DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire women's swimming & diving team held its annual awards banquet on Saturday, April 12 at the Sheraton Inn in Portsmouth, N.H.
Among the honorees at the banquet were the five seniors, including Jenna Bull (Woodstock, New Brunswick), Bernadette Byrne (Braintree, Mass.), Katie Keefer (Waynesboro, Va.), Lauren McCandless (Macungie, Pa.) and Jenni Roberts (Springvale, Maine). The quintet was recognized for their hard work and dedication to the program through their careers. The Class of 2014 helped the Wildcats to capture back-to-back America East titles in 2013 and 2014 as well as an ECAC Championship in 2011.
Freshman Sarah Broderick (Haverhill, Mass.) kicked off the awards as she was selected as the team's Rookie of the Year. Broderick notched seven first place finishes throughout the dual meet season. She was highlighted at the America East Championships in the 50-yard freestyle, registering as runner-up with a time of 23.41 seconds.
The Most Improved Award was shared between sophomore Bettina Caspersen (Lyngby, Denmark) and junior Oneida Cooper (Johannesburg, South Africa). Caspersen's best finish came at the conference championships in the 200-yard breaststroke. The sophomore powered through the water to clock in with a provisional cut time of 2:13.56 for silver. Caspersen logged 10 first place finishes overall in the 2013-14 season.
Cooper tied with McCandless for the most points scored at the America East Championships (57). She won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle at the conference championships with times of 1:50.24 and 4:52.45 respectively. The junior went on to compete at the ECAC Championships to earn second and a provisional cut in the 200-yard IM (2:02.37), fifth in the 400-yard IM (4:24.07) and fifth in the 200-yard backstroke (2:02.84). Cooper tallied 12 first place finishes throughout the season.
Roberts earned the Most Valuable Swimmer Award for a second consecutive year. The senior notched a team-high 30 first place finishes throughout the season. A two-time America East Swimmer of the Week and the Philip Hunsaker CollegeSwimming.com Division I Swimmer of the Week on Jan. 29, she earned four provisional cuts as well as snapping three conferences records throughout the 2013-14 season. Roberts was part of two UNH relay records in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:33.25) and 400-yard medley relay (3:41.88). Roberts also reset a program record in the 200-yard butterfly at the ECAC Championships with a mark of 1:56.91, ranking 38th in Division I and earning her an alternate spot at the NCAA Championships.
The Coaches Award was given to McCandless, an award given to an upperclassman that exemplifies the best of UNH swimming & diving. Receiving the award for a second year in a row, McCandless has logged a decorated career for the Wildcats. The two-time co-captain is the all-time UNH record holder in the 500- (4:51.20, 2013) 1,000- (10:00.97, 2011) and 1,650-yard freestyle (16:35.31, 2011). This season, she earned first place in 16 events, including a member of the record breaking quartet in the 400-yard medley at the America East Championships with a combined time of 3:41.88. The senior also recorded a provisional cut at the ECAC Championships, touching the wall at 1:58.45 in the 200-yard butterfly.
Keefer was recognized as the recipient of the Richard J. Hegerich Memorial Golden Goggle Award, similar to the 'Seventh Player Award'. The memorial award is given in honor of former UNH swimmer Rich Hegerich, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 2004. The senior recorded top finishes in the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.15) at Swasey Pool against Vermont and in the 1,000-yard freestyle against Bryant University and Central Connecticut State University (10:40.08). At the America East Championships, she placed fourth in the 1,650-yard freestyle (17.19.34) and seventh in the 500-yard freestyle (5:01.97).
The Best Performance Award was given to junior Katie Mann (Prince George, British Columbia) in the 200-yard breaststroke at the America East Championships. The Philip Hunsaker CollegeSwimming.com Women's Division I Swimmer of the Week on Feb. 19 competed in a 200-yard breaststroke time trial. The junior posted a UNH program record at the 100-yard mark, clocking in at 1:02.19. She completed the time trial with an open conference record of 2:10.30, earning a provisional cut. After earning another provisional cut in the 400-yard IM with a ECAC record time of 4:09.40, Mann was the lone UNH representative at the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. The junior kicked off the meet with a new UNH and America East open record with a time of 1:58.78 in the 200-yard IM. She followed with a 19th place finish in the 400-yard IM, clocking in at 4:10.39. Mann's 19th place finish was a best by a Wildcat since 1998. She wrapped up the championships with a 2:12.11 time in the 200-yard breaststroke, placing 40th overall. The junior notched 20 first place finishes throughout the 2013-14 season.
The Swim Under Pressure Award was bestowed upon Bull. The senior was presented the award because she anchored all four first place relay races at the conference championships. Bull was part of the America East record-setting quartet in the 400-yard medley relay (3:41.88) and a team-best time in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:33.25). Furthermore, Bull served as the linchpin in the conference winning 400-yard freestyle relay (3:24.99), just touching out Vermont by 31 hundredths of a second and the lead squad in the 800-yard freestyle relay (7:21.47). The America East Swimmer of the Week for Oct. 15, Bull was part of 25 first place finishes for the Wildcats which included a first place finish and personal best at the America East Championships in the 200-yard backstroke (2:00.18).
For more information on the women's swimming & diving program, visit www.UNHWildcats.com.