CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – University of New Hampshire swimming and diving athlete Lauren McCandless (Macungie, Pa.) was honored as the America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women's swimming and diving for 2011-12. The distinction, which was announced by the league office Wednesday, is given to student-athletes who go above and beyond in their sport as well as in the classroom.
McCandless was a dominant force in the 2012 America East Championship, recording six top-five finishes, one of which was a gold-medal performance in the 1650-yard freestyle race. With those stellar performances, the Wildcats were able to secure a third-place finish at the end of the meet. Throughout the regular season, she dominated the 200-yard Butterfly, capturing first place four times. She broke a pool record in her victory at Siena (10/15/11), finishing with a time of 2:06.59 in the event. McCandless also claimed first place in the 500-yard freestyle two different times. She won vs. Rhode Island (11/12/11) and vs. Maine (2/3/11), and also recorded a season-high time of 5:06.36 in a second-place finish against Vermont (12/4/11).
A cellular and molecular biology major, McCandless has maintained her focus in the classroom, tallying a 3.60 grade point average. Her determination has helped her become one of the top students in the program.
In order to receive the distinction, the student-athlete must serve as a starter or a prominent reserve and carry a minimum GPA of 3.30. A committee of athletic administrators as well as NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives chose an honoree within the sport. She was just one of six athletes to be recognized.