Brooke Forde, Lia Thomas Amongst Those Nominated For NCAA Woman Of The Year

On Thursday, NCAA member schools released their nominations for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. This award is meant to recognize female student-athletes who have “distinguished themselves in their community, in athletics and in academics throughout their college career.” In total, 577 different student-athletes were nominated, with 248 from Division I, 127 from Division II, and 202 from Division III.

Schools are allowed to nominate one graduating senior female student-athlete for the award, and up to two per school can be recognized if one of the student-athletes is either a person of color or an international student.

In total, 46 out of 577 student-athletes nominated were swimmers or divers. Two of the biggest-name swimmers nominated include Tokyo Olympian Brooke Forde and 2022 NCAA Champion Lia Thomas.

Forde was a member of Stanford’s women’s swim team for five years and has won a total of five NCAA titles, including two individual ones (the 500 free in 2019 and the 400 IM in 2021). She is also an Olympic silver medalist, having swam the heats of the 4×200 free relay last year in Tokyo. After NCAAs this year, Forde said that she was going to retire from swimming and join the Peace Corps in Peru.

Thomas was the winner of the 500 free at this year’s NCAA Championships, becoming the first openly transgender DI NCAA champion and the first swimmer from the Penn women’s team to win a national title. She swam on the Penn men’s team for the first three years of her career, and began transitioning to become a woman in 2019.

Other notable swimmers and divers nominated include five-time NCAA champion diver Sarah Bacon of Minnesota, All-American and SEC record holder Riley Gaines of Kentucky, and Pac-12 champion Emma Nordin of Arizona State.

In September, the Woman of the Year Selection Committee will select ten nominated athletes in each division to make a list of Top 30 honorees. Then, the Committee will select three honorees from each division and announce nine finalists. From those nine finalists, one will be named as the Woman of the Year.

See the full list of swimmers and divers nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year here:

Name School Division
Kaitlyn Agger Wingate University DII
Sarah Bacon University of Minnesota DI
Claudia Barnett Washington and Lee University DIII
Savannah Brennan Florida Institute of Technology DII
Johanna Buys University of Indianapolis DII
Elizabeth Caird Saginaw Valley State University DII
Zoe Chan The College Of New Jersey DIII
Molly Craig Williams College DIII
Lydia DaCorte Wheaton College DIII
Autumn D’Arcy California State University, Bakersfield DI
Hanna Everhart Duquesne University DI
Maddie Ford Connecticut College DIII
Brooke Forde Stanford University DI
Ciara Franke University of California, San Diego DI
Riley Gaines University of Kentucky DI
Sara Gendron Bryant University DI
Ellen Gilbert Illinois Wesleyan University DIII
Clio Hancock Emory DIII
Sydney Harrington U.S. Naval Academy DI
Mary Hufziger Tufts University DIII
Macy Klein St. Catherine University DIII
Susan Elizabeth LaGrand Oakland University DI
Sophie Lear Ursinus College DIII
Drew Lei-Alerta Sarah Lawrence College DIII
Madelynn Marunde Augustana College (Illinois) DIII
Kara McCurdy Providence College DI
Anna Metzler University of New Hampshire DI
Anna Miram Wingate University DII
Emmerson Ann Mirus Kenyon College DIII
Madelyn Moore University of Northern Colorado DI
Kathryn Murhpy Mount Holyoke College DIII
Emma Nordin Arizona State University DI
Felicia Pasadyn Harvard University DI
Anna Pilecky University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point DIII
Kathryn Power University of Houston DI
Delaney Schnell University of Arionza DI
Siena Senn Davidson College DI
Grace Sill Sunshine State Conference DII
Kate Steward University of Kansas DI
Jesse Stovall Southwestern University (Texas) DIII
Camryn Streid University of Cincinnati DI
Emily Sweet Bentley University DII
Kayla Tennant Queens University of Charlotte DII
Lia Thomas University of Pennsylvania DI
Sarah Thompson University of Missouri DI
Jessica Touve Bridgewater College (Virginia) DIII

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Tony
6 months ago

It’s interesting that some are willing to gain a bit of supposed inclusiveness at the expense of a ton of fairness. In most of life’s endeavors, it doesn’t matter whether one is a man or a woman; competitive sports is a rare area where it does matter. Hardly anyone wants to stop a transwoman from competing in sports. It simply boils down to competing against men or against women; it should be the former. If that’s unfair to transwomen, well that’s a handful of athletes. Having transwomen compete against the latter is unfair to *about half the athletes*, i.e., biological women. Am I wrong? If your answer is based on FACTS: no; if your answer is based on “feelings”: maybe,… Read more »

@jakeshell
6 months ago

No.

Boganville
6 months ago

A further stain on the history of post-pubescent female athletics…not being part of the future means common sense prevails.

GBTX
6 months ago

Sure. Hasn’t even fully transitioned in addition to never having gone through any of the biological hardships that come with being female. Let’s give her the title. SMDH.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  GBTX
6 months ago

Hasn’t even fully transitioned in addition to never having gone through any of the biological hardships that come with being female.

It’s a cakewalk to be trans, though.

This terf stuff is tiresome. The fantastic reasoning of “if only we separate our struggle from their struggle, then we’ll be better off.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Steve Nolan
GBTX
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

The terf talk is winning no supporters. I support any trans person and their endeavors gladly but refuse to reduce womanhood to a “feeling” or a stereotype. Being a woman has meant so many things throughout history – many of them unenviable. It isn’t a feeling or a way of dressing. I’m sure being trans is challenging. So is growing up female.

Last edited 6 months ago by GBTX
Steve Nolan
Reply to  GBTX
6 months ago

But instead of trying a little introspection, continuing to creatine distinctions where none need be is the move. Cool.

I do not think you “support any trans person and their endeavors,” at least not when you think those endeavors infringe on what a “proper woman” deserves.

I like that you also added the li’l bit about “fully transitioned” as if that’s somehow something that would move someone further towards “full woman” status for you.

Being a woman has meant so many things throughout history

Being a trans woman also means being a woman, this can also be the history we create. But you’re sort of fighting against that.

Last edited 6 months ago by Steve Nolan
OldCalBear
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

I wonder, Steve, why you consider yourself the expert when I’d venture to say that you have never had a skin in this game. As someone who has been a woman for over fifty years, I also wonder why you feel entitled to tell me how women’s history should be created.

I’m a former OT qualifier and a mother of boys. Remember when you went through puberty and put on a ton of muscle? That’s the time that girls put on body fat in order to later carry children. It’s also the time we start menstruating in order to carry children. Which of these do you think enhances one’s athletic performance? Which one is a constant struggle that has to… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by OldCalBear
Steve Nolan
Reply to  OldCalBear
6 months ago

I have, many times, said I am far from an expert on basically anything.

There are plenty of “constant struggle(s) that (have) to be managed and overcome” as a trans woman, too. I am not trying to diminish the struggle of any one group, but I am trying to figure out why one historically oppressed group finds it so necessary to continue to ensure another, very currently much more maligned group, continues to find itself in that situation.

I do have skin in this game, and it’s to create as inclusive a world as possible. It’d be nicer if everyone thought that way, too.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Thank you for noticing, I sure do it a lot.

NB1
Reply to  GBTX
6 months ago

you support your own version of the world and whatever you approve. You have no clue what she’s been through. Every sentence you write reeks of “I am no racist but”

GBTX
Reply to  NB1
6 months ago

I don’t know what she has been through. I know personally what being a female athlete during a period where muscles were not seen as feminine was like. I know what swimming upstream through cultural expectations is like. I know what all of the physical and mental stakes of being female are like. I know how I felt when I was 17 and the boys would routinely joke about breaking women’s American records in practice.

Jason
Reply to  GBTX
6 months ago

Smartest comment I’ve heard on this topic GBTX. As a male I have somewhat understood however acknowledge the struggle of women throughout history. Many countries still opress and denigrate women. You are so right, being a women is certainly much more than a feeling, an intention or the way someone dresses. If we’re being specific, being a woman is written into every cell of your body, no amount of androgen therapy or clothing will change that. Women have had to fight for equality long enough, let’s not add Cis males to sporting competitions based on strength and speed, which is why the genders were separated in the first place.

David
6 months ago

At least swimming is trending on Twitter

Jessie
6 months ago

Really, Penn?

Don Megerle
Reply to  Jessie
6 months ago

Gotta think Penn is doing this to infuriate peop!e.

Waterbear13
6 months ago

I think Lia being nominated makes sense, given that the nomination comes from UPenn and not some governing body looking at all ncaa athletes and their individual achievements, weighed with their contributions to the community. My guess is that there aren’t any other National Champions who’ve made multiple national headlines competing for the Quakers this year. Like it or not, what she did and accomplished this year was groundbreaking.

Costin Alamariu
Reply to  Waterbear13
6 months ago

Groudbreaking for sure, friend.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Waterbear13
6 months ago

From a strictly UPenn point-of-view, there might be something to this. Quick perusal of their women’s athletics site:
-Bball was 12-14 overall and 7-7 in conference, didn’t make the NCAA tournament
-XC was 10th out of 27 in the NCAA regional, not advancing anyone
-Fencing was 7th at NCAAs with what looks like the best individual finish was 14th?
-Field Hockey was 9-7 overall, 5-2 in conference, didn’t make the NCAA tournament
-Golf was last in conference, no NCAAs
-Gymnastics only took one person to a regional, and they placed 19th in their event there
-Lax was 6-9 overall, 3-4 in conference, no NCAA tournament
-Rowing got 4th out of 8th at… Read more »

Hammer
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 months ago

They also nominated a Tennis player from Russia, no need to default.
https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/bryzgalova-named-northeast-region-senior-player-year

Nelson
6 months ago

Most people getting mad about the Lia Thomas nomination couldn’t tell you who won last year’s woman of the year award without googling it.

And if that’s the case… Why do you pretend to care so much? If you really cared about the sport maybe we’d be losing a lot less programs to Title IX than we have, where is that passion and outrage when schools across the country are forced to end their programs?

Let’s be honest with ourselves. This has nothing to do with swimming. And everything to do with the bigotry and rot that exists within the swimming community.

Costin Alamariu
Reply to  Nelson
6 months ago

Yes, because last year woman of the year was softball player. I’m not invest in collegiate softball sport enough to care.

I “pretend” to care because we cannot continue to pretend that this…. situation… is in any way fair to women’s competition in sport. FINA agreed as such, following example of practically every individual who know anything at all about basic human endocrinology, biology, anatomy development, anything of sort. Whataboutism and bringing up other subject not relevant here, pls keep away. Two issue can exist at once, thx.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Costin Alamariu
6 months ago

But what will you do when another trans athlete comes along and wins even bigger titles?

Because if puberty is such a big driver of athletic success as we’ve been lead to believe over the last year*, it’s not impossible that we’ll see both trans men and trans women in elite competitions in the next decade that can legally compete under these new rules.

*I’m still not sure if this really is as a direct link as everyone’s been saying recently – could just be the path of least resistance to overturning the rules that allowed Lia to compete (rules that were in place for more than a decade without anyone noticing) or it could be a natural… Read more »

turboturtle
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Wowzers

Steve Nolan
Reply to  turboturtle
6 months ago

Thank you for your lovely addition to this conversation, turboturtle.

turboturtle
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

The fact that you are are confused that puberty is different for a male and a female deserves a wowzers.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  turboturtle
6 months ago

Is that what I said? I think you’re missing my point, so I’ll spell it out a bit more thoroughly for you.

If puberty is the main driver of athletic performance – which I am granting for this argument, not saying it’s necessarily the case (because up until this year, rules were in placed not based on puberty, but managed levels of testosterone) – then a trans man or trans woman, who does not undergo their puberty as assigned at birth, should have the same likelihood of achieving elite athletic performance as a cis man or cis woman. (Puberty blockers plus hormone therapy leading to what is far more closely aligned with a cis puberty.)

So! Why would… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Steve Nolan
mahaney
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

i think a lot more people would accept that, yes.
i def think i would.

its gonna be interesting if we’ll ever see it tho bc transitioning that early is illegal in many places and the factors coming together of being trans, transitioning that early and being a talented athlete, sticking with HRT and the sport until they’re like 20+ is gonna make that pool of people really really tiny or even 0 sometimes. we’ll see

Steve Nolan
Reply to  mahaney
6 months ago

I’m honestly glad you’d accept it! (I think a lot of people just simply haven’t thought about it, much like they never really thought of a case like Lia Thomas. And we uh, sorta saw how that was and is being received overall.) I think more people would be ok with it, but have no idea what percentage.

I also agree that based on our current trajectory – which has really veered towards making life harder, if not impossible, for trans people all across the country very quickly – it’s less likely to happen than if we actually supported trans people nationwide. (Ideally we’ll pull ourselves out of this tailspin though.)

SwimMom
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Yes, I would accept a transwoman who had not gone through male puberty competing fully and openly with cis women. I also have no problem with Lia Thomas being nominated for this award.
I do have a problem with a woman who has gone through male puberty competing with cis women.

Boganville
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Puberty is largely the difference maker in the equation…scientific fact.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Boganville
6 months ago

But we had rules in place for more than a decade, based on science, that didn’t legislate based on puberty but instead current testosterone levels. So I’m not jumping to conclusions based on what the “scientific fact” may be! (It’s not like we have a lot of data points, y’know? And, ideally, we’ll get a ton more soon.)

And it’s a big reason why I asked the question I did – will we accept a trans man or a trans woman winning major competitions under these new, puberty-based rules? Or will we do the same thing we did with Thomas, and find a different reason to legislate them out of the competition.

From everything I’ve seen over the last… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Steve Nolan
Boganville
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Shouldn’t have even started to head down the crossover road…Let the transitioned athletes compete against each other but in a separate category and at the same meets for efficiency and inclusion purposes…perhaps? Dunno, would that not be acceptable to them?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Boganville
6 months ago

I don’t want to speak for anyone, but I would not expect that to be acceptable to most trans people and I would ideally hope it wouldn’t be acceptable to most cis people, either. (I get how it seems like making distinctions and classifications in sports just happens in a vacuum, but it’s not. Got laws getting passed allowing for flippin’ genital exams to play youth sports, like. We’re already quickly going too far in the wrong direction!)

Boganville
Reply to  Steve Nolan
6 months ago

Yeah, think there’s no direction to go…should’ve been a DNS for the whole heat of humanity.

And it’s pointless and kinda getting boring TBH.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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