Thompson of Williams Named DIII Honda Athlete of the Year Nominee for Swimming & Diving

Photo courtesy of Williams Athletics
Photo courtesy of Williams Athletics

Sarah Thompson, a senior captain from Williams College, was named the swimming and diving nominee for the Class of 2015 Division III Honda Athlete of the Year as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.

She is now designated one of 11 finalists for the prestigious DIII Honda Athlete of the Year honor. This will be voted on at the end of the academic year by national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of THE CWSA program, now in its 39th year.

Thompson, hailing from Evanston, Ill., was named the 2015 NCAA Swimmer of the Meet. She captured three consecutive national titles in the 1,650 freestyle, breaking the Division III record by just under four seconds with a finishing time of 16:21.44. With the victory, Thompson becomes the fourth women's swimmer to win the 1,650 three consecutive years, and, after having also won the 500 free, is just the eighth female to sweep both events in the same year. Additionally, the championship is the seventh individual title of her career (200 free in 2012; 200 free and 1,650 in 2013; 500 free and 1,650 free in 2014; 500 free and 1,650 in 2015). Additionally Thompson was a member of three Eph winning relay teams in her career (400 medley relay and 800 free relay in 2012 and the 800 free relay in 2015).

Thompson was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Swimmer of the Meet for the second consecutive year, leading the Ephs to the title and breaking the team scoring record Williams set in 2014. At the 2015 NESCAC Championships she also claimed the Four-Year High Point Award and her accomplishments were chronicled in the March 16 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd.”

"Sarah's contributions to the team during her career have been significant to say the least. ” said head coach Steve Kuster. “They are measured in far more than her victories and records, but rather her consistency, her competitiveness, her determination and the fact that she has been a huge part of the heart and soul of this team since arriving on campus.”

Her anchor leg on the 800 free relay this year was something difficult to describe. It's not often that you have an anchor dive in over two seconds behind and think, ‘we've got them right where we want them.’  She (and the rest of the relay) put together a perfect race, fast but not too hard in the beginning with plenty left on the end. Seeing her finish on such a successful note, the way she wanted to go out, was exceptionally gratifying for me.”

“I’m honored to be nominated for the 2015 Division III Honda Athlete of the Year Award,” stated Sarah Thompson. “It's been a privilege to swim for Williams and I owe a lot to my great coaches and wonderful teammates. Thank you for this honor, I've loved every minute of my collegiate swimming career.” 

All sports nominees from DIII and DII become a finalist for the prestigious 2015 Honda Collegiate Athlete of the Year in their respective divisions, presented in June. The sports nominees are recognized in 11 DIII and DII NCAA-sanctioned sports; cross country, basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and track & field.

THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 39 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.   Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.