BIRMINGHAM, Ala, May 4. THE Southeastern Conference announced the 2004 Swimming & Diving awards as voted on by the league head coaches. Fred Bousquet of Auburn was named SEC Men's Swimmer of the Year.
Diver of the Year for the men was Auburn's Caesar Garcia. Taking home the Men's Freshman Swimmer of the Year award was Bill Mrazek of Florida, and the conference's Men's Freshman Diver of the Year honor was a tie, awarded to Chris Cowill of Georgia and Jevon Tarantino of Tennessee.
On the women's side, Auburn's Kirsty Coventry was named SEC Women's Swimmer of the Year while Lane Bassham of Alabama earned Women's Diver of the Year accolades in a unanimous vote. Kara Lynn Joyce of Georgia was also a unanimous pick for Women's Freshman Swimmer of the year. Kentucky's Kari Retrum claimed the corresponding award for a freshman diver.
Garcia and Auburn's Lauren Duerk were honored for their academic achievements by being named the conference's swimming Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
Auburn's David Marsh and Jeff Shaffer swept the men's awards in Swimming and Diving Coach of the Year after leading their Tiger squad to its second straight NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving title. Georgia's Jack Bauerle was named Women's Swimming Coach of the Year and Pat Greenwall of Alabama won Women's Diving Coach of the Year.
Bousquet was an integral part of Auburn's NCAA Championship as he scored 49 individual points at the national championships. Individually, he won the 50-meter freestyle record in a world-record time of 21.10, which was .03 faster than the previous world record. He also placed third in the 100-meter freestyle (46.87) and sixth in the 100-meter butterfly (52.11).
Bousquet also had a terrific championships as a part of Auburn's 'Four Horsemen' as he swam the anchor leg of the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays that set world-best times, the butterfly leg of the 200-meter medley relay that set a world-best time and the butterfly leg of the runner-up 400-meter medley relay. At the conference level, Bousquet won the Commissioner's Trophy as he won the 50-yard freestyle (19.48), the 100-yard butterfly (47.06) and the 100-yard freestyle (42.53), with his 100 free setting a new SEC record. In relays, Bousquet swam the anchor leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay that set the SEC and NCAA record, the fly leg of the SEC Champion 200-yard medley relay and the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Coventry tied with teammate Margaret Hoelzer for the third-highest point total at NCAAs with 54 points. Individually, she won the 200-meter backstroke and placed second in both the 200- and 400-meter IMs. Coventry held the NCAA and US Open Record in the 200 IM coming out of prelims at 2:09.34, though eventual champion Kaitlin Sandeno took it back in the finals. Coventry also swam on the 800-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relays.
At the SEC Championships, Coventry claimed four titles – three individual and one relay. Coventry swept both IMs and won the 200-yard backstroke. She also swam the anchor leg of the 800-yard freestyle relay that claimed an SEC title and swam the leadoff backstroke leg of the runner-up 400-yard medley relay.
Garcia became the first men's diver in NCAA history to successfully defend his title on the platform, scoring an NCAA meet-record 635.05. Garcia was the high-point diver of the meet as he amassed 46 points between the three boards (3-meter – 5th; 1-meter – 7th). Garcia was also the high-point diver at the conference level with 52 points as he successfully defended his platform title, placed second on the 3-meter and fourth on the 1-meter.
Bassham won the 2004 NCAA Three-meter Diving Championship, becoming the first member of the Alabama women's swimming and diving program to win an NCAA title in 20 years. She also finished second off the one-meter board at the NCAA Championships. The Moultrie, Ga. native went undefeated during the regular season off the one and three-meter boards. She swept both spring board events at the SEC Championships, giving her three career conference titles. For her career she earned eight All-American honors.