MADISON, Wisc., January 13. UNIVERSITY of Wisconsin freshman Susan Johnson and sophomore Amanda Witte have each earned Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors the conference office announced Tuesday. Johnson has been named the Big Ten Women's Co-Swimmer of the Week, while Witte was selected as the Big Ten Women's Diver of the Week.
It is the first such honor for both Johnson and Witte in their careers. Johnson's award marks the six time in the 10 weeks so far this season that the honor has been given out that a Badger woman has been the recipient. She shares this week's honor with Penn State's Margy Keefe.
Johnson, a native of Toledo, Ohio, was bestowed the award based on winning three individual events and swimming a leg on a winning relay in a meet against Hawai'i, Stony Brook and San Diego State last Friday. She helped the Badgers defeat all three opponents in the four-team dual meet by winning the 100-yard backstroke (56.59), 200-yard backstroke
(2:01.06) and the 100-yard butterfly (55.71). The winning time in the 200 back achieved an NCAA "B" cut qualifying standard. Johnson also helped the 200-yard medley relay team to victory in a time of 1:44.27.
She owns UW's top times in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and the 100- and 200-yard butterfly this season. Johnson has automatically qualified for the 2004 NCAA Championships in the 200 backstroke after setting a school record in the event with a time of 1:57.10 at the Texas Invitational on Dec. 6. She has provisionally qualified for the NCAA meet in the 100 backstroke and the 100 butterfly.
Witte, a native of LaGrange, Ill., became the first UW women's diver to earn the weekly award from the Big Ten since Siobhan Kernan won back-to-back honors on Nov. 6 and 13, 2001. Witte posted impressive marks on both of the diving boards during Friday's dual meet. She won the 1-meter board with a point total of 291.60, while taking the 3-meter crown with a mark of 315.40 to easily outdistance the competition.
Witte followed up the effort by sweeping all three diving events at the Hawai'i Diving Invitational over the weekend. Her nine-dive performance on the platform earned her a score of 406.00 to set a new school record in the event. She also posted personal-best marks of 300.30 on the 1-meter board (six dives) and 466.45 on the 3-meter (11 dives). Her efforts surpassed the necessary standards to qualify her for the NCAA Zone qualifying competition in all three events.