McLaughlin Named Men's Coach of the Year as Swimming and Diving Places Five on All-NJAC Teams

Montclair, NJ (3/3/11) – Veteran head coach Brian McLaughlin was named the Men's Coach of the Year and Montclair State claimed five spots total as the New Jersey Athletic Conference released its 2011 Swimming and Diving All-Conference teams on Thursday.

Their selections highlighted the 57-member NJAC all-conference team which was announced on March 3. All NJAC special awards were determined by a vote of the league’s five head coaches, while the NJAC all-conference selections were based on performances at the Metropolitan Conference Championships held at Rutgers University on February 18-20. 

McLaughlin was selected as the 2010-11 NJAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Coach of the Year by his peers after guiding the Red Hawks to a winning 6-5 record in dual-meet competition. He also led MSU to a fifth-place finish in the 18-team Met Championship with a score of 615 points while the squad set eight school records (Montclair set 13 overall at the championships). In 22 seasons at the helm of the MSU program, McLaughlin has guided the Red Hawks to a 127 dual-meet victories on the men's side.    

Sophomores Zak Westerberg (Hamilton, NJ / Hamilton North) and Ashley Vallone (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge) each landed individual honors on the Second Team. Westerberg got his in the 400 individual medley while Vallone garnered her accolade in the 100 freestyle, an event she set a new school record at 53.09 seconds.

The men's 200 and 800 freestyle relay teams were both Second-Team selections.

The 200 quartet of Westerberg, senior Blaise Lacca (Sewell, NJ / Washington Township), Thomas Long (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) and Nikolas Lumkong (Byrum, NJ / Pope John XXIII) placed fourth in the event and set a new school record breaking their own mark of a year ago. The group swam 1:25.17, besting their previous record of 1:26.02 set at the 2010 championships.

Westerberg, Long, Michael Smith (Cherry Hill, NJ / Cherry Hill East) and freshman Joseph Berry (Edison, NJ / Edison) swam 7:03.01 to finish second in the 800 freestyle relay at the Metropolitan Championships while picking up Second-Team honors. Their time broke the MSU record was nearly two seconds better than the mark held by Scott Fried, Andrew Mitzak, John Mitzak and Harding’s time of 7:04.85 during the Metropolitan meet in 1992.

Montclair made it a sweep of Second-Team honors in the 800 freestyle relay as the team of Vallone, Kelsie Donahue (Egg Harbor, NJ / Egg Harbor Township), Kelly Abner (Glenwood, NJ / Vernon) and Galina Loutchouk (Richboro, PA / Council Rock) finished fifth overall in the event at the Mets with a time of 8:07.41.