ECA honors swimmers at annual recognition banquet

ECA honors swimmers at annual recognition banquet

by: Crystal Baity

East Carolina Aquatics honored swimmers – among them high school seniors who will graduate in June – at its annual recognition banquet held April 14 at Rock Springs Center.

ECA Head Coach Casey Charles served as master of ceremonies assisted by Associate Head Coach and General Manager Scott Pake and Carteret County Head Coach Chris Worsinger.

The following high school seniors received a customized kickboard listing their academic and swimming accomplishments: Meredith Bullard, D.H. Conley, who will attend East Carolina University; Abigail Burns, D.H. Conley, who will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Connor Dennison, D.H. Conley, who will attend ECU; Tate Jones, who is homeschooled, will attend UNC-Chapel Hill; Stephen Lundberg, New Bern High School, who will attend and swim for William Peace University; Eslam Maamoum, J.H. Rose, who will take a gap year before pursuing a college degree; Creed Mainz, Jacksonville High School, who will attend UNC-Chapel Hill; Grant Meadows, Swansboro High School, college to be decided; Andrea ‘Tink’ Niebel, Croatan High School, who will attend and swim for the University of North Carolina at Wilmingon; Meghan Paschall, West Carteret, who will attend UNC-Chapel Hill; Lyndsey Reeve, Croatan, who will attend and swim for the University of Pennsylvania; Hodges Tubaugh, Washington High School, college to be decided; and Tianna Van Cura, Washington, who will attend UNC-Chapel Hill.

Faith Koesters, a sophomore at D.H. Conley, also was honored and presented a kickboard because she will be leaving the team to attend the N.C. School of Science and Math in Durham this fall.

Emma Hastings, Madeline Smith and Owen Lin were honored as age group swimmers of the year (age 14 and under). Lyndsey Reeve and Trevor Torres were named senior swimmers of the year. Performances of the year went to Reeve for the 200-yard freestyle and Smith for the 100-yard freestyle.

Bethany Tart and Ethan Lawless received the Perdue Scholarship Award, which is given annually to a Greenville-based swimmer based on work ethic, maturity, citizenship and respect. The award, valued at $700 per swimmer, is made possible by Tammy and Phil Perdue in honor of their children, Meredith, Lauren and Philip.

The following swimmers were recognized as USA Winter Junior National qualifiers: Smith, 100-yard freestyle; Torres, 50-yard free; and Reeve, 100-yard butterfly.

National Club Swimming Association junior national qualifiers were: Hastings, Reeve, Smith, Tart and Torres.

Pake presented several individual awards to swimmers in Washington. Aubrey Woolard received the most outstanding age group award and Hodges Tubaugh received the most outstanding senior award. Dakota Blaylock, Ty Cole, Trey Hudson and Anna Yoder were honored as most improved. Parker Byrd, John Hinchey, Abby Lewis and Tristan Pake received coaches’ awards.

For Carteret, Worsinger presented most outstanding swimmer awards in the Currents group to Madison Bowen and Nathan Michalowicz. Most outstanding in the senior group were Grant Meadows and Reeve. Most improved in the Currents group were Sam Johnson and Falon McCabe. Charlie Jones and Teal Edholm were awarded most improved in the senior group. Coaches’ awards went to Emmalyn Buskirk, Cameron Johnson, Meghan Paschall and Matej Roth.

For Camp Lejeune, Head Coach Jodie Jordan-Scott presented the following awards in the Currents group: Nadiyah Schellinger and Breena Youngblood, coaches awards; Lucy Pound and Peyton Wunderlich, most outstanding; and Hailey McConville and Charis Velarde, most improved. In the senior group, the following swimmers received awards: Samantha Autry and Evan Nezat, coaches’ awards; Mainz and Mica Martinez, most outstanding; and Lillian Britt and Evan Nezat, most improved.  

In Greenville, the Gold group coaches’ awards were presented to Molly Hammell and Lyza Miller. Chase Anderson and Krysta Shrade received the most improved swimmer awards in the Gold group.

In the Currents group, Owen Lin and Ezra Zapler were honored as most outstanding swimmers. Most improved awards went to Emily Armen and Ariana Lee. Coaches’ awards for the Currents group were presented to Lorelei Miller, Liz Reed and Ethan Tart.

In the Senior I group, Luke McCarthy received the most outstanding award, while Lilley Blackmon was awarded most improved. Coaches’ awards were presented to Kristen Ivey and Grace McCarthy.

In the Senior II group, Russell Exum and Nathan Wingard were named most improved. Coaches awards were presented to Meredith Bullard, Garrett Despres, Lawless and Sadler Smith.

ECA President Kuppe Ivey presented ECA’s first lifetime achievement award to Bob Landry, former club president. Todd Torres, an ECA master’s swimmer and former Olympian, was recognized for his induction this year in the N.C. Swimming Hall of Fame.

The Phyllis Hodges Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Bobby Burns of Greenville.

Additional end-of-season parties will be held for individual sites and practice groups.

ECA has practice sites at Camp Lejeune, Cape Carteret, Greenville, Kinston, Morehead City, Roanoke Rapids and Washington. ECA also is taking registrations for its summer swim team, the Minges Makos. For more information, visit

Photo attached: East Carolina Aquatics swimmers who will be graduating in June from nine high schools in eastern North Carolina were honored April 14 during the team's annual recognition banquet. Front, left to right, Abigail Burns, Meredith Bullard, Eslam Maamoum, Meghan Paschall, Tate Jones and Stephen Lundber. Back, left to right, Coach Scott Pake, Lyndsey Reeve, Tink Niebel, Connor Dennison, Head Coach Casey Charles, Tianna Van Cura, Hodges Tubaugh, Faith Koesters and Coach Chris Worsinger. Not pictured are seniors Creed Mainz and Grant Meadows.