STANFORD, Calif. – Freshman Katie Ledecky was named the Honda Sport Award winner for swimming and diving as announced by The Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) Monday.
“I am very appreciative of this recognition,” Ledecky said, “and for the generous support that is provided by Honda to women’s collegiate athletics. I want to salute my fellow nominees and all college swimmers and divers who bring heart, determination, and fun to our sport every day.
“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a special, championship team this season,” Ledecky added, “and I have so much gratitude for my teammates, classmates, coaches, professors and others who create a wonderful spirit and community at Stanford. I also want to thank my family and all of the swim team parents and families, swim team alumni, and fans who cheered for our team and provided inspiration throughout the season.”
Ledecky was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Kathleen Baker (Cal), Lily King (Indiana) and Simone Manuel (Stanford).
Ledecky is the ninth Cardinal to win this award, joining Felicia Lee (2014), Julia Smit (2010), Tara Kirk (2004), Misty Hyman (1998, 2001), Janel Jorgensen (1993), Summer Sanders (1992), Janet Evans (1990), Jenna Johnson (1986, 1989).
“I would like to thank Honda for their recognition of not just our sport, but for their continued support of women’s athletics at the collegiate level,” head coach Greg Meehan said. “As a nominee for this award, Katie was amongst the finest student-athletes our sport has to offer, including her good friend and teammate Simone Manuel. Truly, this is a great honor for Katie and the whole Stanford swimming and diving program. We are incredibly proud of what she accomplished this year.”
The most decorated American female athlete at the Rio Olympic Games (four golds, one silver and two World Records), nine-time World Champion and two-time Olympian, Ledecky capped one of the most impressive freshman campaigns in NCAA history with five national titles, the most in the nation, at the NCAA Championships.
The Bethesda, Maryland native was the first NCAA swimmer in 29 years to capture individual NCAA titles in the 200, 500 and 1650-free, and was a member of Stanford’s American record-setting 400 free and 800 free relays. A five-time All-American, Ledecky broke the American and NCAA record in the 500 free, and bested her own NCAA mark in the 1000 free en route to the national title in the 1650 free, an event she won by more than 20 seconds. Ledecky won four conference titles (all in American record time) at the Pac-12 Championships, was named the Pac-12 Championship Swimmer of the Meet, and was the only swimmer twice named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month in the course of Stanford’s undefeated dual meet season.
In total, over the course of her first season at Stanford, Ledecky set five individual American records and seven individual NCAA records in three different events, and broke Stanford team records in five different individual events. A standout in the classroom as well, Ledecky has now broken 13 World Records and 30 American Records in her swimming career.
With this honor, Ledecky becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2017 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 26 in downtown Los Angeles.
Six Honda Sports Award winners for swimming and diving have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup with Olympic teammate Missy Franklin capturing the honor in 2015. The others include Kirk (Stanford, 2004), Cristina Teuscher (Columbia, 2000), Mary T. Meagher (California, 1987), Tracy Caulkins (Florida, 1984 &1982) and Jill Sterkel (Texas, 1981).
ABOUT THE AWARD
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 41 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”.
The CWSA, in its 41st year, honors 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 $3.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.