Honda Cup winner Simone Manuel is the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming
Olympian and senior member of the Stanford University Swimming & Diving team, Simone Manuel, is the 2018 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and winner of the prestigious Honda Cup.
She was presented with these honours on Monday evening during the live Collegiate Women Sport Awards (CWSA) broadcast presented by Honda on CBS Sports Network, at the USC Founders Club at Galen Center in Los Angeles. As presenting sponsor, the automotive brand has supported women’s athletics programmes for more than 30 years.
The “Top Three” finalists from the Class of 2018 included Manuel along with senior basketball star A’ja Wilson of the University of South Carolina and senior track & field sensation Maggie Ewen from Arizona State University.
The “Top Three” were selected by a voting of nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools and the winner was chosen by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Board of Directors. Previous winners include Manuel’s Olympic and collegiate teammate Katie Ledecky (2017), Olympic basketball player Breanna Stewart (2016), swimming standout Missy Franklin (2015), basketball superstars Maya Moore (2011, 2012) and Candace Parker (2008), track & field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1985), soccer great Mia Hamm (1994) and volleyball star Misty May (1999).
Overall, this is Stanford’s fourth win and second back-to-back wins since Ledecky capture the honour last year and Tara Kirk (Swimming & Diving) won in 2004 followed by Ogonna Nnamani (Volleyball) in 2005.
Manuel is a three-time Honda Award nominee and a 14-time NCAA Champion including six national titles at the 2018 NCAA Championship. The senior team captain from Sugar Land, Texas, is a 21-time All-American, earning seven All-America titles in 2018. She became the fifth woman to win three NCAA titles in the 100-free, winning each year she competed.
Manuel finished her career with six American records, seven NCAA records and seven school records and was a member of two NCAA Championship teams and two Pac-12 Championship squads. She is also the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming and holds four Olympic medals after the 2016 games (two gold, two silver).
In the classroom, Manuel is a two-time Pac-12 Academic honoree and a CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American as a communications major.
“Honda congratulates Simone and the outstanding CWSA Class of 2018. Each year, female student-athletes go above and beyond in their respective sports, communities and classrooms, and they deserve to be recognised for their achievements.
“Together with CWSA, we are providing a platform to honour these athletes and help power their dreams,” said American Honda Vice President of Corporate Relations & Social Responsibility, Steve Morikawa.
“Congratulations to Simone on being named the 2018 winner and having her name etched in the brand’s award family forever. Simone claims the award from among an impressive class of candidates, all of whose performances are noteworthy.
“Her dominant year ranks as the “best of the best” as she joins an elite group of collegiate athletes who have been recognised throughout the past 42 years,” said Chris Voelz, CWSA Executive Director.
In addition to the announcement of the award winner as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, the broadcast featured the presentation of the Honda Inspiration award to Megan Cunningham (Missouri, Track & Field/Cross Country), the Honda Division II Athlete of the Year to Caroline Kurgat (Alaska Anchorage, Cross Country) and the Honda Division III Athlete of the Year to Eudice Chong (Wesleyan University, Tennis).
The CWSA, celebrating its 42nd year, has honoured the US’ top NCAA women athletes for their superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since partnering with the programme in 1986, the brand has provided more than US$3.3 million/£2.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programmes.