April 16, 2010
IRVING, Texas – Conference USA announced its 2010 swimming and diving specialty award winners Friday, as selected by the league’s head coaches. Student-athletes from Houston, SMU and Tulane claimed the five awards.
2010 C-USA Swimming & Diving Specialty Awards
SMU’s Therese Svendsen was named the 2010 Swimmer of the Year, while Reka Kovacs of Houston claimed the Freshman Swimmer of the Year honor. UH’s Anastasia Pozdniakova was voted Diver of the Year, and teammate Julia Lonnegren was named Freshman Diver of the Year. Rounding out the awards is Tulane’s Kylie Kastes, who garnered the Newcomer of the Year honor.
Svendsen finished her sophomore year by placing 13th at the NCAA Championships in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 53.18 seconds. She earned an NCAA “A” Qualifying Time in the 100 back at the C-USA Championships with a first-place time of 52.65 which accompanied her 200-yard backstroke victory time of 1:54.98. She posted two NCAA "B" qualifying times at the Missouri Grand Prix in the 100- and 200- LC meter backstrokes.
Pozdniakova, the NCAA Diver of the Year, won both the 1-meter and 3-meter events at the C-USA Championships for the second straight year. At the NCAA Championships, she took first place in the 1-meter dive and second place in the 3-meter dive. The senior’s score of 356.20 set an NCAA record in the 1-meter diving competition at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Pozdniakova was also victorious in the 1-meter and 3-meter competitions at the Zone Championships.
Kovacs led the Cougars in both individual medley events during her freshman campaign. Her 400-IM time of 4:15.24 was an NCAA ‘B’ standard and also good for a UH and C-USA Championship meet record. Kovacs touched the wall in 2:02.42 in the 200 IM at the C-USA Championships, which was the second fastest time in school history. She dipped into the UH Top-10 records at eighth with a 2:03.20 time in the 200-yard backstroke. Her 200-yard breaststroke time is the fifth fastest time in school history.
Lonnegren, the third Cougar to earn a specialty award, turned in a third-place finish in the 1-meter and platform events at the C-USA Championship. She scored a season-best 299.75 in the 3-meter and a 299.70 in the 1-meter competition in her first season. On the platform, the freshman tallied a season-best score of 288.65, which was the second highest on the team. She earned her first career victory on the 3-meter board in a dual against Rice, LSU and Tulane on Jan. 30.
Kastes was the lone experienced swimmer on the Tulane team that returned to competition for its first season since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She provided leadership for a squad that featured 16 true freshmen and a sophomore walk-on who did not compete the previous season. The junior came up big for the Green Wave, finishing the year with the second-fastest 50- and 200-free, while posting the No. 3 times in the 100 free and 200 fly.