Indiana’s Farrell Among Three Swimmers in Top 30 of NCAA Woman of the Year

For the last three years (and four out of five), the NCAA’s Woman of the Year winner has been a swimmer. The odds of continuing that trend in 2012 got a whole lot tougher, as just three swimmers advanced from 430 nominees down to the top 10 from each division (30 total): Indiana’s Margaux FarrellSarah Jane Otey from the U.S. Cost Guard Academy, and Alisa Vereshchagin from Kenyon College.

In September, this will be narrowed to nine finalists (three from each division) who will be invited to Indianapolis for an awards ceremony on October 14th, where the 2012 Woman of the Year will be crowned.

This award is designed to encompass every possible aspect of the ideal of the student-athlete. The 30 finalists combined with a 3.87 cumulative GPA in their college careers; 20 NCAA Championships and 110 All-American awards; and they volunteered for 375 organizations while in college.

Among the three swimming finalists is Indiana’s Margaux Farrell. The middle-distance freestyle specialist placed 11th at the NCAA Championships last season in the 200 free, and represented France in London at the Summer Olympics. There, she took a bronze medal as part of France’s 800 free relay. She held a 3.84 GPA, and will now head to USC to pursue a Masters in broadcast journalism.

Otey, from the Division III Cost Guard Academy, is an NCAA Championship qualifier both as a swimmer, and as a member of the crew team (her focus this past season was rowing). Aside from the obvious leadership as a member of one of the military academies, for the duration of the 2009-2010 school year, she traveled to Peru on a humanitarian trip. She was also named the 2012 recipient of the Elite 89 Award at the Division III rowing championships, meaning she had the highest GPA of any senior who qualified for the championship event.

Vereshchagin is a member of the powerful Division III program at Kenyon, and has two individual National Championships to her name: the 200 breaststroke in 2009, and the 100 in 2011. As a senior, she was a first-team member of the Capital One All-American squad, holding a 3.79 GPA double majoring in biology and modern languages and literature. She also volunteered with Special Olympics and the Humane Society, and all of these accomplishments led to her winning the prestigious Pam Smith Award (the North Coast Athletic Conference’s equivalent of the Woman of the Year honor).

All three, along with the other 27 selections, would make fine winners of the award.

Past Winners of Woman of the Year Award:

  • 1991 – Mary Beth Riley, Canisius College
  • 1992 – Catherine Byrne, University of Tennessee
  • 1993 – Nnenna Lynch, Villanova University
  • 1994 – Tanya Jones, University of Arizona
  • 1995 – Rebecca Lobo, University of Connecticut
  • 1996 – Billie Winsett-Fletcher, University of Nebraska
  • 1997 – Lisa Coole, University of Georgia
  • 1998 – Peggy Boutilier, University of Virginia
  • 1999 – Jamila Demby, University of California, Davis
  • 2000 – Kristy Kowal, University of Georgia
  • 2001 – Kimberly A. Black, University of Georgia
  • 2002 – Tanisha Silas, University of California, Davis
  • 2003 – Ashley Jo Rowatt Karpinos, Kenyon College

Full List of 2012 Nomineees

Name Division  Conference Institution Sport(s)
Hillary Bach I Pac-12 Conference Arizona State University Softball
Chyna Balonick II Independent Humboldt State University Cross Country
Sharwil Bell III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Rhodes College Basketball
Simone Childs-Walker III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Carleton College Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Christie Hope II Great Lakes Valley Conference University of Wisconsin, Parkside Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Grace Collins II Sunshine State Conference Barry University Softball
Margo Cramer III New England Small College Athletic Conference Middlebury College Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Margaux Farrell I Big Ten Conference Indiana University, Bloomington Swimming and Diving
Danielle Foxhoven I West Coast Conference University of Portland Soccer
Kate Griewisch II South Atlantic Conference Lenoir-Rhyne University Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Stacey Hagensen III Northwest Conference Pacific Lutheran University Softball
Jazmyne Hefflefinger I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conf. Delaware State University Bowling
Kristin Hoffman I Mid-American Conference Northern Illinois University Volleyball
Kendra Huettl II Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Minnesota State University, Mankato Softball
Glory Johnson I Southeastern Conference University of Tennessee, Knoxville Basketball
Rebecca Kamp III Michigan Intercol. Ath. Assn. Calvin College Volleyball
Kelsey Kittleson III Iowa Intercol. Athletic Conf. Luther College Softball
Lopez Mimendi Sofia II South Atlantic Conference Lincoln Memorial University Cross Country, Tennis
Christina Muir II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Ferris State University Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Sarah Jane Otey III New England Women’s & Men’s Athletic Conference U.S. Coast Guard Academy Rowing, Swimming and Diving
Brooke Pancake I Southeastern Conference University of Alabama Golf
Alexi Pappas I The Ivy League Dartmouth College Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Elizabeth Phillips III University Athletic Association Washington University (Missouri) Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Verena Preikshas II Independent California State University, Stanislaus Tennis
Tanya Schmidt I West Coast Conference Santa Clara University Volleyball
Carol Cayo Smith III Northern Athletics Conference Milwaukee School of Engineering Basketball, Tennis, Outdoor Track and Field
Neely Spence II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Alisa Vereshchagin III North Coast Athletic Conference Kenyon College Swimming and Diving
Rebecca Wade I Conference USA Rice University Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track
Anne Wethe II California Collegiate Athletic Association University of California, San Diego Soccer

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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