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March 31, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C.—The Atlantic Coast Conference named six individuals as the winners of a total of eight men’s and women’s swimming & diving awards, announced today by Commissioner John Swofford. Seniors Gal Nevo of Georgia Tech and Mei Christensen of Virginia received their second straight Male and Female Swimmer of the Year honor, respectively; Duke freshman Nick McCrory was selected both Male Diver and Freshman of the Year, while Blue Devil sophomore Abby Johnston was picked for Female Diver of the Year; Virginia newcomer Lauren Perdue earned Female Freshman of the Year; and 32nd-year Cavalier head coach Mark Bernardino was named both Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year.
Nevo turned in three All-American performances at last weekend’s NCAA men’s championship in addition to winning three events at the ACC championship, becoming Georgia Tech’s first four-time champion in school history. The Kibbutz Hamadia, Israel, native’s top performance at the NCAA championship came in the 400-yard individual medley, in which he clocked a 3:40.68 to place second. Nevo, who was also last year’s ACC Male Swimmer of the Year, also placed eighth in the 200 IM in 1:45.21, and 10th in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:43.28, the ACC’s top mark this season. Additionally, Nevo’s 1:43.43 in the 200 fly at the ACC championship secured the first 200 fly crown for a Yellow Jacket, while his league-leading times in the 200 IM (1:44.14) and 400 IM (3:40.47) clinched his second straight conference title in each event.
McCrory is earning both Male Diver and Freshman of the Year accolades—the first Blue Devil to win each award in school history—and was the first NCAA champion in Duke history. The only NCAA champion from the ACC in men’s and women’s competition this season, he placed first in the platform dive with an NCAA championship meet-record 534.00 score and came in second in the three-meter dive with a score of 459.15. A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., McCrory claimed first place in two events and All-ACC status in three events overall at the championship meet, including an ACC and Koury Natatorium (North Carolina) record in the one-meter (499.95) and a league record in the three-meter (453.05). In addition to owning all three diving records at Duke, McCrory was the first Blue Devil to win one and three-meter ACC championships since Clinton Brush accomplished the feat in 1961.
Christensen, who joins Nevo as the swimmer of the year recipient for the second straight season, earned All-ACC accolades in seven events and All-America in five. Individually, Christensen won the 100 (52.09) and 200-yard (1:52.98) backstrokes for the second consecutive season—earning pool records in each event—and placed third (22.49) in the 50-yard freestyle at the ACC meet, and swam the lead leg on four pool-record setting relay teams. The Reston, Va., native was also a first-team All-America in five events, with fourth and fifth-place showings in the 100 (52.12) and 200 backstrokes (1:52.75), a fifth-place finish as the lead leg of the 400-yard medley relay squad, and eighth-place performances as the first and second legs of the 200 (1:29.51) and 400-yard (3:17.52) freestyle relay teams, respectively.
Johnston joined Duke teammate McCrory as a two-time ACC diving champion and two-time All-America, as she won her second consecutive ACC title in the three-meter dive with a league and pool-record mark of 439.70, and became the first Blue Devil to win a one-meter diving championship with a championship and pool-record 358.25 performance, both of which led the ACC this season. An Upper Arlington, Ohio native, Johnston placed fourth (331.80) and 14th (307.60) in the one and three-meter divers, respectively, at the NCAA women’s championship.
Perdue is the sixth Cavalier to earn Female Freshman of the Year honors after winning seven individual and relay titles at the conference meet en route to most valuable performer recognition and earning six All-America honors. Perdue became the first Virginia swimmer to win the 50 (22.29), 100 (48.65), and 200-yard (1:43.98) freestyle crowns at the same championship, while setting a pool record in the 100 free and championship and pool records in the 200 free. The Greenville, N.C. native, joined Christensen on the 200-yard freestyle (1:29.25) and 400-yard medley (3:32.97) relay teams that set championship and pool records, and anchored the pool-record setting 400-yard freestyle relay team that finished in 3:15.24 and the 800-yard freestyle relay team that set league and pool records in a 7:04.74 clocking. Perdue’s NCAA credentials include joining Christensen on all three All-America relay squads, as well as securing All-America status with fifth, eighth, and 14th-place showings in the 50 (22.27), 200 (1:45.78), and 100-yard (49.00) freestyle events.
Bernardino is earning both the Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year award for the third consecutive season. On the men’s side, the veteran coach is claiming his 15th annual honor, and this honor marks the third time in his career he has won at least three straight awards. It is Bernardino’s 12th award overall on the women’s side. This season, he guided both squads to their third straight ACC title. For the men, it was Virginia’s 13th championship overall and 11th in the last 12 years, while the crown was the eighth overall for the women and fifth in the last eight seasons. Following the ACC championship, each Cavalier team made its 14th straight appearance at the NCAA championship, with the women placing ninth and the men placing 10th, their second top-10 finish in as many years.
This year’s winners achieved All-ACC status with a first, second, or third-place individual performance or a first-place relay performance at the ACC championship, and earned All-America status by placing in the top eight (first-team) or top-16 (honorable mention) in either individual or relay events at the NCAA championships.