ATHENS, Georgia, May 2. ALLISON Schmitt, who led the Georgia women to the national championship last month, has been named the Honda Sports Award winner for swimming, according to an announcement by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards on Monday.
By virtue of her win, Schmitt becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award and the 2013 Honda Cup, to be presented live on ESPNU on June 24 at the Southern Cal Galen Center Founder's Room in Los Angeles.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards presents the Honda Sports Award annually to athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. Schmitt was chosen by a vote from a panel of swimming and diving experts representing 1,000 NCAA member schools. The other finalists were Elizabeth Beisel of Florida, Breeja Larson of Texas A&M and Elizabeth Pelton of Cal.
Schmitt, a native of Canton, Mich., capped her senior season with one individual victory and two relay titles at the NCAAs in leading the Lady Bulldogs to their first team crown since 2005. Schmitt also helped Georgia win its fourth straight SEC title in February. Last summer at the Olympics in London, Schmitt won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
“I know there are so many talented swimmers in the country, so I am truly honored to win the Honda Sports Award,” Schmitt said. “This recognition stirs up so many emotions for me. First of all, I'm excited that I get to share this award with my teammates and my coaches. We set our goals of winning the NCAA and SEC titles, and we stayed focused until we reached them together. They helped make me better every day, so I know their names belong on this award too. Without their support and assistance, not to mention my family members who have been so loving and who have sacrificed so much, there's no way I would be where I am today.
“Swimming has been an important part of my life for years, and it has presented me with so many opportunities. This was definitely a memorable year for all of us, and I can't think of a better way to end my collegiate career than going out as a member of the national championship team. I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of Georgia, a school I love so much.”
Schmitt is the third Lady Bulldog to win the Honda Sports Award for swimming, joining Mary DeScenza (2006) and Kara Lynn Joyce (2007). Schmitt is the 19th Georgia athlete to earn a Honda Sports Award for her respective sport.
“It's humbling to know my name will be linked to the exceptional list of past winners from Georgia, including Kara and Mary, who helped keep swimming on top during their careers,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt claimed the 200-yard freestyle title at the NCAAs and led the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays to championships, giving her 11 for her career. Schmitt helped the 400-yard freestyle relay set the U.S. Open record at the NCAAs and the 800-yard freestyle relay lower the American record at the SECs. Schmitt ended her Georgia career with school records in the 500-yard freestyle and on the 200-, 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays and the 400-yard medley relay.
At the London Olympics, Schmitt won the 200-meter freestyle to become the first Georgia swimmer ever to claim an individual gold medal. She also won golds on the 800-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relays, and she snared a silver in the 400-meter freestyle and a bronze on the 400-meter freestyle relay. With six medals, including her bronze at the 2008 Olympics, Schmitt is the most decorated Georgia swimmer ever.
Schmitt holds American records in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle and was on the 400-meter medley relay that set the World and American records and the 400- and 800-meter freestyle relays that set American records.
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