU Swimming and Diving Celebrate at Annual Banquet
Bryan Williams and Summer Strickler win Swimmer of the Year honors.
April 14, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State swimming and diving program held its annual awards banquet on Sunday, April 13 at the Kellogg Center. Among family, friends and alumni, the Spartans recognized the 2014 senior class and presented the annual awards to outstanding members of the team.
Head coach Matt Gianiodis and the program honored the male and female Swimmer and Diver of the Year who had the best season based on dual meet points and scoring at the Big Ten Championships. Senior Summer Strickler was the Women’s Swimmer of the Year, while senior Bryan Williams was named the Men’s Swimmer of the Year. Strickler became the first Spartan to break under 1:50 in the 200 freestyle, while Williams swam the second-fastest 200 butterfly time in MSU history. Sophomore Alison Menzies was named the Women’s Diver of the Year for the second-straight season and the Men’s Diver of the Year award went to freshman standout Brenna Labar. Menzies won the consolation final of the 1-meter, while Labar scored for the men at their respective Big Ten Championship meets.
Senior Pat Falconer was presented with the Jack Seibold Award for Leadership. Named after former All-American at Michigan State College, Jack and the Seibold family founded the Golden Spike and they have been instrumental in guiding the program for more than 70 years.
The female recipient of the Jennifer Parks Leadership Award was senior Brooke Telander. Parks was a pioneer swim coach at Michigan State from 1974-88 and has been a longtime advocate of MSU, women’s athletics and swimming in general.
Sophomore Nate Weeks and both redshirt senior Christee Cordes and sophomore Marina Borri were the male and female honorees of the John Narcy Most Improved Award. Named on behalf of former MSU diving coach, Narcy, who was in attendance, led the diving program at Michigan State from 1965-2002 and coached numerous Olympians, All-Americans and Big Ten Champions and took great pride in seeing every individual improve through their career as a Spartan.
The Spartan of the Year award was also presented at the banquet. It goes to a male and a female who most exemplifies the values of the Michigan State swimming and dumm iiving program. The female recipient of the Morgan Piasecki Spartan of the Year Award was senior Marcella Kupraszewicz, while the men’s Jason Vadney Spartan of the Year Award was senior Nick Roberts.
Also presented as the banquet was the Heart Award named for Kevin Zielinski, who swam from 1988-93 and was named the USA Swimming Rookie of the Year in 1990. He passed away from a heart defect and this award honors that heart. The 2014 Kevin Zielinski Heart Award went to senior Jacob Austermann.
The Spartans also celebrated those swimmers that accomplished the team’s goal of the season to set new varsity records and earn all-time top 10 records.
A tradition since 2003, former Spartan Tom Munley presented the John Munley Memorial Scholarship Award, in honor of his brother who swam for MSU from 1997-2001. He was Most Valuable Swimmer for all four years, served as team co-captain, qualified for Olympic Trials, and finished his senior season with the varsity record in the 200-yard freestyle. He was known for his dedication and hard work in the pool, setting high training standards for himself and his teammates, and for his Spartan spirit. The 2014 recipient of the scholarship was sophomore Ian Rodriguez.
Lastly, Jack Seibold and the parents of the 2014 senior class presented them with MSU’s Golden Spike. The 69-year-old tradition was started by Jack Seibold’s father in 1945.