Fourth-year swimmer Robert Webb earned the James Fulton Award after the Men’s Swimming team placed third at the 2011 State SUNYAC Swimming & Diving Championships.
The James Fulton Award is given each year to a male senior swimmer/diver based on All-America honors, All-SUNYAC honors, improvement throughout collegiate career and his academic achievement.
“I was very surprised about winning the award,” said Webb. “Some very talented people have won it before, so it was really cool to have won it myself.”
Webb joins the list of New Paltz swimmers who have earned this award including Kent Yeung in 2005, Jon Amoia in 2003, Louis Petto in 1994, Mark Sargeant in 1989 and Paul Strothenke in 1986.
The award is named after Fulton, who worked with the Brockport swimming team for 25 years. In that time he coached nine All-American swimmers, three of which went on to coach NCAA Division I programs.
“I have improved a lot while I have been a Hawk,” Webb said of the criteria for the award. “Focusing mainly on my individual medley (IM) and moving around to where the team needed me.“
Webb was the SUNYAC champion in the 400 individual medley, clocking the gold standard of 4:13:35 at the SUNYAC Championships in the 2009-2010 season and defended that honor by beating out Nathan Steger of Buffalo State. Webb’s time of 4:13:57 just beat Steger’s 4:13:95.
According to Head Coach Scott Whitbeck, Webb had consoled in both his first two years for the 400 IM being unable to place in the top eight of the event. Last year he continued to improve, going from never being in the top eight to winning the championships and taking the title.
Webb is no stranger to accolades, having also received the Donald Bishko Award, given to the individual with the highest grade point average among male student-athletes in 2009.
Whitbeck said Webb’s love of competition and training makes him a swimmer he can count on, but also an influential player in and out of the pool.
“He’s one of the best leaders I’ve had on the team,” Whitbeck said of Webb’s dry-land pursuits. “He runs our Adopt a Family program where we donate gifts to kids in battered women’s shelters. He takes care of it all. He even drives the gifts over there.”
Besides that, Whitbeck said Webb has achieved a lot in the pool.
“In addition to that he’s a two time champion in the 400 individual medley and a two year team captain,” Whitbeck said.