Senior diver Grant Nel and junior swimmer John Dalton shared the Team MVP Award as the Texas A&M swimming and diving men's team honored the 2011-12 season at its annual banquet.
The Aggie men had a strong season with a runner-up finish at the Big 12 Championships and a No. 13 team finish at the NCAA Championships. It was the Aggies' fifth straight top 15 finish at the national meet and the 17th straight year that A&M has finished in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships.
Nel and Dalton played huge roles in the Aggies' success this season.
Nel set a school record in the three-meter in 2012 and finished his career as the school record holder in all three dives. Absent from the Big 12 Championships while competing for his home country of Australia, Nel went on to finish in the top two in both springboard dives at zones and earn All-America honor in both events at NCAAs.
Dalton become just the second Aggie in school history to earn All-America honors in six races at the NCAA Championships. A member of A&M's 2012 Big 12 Champion 400 medley relay, Dalton took top 16 places in both his individual events (50 and 100 free) and with four relays (400 medley relay, 200/400/800 free relay).
During the season the Aggies broke school records in six events - 50 free (Dalton, 19.44), 100 breaststroke (Amini Fonua, 53.44), 200 IM (Simon Frank, 1:46.97), 400 IM (Simon Frank, 3:47.71), 800 free relay (Dalton, Paul-Marc Schweitzer, Wagner, Luke Shaw, 6:21.88) and the three-meter dive (Nel, 476.48).
Also earning awards were sophomore Donnie Walker (Trey Heye Memorial), junior John Wagner (Most Improved) and Fonua (Aggie Heart).
Picked as team captains for the upcoming season were Dalton, Frank and junior diver Antonio Page Kahn.
2011-12 Team Awards
Danny Green MVP: John Dalton, Grant Nel
Awarded to the team member who, according to the staff, contributed the most to the success of the team throughout the season with their performances during competition. The award is named for Danny Green '46, who was Texas A&M's first All-American in swimming. Green was a two-time Southwest Conference Champion and finalist for the Sullivan Award under legendary coach Art Adamson before dropping out of Texas A&M to serve his country in World War II in the U.S. Navy. He returned to A&M after his military duty and won four more conference titles in 1947 and 1948.
Trey Heye Memorial Award: Donnie Walker
Given to an upperclassman swimmer who came to A&M as a non-scholarship athlete, but proved himself with his work ethic, performance and teamwork.
The award is named for Trey Heye, the eldest son of Aggie graduates Paul '87 and Mary Jo '88 Heye of Little Rock, Ark., who tragically passed away at the age of seven in 2000. Trey was a talented swimmer who dreamed of swimming for the Aggies.
Most Improved: John Wagner
Awarded to the Aggie swimmer or diver who improved the most, not only with his performances, but also with his work habits and commitment to the team goals and values.
Aggie Heart (In Memory of Bob Stallings): Amini Fonua
Voted on by the team, the Aggie Heart is awarded to the swimmer or diver that best exemplified what it means to be an Aggie: Always putting the team's needs ahead of his own while setting a positive example both in and out of the water, and striving to push others to be their best. The award is in memory of former A&M swimmer and water polo team member Bob Stallings '70, who was one of Texas A&M's greatest supporters and benefactors beforing passing away while doing what he loved -- serving as an official at the 2007 Junior National Championships in Indianapolis.
2012-13 Team Captains: John Dalton, Simon Frank, Antonio Page-Kahn
School Records set in 2011-12
50-Yard Free, John Dalton, :19.44
100-Yard Breast, Amini Fonua, :53.44
200-Yard IM, Simon Frank, 1:46.97
400-Yard IM, Simon Frank, 3:47.71
800 Free Relay, P. Schweitzer, J. Dalton, B. Loncaric, J. Wagner, 6:21.88
3M Springboard, Grant Nel, 476.48
Nel, Dalton Share MVP Award
April 30, 2012
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)