INDIANAPOLIS, November 3. ASHLEY Jo Rowatt, a former swimming and diving standout at Kenyon College, is the 2003 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Woman of the Year.
Rowatt received the award – one of the most prestigious that the NCAA bestows – at the thirteenth annual NCAA Woman of the Year Awards Dinner held November 1. Rowatt was the first student-athlete from Kenyon to be named the NCAA Woman of the Year and was the first student-athlete in Division III to win the award.
The Woman of the Year award program honors outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics and community leadership, and have completed their collegiate athletics eligibility.
There is no corresponding award for men.
A Louisville, Kentucky native, Rowatt was chosen from about 350 nominations. A selection committee composed of representatives from member schools chose fifty winners representing each of the states, and then narrowed the field to ten national finalists. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics selected Rowatt from among the ten finalists.
Rowatt, who is now attending Vanderbilt University Medical School, adds this honor to an already impressive list of credentials. During her four-year career on campus, she was named an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winner and was selected as one of the two national winners of the 2002-03 Verizon Academic All-America of the Year award, given to the most outstanding student-athletes in all NCAA sports. She was the first Kenyon athlete and the first swimmer ever to win the honor.
Additionally, Rowatt collected the North Coast Athletic Conference’s (NCAC) Scholar-Athlete award, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was named the winner of Kenyon's Robert Brown Jr. Prize for biology research. Rowatt was the College’s Senior Athlete of the Year and also earned the Jess Willard Falkenstine Award for leadership and integrity in athletics. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 3.96 grade point average.
In the water, Rowatt was a four-year qualifier for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships and was a part of three national championship teams. She won three individual national titles, two national relay titles and earned thirteen athletic All-America awards. This past season at the national championship, Rowatt won the 400-yard individual medley and was a part of the winning 800-yard freestyle relay team. She also placed third in the 200-yard breaststroke and third in the 500-yard freestyle.
Squeezed between her time in the classroom and her time in the pool, Rowatt performed a multitude of volunteer work and extracurricular activities. She served as a tutor and counselor for area youth, she played flute in the Kenyon symphonic wind ensemble, attended bible study classes, was the College’s NCAC student-athlete representative, and among a long list of other tasks she also was a Kenyon Summer Science Scholar.