BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's swimming and diving squad announced its team awards for the 2012 season. Head coach Andy Bashor and his staff made the following presentations: Taylor Steffl was named as Rookie of the Year; Kelsey Barbour earned the Most Improved Award; Alie Schirmers won the Leadership Award and Brittney Kuras was selected as the Most Valuable Performer.
Steffl picked up second-team All-Mid-American Conference honors as part of the winning 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays at the league meet. She was sixth in the 100-yard butterfly final in 55.14 after lowering her school record in the prelims with a 54.39 clocking and was seventh in the 50-yard freestyle final (23.29). She also earned Mid-Major All-American Honorable Mention honors from Collegeswimming.com.
Barbour was UB's inspirational leader for the team. Diagnosed with thyroid cancer during the summer of 2011, Barbour went through rigorous treatments, missing the first five meets of the season and returned to competition in the early winter. At the MAC Championships, she set personal-best times in the 100-yard breastroke (1:03.20), placing seventh and the 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.17), finishing 12th.
Schirmers earned second-team All-MAC honors at the league championships and reached the championship final in all three of her individual races. She finished fourth in the 400-yard individual medley in a season-best 4:19.80, fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke in a season-best 2:17.25 and fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:03.21 after setting a season-best 2:02.55 in the preliminaries. Schirmers also swam with the 800-yard freestyle relay team to a school record 7:27.06. Additionally, she was named to the Academic All-MAC team.
Kuras set three individual records and four relay records at the MAC Championships en route to earning the league's Most Outstanding Swimmer award. At the NCAA National Championships in Auburn, AL, she broke her own records in the 200-yard freestyle (1:45.87) and the 200-yard individual medley (1:59.67) while also turning in a 49.15 in the 100-yard freestyle, a quarter-second off her record time (48.90) from the MAC Championships. At the MAC meet, she helped the Bulls to first-place finishes in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays, while also winning all three of her individual events. Kuras was also named to Collegeswimming.com's Mid-Major All-American First Team and won the SUNY Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award for women's swimming.
The Bulls finished fourth of eight teams at the MAC Championships held in Akron, OH. The finish was the highest for the team since joining the league in 1999.