HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth swimming and diving teams celebrated the 2012-13 season by handing out several team awards at its postseason banquet. The 2012-13 season was one of the best in recent program history as both teams finished in the top five at the Ivy League Championship while setting a combined 30 new records.
Both teams concluded the season ranked among the top academic teams in the NCAA and also concluded the season ranked in the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major Poll. The Dartmouth men cracked the top 10 checking in at No. 9 while the women concluded the season ranked 20th.
Nejc Zupan (Kamnik, Slovenia) made history by advancing to the NCAA Championship finals in the 200 breaststroke and earning All-American accolades. He was the first Dartmouth swimmer to reach the national championship since Todd Taylor in 1980.
Senior Michael Lenkeit (South Windsor, Conn.) and junior Natalia Vecerek (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) took home the prestigious Lutkus and Scholar Athlete Award for the second consecutive season. The pair earned the awards for performing well throughout the season and achieving the highest cumulative grade point average among a very academically sound squad.
The 2013 Ivy League 3-meter champion, Katy Feng (Westfield, Mass.) and Brett Gillis (Kitchner, Ontario, Canada) took home Ron L. Keenhold Diver of the Year honors. Feng became the first Dartmouth diver to win the 3-meter title at the annual championships, while Gillis had an excellent freshman campaign, placing 10th on the platform at the NCAA Zone Championships and fourth in the 1-meter at the Ivy Championships.
Rookies Olivia Samson (Clifton, N.Y.) and James Verhagen (Randberg, South Africa) took home the Outstanding Freshman Award this year. Samson was a dominant force in the distance events for the Big Green and capped the year with a top 10 finish in the 1650 free, and top 20 finishes in the 1000 and 500 free at the Ivy League Championships. Verhagen was a welcome addition to Dartmouth’s already strong backstroke corps, setting school records in the 100 and 200 back and, with runner-up finishes in both events earning second-team All-Ivy accolades.
Sophomores Rebecca Butler (West Orange, N.J.) and Ian Woon (Boulder, Colo.) took home the Paul T. Tsongas Most Improved Award. Butler saw her performances in the IM and breaststroke events improve over the course of the season, while Woon also saw tremendous development in his freestyle events throughout the year.
For the third consecutive season, Zupan took home the Karl B. Michael Swimmer of the Year award. Zupan took Dartmouth swimming to new heights this season, setting Ivy League Meet records in the 200 and 400 IM as well as the 200 breaststroke en route to the Phil Moriarity Swimmer of the Meet – the first Dartmouth swimmer to be awarded the honor. Zupan, who swam in the NCAA Finals in the 200 breast and earned All-American honors, set six Dartmouth records in 2012-13.
Freshman Kendese Nangle (Kingston, Jamaica) took home the Most Valuable Award on the women’s side. The freshman sprinter set two Dartmouth school records in the sprint freestyle events and both backstroke events during her rookie campaign. She also set a Dartmouth pool record in the 100 back and was a member of the 400-medley relay that also set a new pool record.
Co-captain Zack Doherty (Pelham, N.Y.) was this year’s recipient of the Glover Award. John Glover '55 died in 1956 at the Yale pool while training for an Olympic berth. He captained the Dartmouth freshman and varsity swim teams and was a three-time All-American, establishing 35 records during his college career. An award in his honor is presented to the most inspirational member of the Dartmouth men's team each season. Doherty was the consummate teammate and a driving force behind the Big Green’s rise in the Ivy League and nation.
Danielle Kerr (Gainesville, Fla.) took home the Greer Award. The honor is given to the women's team member who has contributed the most to the development of the Dartmouth women's swimming and diving program, through not only her performance in the pool, but also through her day-to-day dedication to her teammates and the team concept.
The Big Green also named team captains for next season. Andrew North (Omaha, Neb.) and Zupan will lead the men’s team while Christine Kerr (Gainesville, Fla.) and Vecerek will captain the women in 2013-14.