Cal’s Rachael Acker Named Among 30 NCAA Woman of the Year Nominees

Former Cal swimmer Rachael Acker has been named among the 30 “honorees” for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year honor.

This round, the first round of culls from the list that included each school’s nominee, reduces the competition to 10 women from each of the NCAA’s three divisions, meaning that Acker is one of 10 Division I finalists (the full lists have not yet been received).

Next, 9 finalists (3 from each division) will be named finalists before an awards ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, October 18th that will select the NCAA Woman of the Year winner.

To be eligible for the award, an athlete must have earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport and completed eligibility in that sport (Acker’s last season was the 2015-2016 season). Each school is able to nominate 1 woman from across their athletics program and the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee chooses the ultimate winner on the basis of academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service, and leadership.

Among Acker’s accomplishments in the pool at Cal included an NCAA title by swimming the leadoff leg of Cal’s 800 free relay in 2014. In total, she scored individually at three NCAA Championship meets in her four years of eligibility, with the exception being 2016, her senior year. She still contributed as part of Cal’s NCAA 4th-place 400 free relay last season, however.

Outside of the pool, she’s a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, a CSCAA Scholar All-American, Pac-12 first-team academic all conference recipient, the 2016 Pac-12 Swimming Scholar-Athlete of the Year. At last check, she had a 3.957 cumulative GPA as a French major and has worked doing research at Cal’s Heald Lab in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

She and fellow Cal athlete, lacrosse player Nicole Beck, have also launched a charity drive called the Golden Bear Sock Drive that collects socks (and money) from Cal athletics fans to donate to less fortunate – a program that they hope will be passed down within the athletic community after their graduation.

Swimming & Diving athletes have won this award 11 times since it began in 1991, the most of any sport.

Past NCAA Woman of the Year Winners:

2015
Kristin Day
Swimming and Diving
Clarion University
2014
Elizabeth Tucker
Soccer
University of Notre Dame
2013
Ifeatu Okafor
Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Texas Tech University
2012
Elizabeth Phillips
Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Washington University in St. Louis
2011
Laura Barito
Swimming and Diving, Outdoor Track and Field
Stevens Institute of Technology
2010
Justine Schluntz
Swimming and Diving
University of Arizona
2009
Lacey Nymeyer
Swimming and Diving
University of Arizona
2008
Nkolika Anosike
Basketball
University of Tennessee
2007
Whitney Myers
Swimming and Diving
University of Arizona
2006
Anne Bersagel
Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Wake Forest University
2005
Lauryn McCalley
Swimming and Diving
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
2004
Kelly Albin
Lacrosse
University of California, Davis
2003
Ashley Jo Rowatt
Swimming and Diving
Kenyon College
2002
Tanisha Silas
Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
University of California, Davis
2001
Kimberly A. Black
Swimming and Diving
University of Georgia
2000
Kristy Kowal
Swimming and Diving
University of Georgia
1999
Jamila Demby
Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
University of California, Davis
1998
Peggy Boutilier
Lacrosse and Field Hockey
University of Virginia
1997
Lisa Ann Coole
Swimming and Diving
University of Georgia
1996
Billie Winsett Fletcher
Volleyball
University of Nebraska
1995
Rebecca Lobo
Basketball
University of Connecticut
1994
Tanya Hughes
Indoor and OutdoorTrack and Field
University of Arizona
1993
Nnenna Lynch
Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Villanova University
1992
Catherine Byrne
Swimming and Diving
University of Tennessee
1991
Mary Beth Riley
Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Canisius College

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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