The Collegiate Women’s Sports Award program has honored Cal junior Caitlin Leverenz with the 2012 Honda Sports Award in swimming, which is an award that recognizes the top collegiate athletes annually in 12 women’s NCAA sports.
Though not as prestigious as the Swammie Award that she won last week, this is a huge honor for Leverenz – one well-earned on the basis of her two NCAA Titles (200 IM, 200 breast); one runner-up honor (400 IM); an NCAA/U.S. Open/American Record (200 IM); an American Record (400 IM); and almost another (200 Breast).
She topped other finalists Katinka Hosszu of USC (the defending honoree), Megan Romano of Georgia, and Breeja Larson of Texas A&M. All four would have been worthy recipients, as all four were NCAA Record breakers at the meet.
“What happened at the NCAAs this year is a testament to how hard I’ve worked and to the staff. There are a lot of good swimmers coming out of high schools, but coach Teri McKeever has what can make them great,” Leverenz said of her team’s performance at the Championship meet. “From the time I started at Cal, I told her I wanted to make the Olympic team, and she has held me to those standards.”
She is the 4th Cal Bear to win this award after Dana Vollmer in 2009, Natalie Coughlin in 2002/2003, and Mary T. Meagher in 1985 and 1987, totaling now 6 awards in the 36 year history of the award. That ties them with Florida at 6 total awards won for 2nd on the all-time winners’ list: Cal rivals Stanford have won 10.
For the full list of winners through the 2009-2010 season, click here.
Leverenz will now be eligible for the Honda-Broderick Cup winner, which honors the top female college athlete across all 12 of the sports. Past winners of the prestigious honor from the swimming community include Tracy Caulkins, Mary T. Meagher, Jill Sterkel, Cristina Teuscher, and most recently Tara Kirk.
Ironically, as the women’s IM Records keep getting taken lower-and-lower, this is the third-straight year that an IM’er has won the award.