By Sam Draut–
Though her career as a swimmer at the University of Louisville has ended, senior Kelsi Worrell added another honor to her highly decorated four year career. Chris Voelz, the Executive Director of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced Worrell as the winner of the Honda Sport Award for swimming and diving, which is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA sanctioned sports.
The award has been presented by the CWSA for the past 40 years and honors “the best of the best in collegiate athletics.”
“I’m so incredibly humbled to be named this year’s Honda Award winner,” Worrell said in a statement. “It truly wouldn’t have been possible without all the support from the University of Louisville, my present and past coaches, my amazing teammates, and my encouraging family. What a huge honor to be named alongside of the greatest swimmer’s this world has seen like Missy Franklin, Mary T. Meagher and Tracy Caulkins.”
Worrell was selected by voters from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. The administrators voted her ahead of other highly-touted swimmers such as Ella Eastin from Stanford, Lilly King from Indiana and Olivia Smoliga from Georgia. With the honor, Worrell is now a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2016 Honda Cup, which is announced on June 27.
“It is very fitting for Kelsi to receive the Honda award for swimming and diving,” coach Arthur Albiero said. “She has earned her success through her work ethic, team-first attitude and a huge heart. During her four years as a swimmer at the University of Louisville, she has captured our imaginations and allowed us to dream bigger than ever as a progam. Yet, in the midst of ACC records, NCAA records, American records, and even a World record, she continues to embody the ‘humble and hungry’ approach that has impacted our swimming and diving programs in all levels. Her success is also a validation of the support Mr. Tom Jurich and our entire administration have put forth to create an environment where we are given the tools to create world-class programs for student-athletes.”
Worrell is a nine-time All-American and earned ACC Swimmer of the Year in her junior and senior year. Most recently, she set the American, NCAA and US Open record in 100-butterfly at the NCAA Championship. She also won the 200-butterfly at the NCAA Championship.
After the NCAA Championship, Worrell set a World and American record in the 100-fly as a member of the USA national team. The New Jersey native won Pan Am gold with a time of 57.24 in her first international competition. She was also a part of the 4 x 100 Medley Relay team that won gold with a time of 3.57.35.
Photo by Wade Morgen / The Louisville Cardinal