GREENVILLE, N.C. — The East Carolina women’s swimming and diving program handed out its year-end team awards at its annual banquet earlier this week. Overall, the Pirates posted an 8-3 dual meet record and finished sixth in the 2023 American Athletic Conference Championships.
On the year, the Pirates tallied 34 season-best and 41 program career-best performances, while in the AAC Championships, they had 39 total finalists (13 A Finalists, 13 B Finalists, 13 C Finalists).
“This was a good season for our program,” ECU Head Coach Matt Jabs said. “We had some great achievements throughout the year, and learned a great amount about who we are as a team and areas where we can improve. The entire team worked hard all season, and performed well, which made decisions difficult when choosing our award winners. As a staff we are very happy with the foundation that’s been built in a very short time, and are looking forward to our incoming class, and future seasons.
Freshman Frida Zuniga Guzman (Most Outstanding Performance) established two ECU records (one varsity, one freshman) in the platform dive posting a score of 229.25 at the AAC Championships besting the previous mark of 219.20 by Mary Warker in 2019. She was also the Pirates’ top point scorer during the championships collecting 75 points while placing in the top 8 in three different events. Guzman also holds the third-best 3-meter dive standard (306.10/AAC Championships) and the fourth-best 1-meter dive score (271.45/AAC Championships).
Coach Jabs’ Comments: “Frida joined us in January, competed in one diving only dual meet before heading to the AAC Championships where she finished in the top eight in all three of her events. She was one of our highest scorers at the meet and qualified for NCAA Zones where she became the first female diver from ECU to reach the finals, missing an NCAA invitation by less than a point.”
Sophomore Caitlin Irvine Smith (Most Improved Diver) competed in seven regular season dual meets scoring 38 points and securing top three finishes. During the AAC Championships, she scored 18 total points placing in the top 24 in three events including Platform (23rd), 1 Meter (20th) and 3 Meter (16th).
Coach Jabs’ Comments: “Caitlin showed consistent improvement every meet this year. Almost every time she got on the board to compete, she was setting a new personal best. Her upward trajectory, and consistent improvement played a role in our dual meet success this season.”
Freshman Sadie Covington and sophomore Meghan Armstrong shared the Most Improve Swimmer award. Covington appeared in 11 regular season dual meets scoring 76 points and capturing 21 top three finishes. She placed in the top 18 in three AAC Championship events including 200 Freestyle (18th), 500 Freestyle (13th) and the 1650 Freestyle (10th) tallying 38 total points. Covington ranks among the Pirates all-time top 10 in the 1000 Freestyle (10:31.98/ninth) and 1650 Freestyle (16:57.69/10th). Armstrong participated in 11 regular season dual meetings posting 19 points for the Pirates. A member of the AAC Championship roster, she claimed three top three finishes during her sophomore campaign.
Coach Jabs’ Comments: “Probably the most difficult award to choose as we had several ladies drop significant time this year. Sadie had perhaps the most improvement when compared to the expectations coming in as a freshman. She took her swimming to another level. She was one of our hardest workers all year, and that work started to show up more and more as the season went on. Once at the championship meet, she achieved two personal bests, and hit an All Time Top 10 Time in the 1000, and 1650 Freestyle. Meghan has battled nagging injuries for two seasons now and through the ups and downs continued to put in work which paid off hitting three personal-best times at the championship meet dropping significantly in sprint events, which is very difficult to do. Proud of both girls for their achievements this season.”
Graduate Student Brynna Wolfe (Most Outstanding Newcomer) set the varsity record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 54.49 at the AAC Championships, while posting the third-best time all-time in the 200 backstroke (1:59.20) at the WVU Invitational. She scored 48 conference points and placed in the top 8 in a pair of events (fifth/100 backstroke and seventh/200 backstroke).
Coach Jabs’ Comments: “Brynna had an immediate impact from day one. She played an integral role on relays, as well as in her individual events. Throughout the year she battled a medical condition that at times left her unable to train at a level she wanted, and we knew she was capable of. Once we were able to figure out that situation she really took off and was a top scorer for us at the championship meet and set a new ECU Record in the 100 Backstroke, while also achieving an ECU all-time Top 10 times in the 200 Backstroke.”
Junior Flanary Patterson (Most Outstanding Diver) was one of four divers who qualified for the NCAA Zones. She ranks sixth all-time in the platform dive after posting a score of 185.80 at the WVU Invitational. She also stands ninth in the 3-meter dive annuals after her score of 274.60, which was also at the WVU Invitational. Patterson scored 33 points in the AAC Championships and placed in the top 24 in three events including Platform (21st), 3 Meter (14th) and 1 Meter (11th). Overall, she competed in seven regular season dual meets posting 80 points while securing 10 top three placements (seven first place finishes).
Coach Jabs’ Comments: “Flanary was our most consistent diver throughout the season. Meet in and meet out she played a significant role in our team success. She accumulated 10 top three finishes, seven of which were event wins. She was rock solid for us and ended up scoring 33 championship points and qualified for the NCAA Zone meet with an opportunity to get invited to the NCAA Championship.”
Senior Polina Rukosuev (Most Outstanding Swimmer) closed out her career competing in 11 regular season dual meets scoring 236 points. At the AAC Championships, she scored 39 points and placed in the top 10 in two events 500 Freestyle (10th) and 1650 Freestyle (eighth). In all, she secured 28 top three finished with 25 coming in first place. She ranks fourth in program history in the 1000 Freestyle (10:01.15) and 1650 Freestyle (16:36.86) while standing fifth in the 500 Freestyle (4:50.57).
Coach Jabs’ Comments: “Polina was a consistent force throughout the entire season winning 25 events in 28 top three appearances during the regular season. She achieved three personal best times, three ECU all-time Top 5 performances and scored more points than anyone on the team during the season (combined regular season/championship points).  
2022-23 ECU Swimming & Diving Award Winners
Most Outstanding Performance: Frida Zuniga Guzman
Most Improved Diver: Caitlin Irvine Smith
Most Improved Swimmer: Sadie Covington and Meghan Armstrong
Most Outstanding Newcomer: Brynna Wolfe
Most Outstanding Diver: Flanary Patterson
Most Outstanding Swimmer: Polina Rukosuev