University of Alabama swimming and diving junior All-American sprinter Bailey Scott is one of three finalists for the 2017 Honda Inspiration Award the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) Awards Inspiration Award committee chairperson Judy Sweets announced Monday.
The other two finalists are senior skier Jesse Knori from Colorado University and senior Stanford swimmer Nicole Stafford. The winner of the 2017 Honda Inspiration Award will be announced later this week.
The Honda Inspiration Award is given to a deserving female student-athlete in Division I, II or III who has experienced extraordinary physical and/or emotional adversity, injury and/or illness, or experienced extraordinary personal sacrifice during her college enrollment as a student-athlete and yet returns to athletic success.
“Bailey has always been an impressive young woman, as an athlete, a student and member of the community, but the way she handled all that she went through over the past year, has been an inspiration to all of us,” UA head swimming and diving coach Dennis Pursley said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way she has represented herself, this team and our University through the good times and the very hard times.”
Scott missed most of the 2015-16 season after being diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, an orthopedic and vascular condition that compromises the integrity of the arms, cardiovascular system and lungs. The syndrome is considered life and limb threatening, due to risk of blood clots.
Scott underwent surgery for her condition in November of 2015, which brought an end to her season and possibly her career. While recovering, Scott’s mother Melisa lost her battle with colon cancer and passed away in June of 2016.
Fulfilling a promise to her late mother, Scott returned to competition at the 2016 United States Olympic Trials, where she came within a tenth of a second of her own school record in the 50-meter freestyle.
Returning to collegiate competition in the fall of 2016, she showed signs of being faster than ever, bettering her school record in the 50 freestyle in November. At the 2017 SEC Championships, Scott proved how far she’d come, setting school records in the 50 and 100 freestyles. In the 50, she became the first woman in UA history to go under 22 seconds, smashing her own school record with a 21.84 to reach the podium and earn the bronze medal.
On the meet’s last night, she won the B final of the 100 freestyle with a school-record 48.48, taking ninth overall. She was also part of the Tide’s record-setting 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay at the SEC Championships.
In March, back at the NCAA Championships after a one-year hiatus following her surgery, Scott became an All-American for the first time. On the second day of this the 2017 NCAA Championships, Scott posted two of the three fastest 50 freestyles in school history, taking 13th place and earning Honorable Mention All-America honors in the process and becoming the first member of the Alabama women’s team to earn All-America in the 50 freestyle since 1996.
She also passed another barrier at the 2017 NCAA Championships, becoming the first Alabama woman to swim a sub-48 second relay leg, going 47.91 to anchor Alabama’s 400 medley relay. At the SEC Championships she posted the fastest 50 relay split in school history with a 21.42 anchor on Alabama’s school record 200 medley relay.
In addition to earning All-America honors, Scott has maintained a 3.52 cumulative grade point average, including a 3.93 in the fall. She was also named the Crimson Tide’s Most Outstanding Swimmer.
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News courtesy of Alabama athletics.