April 15, 2013
Women's Athlete of the Year Tori Lamp
By Brian Rice
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- As Tennessee celebrated its athletes Monday night with the seventh edition of the Volscars, a couple of teams, appropriately, made a splash during the ceremony that took a mostly humorous look back at the athletic year.
The Volunteer and Lady Volunteer swimming and diving teams, combined as one program for the first time in 2012-13, swept the Team of the Year awards, Matt Kredich was named Men's Team Coach of the Year, diver Tori Lamp took home Women's Athlete of the Year honors and Faith Johnson won Women's Rookie of the Year.
"The season would not have been successful if the athletes hadn't decided to do whatever they could to make this work," Kredich said, addressing the awards given to his teams. "The women's team had success in a different environment, while the men's team had come off a rough year, they all decided to come together and say `We're going to make this work and we're going to be successful.' They committed themselves 100% and it's wonderful to have that recognition for them."
The Lady Vols finished fourth at the SEC Championships, but took a huge step forward in the final month of the season to pull off a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. UT relay teams won three National Championships at the NCAA meet, while Lamp finished in the top eight in all three diving events.
In accepting the team award, three-time NCAA Champion Kelsey Floyd credited the combined program for the success of the season.
"We have a great group of girls," Floyd said to the cheers of her team. "But I also want to say thank you to our men's team for embracing this big year of change with us and making it such a memorable one."
The Volunteers reached a national ranking of 11th during the dual meet season, including a senior day upset of Georgia. The team earned a fourth-place finish at the SEC Championships and picked up 15 All-American honors en route to 16th place at the NCAA meet.
"This year has just been incredible," senior Ed Walsh said in acceptance of the award on behalf of his team before turning his attention to the coaches and swimming staff. "We never could have done it without you."
Kredich said the level of success both programs achieved was directly related to the amount of trust the athletes put in the coaches. For the men's team, the development of trust was an instrumental component of the season.
"The biggest thing that prevents an athlete's success is when they don't believe in themselves and trust that they can do whatever they want," Kredich said. "In a lot of ways, that's what a coach is for, to say `You can do this, I believe that you are capable of so much more.' The foundation of success is trust in the people around you and believing that they are pushing you to get better, and trust in what you can't see, that what you believe is possible is possible."