By Dalton Ray–
The 2015-2016 athletic year for the University of Louisville was a bit underwhelming based on our recent expectations. There wasn’t that one signature football win, men’s basketball had no postseason while the women took an early exit. Even in smaller revenue sports U of L didn’t have the success they are used to seeing. One person who was consistent for the university all year and one of the biggest highlights is senior swimmer Kelsi Worrell.
The four-time national champion is the 2015-2016 Louisville Cardinal Student-Athlete of the Year. The New Jersey native was selected because of her consistent success over the year and high level of performance.
Worrell was hands down the top athlete for U of L this year, her success and accolades were unmatched by any student athlete in the program. For starters, Worrell won national titles in the 100 and 200-fly in March. Those wins claimed her fourth national title in two years as she defended her titles from last year. Worrell broke her own personal record in the 100-fly which set a new American record at 49.43 seconds. For the 200-fly she currently holds three of the top ten all-time fastest times.
Worrell was also awarded the ACC Swimmer of the Year and Most Valuable Swimmer in the ACC conference tournament. With so many of the nation’s top swimmers in the ACC, winning Swimmer of the Year and Most Valuable is a huge achievement.
After the season Worrell was able to add one more award to her trophy. On April 8, she was awarded the Honda Sport Award. The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has gave out this award over the past 40 years and it signifies the best of the best in women’s college sports. Worrell recognized how much the award means to her.
“I’m so incredibly humbled to be named this year’s Honda Award winner,” Worrell said. “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 an huge honor to be named alongside some of the greatest swimmer’s this world has seen like Missy Franklin, Mary T Meagher and Tracy Caulkins.”
Winning the award came as no surprise from her two-time National Coach of the Year Arthur Albiero.
“It is very fitting for Kelsi to receive the Honda award for swimming and diving. She has earned her success through her work ethic, team-first attitude, and a huge heart,” Albiero said. “She has captured our imaginations and allowed us to dream bigger than ever as a program. 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 program.”
Louisville seems to churn out some of the top athletes in the nation year after year. Players such as Teddy Bridgewater, Russ Smith, Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, Tanja Kylliainen, Rebecca Shine and Julia Fellerhoff have represented the university in the highest honor. Worrell is just one more name to add to that list.
What makes U of L standout as a program is the constant stellar student-athletes they wear Louisville across their chest. Even in a year surrounded by uncertainty like this year true Louisville fans don’t have to look far to find a bright spot. Worrell’s collegiate career may be over but it should be remembered as one of the best individual efforts in recent memory. Over a two year stretch Worrell has sweep the 100 and 200-fly in the NCAA championships in an unprecedented fashion. Her consistent success over the year in and out of the water makes Worrell TLC’s 2015-2016 Student-Athlete of the Year.
Photo Courtesy / Louisville Athletics