PAWTUCKET, R.I. – University of Massachusetts senior Kendra Hebert (Lowell, Mass.) and head coach Cathy Motta were both amongst the names recognized by the Little East Conference on Wednesday, as the league announced is 2017 Swimming & Diving Major Awards. Hebert repeated as the league's Diver of the Year, while Motta garnered Coach of the Year accolades for the third time in four years.
Hebert experienced her most successful season on the diving boards yet in 2016-17. On Nov. 12, the senior etched her name into the UMass Dartmouth history books, setting the school's 1-meter dive record in a dual meet with Roger Williams. With her score of 250.94, she bettered Kelly Kidd's mark of 244.85. Later in the season, Hebert upped the standard, scoring in at 287.05 to hit her first qualifying mark for the NCAA Regionals as the Corsairs competed at WPI. Two days later, she fully qualified for NCAA postseason competition, totaling a 1-meter score of 271.35 at Plymouth State and becoming the first Corsair diver since Lynn DeFonzo in the mid-1990's to meet NCAA qualifying standards.
On Feb. 4, she went on to claim the 1-meter and 3-meter titles at the 2017 LEC Championship, scoring in at 233.93 and 235.70, respectively. She closes her career as a four-time LEC diving event champion, joining Kidd as the only other Corsair to win both event in back-to-back seasons, and as the program's all-time leading scorer in women's diving. Under the guidance of diving coach Jerry Jennings, Hebert was selected as the LEC Diver of the Week three times this year.
Motta and assistant coach Owen Worden guided UMass Dartmouth's swimming and diving programs to one of the most successful campaigns within the past five years. The women's squad collected five dual meet victories before placing third at the LEC Championship as a team, collecting 240 points for the Corsairs' highest total in the meet since 2010. At the league meet, freshman Sarah Murphy (Braintree, Mass.) became the first UMass Dartmouth swimmer since Meaghan Coache in 2006 to win multiple LEC events, powering her way to titles in the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM.
At the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships Feb. 16-19, Motta's charges took their swimming to an entirely new level. Over the course of the competition, the Corsair men and women combined for six school-record performances and two event victories. Freshman David Adamski (Wilbraham, Mass.) posted four school-standard times over three individual events, including the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 1,000 freestyle and 1,650 freestyle. Additionally, Adamski swam to NEISDA championships in the 500 and 1,650 events. For the women, Murphy secured the school record in the 200 breaststroke, and the quartet of Brienna Harrison (Lakeville, Mass.), Yulyssa Diaz (Dorchester, Mass.), Kaya Flanagan (Fairhaven, Mass.) and Chrissy Deveaux (North Andover, Mass.) swam to the UMass Dartmouth record in the 200 freestyle relay.
At the season-ending meet, both the men's and women's squads finished with their highest point totals in NEISDA competition since 2013, as the men placed seventh with 342 points and the women 10th at 454 points.