Bayer, Vavra named IU Athletes of the Year

Following breakout collegiate seasons that could culminate in a trip to the London Olympics, a pair of All-Americans and Big Ten champions added another award to their long lists of accomplishments.

Senior swimmer Allysa Vavra and redshirt junior distance runner Andy Bayer were named the 2012 Indiana Athletes of the Year earlier today. Both Hoosier athletes have a chance to make the U.S. Olympic team during the USA Olympic Trials this week.  

"What a tremendous honor for Allysa Vavra,” IU Swimming Head Coach Ray Looze said in a release. “With so many outstanding teams here are Indiana, our staff is humbled that Allysa would receive such recognition for our athletic department. She has come a long way as a person and has bright future.”

Vavra, the 2012 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, is competing in the 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter individual medley, 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter backstroke throughout the week at the USA Swimming Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb.

Bayer, the 2012 NCAA outdoor 1,500-meter champion, will run in the qualifying round of the 1,500-meter race at 4:20 p.m. Thursday. The USA Track and Field Olympic Trials take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

A three-time All-American, Bayer led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten team title since 1992 at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in February. He captured Big Ten individual titles in the mile and 3,000-meter races.

"Andy has gone above and beyond all season for the team," Director and Head Coach of IU Track and Field Ron Helmer said in a release. "What he did at the Big Ten Indoor Championships was remarkable, and we would not have won a Big Ten title without him.

“He has proved this year that he is one of the best runners in the country."

Bayer’s performance earned him Track Athlete of the Big Ten Championships, but he wasn’t done there.

To cap off the Big Ten outdoor season, Bayer won the 1,500-meter Big Ten title, helping IU finish third behind Wisconsin and Nebraska at the Big Ten outdoor Championships in Madison, Wisc.

Once again, Bayer was looking forward to the next event.

On June 9 at the NCAA Championships, Bayer won the NCAA 1,500-meter title, edging two-time defending champ from BYU Miles Batty by a mere .01 seconds.    

For her senior season, Vavra won two Big Ten titles and set three school records.

Vavra also earned All-American honors, finishing eight in the 200-yard individual medley at the NCAA Championships in February. Her time of 1:55:58 in the prelims of that event is the second fastest in school history.

Vavra followed up that performance with a fifth-place finish in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:01.73, also second fastest in school history and an All-American performance.

She also earned All-American honors in the 200-yard breaststroke, placing seventh with a time of 2:09.61 at the NCAA meet.

At the Big Ten Championships in February, Vavra made it back-to-back Big Ten 200-meter individual medley titles when she swam the event in a school-record 1:55.44.

Vavra set records in two more events at the conference championships, winning the 400-meter individual medley by more than 10 seconds (4:01.41, a Big Ten and school record) and placed third in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:08.79, a school record).

--Joe Popely

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