Katie Ledecky becomes second freshman to win Honda Cup
Katie Ledecky won five national titles and set two NCAA individual records during her freshman season at Stanford. That was after she won four golds and a silver at the Rio Olympics and a gold at the London Olympics. The swimming legend's latest achievement is winning the Honda Cup as the collegiate woman athlete of the year at the Collegiate Women Sports Awards on Monday night in Los Angeles.
Ledecky is the second freshman, after fellow swimmer Tracy Caulkins in 1982, to win the Honda Cup, awarded annually since 1976. Seniors Kelsey Plum (Washington basketball) and Kendell Williams (Georgia track and field) were the other two finalists. UConn basketball star Breanna Stewart won the award in 2016 and Cal swimmer Missy Franklin won in 2015.
Ledecky, a Bethesda, Maryland, native, was the first NCAA swimmer in 29 years to capture individual NCAA titles in the 200, 500 and 1650 free, and was a member of Stanford's American record-setting 400 free and 800 free relays. A five-time All-American, Ledecky broke American records nine times, NCAA records 12 times and NCAA meet records four times as a freshman. She helped lead the Cardinal to their first national title since 1998.
Ledecky won four conference titles (all in American-record time) at the Pac-12 championships, was named the Pac-12 championship swimmer of the meet, and was the only swimmer twice named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month during Stanford's undefeated dual-meet season.
A standout in the classroom as well, Ledecky has broken 13 world records and 30 American records during the course of her swimming career.
Ledecky, 20, is the third Stanford athlete to win the Honda Cup, following swimmer Tara Kirk in 2004 and volleyball player Ogonna Nnamani in 2005.
The three Honda Cup finalists were selected by a vote of nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools, and the winner was chosen by the board of directors of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program. In addition to Stewart and Franklin, previous winners include basketball superstars Maya Moore (2011, 2012) and Candace Parker (2008), track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1985), soccer great Mia Hamm (1994) and volleyball star Misty May (1999).