Howard earns SEC Swimmer of the Year honors


Photo courtesy of UA Athletics

Ben Stansell, Assistant Sports Editor

Alabama swimmer Robert Howard was named the 2019 SEC Male Swimmer of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday.

A senior from Alexander City, Alabama, Howard is the first swimmer in SEC history to earn both the swimmer and scholar-athlete of the year awards in the same season.

“This is a tremendous honor for Robert and our program,” Alabama head coach Dennis Pursley said in a press release. “He’s a great example of someone who came in and worked extremely hard and focused on getting the most out of his talents in all aspects of the collegiate experience.”

Not only did Howard conclude his season by posting the highest individual finish by an SEC swimmer at the 2019 NCAA Championships (third in the 50 freestyle), but he also anchored Alabama’s NCAA Championship 200 medley relay team. Howard finished fifth in the 100 freestyle finals at the championships as well.

Before his successful results at the NCAA Championships, Howard earned the Commissioner’s Trophy at the SEC Championship by finishing with the most points of any individual swimmer.

Howard excelled in the classroom as well and earned the SEC Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the head coaches. Howard is a candidate for the H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Postgraduate Scholarship, awarded annually to the conference’s top scholar-athlete.

“We’re very proud of the fact that Robert has excelled at the highest levels in both the pool and the classroom, continuing the proud tradition our program has established in both areas,” Pursley said.

Alabama also had numerous swimmers make the 2019 All-SEC teams. Knox Auerbach, Laurent Bams, Zane Waddell, Jack Blake, Same DiSette, Jonathan Berneburg and Howard all earned first-team honors. Kevin Li, Nico Perner and Rhyan Whie earned second-team honors. Kensey McMahon earned second-team honors on the women’s team and also a place on the SEC All-Freshman team, where she is joined by Kalia Antoniou.