BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University men's and women's swimming and diving teams may have been able to complete their season before the COVID 19 pandemic but unlike most years the team was unable to gather for a season ending banquet to recognize and salute the great achievements of the season.
Head Coach Laura Demaline and her staff recognized a total of 30 student-athletes for their efforts during the season. Eight swimmers or divers were honored with the team's top varsity awards.
The six honorees were senior All-OAC performer Marissa Kural (LaGrange, Ill./Lyons Township), Juniors Matthew Butt (Westfield Center/Cloverleaf) and Conner Hartup (Westlake), sophomores, Kayla McClintock (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township),Michael Lewis (Lancaster) and Bella Ratino (Mentor/Hawken) and freshmen freshman LynnDee Popovich (Middleburg Heights/Reichelshelm Academy) and Zachary Pierce (Willis, Texas/Klein Collins)
Kural was named the Women's Scholar Athlete Award winner. She earned her third varsity letter this winter. This season, Kural set career-bests in the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard individual medley and 200-yard butterfly. She capped off her career by winning the OAC Championship in the 100-yard butterfly and by earning two individual and four relay All-OAC honors. For her career, Kural is a three-time All-OAC individual performer and a five-time All-OAC relay performer and the BW Natatorium record-holder in the 200-yard butterfly. Out of the water, she is a public and nonprofit management major that carries a 3.88 grade point average. Kural is a two-time Academic All-OAC selection, a Dean's List student, Jacket Scholar and a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society.
Butt was selected as the Men's Scholar Athlete Award recipient. He earned his third varsity letter this winter. This season, Butt set career-bests in the 50-yard backstroke, 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard individual medley and the 200-yard freestyle. For his career, Butt is a member of the school-record 400-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay teams as well as a member of the BW Natatorium record-holding 200-yard medley relay unit. Out of the pool, he is chemistry major that carries a 3.98 grade point average. Butt is a two-time Academic All-OAC selection, Dean's List student and a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.
Hartup was tabbed as the Men's Most Improved Swimmer Award winner. He earned his third varsity letter this winter. Hartup set career-bests this season in the 100-yard individual medley, 200-yard. individual medley, 400-yard individual medley, 500-yard freestyle, 1000-yard freestyle and 1650-yard freestyle.
McClintock was named as the Women's Most Improved Swimmer Award recipient. She earned her second varsity letter this winter. This season, McClintock earned her first All-OAC accolade with a third-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle. She set career-bests in the 50-yard backstroke, 200-yard backstroke, 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and 1650-yard freestyle.
Lewis was selected the Men's Most Valuable Swimmer Award winner. The All-OAC performer earned his second varsity letter this winter. Lewis set career-bests this season in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard individual medley, 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley. For his career, Lewis is a three-time OAC Swimmer of the Week selection. He is the school-record holder and the BW Natatorium record-holder in the 200-yard individual medley, the BW Natatorium record-holder in the 400-yard individual medley and is a member of the school-record 400-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle teams.
Ratino was tabbed as the Women's Most Valuable Swimmer. She earned her second varsity letter this winter. This season, Ratino set career-bests in the 50-yard backstroke, 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley. For her career, Ratino is a four-time OAC Champion, five-time All-OAC individual and two-time All-OAC relay performer and a two-time OAC Swimmer of the Week. She is the school-record holder in the 200-yard backstroke, 400-yard individual medley.
Popovich was selected as the Women's Rookie of the Year Award recipient. She earned her first varsity letter this winter. In her first season, Popovich had career-bests of 35.06 seconds in the 50-yard breaststroke, 28.70 in the 50-yard freestyle, 1:12.32 in the 100-yard backstroke, 1:12.00 in the 100-yard breaststroke, 1:09.53 in the 100-yard butterfly, 1:01.65 in the 100-yard freestyle, 2:38.68 in the 200-yard breaststroke, 2:16.86 on the 200-yard freestyle, 2:28.60 in the 200-yard individual medley, 5:00.92 in the 400-yard individual medley and 6:04.34 in the 500-yard freestyle.
Pierce was tabbed as the Men's Rookie of the Year Award winner. He earned his first varsity letter this winter. Pierce had a successful first season as he was the OAC Champion in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events and was named the OAC Men's Diver of the Year. He was a NCAA Division III Diving Regional qualifier in both events. Pierce was also named the OAC Diver of the Week on January 20. He had career-bests of 237.60 in the 1-meter and five-dive event, 298.35 in the 1-meter and six-dive event, 433.95 in the 1-meter and 11-dive event, 282.85 in the 3-meter and six-dive event and 478.25 in the 3-meter and 11-dive event.