UK’s Gaines nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year – Reuters



The University of Kentucky Athletics Department has named former swimmer Riley Gaines for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award, after a career that has featured three individual conference titles, a pair of world records. Southeast Conference, 12 All-America nods and summa cum laude honors.

Riley Gaines

“This award recognizes not only athletic performance, but also academics, service and character, so to be seen as someone who epitomizes all of those things is extremely humbling,” Gaines said. “I know I’ve been up against a department full of amazing student-athletes, so I’m very grateful and always proud to be a Wildcat. I have so much love for the UK and Big Blue Nation.

NCAA member schools have nominated 577 varsity female athletes from all three divisions for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Then the conference offices will select their nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year, which will be announced in mid-August.

Conference nominations go to the NCAA Woman of the Year Selection Committee, where they will identify the top 10 honorees in each of the NCAA’s three divisions. From the top 30, the NCAA Woman of the Year Selection Committee will determine the top three winners from each division as nine finalists. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will then choose the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year, who will be named this fall.

“I am delighted with this news,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “Riley is a hard worker in everything she does, always giving 100% in class, in the community and in the pool. She was a very competitive student-athlete during her four years at Kentucky, and she left a lasting impact on our program.

Gaines graduated summa cum laude last May, earning a degree in human health sciences with a minor in advocacy. She earned a spot on the Dean’s List every eight semesters at Kentucky and four times on the Athletic Director’s Honor List. She has landed on the SEC Academic Honor Roll for the past four years and has been selected three times by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America First Team.

The Gallatin, Tenn., native was named the 2022 SEC Athlete-Scholar of the Year for Women’s Swimming and Diving, becoming the fourth Wildcat to win the award in program history. It was also the fourth time in the last eight years that a member of the UK women’s swimming and diving team had won the title.

Gaines also has a proven track record in community service, having been named the 2022 Brad Davis Community Service Leader of the Year for participating in programs such as God’s Pantry, Special Olympics of Kentucky, Give 10 (REAL Read), the Shriner’s Hospital and Amachi while in Lexington. She also participated in the Kentucky United Telethon, which raised more than $3 million for the American Red Cross to help victims of tornadoes.

The three-time individual conference champion’s accomplishments in the pool are just as impressive as they are out of the water. A two-time team captain, Gaines is one of the most decorated swimmers in program history. She holds the school record in three individual events and four relay events, has qualified for the US Olympic Trials multiple times and helped the UK win its first-ever SEC team title in 2021. She also amassed 12 All-America honors throughout his career. four-year career with the blue and whites.

She finished tied for fifth in the 200 freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Championships, marking the best individual finish of her career at national competition, while earning honorable mention in the 200 butterfly, 400 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay. . She found herself on the All-SEC first team for the second straight season after winning two gold, one silver and two bronze medals in this year’s conference meet. Gaines’ performances in her three individual races at the SEC Championships set new program standards, while her winning time of 1:51.51 in the 200 butterfly was a meet and conference record and propelled her to the 16th fastest swim in United States history. .

Kentucky has produced one NCAA Woman of the Year in the award’s 31-year history, with former swimmer Asia Seidt winning the title in 2020 out of a record field of more than 600 applicants.


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