Highlighting an historic season for the FIU swimming and diving program, the Panthers claimed this year’s top two honors in Conference USA. Junior Letizia Bertelli was named the C-USA Swimmer of the Year, while junior Rebecca Quesnel was tabbed the C-USA Diver of the Year the conference announced on Wednesday.
This marks the third time in the past four seasons that FIU has garnered both the league swimmer and diver of the year. The Panthers are only the second school in C-USA history to have both the swimmer and diver of the year in the same season (Houston 2009) and is the only program in league history to accomplish this feat multiple times (2014, 2016, 2017).
Bertelli had a break-out year in 2016-17. The native of Cremona, Italy, made her first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships, competing in five events (50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay and 400 Medley Relay). An all-conference swimmer, Bertelli claimed three individual medals (two gold and one silver) and four relay medals (three gold) at this year’s C-USA Championships. She set the school and C-USA record in the 100 Free (48.32) during the 400 Free Relay time trail at the C-USA Championships. Her 48.32 was the 25th-fastest time in the nation and qualified FIU’s relay teams for the NCAAs. Bertelli set personal bests in the 50 Free (22.34) and 100 Fly (53.38) at the C-USA Championships. Named the C-USA Swimmer of the Week (Jan. 3), Bertelli claimed 31 top-three finishes in 2016-17. She was also named to this year’s C-USA All-Academic Team.
This marks the fourth-straight year a Panther has been named Swimmer of the Year (Naomi Ruele – 2015-16; Johanna Gustafsdottir – 2014-15; Sonia Perez – 2013-14).
Quesnel had an amazing 2016-17 season with the Panthers. The native of Burlington, Ontario, became FIU swimming and diving’s first-ever First-Team All-American with a third-place finish in the platform program at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis. Quesnel, who became the first Panther to reach an NCAA final after posting a score of 290.95 (fourth-best during the prelims), scored a 302.35 in the finals for a spot on the medal podium. The 302.35 is the second-best score of Quesnel’s career. A six-time C-USA Diver of the Week honoree this season, Quesnel posted a school-record 325.35 versus Florida Atlantic back on Feb. 2. She posted 12 first-place results, including a gold-medal performance in the platform program at the C-USA Championship, and had a total of 21 top-three finishes. Quesnel, who was the program’s first-ever diver to qualify for the NCAAs last season, posted 15 Zone B Diving qualifying scores in 2016-17.
This is FIU’s third Diver of the Year award in C-USA and Quesnel’s second-straight (Sabrina Beaupre – 2013-14).
Both Panthers were part of a record number of participants at this year’s NCAA Championships as a total of six FIU student-athletes competed in six events during the four-day event.
2016-17 CONFERENCE USA SWIMMING AND DIVING AWARDS
Swimmer of the Year
Letizia Bertelli, FIU
Freshman Swimmer of the Year
Sirena Rowe, Marshall
Diver of the Year
Rebecca Quesnel, FIU
Freshman Diver of the Year
Victoria Moretti, Florida Atlantic
Newcomer of the Year
Lauren Rhodes, Rice