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April 24, 2012

PITTSBURGH — Junior Joanna Budzis earned her second Most Valuable Swimmer award, as the University of Pittsburgh women’s swimming and diving team held its annual end-of-the-season awards banquet at the University Club to honor the accomplishments of its 2011-12 season.

Head Swim Coach Chuck Knoles named Budzis (Warsaw, Poland/School of Sport Championship Warsaw) the Most Valuable Swimmer for the second time in her career. Budzis garnered the same honor her freshman season.

This year, Budzis set a school record in the 400 IM (4:17.28) at the 2012 Big East Championship. She also recorded an NCAA B cut in the 200 back (1:58.30) and as a member of the 800 free relay team. Budzis held the team’s best time in the 100 back and 400 IM, while placing second among her teammates in the 200 back and 200 IM.

As the celebration continued, Knoles presented the next four honors. Among those was the Panther Triad Award, which is given to a student-athlete that best represents Pitt’s standards of commitment, teamwork and pride. Voted by her teammates, this year’s Triad winner was Lauren Matevish (Santa Rosa, Calif./Maria Carrillo).

Next, two members of the squad earned the team academic award, as both freshmen Sarah Zetlmeisl (New Windsor, Md./McDonogh School) and Lauren Mills (Johnson City, Tenn./Science Hill) were called to the podium.

Sophomore Kate Dunseith (Towson, Md./Notre Dame Prep) was named the Most Improved Swimmer after she qualified for the Big East Championship for the second time in her career. Dunseith anchored the 800 free relay team to an NCAA provisional finish at the conference championship.

The banquet began with the announcement of the Most Improved Diver – freshman Ali Swafford (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty). Competing in her first conference championship, Swafford finished among the top-25 in the 1M event this season. She also competed on the platform board and placed eighth in the exhibition final.

Next, sophomore Leigh Waltz (Red Lion, Pa./Dallastown) was named the team’s Most Valuable Diver. Waltz advanced to the finals on the 1M board at the conference championship for the first time in her career. She also claimed a top-15 finish in the 3M event. Waltz qualified for the NCAA Diving Zones, where she placed among the top-25 on the 1M board.

The Panthers finished the 2011-12 season 8-6 overall with a 2-3 Big East dual meet record. Pitt captured its 10th consecutive top-five finish at the Big East Championship, while setting five school records – Budzis (400 IM - 4:17.28), Kelsey Herbst (500 free - 4:46.86) and Cam Dixon (200 IM - 2:01.24, 100 breast – 1:01.80 and 200 breast – 2:14.78). Additionally, freshman Dani des Tombe broke the rookie standard in the 50 free (23.13).

Six Panthers earned NCAA provisional cuts in their respective events: Budzis (200 back, 200 IM, 400 IM, 800 free relay), des Tombe (800 free relay), Herbst (500 free, 800 free relay) and sophomores Renee Deschenes (100 back), Dunseith (800 free relay) and Veronica Lee (200 breast).

Joanna Budzis Earns Her Second Most Valuable Swimmer Award

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