Tara Kirk Named Nation’s Outstanding Collegiate Woman Swimmer, Will Receive Honda Award

NEW YORK, April 2. STANFORD'S Tara Kirk, who set the world record in winning the (short course) 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.79 at the 2004 NCAA Championships and became the first woman ever to win an NCAA breaststroke event four consecutive years, has been named the nation’s most outstanding collegiate woman athlete in swimming and diving, according to results of national balloting among NCAA member schools.

For winning, Kirk will receive the Honda Award, given annually to the top woman student-athlete in 12 sports.

There is no corresponding award for men.

Kirk also is automatically nominated for Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year honors along with athletes voted the most outstanding in cross country, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, golf, tennis, softball, lacrosse and track & field. The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be determined in June by separate balloting involving all NCAA-member institutions and will receive the Honda-Broderick Cup.

Kirk, who hails from Bremerton, Washington, was voted the honor over Natalie Coughlin of the University of California, Berkeley, winner of the Honda Award the past two years; Margaret Hoelzer of Auburn University; and Kaitlin Sandeno of the University of Southern California. Nominees were selected by the NCAA College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association.

In addition to her world mark in the 100 meter breaststroke, Kirk also won the 200-meter breaststroke at the NCAA Championships, setting the American record at 2:20.70.

Kirk, who had already been named the 2004 NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, also competed on Stanford’s 400 and 200 meter individual medley teams, which finished second and third, respectively, at the nationals. Kirk, the 2004 Pac-10 champion in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke, recorded 11 NCAA titles in her career, finishing with a perfect 35-0 record in the 100 meter breaststroke and winning her last 19 races in the 200 meter breaststroke. Kirk finished with 14 career Pac-10 titles, including seven in individual breaststroke events.

Previous winners of the swimming and diving award were Tracy Caulkins of the University of Florida, the only three-time winner (1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84); Misty Hyman, Stanford University (1997-98, 2000-2001); Jenna Johnson, Stanford University (1985-86, 1988-89), Janet Evans, USC (1989-90) and Mary T Meagher, University of California, Berkeley (1984-85, 1986-87).

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the 28th annual Awards Program.

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