FIU Swimming and Diving Dominates C-USA Postseason Awards
IRVING, Texas (April 28, 2016) – FIU Swimming and Diving Caps off one of the most-successful seasons in their history, three Panthers have been recognized by Conference USA as the very best in the league. Redshirt freshman Naomi Ruele was named the C-USA Swimmer of the Year and the C-USA Freshman of the Year, while sophomore Rebecca Quesnel was tabbed the C-USA Diver of the Year, and senior Jessica Piper was recognized as the C-USA Co-Newcomer of the Year, the conference announced on Thursday.
Ruele had an amazing first year of competition with the Panthers. The native of Botswana finished the year setting three FIU records, one Conference USA record, claiming seven conference titles, earning a berth in the NCAA Championships, while qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. On the year, Ruele finished either first or second in the 50 Free 12 times. She posted times under 23 seconds five times, including a 22.33 in the prelims of the C-USA Championships and her record-setting time of 22.23 in the finals. Ruele was perfect during the C-USA Championships, winning gold in each of the seven events in which she swam in (three individual, four relays). Named the C-USA Swimmer of the Meet, she also set two other school records during the championships (100 Free and 200 Free Relay). She became the fifth FIU swimmer to compete in the NCAA Championships, placing 41st in the 50 free in March. The NCAA time of 22.68 was the fourth-fastest time of her career, while her qualifying time for the NCAAs was tied for the 30th-fastest in the nation.
This marks the third-straight year a Panther has been named Swimmer of the Year (Johanna Gustafsdottir – 2014-15; Sonia Perez – 2013-14), while the Freshman of the year nod is the program’s second-straight (Silvia Scalia – 2014-15).
Quesnel, a five-time C-USA Diver of the Week, has had a very successful 2015-16 season. She claimed the gold medal in the 1-meter and platform programs, while placing second in the 3-meter at this year’s C-USA Championships. She set the school record in the platform during the championships, posting a score of 299.80. Quesnel also set personal bests in the 1-meter (308.85 versus Illinois – 11/7/15), and the 3-meter (330.50 at FIU Relays – 1/9/16). Quesnel made FIU history, becoming the first Panther diver to qualify for the NCAA Championships back in March. Quesnel, the Conference USA Diver of the Meet during the conference championships, posted a score of 523.50 (over 10 dives in both the prelims and finals) to finish fifth in this year’s Zone B Diving Platform Finals and earn the program’s first birth in the NCAA Championships in diving. On the year, Quesnel posted 16 first place results and a total of 23 top-three finishes.
This is FIU’s second Diver of the Year award in C-USA (Sabrina Beaupre – 2013-14).
Piper made the most of her one year with the Panthers. The Cincinnati transfer posted 26 top-five finishes and helped FIU claim its second-straight C-USA title. The native of St. Petersburg, Florida registered three top-eight finishes in Atlanta, including a gold-medal performance in the 800 Free Relay. Piper had three first-place finishes on the year with a 57.72 in the 100 Back (UNF TriMeet – 10/3/15), a 2:06.41 in the 200 Back (UNF TriMeet – 10/3/15) and a 5:02.44 in the 500 Free (Florida Atlantic – 2/6/16). She had registered four other top five finishes in the 100 Back (third at Duel-a-Palooza – 10/17/15; second vs. Illinois – 11/6/15; second at FGCU – 1/23/16; fifth vs. Miami – 1/30/16) as well as four more top five finishes in the 200 Back (fifth at Duel-a-Palooza – 10/16/15; second vs. Illinois – 11/7/15; fifth vs. KU/NCSU – 1/8/16; fifth vs. Miami – 1/30/16). Notched a pair of third-place finishes in the 200 IM (vs. Illinois – 11/6/15; at FGCU – 1/23/16).
This award marks the Panthers’ first Newcomer of the Year.
2015-16 CONFERENCE USA SWIMMING AND DIVING AWARDS
Swimmer of the Year:
Naomi Ruele, FIU
Diver of the Year:
Rebecca Quesnel, FIU
Freshman Swimmer of the Year:
Naomi Ruele, FIU
Freshman Diver of the Year:
Averie Ruiz, North Texas
Co-Newcomers of the Year:
Claudia Kitching, North Texas
Jessica Piper, FIU
Florida Swim Network