Umbarger, Fabian Earn Major LEC Awards
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. –The Little East
Conference office handed out its 2010-11 women’s swimming and
diving major awards this afternoon after a vote by the conference
coaches. Keene State College earned two of the six awards, while
Bridgewater State University, University of Massachusetts
Dartmouth, Western Connecticut State University, and Westfield
State University were each represented.
Keene State sophomore Kaila Umbarger (Chelmsford, Mass.) was selected as the Swimmer of the Year, while Jack Fabian was chosen as the Coach of the Year. Western Connecticut freshman Katherine Meerman (Danbury, Conn.) was honored as the Rookie Swimmer of the Year. Westfield State University junior Kim Schmidt (Longmeadow, Mass.) was named the Diver of the Year, while UMass Dartmouth freshman Chelsea Hopkins-Pottle (Brockton, Mass.) was tabbed as the Rookie Diver of the Year. Bridgewater State closed out the awards program as the Team Sportsmanship Award honorees.
Umbarger became the second Owl women’s swimmer to earn individual All-America honors at the NCAA Division III Championships, joining former teammate Kristine Trutor ’10. The Chelmsford, Mass. product made her second-straight appearance at the national championship meet, where she captured All-America honors in two events. Umbarger advanced to the national championship final in the 50 freestyle after posting a school-record time of 23.18 seconds in her preliminary heat. In the final, Umbarger raced to fifth place with a time of 23.33 seconds. The same evening, Umbarger combined with her teammates to finish eighth (1:45.44) in the 200 medley relay. She also reached the consolation finals in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle events, and helped set the school-record in the 400 freestyle relay (12th, 3:52.42).
Umbarger powered the Owls to a second place finish at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association Championships (NEISDA), establishing three championship meet records and posting two NCAA A cut times. She captured the individual titles in the 50 butterfly (24.97), 50 freestyle (23.44), and 100 freestyle (51.21) races and qualified for the national meet in both freestyle events. Earlier in the season, Umbarger helped Keene State raise its fifth consecutive Little East Championship trophy by setting two championship standards. She was recently honored on the 2010-11 All-Little East Winter Academic Teams. Umbarger was chosen as the conference’s top weekly swimmer three times on the campaign.
Schmidt is the first Westfield State student-athlete to be selected as the top diver in the conference circuit. The native of Longmeadow, Mass. captured the one meter and three meter diving titles at the NEISDA Championships for the third consecutive season. Schmidt eclipsed the 400-point barrier on each event, recording scores of 409.3 on the short plank and 416 on the higher board. She was honored with the prestigious Diver of the Meet Award for the second-straight season. Schmidt also swept both events in the diving well at the Little East Championship. She established a new standard on the one meter board with 246.5 points, putting an additional 7.9 points between the previous record holder. Schmidt was honored as the diver of the week twice on the season.
Meerman made an immediate impact on the Colonials’ roster, setting three Western Connecticut program records during her rookie season. The Danbury, Conn. product etched her name into the record books at the 2010 Little East Championships, when she captured the 100 backstroke (58.98) and 500 freestyle (5:18.40) events. Meerman established her third and final program record during the 200 medley relay when she turned in a split of 27.74 seconds in the 50 backstroke. Meerman helped the Colonials place sixth at the NEISDA Championships, when she was the first swimmer to touch the wall in the 50 (28.04) and 100 (1:00.00) backstroke events. Meerman was consistently the top rookie swimmer in the conference, earning the weekly award five of the eight times it was presented.
Hopkins-Pottle is the second-straight Corsair to be named the conference’s top rookie diver, joining teammate Cecelia Rius (Rockville, Md.). The native of Brockton, Mass. posted a 10th place performance on the one-meter board at the NEISDA Championships with a combined score of 252.65 points. The All-Little East selection was the top rookie diver on both the one meter and three meter boards at the conference championship. She placed second on the shorter plank with a score of 178.15 to earn All-Little East honors, while finishing fourth on the higher board (143.55). Hopkins-Pottle was awarded the top rookie diver award twice on the campaign.
Fabian led Keene State to the program’s highest finish at the NCAA Division III Championships this past season, when the Owls scored 55 points to place 17th in the team standings. Under his direction, each of his four female swimmers that competed at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn. earned All-America honors. The Keene State trio of junior Maureen O’Leary (Nashua, N.H.), classmate Jillian Whitaker (Gilford, Conn.), and freshman Lianna Wissmann (Orleans, Mass.) joined Umbarger on the 200 medley relay team that placed eighth in a time of one minute, 45.44 seconds. Whitaker also established a new program record in the 100 breaststroke at the national meet, clipping the clock at one minute, 4.53 seconds. Fabian guided his charges to a second place finish at the NEISDA Championship, and raised the program’s fifth consecutive and eighth overall Little East Championship. He also mentored five student-athletes on the 2010-11 All-Little East Winter Academic Teams. Fabian was voted the conference’s top coach by his peers in 2010.
Initially formed in 1986 as a six-team men's and women's basketball conference, the Little East Conference has since grown to its present eight-school membership, sponsoring championship play in 19 intercollegiate athletics: baseball; men's and women's basketball; men's and women's cross country; field hockey; men's and women's lacrosse; men's and women's soccer; softball; women's swimming; men's and women's tennis; men's and women's indoor track; men's and women's outdoor track and women's volleyball.