COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Departing Indian River State (Fla.) as one of the most accomplished swimmers in the history of two-year college athletics, Craig Emslie was recognized by the NJCAA Executive Committee on Thursday as the 2015-16 David Rowlands Male Student-Athlete of the Year.
Contributing to the Pioneers’ collegiate-record 42nd consecutive national title, Emslie topped the podium in eight events at the 2016 NJCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. The sophomore’s performance was highlighted by a sweep of the breaststroke events where he set three new national records. He clocked a 24.2-second finish in the 50-yard, followed by times of 52.57 seconds in the 100 and 1:56.01 in the 200 to successfully defend the individual crowns he won as a freshman in 2015.
Emslie’s other individual victory came in the 200-yard IM where he finished in 1:48 – less than three-tenths of a second short of breaking an 18-year old national record.
For the second straight year, Emslie took part in four of Indian River State’s five relay victories – including a record-setting 6:31.84 performance in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The South African also participated in the Pioneers’ wins in the 400 free, 200- and 400-yard medley relays.
A back-to-back national champion, Emslie led the Pioneers to the NJCAA crown as a freshman last year. At the 2015 national meet, he claimed individual titles in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke. Emslie also played a role in four Indian River State relay victories, including record-setting times in the 800 free and 400 medley relays.
With his two-year collegiate career in the books, Emslie leaves Indian River State with two national championships and 14 individual titles. His five NJCAA-record times are second-most all-time and just one mark shy of the six records owned by former Pioneers swimmer Bradley Tandy who will be competing for South Africa in the Rio Summer Olympics.
In February, Emslie announced that he would complete his collegiate swimming career in the Atlantic Coast Conference with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
About the NJCAA David Rowlands Award
David Rowlands was an active member of the NJCAA from 1972- 1988. He was a regional director during that time and from 1975-1988 was the chair of the NJCAA baseball committee. Rowlands, a baseball coach at Truman College (Chicago, Ill.), served on the NJCAA gymnastics, golf, executive and eligibility committees. Rowlands was the perfect model of hard work, discipline, ethics and excellence in community college athletics. This award is given annually to the NJCAA Student-Athlete that best exhibits these traits.