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Bulldogs Honor Top Performers of 2011-12 At Annual Banquet

Team Huddle. (photo by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity)
Team Huddle. (photo by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity)

The Yale men's swimming and diving team announced its award winners for the 2011-2012 season at its annual banquet Friday night. Eight different swimmers earned prizes for second-year Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming Tim Wise's squad. 

Freshman Alwin Firmansyah earned the Tim Jecko Award, awarded annually for outstanding performances in the individual medley.  Tim, a member of the 1956 United States Olympic Team, won many national championships and held many records in freestyle, butterfly and the individual medley.  It was established in 2004 in honor of Tim Jecko '59 by the Yale Class of 1959. Firmansyah turned in a spectacular freshman season, owning the second-best time in the Ivy League in both the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly after the regular season. In his very first collegiate meet, the Cerritos, Calif. native took home multiple wins, including one in the 100-yard freestyle and another in the 200-yard Individual Medley. 

Fellow freshman Andrew Heymann took home the M. Davies award, donated by the family of Melindi Davies, class of 1998, and awarded for outstanding performance in breaststroke swimming. Heymann. Heymann broke into the top ten in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke at the Terrier Invitational, and earned an impressive fifth in the 100-yarder at the Ivy League Championships. 

Yet another freshman, Mike Lazris, earned the S. Livingston Mather award, donated by the late S. Livingston Mather, class of 1905, and awarded for outstanding performance in backstroke swimming. That makes the second-straight year a "Mike" has taken home the honor, as junior Mike Dominski won the award last season. Lazris and Dominski finished back-to-back in the 100-yard backstroke at the conference meet, with Lazris grabbing a fourth-place finish. The Columbia, Md. native followed that up with yet another fourth-place finish in the 200-yard event, amassing quite the championship resume in his very first such meet. 

Senior Matt Boone was awarded the William Leeming Jelliffe Award, awarded to that senior who has shown the greatest progress and development in swimming ability and outstanding leadership during his college years, given in memory of William Leeming Jelliffe by his father, the late Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe. Boone was a top-25 finisher at the conference meet in the 100-yard freestyle and in the 100-yard backstroke at the Terrier Invitational. He finished fourth in that event against UMass and sixth against Penn and Dartmouth. Boone has been a consistent top finisher in freestyle and backstroke events in his time at Yale, contributing more and more through each of his four seasons as a Bulldog. 

 Senior Alex Benz earned the MacLeish Memorial Swimming Trophy, established in 1936 by Hassted R. Vanderpoel '35S, in memory of Kenneth MacLeish, 1918 who was killed in World War I.  This trophy is awarded to that member of the Yale Swimming Team, who through his efforts and high ideals in sportsmanship and loyalty, best exemplifies the spirit of Kenneth MacLeish. Benz has been a consistent part of the Bulldog breaststroking corps in his four years in New Haven. Among his highlights this season were a seventh-place finish in the 200-yard even against UMass and an eighth-place showing against Columbia.  

Sophomore Danny Clarke earned the Harry Burke award given to that underclassman that makes an outstanding contribution in honor of Yale's former freshman swim coach. Clarke swam well in the distance events, including a sixth-place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle and eighth-place showing in the 500-yard freestyle against UMass. Clarke was ninth in the 1000-yarder against Penn and Dartmouth, and impressed with a ninth-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle against Harvard and Princeton. 

Junior Mike Dominski, who has been a massive contributor to the Yale effort through his consistently solid performances in the a variety of events through the years, took home the Phil Moriarty Prize,  honoring former Yale Varsity Swim Coach and United States Olympic Coach, Phil Moriarty.  It was established in 1969 by the Yale Swimming Association and is "awarded to that upperclassmember of the Men's Varsity team who has contributed immeasurably to the Yale Swimming tradition by his dedication and personal achievement". Dominski was strong in both the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke at the Ivy League Championships, as well as a contributor in the butterfly and freestyle events. 

 The Bulldogs also elected now-junior Jared Lovett their 2012-2013 captain by a vote at the banquet. Luu is the 105th captain in the program's 115th year.