BERKELEY – Cal freshman Missy Franklin, who set an American record in winning the 200-yard free at the NCAA Championships earlier this month, has been named one of five nominees for the Honda Sports Award for women’s swimming & diving.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the College Women’s Sports Awards to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics.” The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a panel of expert coaches from the sport of swimming & diving.
In addition to Franklin, the others in contention are Maya DiRado and Felicia Lee of Stanford, Breeja Larson of Texas A&M and Georgia's Brittany MacLean.
The Honda Sports award winner for swimming & diving will be announced next week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Franklin was named the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year and earned Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet honors at the conference championship after winning three individual races – all in meet-record times – and being a part of three victorious relays. She captured her first NCAA title in the 200 free setting an American record and went on to anchor the 800 free relay team to a come-from-behind NCAA victory. Franklin was also a two-time National Swimmer of the Week and a two-time Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month.
In addition, Franklin was named the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year at a ceremony last week and the Sportswoman of the Year (individual sport) by the Women’s Sports Federation in the fall.
Four Cal swimmers have earned the Honda Sports Award previously – Caitlin Leverenz (2012), Dana Vollmer (2009), Natalie Coughlin (2002 and 2003) and Mary T. Meagher (1985 and 1987) – with Meagher winning the 1987 Honda Cup. Last year, Elizabeth Pelton, now a Golden Bear sophomore, was a nominee for the Honda Award.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.7 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.