Swimming Sweeps USOC Awards; Walker and Kowal Win Athlete of the Month

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The United States Olympic Committee has honored USA Swimming with the female and male Athlete of the Month awards and the Team of the Month award for March. This marks the first time that one sport has dominated the results. Swimmers Kristy Kowal (Athens, Ga.) and Neil Walker (Austin, Texas) won the female and male Athlete of the Month awards, respectively. The U.S. Men's 800-meter freestyle relay team captured the Team of the Month award.

Kowal led the University of Georgia to its second straight national title
at the NCAA Division I Swimming Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., March
16-18. She won four events including the 400m medley relay, 200m
individual medley, 100m and 200m breaststroke. She set a world-record time
in the 400m medley relay and American records in the 100m and 200m
breaststroke. Kowal, who scored 34 points in the Athlete of the Month
voting, also earned the NCAA Swimmer of the Year award.

Closely following in the voting was tennis star Lindsay Davenport (White
Plains, N.Y.) who was one point shy of first place in this month's voting
with a total score of 33. Davenport defeated Martina Hingis 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
to win the Tennis Masters Series in Indian Wells, Calif., March 19. It was
Davenport's second singles title in four finals this year – the 28th of her
career – and her fifth consecutive victory against Hingis. Finishing third
in the monthly voting was Cheryl Haworth (Savannah, Ga.) with 28 points.
Haworth, 16, dominated the U.S. women's weightlifting circuit breaking six
American records (three senior and three junior). She was the only lifter
from the USA Weightlifting Championships to break records in all three
divisions, including the snatch record (120.0kg) and clean and jerk record
(145.0kg) for a total of 265.0 kg.

Walker won seven medals at the FINA Short Course World Championships,
becoming the third swimmer in history to win seven medals at a major
international competition. En route to his five gold medals (50m and 100m
backstroke, 100m individual medley, 800m freestyle relay, 400m medley
relay) and two silver medals (50m butterfly, 400m freestyle), Walker broke
five world records, nine World Championship meet records, and 10 national
records. Walker, who scored 70 points in the Athlete of the Month Voting,
was also honored with the FINA Trophy as the meet's outstanding performer.

Scoring 33 points, Daron Rahlves (Truckee, Calif.) finished second in the
Athlete of the Month voting after securing back-to-back World Cup wins in
Norway. Rahlves captured the downhill gold on March 3 for his career-first
World Cup win. On March 4 he competed in the downhill again, becoming the
first American man to have back-to-back World Cup wins since Bill Johnson
in 1984. He also won the Super G at the U.S. Championships in Jackson Hole,
Wyo. Speedskater Daniel Weinstein (Brookline, Mass.) finished third in the
voting after earning three medals at the World Short Track Championships in
Sheffield, Great Britain. Weinstein, who missed most of the international
season to concentrate on his studies at Harvard, broke the American record
in the 500m, winning the silver medal with a time of 42.058 seconds. He
also earned bronze medals in the 1,000- and 3,000m competitions.

The U.S. Men's 800m Freestyle Swimming Relay Team consisting of Josh Davis
(San Antonio, Texas), Scott Tucker (Largo, Fla.), Chad Carvin (Laguna,
Calif.) and Walker (Austin, Texas), broke the Australian-set world record
and 22-year-old American record at the FINA Short Course World
Championships. The team, who scored 74 points in the Team of the Month
voting, went 7:01.33, breaking the Aussies' previous record from 1999 of
7:01.60, and shattering the U.S record from 1978 by a staggering 13 seconds.

The Stanford University Indoor Track Team finished second scoring 31 points
in the Team of the Month voting. The team captured the men's distance
medley relay with a winning time of 9:28.33 at the NCAA Division I Indoor
Championships. Team Stanford set an American record and world best time
with its win. Jared Palmer (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Alex O'Brien (Amarillo,
Texas) finished third in the voting with 16 points. Palmer and O'Brien won
the doubles title at the Tennis Masters Series in Indian Wells, Calif. The
duo, the No. 1- and No. 2- ranked doubles players in the world,
respectively, defeated their competition 6-4, 7-6 in the final. They will
represent the U.S. in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against the Czech
Republic, and are considered favorites for the 2000 Olympic Games.

RESULTS (First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Neil Walker, Swimming 70 (13)
2. Daron Rahlves, Skiing 33 (3)
3. Daniel Weinstein, Speedskating 17
4. Jack Huczek, Racquetball 7
5T. Chris Horner, Cycling 6 (1)
5T. Corey Wilkes, Weightlifting 6

1. Kristy Kowal, Swimming 34 (4)
2. Lindsay Davenport, Tennis 33 (6)
3. Cheryl Haworth, Weightlifting 28 (3)
4. Stacy Dragila, Track & Field 23 (2)
5T. Kristina Koznick, Skiing 8 (1)
5T. Karen Scavotto, Archery 8

1. U.S. Men's 800m Freestyle Team, Swimming
2. Stanford University Indoor Team, Track & Field 31 (1)
3. Jared Palmer and Alex O'Brien, Tennis Doubles 16 (1)
4. North Salem High School Team, Racquetball 12
5. Laura Delaney Team, Curling 5

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