Swimming, Diving Academic Stars

While the new academic year is just underway, the Alabama Swimming and Diving team continues reap the benefits of last year's extraordinary classroom effort.

The College Swimming Coaches Association of America's Scholar All-American Teams rankings saw the Alabama men ranked No. 1 and the Crimson Tide women ranked second in the nation for the spring semester by team grade point average. The UA men tied with Denver with a 3.44 team GPA while the women were just a hundredth of a point behind first-place Yale with a 3.63 GPA.

"I am extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in the classroom this past year," UA head coach Eric McIlquham said. "We want to be the best in everything we do, especially in the area of academics, and I think this shows the kind of dedication and hard work our student-athletes put into their studies."

In addition to the team accomplishments, Alabama had four student-athletes earn first team Scholar All-American honors and another dozen earn honorable mention accolades. To earn first team Scholar All-American honors, a swimmer or diver must carry a 3.5 GPA and participate in the NCAA Championships. To earn honorable mention All-American honors, they must earn an NCAA provisional standard and carry a 3.5 GPA.

All-American and 2010 senior Kate Shannon Gray, the school record holder in the 200 and 400 IM, and current sophomore Kristel Vourna, the school record holder in the 100 butterfly and a 2011 FINA World Championship participant, earned first-team honors on the women's side. All-Americans and 2010 seniors Adam Booher and Catalin Cosma earned first-team honors on the men's side of things.

Divers Callan Buck, Olivia Covey and Paige McCleary along with swimmers Anna Gwarjanski, Kelsie Ludolph and Alex Popa all earned honorable mention honors for the women's team while swimmers Daniel Armstrong, Alan Axford, BJ Hornikel, Reese Shirey, Devan Terry and Denes Zubcsek earned honorable mention for the men's team.

Vourna, Buck, McCleary, Gwarjanski, Popa, Hornikel, Shirey and Terry are all back for the Tide this year and, along with their Tide teammates, will get the dual-meet season underway October 15 at Florida State where they will also face South Carolina.

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