Tech Swimmers Ayalon and Laitala Garner District III Academic All-America Honors

ATLANTA (Mar. 22) – Georgia Tech men’s swimmers Shilo Ayalon (Kfar Hanssi, Israel) and David Laitala (Richardson, Texas) were both named to the District III Verizon Academic All-America At-Large Fall and Winter first and second teams as announced today by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Ayalon earned first-team recognition, while Laitala was named to the second team.

The Academic All-America teams are selected by a vote of the district’s sports information directors and only those athletes carrying a grade point average of 3.2 or higher in their respective majors are eligible to be selected. Both the first and second teams consist of 10 members apiece.

Ayalon, who carries a 3.81 GPA in computer engineering at Tech, turned in an outstanding 2000-01 campaign, as he emerged as one of the top distance freestyle competitors in the ACC. The second-year performer is wrapping up the year this weekend by competing at the 2001 NCAA Swimming Championships in College Station, Texas. Ayalon currently holds four individual Georgia Tech school records, including the 500-yard freestyle (4:23.45), the 1000-yard freestyle (9:09.01), the 1650-yard freestyle (14:58.27), and the 400-yard individual medley (3:53.35). He set all four of the records this past season, and earned All-ACC honors in the 1650 free with his ACC and school-record time of 14:58.27, while finishing second in the final heat. Ayalon was also a member of Tech’s school-record-setting 800-yard freestyle relay team in 2001. He was named to the ACC’s Academic Honor Roll as a freshman in 2000.

Laitala, who has a 3.59 GPA in mechanical engineering at Tech, recorded the Yellow Jackets’ top time in four events during the past year, including the 50 (23.15) and 100 (49.57) yard backstroke, the 100 (48.56) butterfly and the 200 (1:49.31) individual medley. The junior set school records in both the 100 back and the 200 IM in 2001 and now holds three school records, as he has the top mark in the 100 fly (48.45). In 2001, Laitala was part of Tech’s top four relays and is a member of four school-record relay teams. He earned ACC Academic Honor Roll accolades as a freshman and sophomore.

Both swimmers helped lead Georgia Tech to a school-best third-place finish at the 2001 ACC Championships in Charlottesville, Va., as the team recorded a score of 434.50 points, which was also tops in the program’s history. Ayalon, along with fellow sophomore Tomonori Tsuji became the first Tech swimmers to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships as they are both competing this weekend at the event.