May 24, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Alex Righi, who single-handedly landed Yale in 21st place at the 2009 NCAA Championships, has been named the co-winner of the William Neely Mallory Award, the most prestigious athletic award given to a senior male at Yale. The award citation reads, "William Neely Mallory Award, given to the senior man who on the field of play and in life at Yale best represents the highest ideals of American sportsmanship and Yale tradition." The Mallory Award was presented as a part of the May 24 Class Day ceremonies.
Righi's selection is an historic occurrence to be preserved alongside the four team national championships and 60 individual national championships claimed by Yale swimming and diving since 1940. He joins Stephen E. Clark '65, a six-time individual national champion, as the only Bulldog swimmers to receive the Mallory Award since its inception in 1954.
Righi, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., capped off his stellar collegiate career at the 2009 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in March. He earned top-12 times in all three of his events, including a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle. Righi, the only Bulldog to compete at this spring's NCAAs, scored 34 points and placed Yale 21st, ahead of Ivy League foe Princeton, which sent six swimmers to the event, as well as teams from the Big East, Big Ten, Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Conferences.
Righi won the Moriarty Trophy as the Swimmer of the Meet at the 2009 Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships, the third consecutive year in which he took home the award. He won the 50 and 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. His three winning times all broke records as the fastest times in the history of the championship meet, Princeton's DeNunzio Pool, Yale University and the Ivy League.
Righi's trio of victories at the Ivy League Championships also earned him the Harold Ulen Trophy, which is awarded to the senior swimmer who has earned the most points over the course of his career at the league-wide meet. Righi came close to achieving the maximum number of points possible, winning 11 of 12 races in his four years of competition with just one second-place finish as a freshman. He is the only four-time champion in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, making him one of just five athletes in Ivy League history to have won four titles in the same event during their careers. The only other swimmers to earn three titles in the 50-yard freestyle events were also Yale student-athletes, Clark and Jason Rosenbaum '95.
Righi is a three-time All-American, and his second-place performances at the NCAA Championships in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events as a junior also earned him national recognition as the 2007-08 Division I Men's Mid-Major Swimmer of the Year. He is a 10-time first-team All-Ivy selection, a six-time second-team honoree and a member of the 2008-09 Academic All-Ivy Team.
He shares the Mallory Award with All-America football running back Mike McLeod.