LAS CRUCES, N.M. (April 30)-The New Mexico State swimming and diving team celebrated the 2011-12 season with an awards banquet, April 29. The Aggies broke 10 school records and posted 12 NCAA 'B' cuts this year along with a top 20 ranking in the final Collegeswimming.com Mid-Major Poll.
"It is an important part of the process to celebrate our many accomplishments, say goodbye to our seniors and thank the ones who make our lives successful," head coach Rick Pratt said. "To look back and realize how far we have come gives us a great sense of pride and creates excitement for the future. We have come a long way in seven seasons, and I am proud of our group of ladies and our talented support staff."
Freshman Aliena Schmidtke was recognized as the outstanding swimmer of the year and newcomer of the year after she was the second Aggie to ever compete at the NCAA Championships this season. She qualified for the national meet after winning the 200 freestyle at the WAC Championships with a school-record showing of 1:46.38. Schmidtke also broke the program records in the 50 free (22.82) and 100 free (49.28) at the conference meet en route to earning WAC Freshman of the Year honors.
Senior Gina Palombit collected two honors, the Linda Schroeder Academic Award and lifter of the year award. Palombit and senior Brittney Moore were honored as this year's team captains, and junior Alex Fenton and sophomore Terrin Seaver were named co-captains for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Seaver also garnered the most improved award after breaking the school record in the 100 back. Fenton was honored with the coaches' award. Senior Carly Smith was named the outstanding diver after a final season on the springboards that included a top eight finish at the WAC meet on the 3-meter board.
The Aggies also honored their six seniors, Rachelle Bassen, Moore, Palombit, Ana Smith, Carly Smith and Maria Spies. Bassen was a top distance freestyle specialist for the Crimson and White. She scored at the WAC Championships with a 12th-place finish. Moore concluded her Aggie career at the conference meet and scored in three events (500 free, 1,650 free and 400 individual medley) to help NM State capture fourth place. Palombit, a freestyle specialist, completed her collegiate career with top 20 finishes at the WAC meet in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke.
Ana Smith graduates in May and leaves the Aggies as the school record holder in both the 1,000 free (10:10.79) and 1,650 free (16:51.00). Spies ended her time in Las Cruces as the first Aggie to compete at the NCAA Championships in 2009, and she holds both the 100 breast (1:00.98) and 200 breast (2:12.02) program records. Carly Smith spent only two seasons with the Aggies, but she made an impact and scored at the conference meet both years.