|PHOENIX, Arizona, April 16. FOR the third year in a row, Swimming World Magazine honors the best of the best among the sports information profession. Sports information directors (SID) are often the people that make life much easier for media members throughout the world. SIDs do their best to facilitate fair contact between the media and athletes, as well as working countless hours to promote their programs on their own.
Swimming World is proud to announce the winners of its third annual SID of the Year award. This year, it was just too difficult to pick between our top two finalists. So, we're honoring them both as the SIDs of the Year. Texas A&M's Chris Harrell and Navy's Justin Kischefsky are the 2009 honorees.
As detailed a year ago, SIDs play within the sports community, these people are the workers assigned by organizations within the industry to interact with the media for their respective sports. Many of the interesting facts and stats found within media reports usually come directly from the intense research done by SIDs.
With this in mind, Swimming World looked into how well SIDs throughout the world facilitated our media requests, as well as how each of them worked tirelessly to promote their own programs.
Over the past year, Harrell has done a tremendous job with the Aggies. Harrell is the primary media relations contact for women's swimming and diving at Texas A&M, and was in charge of Texas A&M's side of hosting the NCAA Division I Women's Championships. He was an integral part of the agreement between Swimming World, Texas A&M, the NCAA and ESPN, which allowed Swimming World to stream almost the entire NCAA Division I Championships for the second year in a row – an experience that prior to two years ago would have seemed just a dream.
Texas A&M Associate Athletic Director, Media Relations Alan Cannon:
Chris is an outstanding young man who has a passion for any sport he works with, and has shown a great love for the sport of swimming and diving. He develops an excellent working relationship with his coaches and student-athletes. He does a great job of getting the information out to the media and promoting the sport. I am lucky to have Chris on our staff here at Texas A&M and I believe he is one of the very best swimming SIDs in the country and worthy of any accolades that may come his way.
Texas A&M Head Women's Swimming Coach Steve Bultman:
Chris does such a great job as our SID. He takes pride, and has a passion for what he does. It's not just a job for him, he really enjoys what he does, and wants to see the swimmers and divers succeed. He gets the results and articles on them out in a timely manner, and cares how they are portrayed. Chris has come a long way from not knowing much about the sport when he started with us 8 or 9 years ago, to really understanding times and scores. It is a well-deserved award.
The other winner of this year's award is Navy's Justin Kischefsky. We've had our eye on Kischefsky since the inception of the award three years ago, and his long track record of success put him over the top this year.
Similar to the sport of swimming where someone might capture lightning in a bottle for a single season, but the truly great are those that can duplicate that effort every single year, Kischefsky has had that same type of career at Navy. He consistently provides Swimming World with amazing feature stories on the men and women that have chosen to serve our country as the media relations contact for both men's and women's swimming at the Naval Academy.
Navy's Associate Athletics Director, Sports Information Scott Strasemeier:
Justin Kischefsky is a phenomenal SID, and is very deserving of this award. There is nobody in the country that cares more about his or her school and student-athletes than Justin. The fact that he is able to win the swimming SID award, while also handling women's basketball, women's volleyball, men's tennis and the day-to-day administration of navysports.com is a true testament to his talents and work ethic. The Naval Academy is extremely fortunate to have him as part of the staff.
Navy's Head Men's Swimming Coach Bill Roberts:
What sticks out in my mind with Justin is that he took time to learn swimming and diving during his initial years of covering our sport. In my estimation, his knowledge of swimming and diving will rival that of any other sports information professional working on a collegiate campus. In addition, Justin is a true professional in every regard. We are very appreciative to have him on our side!
Navy's Head Women's Swimming Coach John Morrison:
Justin is an outstanding asset to our program. Not only does he work to perfection on our daily requests, he constantly looks for innovative media approaches to best support the efforts of our program. At many institutions, you may see a swimming SID a few times each year and you might talk to them following a competition. Our team sees Justin on deck three or four times each week. Justin cares about our program. He is truly an integral part of what we do and a tremendously important member of our team.
Other SIDs were named honorable mention for the award based on their strong professional work.
Matt Crouch (Auburn), Travis Feldhaus (Texas), Paul Goldberg (Southern California), Brad Marquardt (Texas A&M), Doug Meffley (Northwestern), Kelly Reynolds (Florida), Derek Satterfield (Purdue), Melanie Schneider (Indiana), Zach Stipe (Tennessee), Gary Thorne (Auburn).
National Governing Body Ranks:
Jamie Fabos Olsen (USA Swimming), Erin Greene (USA Swimming), Ian Hanson (Swimming Australia), Yana Ivanova (Swimming South Africa), Karen Linhart (USA Swimming), Jennifer Lowery (USA Diving), Greg Mescall (USA Water Polo), Taylor Payne (USA Synchro), Martin Richard (Swimming Canada), Cameron Schuh (NCAA).
SID of the Year: Travis Feldhaus, Texas
Matt Crouch (Auburn), Paul Goldberg (Southern California), Chris Harrell (Texas A&M), Jeremiah Hergott (Michigan), Jeff Keiser (Minnesota), Justin Kischefsky (Navy), Kendra Lee (Ohio State), Chris Macaluso (Purdue), Doug Meffley (Northwestern), Jessica Raber (Washington), Casey Self (Tennessee), Jakob Skipper (William & Mary), Ryan Sosin (Michigan).
National Governing Body Ranks:
Jamie Fabos (USA Swimming), Erin Greene (USA Swimming), Ian Hanson (Swimming Australia), Yana Ivanova (Swimming South Africa), Karen Linhart (USA Swimming), Martin Richard (Swimming Canada).
Click here for 2008 announcement.
SID of the Year: Doug Meffley, Northwestern
Honorable Mention: Travis Feldhaus (Texas), Paul Goldberg (Southern California), Chris Harrell (Texas A&M), Jeff Keiser (Minnesota), Justin Kischefsky (Navy), Kristie Le (Atlantic Coast Conference), Jakob Skipper (William & Mary).
Click here for 2007 announcement.
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Photo By: Texas AM University
Photo By: Navy Athletics