Redbird Swimmers and Divers Honored at Annual Awards Banquet

April 30, 2012

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State swimming and diving team concluded its 2011-12 season at the annual awards banquet Saturday, April 28, in Redbird Arena. Freshmen Cecilia Holmes and Katherine Nelson were honored as Co-Most Valuable Swimmers for the season, while senior captain Brittany Tazzioli was honored as the Most Valuable Diver.

Holmes, earning the award after her first season as a Redbird, ended the year at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships, where she broke the ISU school record in the 400-yard IM (4:26.45), which was also a personal-best for the freshman. During the same competition, the Normal, Ill., native was a member of the MVC and ISU record-breaking 800-yard freestyle relay team (7:30.10), and earned a personal-best time in the 200-yard IM (2:08.04). She was also named to the 2012 Missouri Valley First-Team All-Conference.

Over the year, Holmes proved to be a major asset to the team. She earned more personal-best performances over the '11-12 season in the 500-yard freestyle (5:06.16), 1650-yard freestyle (17:28.08) and the 1000-yard freestyle (10:25.24).

Nelson joins Holmes as the Co-Most Valuable swimmer for the 2011-12 season. Nelson ended the year with her first Missouri Valley Conference Championship of her career, winning the MVC title in the 50-yard freestyle, as well as swimming a personal-best time during the preliminaries (23.89). The freshman also clocked a personal-best time in the 100-yard freestyle (51.66) to place second, as well as a personal-best time in the 200-yard freestyle (1:56.99). On the final day of MVC competition, Nelson was named to the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference First-Team All-Conference.

Tazzioli was honored as the Redbird's Most Valuable Diver. Earning the title of Missouri Valley Conference Diver of the Week five times this season, the Libertyville, Ill., native boasted personal-best scores on both the one-meter board (286.60) and three-meter board (263.55) this year. The scores qualified Tazzioli for the NCAA Diving Regional for the first time in her Redbird career.



In addition to most-valuable awards, a number of other honors were presented at the banquet. Holmes and Nelson joined diving sophomore Wenting Zhang, all earning the award for Newcomer-of-the-Year. Zhang joined the team in January and competed at the MVC Championships, earning the conference title on both the one-meter and three-meter boards. The China native's scores earned her the spot as the ISU school-record holder in both events, as well as breaking the MVC record on the three-meter. Zhang's performances also earned her the prestigious MVC Diver of the Year award.

Five student-athletes were presented the Scholastic Award for their success in the classroom including: Maureen Doyle, Erica Halley, Maggie Kopp, Polly Hirt and Danielle Schumacher.

Senior team captain Amber Siggins was honored with the Spirit Award, which she has won all four years on the team. Three swimmers earned Most Improved, including Kelly Healy, Keely Hunt and Lauren Pojman.

After receiving the Most Improved award, junior Healy was given the Dede Woytowych Endowed Scholarship, which is presented annually to a swimmer seen as a good teammate, hard worker and one who possesses a love for the sport of swimming. Junior Tori Alland was given the Rebecca Wade Award, which is presented to a swimmer who epitomizes the all-around characteristics of a student-athlete.

The banquet also honored the 11 senior student-athletes leaving the Redbird roster including: Erin Hayden, Hirt, Kristin Lynch, Jessica McGee, Jillian Olson, Sarah Piechocinski, Pojman, Siggins, Michele Stoeppelman, Tazzioli and Megan Weber.

To conclude the ceremony, Alland, Morgan Buechele, Healy, Madicyn Prouty and Schumacher were named captains for the 2012-13 season. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.