Allison Schmitt, who led Georgia’s swimming and diving team to the national championship after winning five medals in the Olympics, has been chosen as the 2012-2013 Roy F. Kramer Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year by a vote of the league’s directors of athletics, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Tuesday.
The SEC Male Athlete of the Year Award was presented to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“The SEC is very proud to honor Johnny and Allison, as they are outstanding examples of what a student-athlete can accomplish through hard work and dedication,” Slive said. “Their commitment to excellence has made them fine representatives of their universities and this conference. We congratulate them and wish them the best in their future endeavors.”
“For Allison to be selected as the most outstanding athlete in our league is quite an accomplishment,” Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said. “She really did have a great year with the Olympic medals, the team titles and the individual titles. She’s a special young lady who has meant so much to our program.”
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Schmitt won three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal. She became the first Georgia swimmer ever to win an individual gold as she claimed the 200-meter freestyle title. Schmitt also anchored the victorious 800-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relays. She came in second in the 400-meter freestyle and placed third on the 400-meter freestyle relay. With six Olympic medals (including a bronze from the 2008 Games), she ranks first all-time among Georgia swimmers. Following the Games, Schmitt owned one World record and four American records in long-course meters.
The Canton, Michigan, native returned for her senior year and helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to the NCAA and SEC titles. She won the NCAA crown in the 200-yard freestyle and helped the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays notch victories. At the SECs, she picked up titles on the 200-, 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays. Schmitt earned the Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top swimmer. She is attached to one American record and two U.S. Open marks in short-course yards.
The other nominees for the SEC Female Athlete of the Year Award were: Stephanie Meadow, Alabama (golf); Makeba Alcide, Arkansas (track and field); Olivia Scott, Auburn (swimming and diving); Bridget Sloan, Florida (gymnastics); A’dia Mathies, Kentucky (basketball); Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU (track and field); Rafaelle Souza, Ole Miss (soccer); Ally McDonald, Mississippi State (golf); Chelsea Thomas, Missouri (softball); Ieasia Walker, South Carolina (basketball); Tori Lamp, Tennessee (swimming and diving); Breeja Larson, Texas A&M (swimming and diving); and Tiffany Clarke, Vanderbilt (basketball).
“There are so many exceptional athletes in our conference, so to win this award is really humbling,” Schmitt said. “I think the SEC is the greatest conference in the country. Just from a swimming standpoint, you have Olympians and NCAA champions all over the place. And then with the other sports, what those women have accomplished is so impressive. This is truly an honor, and it’s one that I share with my family and friends who have supported me throughout my career, my teammates, my coaches and all the people who love the University of Georgia.”
Schmitt is the fifth Georgia student-athlete to earn SEC Female Athlete of the Year recognition, joining golfer Vicki Goetze (1992), basketball player Saudia Roundtree (1996), swimmer Kristy Kowal (2000) and gymnast Courtney Kupets (2009).
The SEC Athletes of the Year Awards were first presented in 1976 for men and 1984 for women. The award was renamed in honor of Kramer in 2004 to honor the former commissioner who served the conference from 1990-2002.