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NCAA Names Kowal 2000 Woman Of The Year

Oct 17, 2000

NCAA News Release
INDIANAPOLIS---Kristy Kowal, a swimmer from the University of Georgia, is the 2000 NCAA Woman of the Year. Kowal received the award at the 10th annual NCAA Woman of the Year Awards Dinner this evening at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis. The award honors academic and athletics excellence, as well as community service and leadership.

The 2000 NCAA Woman of the Year is presented by Rawlings.

Kowal was chosen from more than 300 nominations. A selection committee composed of representatives from member schools chose the 51 state winners, including a winner from the District of Columbia, and then narrowed the field to 10 national finalists. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics selected Kowal from the 10 finalists.

A member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, Kowal brought home the silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke from the Sydney Games. Kowal is the winner of eight individual NCAA championships in swimming, and she is the holder of one world record and eight American records. A multiple-event all-American, Kowal led the Bulldogs to NCAA team championship in 1999 and 2000 and was chosen as the 2000 NCAA Swimmer of the Year by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Kowal has been a Southeastern Conference champion 13 times, and last season, she became the first woman in conference history to take the conference title in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke four years in a row.

Kowal, who is majoring in early childhood education, plans to graduate next spring and pursue a career as an elementary school teacher. She has been a Georgia Presidential Scholar and named to the dean's list numerous times. In 1999, she was selected as a Ramsey Scholar, an award bestowed on the top-10 student-athletes at Georgia. Kowal is a GTE/CoSIDA Academic all-American second-team selection, and she was picked for the College Swimming Coaches Association all-academic team in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Kowal has received the "Peach of an Athlete" award from the Atlanta Boy Scouts for her community service efforts. She has served as a volunteer with the Safe Kids project - helping ensure children are safe in their car seats - and as a speaker at the 1999 Youth Education through Sports clinic. Kowal has served food at homeless shelters, collected food and clothing for needy families, and spoken to elementary children about the importance of academics.