April 3, 2014
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GREENSBORO, N.C.--Virginia freshman Leah Smith has been named 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Freshman of the Year and UVa head coach Augie Busch has been tabbed 2014 ACC Women's Coach of the Year, the conference announced Thursday (April 3).
In his first season at the helm, Busch led the Cavaliers to their seventh-consecutive ACC Championship, a conference record, and an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the highest of any ACC team. Virginia's 11th-place finish is the highest for the program since 2010 (ninth place).
"I am very grateful for this honor and thankful to the ACC coaches for this recognition," Busch said. "First and foremost, I want to thank my coaching staff for the remarkable job they did preparing our women to be successful. They are all passionate young coaches and determined to do phenomenal things with this program. Second, these women deserve to be commended for the way they dealt with the transition to a new coaching staff. They bought into different coaching styles and personalities, came together and fought for one another. I am very proud of them and can't wait for the future."
Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) earned All-America honors in two events, including a third-place finish in the 1,650 free and a fifth-place finish as part of the 800 free relay. Smith's time of 15:42.04 in the 1,650 free was a school record, while the 800 free relay's mark of 7:01.39 was a UVa and ACC record. Smith also received honorable mention All-America honors in the 500 free, placing ninth in a school and ACC-record time of 4:33.65.
At the ACC Championship, Smith captured gold in the 500 free, 1,650 free and 800 free relay events and silver in the 200 free.
"I am very excited for Leah, it is well deserved," Busch said. "She is a tremendous athlete and an even better person. It was fun and truly impressive to watch a first-year set such a standard of competitiveness, toughness and attitude really from day one. I know she raised the level of those around her, in particular the rest of those in the D-group (distance)."
Smith becomes the eighth Virginia swimmer to be named ACC Women's Freshman of the Year. She is the third current Cavalier to earn the award, as junior Ellen Williamson (Ft. Mitchell) and sophomore Courtney Bartholomew (Holland, Mich.) were honored in the 2012 and 2013, respectively.
2014 ACC Award Recipients
Men's Swimmer of the Year - Pavel Sankovich, Florida State
Men's Diver of the Year - Nick McCrory, Duke
Men's Freshman of the Year - Jan Switkowski, Virginia Tech
Men's Coach of the Year - Ned Skinner, Virginia Tech
Men's Diving Coach of the Year - Nunzio Esposto, Duke
Women's Swimmer of the Year - Emma Reaney, Notre Dame
Women's Diver of the Year - Kaylea Arnett, Virginia Tech
Women's Freshman of the Year - Leah Smith, Virginia
Women's Coach of the Year - Augie Busch, Virginia
Women's Diving Coach of the Year - Ron Piemonte, Virginia Tech