New swimming and diving awards honor alum, former head coach

Former Hamilton College head men's and women's swimming and diving coach Dave Thompson addresses guests at a reception after the 2017 Buff and Blue Meet. A new men's award was named in honor of Thompson (Lilly Yangchen '20 photo).
Former Hamilton College head men's and women's swimming and diving coach Dave Thompson addresses guests at a reception after the 2017 Buff and Blue Meet. A new men's award was named in honor of Thompson (Lilly Yangchen '20 photo).

Hamilton College head men's and women's swimming and diving coach John Geissinger announced two new team awards after the program hosted its 2017 Buff and Blue meet on Nov. 11. The meet brings together current members of the men's and women's teams with swimmers and divers who have graduated.

The awards were unveiled by Geissinger during an on-campus reception that evening in November. They are presented to a male and female swimmer or diver who demonstrate throughout the season the true spirit of Hamilton swimming and diving. They are given not only for hard work, performance and personal improvement, but also for a willingness and character to enter into a partnership with their coaches and teammates to be the best version of themselves. The recipients will commit to the struggle each and every day and set a standard by which all others can aspire.

The women's award is named in honor of Katherine "Kate" Pinkley (Quick) '95. Pinkley earned all-America honors in 1995 as part of a 400-yard freestyle relay and was a three-time all-America honorable mention recipient. At the 1995 New York State championship meet she finished second in the 1,650 free, returned to the pool minutes later to race in the 100 free final, and won the event in an NCAA Division III championship qualifying time. The Binghamton native and graduate of Chenango Forks High School served as a team captain during her senior year. Pinkley tragically lost her battle with cancer in 2017.

The men's award is named in honor of David Thompson, who was Hamilton's head coach for 20 seasons from 1983 to 2003. He coached 123 NCAA championship qualifiers and 49 all-Americans. In 2000 the Continentals finished eighth in the team standings at the NCAA Division III men's swimming and diving championship and they were 10th at the women's national meet. The men went on to take 10th place at the 2002 NCAA championship. He led the men to a dual meet record of 113-47 and guided the women to a record of 100-66. Thompson currently serves as Hamilton's Director of Campus Wellness and the Charlean and Wayland Blood Fitness and Dance Center, and he is a professor of physical education at the College.