JACKSON, Miss. ¯ Auburn junior swimmer Maggie Bowen has been named the Clarion-Ledger 2001 Sports Person of the Year for the state of Mississippi as announced Dec. 25 by the newspaper.
Bowen, a Jackson, Miss., native had an astounding year in 2001 with victories at all levels including not only collegiate, but international wins at the highest levels, including winning two NCAA titles in the 200-yard individual medley and the 400 IM, earning an American Record in the 200-yard IM and capturing the World Championship in the 200-meter IM at Fukuoka, Japan, just missing the American Record in that event as well.
The Auburn Tiger has remained undefeated in the 200 IM since the 2000 US Olympic Trials in which she finished third, narrowly missing an opportunity to attend the Olympics on the US team. Bowen credits that heartbreaking loss to her current success because she has refocused and rededicated herself to her training.
Not only did Bowen receive more votes for the award than some impressive collegiate athletes, but she was selected above such talent as Roy Oswalt, a member of the Houston Astros who was the runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year; Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers; Antonio McDyess, an All-Star for the Denver Nuggets; Lorenzen Wright of the Atlanta Hawks; Ruthie Bolton-Holifield, a former Auburn women's basketball standout currently playing for the Sacramento Monarchs; Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers and Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans.
Last year's winner was Southern Miss softball pitcher Courtney Blades, which makes the duo the first group of women to win the award back-to-back in the award's history.
Bowen will continue her swimming season as the Auburn team travels to Nassau, Bahamas for Christmas Training Dec. 27 – Jan. 4 and will be looking to defend her collegiate titles later this season at the NCAA Championships in March.