MIDDLEBURY — The College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) late last month honored Middlebury College’s John Dillon as its male “Break-Out Swimmer of the Year.”
Dillon, a two-time 2010 NCAA Division III champion during his junior year, was the only Division III swimmer to receive any of the coaches’ association’s many awards, which were otherwise dominated by D-I athletes.
During the season, Dillon won NESCAC championships on the way to qualifying for the NCAA meet, was named a National Swimmer of the Week, lowered his times significantly at the NCAA meet, earned All-American honors, and broke the oldest men’s D-III record in the books.
That performance came when he won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:45.10 at the NCAA meet, a performance that the CSCAA noted would have placed him 19th at the D-I meet. Dillon also won the 100 fly in 47.48, submitted a split time of 44.80 for the Panthers’ 400 freestyle relay, and placed second in the 200 backstroke, an event he swam just once in the regular season.
The CSCAA noted in the story on its website on Dillon that during those performances he broke 50 seconds over 100 yards in three different strokes, making Dillon, “one of the most versatile swimmers in Division III history.”
The story on Dillon concluded with the clinching rationale for the association’s decision to honor the Panther swimmer:
“What makes his break-out season even more remarkable is the fact that he was out of competition during the previous season due to academic and personal reasons. With a renewed focus and established priorities, John entered the season set on winning an event at the 2010 national meet. Though many share that goal, only one earns the title of ‘NCAA Champion.’ That ability to achieve what you believe in your mind has earned John Dillon the honor of break-out swimmer.”
Andy Kirkaldy is at email@example.com.