Double American record setter Lilly King of Indiana has won the CSCAA (College Swimming Coaches Association of America) Female Swimmer of the Year award for 2016.
King was crowned as the next great American breaststroker at the 2016 NCAA Championships, winning titles in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes while breaking American records and shattering huge barrier in both events.
On Friday night, the freshman King became the first woman ever under 57 in the 100 breast, hitting a 56.85 to win her first-ever NCAA title. She beat out defending NCAA champ Sarah Haase of Stanford by half a second.
The next day, King smashed through the 2:04 barrier in the 200 breast, going 2:03.59 to become the first woman ever in the 2:03s. She won that race by an astounding 2.7 seconds over the best collegiate breaststrokers in the nation.
King was also a relay monster for Indiana. She singlehandedly put the Hoosiers into the A final of the 400 medley relay with a 56.74, the fastest 100 breaststroke split in history. IU finished 7th in that race. The next day in the 200 medley relay, King was 26.05 to help Indiana finish 10th. That was just off the 25.9 split she put up at Big Tens, which is believed to be the 3rd-fastest of all-time.
King’s huge effort helped vault Indiana all the way up to 7th place as a team. IU scored 228 points, and King had a hand in 78 of them between her two individual events and the two relay races.
Other athletes who appeared to be in contention for the award:
- Georgia junior Olivia Smoliga, who won the 50 and 100 freestyles in a major bounce-back year. Smoliga broke the NCAA record in the 50.
- Virginia junior Leah Smith, who swept the 500 and 1650 frees in helping the Cavaliers take 5th as a team.
- Stanford freshman Ella Eastin, who won the 200 and 400 IMs, plus took 2nd in the 200 fly. Eastin set new American, U.S. Open and NCAA records in the 200 IM and a new 17-18 National Age Group record in the 400 IM.
- Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell,who swept the 100 and 200 butterfly events, setting a new American record in the 100. Worrell also put up the 2nd-fastest 200 fly of all-time in prelims of that race.