ANN ARBOR, Michigan, June 12. THE University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Wednesday, June 12) that junior men's swimmer Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven) and junior women's gymnast Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland)have been named the 2012-13 Michigan Athletes of the Year.
“Joanna and Connor are most deserving of the Female and Male Athlete of the Year awards,” said David Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics.
“Both individuals stood out above the rest in what has been a stellar year for Michigan Athletics. Joanna and Connor take great pride in representing Michigan, and we are pleased that both student-athletes will be returning this Fall for their senior seasons. We look forward to watching them continue to lead the women's gymnastics and men's swimming and diving programs to be leaders and best.”
The Michigan Athlete of the Year Award was first given out in 1982. Jaeger is the sixth men's swimmer to receive the honor, joining Brent Lang (1990), Mike Barrowman (1991), Gustavo Borges (1994), Tom Dolan (1995-96), Dan Ketchum (2002) and Peter Vanderkaay (2006), while Sampson is the fifth women's gymnast, along with Beth Wymer (1995), Sarah Cain (2000), Elise Ray (2004) and Kylee Botterman (2011). Both student-athletes are eligible to be named Big Ten Conference Athletes of the Year, the winners of which are determined by a media vote.
Jaeger helped lead the men's swimming and diving team to Big Ten and NCAA team championships while also winning individual national titles in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. Additionally, he was a four-time NCAA All-American and three-time Big Ten individual champion, which led to him being named the 2012-13 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. Last summer, Jaeger represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics in London, finishing sixth in the 1,500-meter freestyle. An exceptional student, he was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I Men's At-Large second team last week.
Like Jaeger, Sampson was also an individual national champion this season, winning the floor exercise title at the NCAA Championships in April. She became an NCAA All-American for the first time in her career, claiming first team honors on vault, on floor exercise and in the all-around (where she tied for third with teammate Katie Zurales) while also claiming four NACGC/W All-America citations during the regular season. Sampson was the 2013 Big Ten Women's Gymnast of the Year and the 2013 NCAA Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year.
Following are biographical sketches on Jaeger and Sampson:
Michigan Male Athlete of the Year
Connor Jaeger, 21, represented the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where he finished sixth in the 1,500-meter freestyle. During the 2012-13 college season, Jaeger helped Michigan capture its 12th national championship (most of any men's swimming and diving program in NCAA history) and win its 37th Big Ten championship (most of any Big Ten team).
At the NCAA Championships in March, Jaeger won individual national titles in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle, becoming the first U-M swimmer to win national titles in both of those events at the same championships meet since Tom Dolan in 1996. He was a four-time NCAA All-American this year, earning honors in the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 1,650-yard freestyle and 800-yard freestyle relay. Jaeger, a native of Fair Haven, N.J., also won individual conference titles in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle and contributed to a win in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Following the season, Jaeger was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year and was also selected as the Michigan Male College Athlete of the Year by the prestigious Detroit Athletic Club. He was also selected as one of the team's captains for next season.
In the classroom, Jaeger majors in mechanical engineering. This year, he was named a CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American (second team) as well as an All-District Five selection (first team). He is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and three-time U-M Athletic Academic-Achievement Award recipient.
Michigan Female Athlete of the Year
A junior co-captain this past season, Joanna Sampson helped lead Michigan back to the NCAA Championships for the 19th time in the last 21 years, where U-M finished seventh as a team. Individually, Sampson became the fourth gymnast in the 37-year history of the program to win a national championship when she won the floor exercise title in the individual-event finals. She also tied for third in the all-around, sharing a spot on the podium with fellow co-captain Katie Zurales.
Sampson, a native of Willow Grove, Pa., became an NCAA All-American for the first time in her career, earning first team nods on floor exercise, vault and in the all-around. She was also a four-time NACGC/W All-American during the regular season, receiving first-team honors on vault, on floor exercise and in the all-around while getting a sole second-team honor on uneven bars.
She took first place in the all-around in eight of the team's 14 meets while winning or sharing 23 individual-event titles. Her scoring average in the all-around (39.434) is third-highest for a single season in program history. For her efforts in the gym, Sampson was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and an All-Big Ten first team selection after claiming the conference's Gymnast of the Week honor five times during the regular season. She was also named NCAA Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year and was the uneven bars champion at the NCAA Morgantown Regional in April.
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