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GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference has honored 10 individuals as recipients of the 2015-16 ACC Swimming & Diving Annual awards, as announced Thursday. The winners were determined by a vote of the league’s head coaches.
NC State garnered three accolades, as Simonas Bilis was named Men’s Swimmer of the Year, Justin Ress earned Men’s Freshman of the Year, and Braden Holloway was voted the Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year.
Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell was selected as the Women’s Swimmer of the Year, and Virginia’s Augie Busch was named Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year. Louisville Mallory Comerford was voted the Women’s Freshman of the Year.
North Carolina’s Elissa Dawson and Abel Sanchez earned recognition, as they received Women’s Diver of the Year and Women’s Diving Coach of the Year, respectively. Pitt took home the diving honors on the men’s side as Dominic Giordano and Julian Krug were named Men’s Diver of the Year and Men’s Diving Coach of the Year.
Bilis is the fourth in league history to repeat as Men’s Swimmer of the Year and first since Georgia Tech’s Gal Nevo in 2009-10. The senior from Panevezys, Lithuania, won three individual medals at the ACC Championship and swam on four winning relay squads. At the NCAA Championship, he posted runner-up finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle and placed third in the 200 freestyle. Bilis also swam on the national championship 400 freestyle relay team and on the runner-up 200 freestyle and 800 freestyle relay teams.
Worrell is the sixth in conference history to be named Women’s Swimmer of the Year in consecutive years. The junior from Mt. Holly, New Jersey, she was named the ACC Championship Most Valuable Swimmer as she won five medals – including four gold – and set four records in the process. Worrell successfully defended her national titles in the 100 and 200 butterfly, claiming the 100 butterfly title in NCAA and American record time. She also earned All-America honors in the 50 freestyle, and the 200 and 400 medley relays.
A sophomore from Durham, North Carolina, Dawson posted top-four finishes in all three diving events at the ACC Championship, including a silver medal in the 3-meter. A five-time winner of the ACC Women’s Diver of the Week award this season, she placed ninth at the NCAA Championship in both the 3-meter and platform. Dawson is the first Tar Heel to win the award since its inception in 2005.
Giordano became the first Pitt swimmer or diver to win a national title when he took home the top spot in the 3-meter. A junior from Wexford, Pennsylvania, Giordano also earned All-America honors in eighth place in the 1-meter. At the ACC Championship, he finished in the top four spots in all three events.
Ress posted three individual top-eight finishes at the ACC Championship, placing third in the 200 backstroke, fifth in the 200 individual medley, and seventh in the 200 freestyle. The native of Cary, North Carolina, also swam on the 800 freestyle relay squad that finished first at the ACC Championship and second at the NCAA Championship.
At the ACC Championship, Comerford swam on four Louisville relay squads that finished in the top four in the conference, including the victorious 200 medley relay team. Individually, she won the 200 freestyle and was runner-up in the 100 and 500 freestyle. At the NCAA Championship, the Kalamazoo, Michigan, native placed second in the 200 freestyle, eighth in the 500 freestyle, and helped all five Louisville relays finish in the top 16 nationally.
In his third year at the helm of the Virginia women, Busch guided the Cavaliers to their ninth consecutive ACC title. The Cavaliers finished fifth at the NCAA Championship, the highest of any ACC team, and set a program record with 264 points at the meet.
Holloway led the Wolfpack to its 26th ACC title overall and his second straight as head coach. At the NCAA Championship, the Wolfpack finished fourth, tied for its highest finish in program history, and won the 400 freestyle relay to become the first ACC program to win a relay national title in league history.
Krug guided Giordano and Tony Galante to five top-20 performances at the ACC Championship where they earned a combined 101 points. At the NCAA Championship, Giordano earned 31 points for Pitt which ranked the Panthers No. 22 at the meet.
At the ACC Championship, Dawson and Maria Lohman collected 116 points with four appearances in championship finals under the guidance of Sanchez. Dawson placed ninth in both the 3-meter and platform at the NCAA Championship.
2016 ACC Swimming & Diving Awards
Men’s Swimmer of the Year – Simonas Bilis, NC State
Men’s Diver of the Year – Dominic Giordano, Pitt
Men’s Freshman of the Year – Justin Ress, NC State
Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year – Braden Holloway, NC State
Men’s Diving Coach of the Year – Julian Krug, Pitt
Women’s Swimmer of the Year – Kelsi Worrell, Louisville
Women’s Diver of the Year – Elissa Dawson, North Carolina
Women’s Freshman of the Year – Mallory Comerford, Louisville
Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year – Augie Busch, Virginia
Women’s Diving Coach of the Year – Abel Sanchez, North Carolina