Ella Eastin from Stanford University, Indiana University’s Lilly King, Olivia Smoliga of the University of Georgia and the University of Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell are the four nominees for the Honda Sport Award for swimming & diving as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 40 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2016 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on June 27, 2016, in the Founders’ Room at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California in downtown Los, Angeles.
The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of American (CSCAA). The Honda Sport award winner for swimming & diving will be announced next week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Eastin, a freshman from Irvine, Calif., is a five-time All-American earned two national titles at the 2016 NCAA Championships capturing both the 200 individual medley and the 400 individual medley. She won the 200 IM in record-setting fashion setting new NCAA, US Open and American timing marks. She is the youngest women’s swimmer to break the four minute mark in the 400 IM and the seventh ever to do so.
King is a freshman from Evansville, Ind., and was named the CSCAA and Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. She was the national champion in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2016 NCAA Championships and broke every record in both events with her historic swims. She earned four All-America honors and was the first man or woman at IU to win multiple national titles in one year since 1976. A first-team All-Big Ten honoree, she captured four gold medals and one bronze at the Big Ten Conference Championship.
Smoliga, a junior from Glenview, Ill., is a 20-time All-American and captured both the 50 freestyle, setting an NCAA record, and 100 freestyle at the 2016 NCAA Championships. The first Bulldog to win the 100 Free since 2007, she was also a member of four top-eight UGA relay teams to help lead the Bulldogs to the 2016 NCAA Championship team title. She is a three-time first-team All-SEC honoree and has won 11 overall SEC titles.
Worrell hails from Mt. Holly, N.J. and is nominated for the Honda Sport Award for Swimming & Diving for the second straight year. She is a nine-time All-American and twice named the ACC Most Valuable Swimmer. At the 2016 NCAA Championships, she captured the 100 butterfly setting the American, NCAA and US Open record and won the 200 butterfly with a new NCAA Championship standard. A member of the USA National team, she set both a World and American record in her first night of competition at Duel in the Pool (USA vs. Europe) for Team USA.
Missy Franklin from California was named the Class of 2015 Honda Award winner for Swimming and Diving and went on to win the Honda Cup. Including Franklin, six Honda Sport Award winners for swimming & diving have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup- Tara Kirk (Stanford, 2004), Cristina Teuscher (Columbia, 2000), Mary T. Meagher (Cal Berkeley, 1987), Tracy Caulkins (Florida, 1984 &1982) and Jill Sterkel (Texas, 1981).
The CWSA, celebrating its 40th year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes 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.