RICHMOND, Va., April 8, 2011 – James Madison sophomore diver Kimberly Helfrich (Fort Belvoir, Va./West Springfield) was selected the Colonial Athletic Association Diver of the Year on Friday in a vote of the league’s head coaches while her coach Becky Benson was named the conference’s Diving Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Joining Helfrich and Benson as the CAA’s major award winners were Towson swimmers Meredith Budner and Kaitlin Burke and Northeastern diver Candace Young. Budner and Burke were named the league’s Swimmer and Rookie Swimmer of the Year, respectively, while Young garnered Rookie Diver of the Year honors. Towson’s Pat Mead was selected as the women’s swimming Coach of the Year.
Helfrich added Diver of the Year honors to go with her 2010 Rookie Diver of the Year award. In March, she became the first member of the JMU swimming and diving team to ever qualify for the NCAA Championships where she placed 24th on the 1-meter board and 28th on the 3-meter board. At the CAA Championships, the sophomore from Fort Belvoir, Va. finished third in the 3-meter competition with a score of 300.60 before taking fourth in the 1-meter with a 294.90. She is the first JMU athlete to claim the CAA Diver of the Year since Amanda Kuehl in 1996.
Benson was formally recognized as the Diving Coach of the Year after winning the honor back in February at the CAA Championships. She won the award for the second consecutive season after place four divers in the top eight overall in both diving events in the Championships. Benson also led all four of her divers, Helfrich, senior Jessie Everett (Arlington, Va./Yorktown), and juniors Nicole Jotso (Suffern, N.Y./Suffern) and Chelsea Savage (Bedford, Texas/L.D. Bell) to a spot in the NCAA Zone A Championships.
In addition to the 2011 major award winners in women’s swimming and diving, several JMU individuals and relay teams received All-CAA accolades based on their performances at the CAA Championships.
50 Freestyle: Eva Hannesdottir
100 Freestyle: Eva Hannesdottir*
200 Freestyle: Eva Hannesdottir
100 Butterfly: Andrea Criscuolo; Carly Gibson
200 Butterfly: Andrea Criscuolo
200 Freestyle Relay: Catalina Mendieta, Carly Gibson, Eva Hannesdottir, Becca Hunt
400 Freestyle Relay: Carly Gibson, Becca Hunt, Catalina Mendieta, Eva Hannesdottir
200 Medley Relay: Andrea Criscuolo, Shannon Dubay, Catalina Mendieta, Becca Hunt
1-Meter Dive: Jessie Everett
3-Meter Dive: Nicole Jotso*, Kimberly Helfrich
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