Tulane rookie standout Ellie Sills was named the 2014 Conference USA Freshman Swimmer of the Year based on a vote of league coaches.
April 2, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Following a rookie campaign that saw her twice set a Green Wave record in the 200 butterfly, Tulane University standout Ellie Sills was named 2014 Conference USA Freshman of the Year on Wednesday based on a vote of league head coaches.
A native of Suwanee, Ga., Sills originally broke the record formerly held by Emily Needham with a 2:02.87 in the Phill Hansel Invitation on Nov. 23 and bested that time at the C-USA Championship meet on March 1 when she clocked a 2:01.18. She is the second Green Wave student-athlete to claim C-USA Freshman of the Year distinction, joining Tulane Hall of Famer Linda McEachrane who earned the title in 2004.
"This award could not go to a more deserving student-athlete," first-year Tulane head coach Katie Robinson said. "Ellie is a focused and hard-working individual who has shown multiple moments of maturity in this sport that is rarely seen among collegiate swimmers, much less freshmen. She trains exceptionally well day in and day out, and has earned her way to breaking our school record in the 200 fly not once, but twice his year.
"Ellie is well respected amongst our team and has been an inspiration for those around her. From anyone's perspective she has had a very successful year, yet I still see the hunger in her eyes for faster swimming ahead. There is no doubt in my mind that she'll continue to turn heads throughout her next three years at Tulane. We are very proud of all she has accomplished and grateful towards the conference for their acknowledgement."
Sills also posted top times of 55.58 in the 100 fly and 2:07.31 in the 200 IM during the 2013-14 season. Her 55.58 in the 100 fly and 2:01.18 in the 200 fly - both of which came during the 2014 C-USA Championship - were top marks among league freshmen at the event.
After one season, Sills has already scribed her name into the Tulane record book seven times individually. She holds the top three marks in the 200 fly, the No. 6 and No. 10 times in the 100 fly, and both the No. 10 and No. 14 overall marks in the 200 IM.
Sills tallied top-three individual performances on 14 occasions, including winning the 100 fly, 200 fly and 200 free vs Arkansas-Little Rock on Oct. 12 as well as the 200 fly at LSU on Oct. 25 and at North Texas on Jan. 18. She also had second-place showings in the 100 fly at LSU, at North Texas and at West Florida on Oct. 11, and in the 200 IM at LSU and vs Vanderbilt on Nov. 2, while coming in third in the 100 and 200 fly vs Vanderbilt and in both the 200 fly and 200 IM at West Florida.
A key member of the Green Wave's 200 medley, 400 free and 800 free relay teams, Sills helped the quartets tally a combined five top-three finishes. Sills helped the Green Wave win the 200 medley vs UALR, finish second in the 200 medley vs Vanderbilt and in the 400 free at North Texas, and come in third in the 200 medley at West Florida and 400 medley at LSU.
Along the way, Sills helped Tulane's relay teams post the No. 7 overall time in the 400 free (3:27.06 at the C-USA Championship), the No. 9 time in the 800 free (7:36.21 at the Phill Hansel Invitational), the No. 10 mark in the 400 medley (3:53.98 at Hansel Invite), and both the No. 11 (1:46.40 at Phill Hansel) and No. 15 (1:47.25 vs Vanderbilt) marks in the 200 medley.
Sills and the Green Wave enjoyed a solid season in their first season under the direction of Robinson, assistant coach Sarah Woodbury and diving coach Chris Devine. Tulane finished sixth in the 2014 C-USA Championship after scoring 463 points - 90 more than the year prior, the third-highest total by the program in a conference meet and the most since the Wave scored 729 en route to the 2005 C-USA crown.