ECU trio named to CSCAA All-America team

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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Three East Carolina student-athletes were chosen today as All-Americans by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America for the 2019-20 season, giving the program its first All-America selections since 1984.

Rodrigo Romero and Gustavo Santos were recognized on the men's side and became the Pirates' first male All-America recipients since 1968, while Kristen Stege became the 28th honoree on the women's side and first since Caycee Poust in 1984.

"I am very proud, and happy for these athletes, and our coaches who work with them every day," ECU Head Coach Matthew Jabs said. "This is a tremendous honor and well deserved.

"While we all wished we were able to compete at the NCAA Championship this year, each of us understand the bigger picture. This recognition will help put a close to what felt like an unfinished season. We continue to keep all those affected by the COVID-19 virus in our thoughts and appreciate those medical and first responder personnel that are helping fight this virus daily."

Romero, a freshman diver, earned All-America accolades in the platform and 3-meter springboard. He collected three medals at the 2020 American Athletic Conference Championships, winning gold in the 1-meter diving competition and silver in the 3-meter and platform events.

Santos was recognized as an All-America swimmer in the 100-yard butterfly. He was slated to compete in the NCAA Championships in the 100 fly and 100 free at the 2020 NCAA Championships after winning his fourth consecutive 100 fly conference title at The American Championships, while taking second in the 100 free.

Santos participated in the 50 free and 100 fly at the 2019 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships as a junior last season.

Stege, a freshman from Naperville, Ill., received All-America honors in the 1650-yard freestyle and is the first athlete in program history to earn All-American status in the event. She captured the gold medal in the 1650 freestyle at the 2020 American Athletic Conference Championships with a school and conference championship record time of 16:11.96.

Due to the cancellation of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, the CSCAA Board adjusted the selection criteria to include all Division I individuals selected to the NCAA Championships, and divers entered in uncontested events from the Zone C Diving Qualification meet are named All-American. All Division I relay teams achieving 'A" standards were also recognized.

This isn't the first time the association adjusted All-America criteria. The first CSCAA All-America team was published in 1924, thirteen years before the first men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship. The first women's All-America team was published in 1975, seven years prior to the first NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championship. During much of that time, the team was selected by a panel of coaches. In 1985 the honor was standardized around the NCAA Championships with the top eight finalists receiving first-team recognition and consolation finalists being named Honorable Mention.

"Our sport is replete with previously-unheralded swimmers and divers who have gone on not just to All-America honors, but also to national championships and Olympic Team spots.," CSCAA Executive Director Greg Earhart said.