WALNUT CREEK, Calif., April 13. PUTTING some finishing touches on the collegiate swimming season, the Pac-10 Conference announced its award winners Tuesday, with Stanford’s Caroline Bruce and California’s Duje Draganja leading the way as Swimmers of the Year. Bruce was also the Newcomer of the Year for the women.
A freshman at Stanford, Bruce capped her initial collegiate season with a dynamite showing at the NCAA Championships. Aside from zooming to victories in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events, Bruce picked up a third-place showing in the 200 individual medley. The Athens Olympian also had a spectacular outing at the Pac-10 Championships, where she won the 200 breast and the 200 and 400 individual medley events.
As for Draganja, the Cal senior capped his college career in spectacular fashion. At last month’s NCAA Championships, Draganja claimed victories in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly and took second place in the 50 free. His 100 free triumph was highlighted by an NCAA record time of 41.49. Draganja also helped Cal to NCAA standards in the 200 and 400 free relays.
Cal also boasted the Newcomer of the Year on the male side in Dominik Meichtry. A freshman from Switzerland, Meichtry was 10th at the NCAA Championships in the 200 freestyle and placed second in that event at the Pac-10 Championships.
Coach of the Year nods were picked up by Stanford’s Skip Kenney (men) and Arizona’s Frank Busch (women). In winning his 17th Coach of the Year nod in the conference, Kenney guided Stanford to its 24th straight Pac-10 crown. The Cardinal also finished second to Auburn at the NCAA Champs. Busch, meanwhile, was honored for a fourth time and helped Arizona finish third at the NCAA Championships and second at the Pac-10 Championships.
On the boards, Arizona State’s Joona Puhakka picked up his third consecutive Diver of the Year accolade after winning the one-meter and three-meter springboard events at the NCAA Champs and Pac-10 Champs. Meanwhile, his coach Mark Bradshaw was named Coach of the Year for a third straight year. The Newcomer of the Year was Cal’s Javier Rivas, who had three top-12 finishes at the Pac-10 Championships.
For the women, Southern California’s Blythe Hartley was named Diver of the Year after winning the three-meter competition at the NCAA Championships. The Olympic bronze medalist from Canada, who was Pac-10 Diver of the Year in 2002 and 2003 before taking last year off to train for the Athens Games, won both springboard events at the Pac-10 Champs.
Southern Cal’s Hongping Li was named Coach of the Year for the fourth time in five years and UCLA’s Brittany Renfrow was named Newcomer of the Year after finishing eighth on the three-meter springboard at the conference championships.
The awards are determined by a vote of the conference’s coaches.