TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced nine swimming and diving annual award winners on Thursday that were determined by the league’s head coaches. Florida State freshman Molly Carlson was named the ACC Female Diver of the Year, while Seminoles head diving coach John Proctor was tabbed as the ACC Female Diving Coach of the Year.
It is the first time in school history that Florida State has nabbed both awards.
“I am honored to have achieved the award as a freshman,” Carlson said. “It all couldn’t have been possible without my amazing team and the support of my coaches. Our entire team had an amazing year thanks to our coaches John (Proctor) and Anne (Olson) and the entire FSU athletic community. I really thrived because I wanted to do the best for our Florida State family.”
Carlson adds Diver of the Year to her list of accomplishments from the 2016-17 season after earning All-America honorable mention accolades on platform at the 2017 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. behind a 13th-place finish (241.25). She also was the first FSU diver to compete a full list at the national level since the qualifying format change in 2015.
The Thunder Bay, Ont., native became the first FSU diver in school history to capture the ACC Diving Meet MVP in 13 years when Tiffany Manning won the honor by competing in springboard events in 2004.
Carlson was the ACC champion on platform behind a score of 285.30 after she made her move in the fourth round, jumping from sixth to first behind a 62.35 scoring back 2 ½ somersault pike. She closed the event with her best dive of the round – a reverse 2 ½ somersault tuck that tallied 71.40, securing her first title.
She also opened the ACC Championships with a fourth-place showing on 3-meter (335.10) before adding bronze on 1-meter (307.65).
“Molly had a heck of a year,” Proctor said, “She doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and believes in herself which is 99 percent of anything. She deserves it. She’s a great competitor and when it comes down to game time she doesn’t quit. She realizes it’s a long fight and she takes every swing. She had a heck of a first year.”
Carlson also competed for Canada at the FINA Junior World Championships in December of 2016, placing eighth on 3-meter.
Proctor becomes FSU’s first ACC Female Diving Coach of the Year since the award was added in 2013.
“You know it’s all the kids,” Proctor said. “It’s a great honor but it’s not possible without great student-athletes. They make me look good. They work hard, they buy into the process and they’re just awesome to be around.”
In his third year as head diving coach, Proctor’s divers scored the highest total of any women’s squad at the 2017 ACC Championships behind a total of 193 points as all four FSU divers scored in multiple events.
In addition to Carlson, freshman Ayla Bonniwell and junior Blaire Mulka competed in the final of 1-meter. It was the first time since the 2014 meet that the Noles had three contesting in a championship diving event.
Bonniwell was the 1-meter champion with a score of 320.85 and she too would advance to the NCAA Championships, earning All-America honorable mention accolades behind a 16th-place finish on 1-meter (274.85). She was also awarded ACC Diver of the Week honors following her performance at the Georgia Fall Invite where she placed fifth on 1-meter (282.65), seventh on 3-meter (280.50) and fifth on platform (221.70).
“I am not surprised that John won the ACC Female Diving Coach of the Year,” Carlson said. “He’s an amazing coach. He helped us all achieve our goals this season and we all had the time of our lives in the process.”
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