If there were any doubt remaining about the Stanford women’s dominance after scoring 593 points at the 2018 NCAA Championships and beating 2nd-place Cal by 220 points, and scoring the most points at this championship since 2005, another data point was given on Friday when the Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced the 4 nominees for the 2018 Honda Sport Award for swimming. 3 of the 4 nominees, Ella Eastin, Katie Ledecky, and Simone Manuel, swim for Stanford. The 4th, Lilly King, swims for Indiana.
The award, whose nominees are selected by a panel of coaches from the CSCAA, honors the best female swimmer or diver (though it’s always a swimmer) for the preceding NCAA season. Ledecky won the award last year as a freshman after winning 3 individual NCAA event titles (including a tie in the 200 yard free), even though Cal’s Kathleen Baker won the NCAA Championship Swimmer of the Meet award from the CSCAA. The winner is decided after voting by NCAA member institutions, with each school receiving a vote.
The winner of the swimming-specific award then moves forward to contend with the winners of 12 other sports for the Honda Cup, which Ledecky won last year.
Stanford swimmers have won the award 12 times, which is more than any other school since the honor was first given in the 1976-1977 season. Cal ranks 2nd all-time with 10. Indiana has never won the honor, though King has been nominated in each of the last 2 seasons (she’s the only Indiana swimmer even nominated).
Of the nominees, two, Manuel and Ledecky, have announced that they will turn pro before using up their collegiate eligibility.
Accomplishments of this year’s nominees:
- Katie Ledecky, Sophomore, Stanford – The best women’s distance swimmer on earth and 5-time Olympic gold medalist, Ledecky had another successful season as a sophomore. She successfully defended NCAA titles in 2018 in the 500 and 1650 frees, and finished 2nd behind teammate Ella Eastin in the 400 IM. She set the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records in the 400 IM at the Pac-12 Championships, and in November swam the fastest 1650 yard freestyle in history as well in 15:03.31. While she saw less relay action as a sophomore than she did as a freshman, Ledecky was also a part of Stanford’s title-winning 800 free relay at NCAAs, bringing her career total to 8 in 2 seasons.
- Ella Eastin, Junior, Stanford – Stanford junior Ella Eastin became the first swimmer to beat Katie Ledecky at the NCAA Championships when she won the 400 IM – in a 3:54.60 that took almost two full seconds from Ledecky’s previous all-time best swim in the event. She won 5 NCAA titles this year (3 individual – the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 fly), and has now 10 total for her career. The 200 IM and 400 IM wins at NCAAs both came in new all-time bests; she did the same in the 200 fly at Pac-12s but was half-a-second slower at NCAAs. This is her 2nd nomination – she was nominated as a freshman, but not as a sophomore.
- Simone Manuel, RS Junior, Stanford – After battling a hip injury that kept her out of competition for most of the regular season, Simone Manuel made up for lost time in the post-season. She added 6 NCAA titles in her last championship meet, bringing her career total to 14. That included victories in the 50 free (21.18) and 100 free (45.65) that just missed her own all-time bests in those races. She also swam on Stanford’s winning 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 200 medley relay, and 400 medley relay, which included 3 new NCAA Records.
- King, Junior, Indiana – King had another monumental year as a junior, once again sweeping titles in the 100 and 200 breaststroke – for the 3rd-straight year. She also earned a record 3rd-straight Big Ten Swimmer of the Year honor. She broke National Records in the 100 breaststroke (56.25) and 200 breaststroke (2:02.60), taking around half-a-second off her old record in the 200.
|2016-17||Katie Ledecky, Stanford University|
|2015-16||Kelsi Worrell, University of Louisville|
|2014-15||Missy Franklin, University of California|
|2013-14||Felicia Lee, Stanford University
|2012-13||Allison Schmitt, University of Georgia|
|2011-12||Caitlin Leverenz, University of California|
|2010-11||Katinka Hosszu, University of Southern California|
|2009-10||Julia Smit, Stanford University|
|2008-09||Dana Vollmer, University of California|
|2007-08||Caroline Burckle, University of Florida|
|2006-07||Kara Lynn Joyce, University of Georgia|
|2005-06||Mary DeScenza, University of Georgia|
|2004-05||Kirsty Coventry, Auburn University|
|2003-04||Tara Kirk, Stanford University|
|2002-03||Natalie Coughlin, University of California|
|2001-02||Natalie Coughlin, University of California|
|2000-01||Misty Hyman, Stanford University|
|1999-00||Cristina Teuscher, Columbia University|
|1998-99||Martina Moravcova, Southern Methodist University|
|1997-98||Misty Hyman, Stanford University|
|1996-97||Kristine Quance, University of Southern California|
|1995-96||Kristine Quance, University of Southern California|
|1994-95||Jenny Thompson, Stanford University|
|1993-94||Nicole Haislette, University of Florida|
|1992-93||Janel Jorgensen, Stanford University|
|1991-92||Summer Sanders, Stanford University|
|1990-91||Leigh Ann Fetter, University of Texas|
|1989-90||Janet Evans, Stanford University|
|1988-89||Jenna Johnson, Stanford University|
|1987-88||Betsy Mitchell, University of Texas|
|1986-87||Mary T. Meagher, University of California
|1985-86||Jenna Johnson, Stanford University|
|1984-85||Mary T. Meagher, University of California|
|1983-84||Tracy Caulkins, University of Florida|
|1982-83||Tracy Caulkins, University of Florida|
|1981-82||Tracy Caulkins, University of Florida|
|1980-81||Jill Sterkel, University of Texas|
|1979-80||Jill Sterkel, University of Texas|
|1978-79||Joan Pennington, University of Texas|
|1977-78||Renee Laravie, University of Florida|
|1976-77||Melissa Belote, Arizona State University|