Diving Dominates as 11 Aggies Earn SEC Swimming & Diving Awards
The Texas A&M men's swimming & diving team continued to make history as the Southeastern Conference announced its annual all-conference honors Tuesday afternoon. Kurtis Mathews was named SEC Male Diver of the Year and head diving coach Jay Lerew was named SEC co-Men's Diving Coach of the Year, marking the first time the Aggies have earned these accolades since joining the league in 2012. Victor Povzner earned co-Male Freshman Diver of the Year, as he was one of 11 Aggies honored by the SEC following the team's record-setting season.
Mathews also earned All-SEC First Team distinction after he became the first Aggie to sweep the springboard events at the SEC Championships. In doing so, Mathews set a school record in the 1-meter with a score of 436.50. Povzner, also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, was the top finisher among all league true and redshirt freshmen in both the springboard events at the SEC Championships. He recorded a score of 379.60 in the 3-meter to place fourth in the event, and took eighth in the 1-meter (328.10).
With the success of the student-athletes, Coach Lerew received co-Men's Diving Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. This marks the fourth time since arriving at A&M that Coach Lerew has earned coach of the year honors.
As top finishers at SEC Championships, Shaine Casas and Benjamin Walker were also named to the All-SEC First Team. Casas was the co-recipient of the Commissioner's Trophy, which is award to the top point-earner at the SEC Championships. Casas compiled 92 points at the SEC Championships after breaking US Olympian Ryan Lochte's 200 back SEC record with a time of 1:37.20. Casas also won the 200 IM with a time of 1:39.91 and placed second in the 100 back (44.68), while also helping four relay teams reach the podium. Walker, who just last season was the first A&M swimmer to become an individual SEC Champion, won the 200 breast in school-record fashion to become a two-time champion in the event with a time of 1:51.92. Walker also placed fourth in the 100 breast with a school-record time of 52.00, while contributing on a pair of medaling relay teams.
Among A&M's other medal finishers at SEC Championships were Clayton Bobo, Kaloyan Bratanov, Adam Koster, Mark Theall and Mike Thibert, who were all named to the All-SEC Second Team. Andres Puente also made it on the All-SEC Second Team as well as the All-Freshman Team. Appearing in two finals in his debut at the SEC Championships, he earned a second-place finish in the 200 breast (1:52.39).
Jay Lerew – Co-Men's Diving Coach of the Year
Kurtis Mathews – Male Diver of the Year, All-SEC First Team
Victor Povzner – Co-Male Freshman Diver of the Year, All-Freshman Team
Shaine Casas – Commissioner's Trophy, All-SEC First Team
Benjamin Walker – All-SEC First Team
Mike Thibert – All-SEC First Team
Adam Koster – All-SEC First Team
Clayton Bobo – All-SEC Second Team
Kaloyan Bratanov – All-SEC Second Team
Mark Theall – All-SEC Second Team
Adam Koster – All-SEC Second Team
Andres Puente – All-SEC Second Team, All-Freshman Team