HOUSTON – Led by sophomore Marie-Claire Schillinger as the Rice Swimmer of the Year, Owl head swim coach Seth Huston announced the program's individual award winners for 2016-2017 at the team's annual postseason banquet.
Schillinger was the recipient of the Catherine Hannah Award, which has been presented to the program's top swimmer every year since 1979. Last February Schillinger won two Conference USA individual event titles at the league championships, the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke (with her setting a new C-USA & school record in the 100 and new Rice record in the 200). The native of Orinda, Calif., represented Rice in both breaststroke events at the 2017 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis as well as the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials last summer.
Joining Schillinger on the team's 2017 awards list were senior Shelbi Ragsdale as the Most Improved swimmer, sophomore Hanna Huston as the winner of the Kathryn E. Scholl True Blue Spirit Award, junior Lauren Rhodes as the winner of the Natalie Kirchhoff Inspiring Competitor Award, and freshmen Sarah Nowaski as the Rookie of the Year.
Four Owls who were named the C-USA Swimmer of the Week a combined total of five times were also recognized. When it comes to achievements in the classroom the Owls are of course second to none. The trio of Schillinger, senior Anniina Ala-Seppälä and junior Alicia Caldwell were honored for being named to the C-USA All-Academic Swim Team. A total of 18 Rice swimmers were named to the 2017 C-USA Commissioners Academic Honor Roll and four earned the Commissioner’s Academic Medal.
The awards didn't stop there, however. The program's two seniors, Ala-Seppälä and Ragsdale passed out their version of accolades with the program's annual "Senior Paper Plate Awards." No Owl underclassman was spared from the senior-razz, but a good time was had as the soon-to-be Rice graduates made their good-nature, final parting jabs at their teammates.