BERKELEY, California, April 2. SENIOR swimmer Dana Vollmer, who won a pair of individual NCAA titles while leading Cal to the national team championship, has been chosen as the country's top collegiate female athlete in swimming and diving. The honor is based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 33rd year.
Vollmer's victory will earn her the 2009 Honda Sports Award for swimming & diving, given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Vollmer was previously nominated for the Honda Sports Award for swimming & diving in 2007, and she is the third athlete from Cal to win it. The other winners, both of whom received the award twice, are Mary T. Meagher (1985, '87) and Natalie Coughlin (2002, '03). Vollmer was voted over three other nominees: Julia Smit, a junior at Stanford; Rebecca Soni, a USC senior; and Gemma Spofforth, a junior at Florida. All four nominees were selected by the All-American Selection Committee.
"Dana truly represents what a student athlete is all about," said her head coach Teri McKeever. "She did a great job helping lead this team to a Pac-10 and NCAA title. I'm very proud of her and this accomplishment."
Noted Vollmer: "It's such an honor to be included with such names as Mary T. Meagher and Natalie Coughlin as a Honda Sports Award winner. I remember when I was young I followed Meagher and made it a goal of mine to chase her records. It's been a very overwhelming season and I was extremely excited to go out with a Pac-10 title and national title. It was the last time I would swim a relay with my team, and it's just icing on the cake."
Vollmer, who became a Golden Bear after transferring from the University of Florida, was named the 2009 NCAA Swimmer of the Year after claiming individual titles in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events at the 2009 NCAA championships and helping lead her team to its first-ever national championship. She also helped her team claim titles in the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays.
In the 100 free, Vollmer swam a personal-best time of 47.17, and also posted a time of 1:42.01, a new NCAA meet record, in the 200-yard freestyle prelims. She leaves Cal with three individual NCAA titles in three years (including a 100-yard butterfly championship in 2007). Vollmer was also instrumental helping the Bears win their first Pac-10 team title.
Internationally, Vollmer was a gold medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens as a member of the US 4 x 200-meter free relay. She is an anthropology major with a 3.26 GPA.
Previously announced Honda Sports Award recipients are Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego for cross country, Susie Rowe from Maryland for field hockey, Casey Nogueira from North Carolina for soccer and Nicole Fawcett from Penn State for volleyball. Honda Sports Award winners in basketball, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, softball, tennis and track & field will be announced in the coming months. The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be determined by separate balloting involving all NCAA-member institutions and the winner will receive the Honda-Broderick Cup at a ceremony in New York in June 2009.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program.
Special thanks to California for contributing this report.
Dana Vollmer talks about winning the Honda Sports Award here on The Morning Swim Show.