Home Swimming Pool Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon Becomes First Diver to Win Honda Sports Award

Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon Becomes First Diver to Win Honda Sports Award


University of Minnesota diver Sarah Bacon has been named the Honda Sports Award winner for swimming & diving for the 2020-2021 season. That makes her the first-ever diver to take the honor.

The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 45 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”.  The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2021 Honda Cup, which will be presented on a telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 28th at 9 pm ET.

Bacon was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Sophie Hansson (NC State), Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) and Paige Madden (Virginia).

“I really appreciate being nominated for this award”, said Bacon. “To say I am honored to have received this amongst the other three amazing female swimmers is such an understatement! I am grateful for this and want to say a huge thank you and shout out to everyone who has helped me along the way in my collegiate career, especially Wenbo Chen.”

Bacon, an Olympic hopeful who has said she is not planning to take advantage of the extra season of college eligibility afforded by the NCAA, won the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard diving titles at the 2021 NCAA Championship meet. She has now won the last 3 titles on 1-meter after winning in 2018 and setting the NCAA Championship Record in the event in 2019.

Bacon finishes her career as a four-time NCAA diving champion, 8-time CSCAA All-American, two-time Big Ten Diver of the Year, 2021 CSCAA Division I Women’s Diver of the Year, and the winningest woman in Minnesota school history in any sport.

Overall, she is an 11-time medalist in national and international diving competitions. She was a gold medalist in the 1-meter dive at the 2019 USA Diving National Championship and the 2019 Pan American games. In addition, she is a three-time 3-meter gold medalist in synchronized diving having won at the 2019 USA Diving Winter National Championships and the 2020 FINA Grand Prixs in Germany and Spain.

“I think it’s great for her because she’s put in a lot of time and worked very hard at being the best that she can be”, stated head diving coach Wenbo Chen. “This is a special year for her, not just because of the pandemic, but because of all she’s gone through with taking an olympic year last year that was postponed to this year. She’s been training so hard for that, so she absolutely deserves this award. She’s put a lot into this sport.”

The CWSA, celebrating its 45th anniversary year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for their superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.  Since commencing its partnership in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.4 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs.

Bacon is the first Minnesota women to win a Honda Sports Award in any sport, in spite of the school’s powerful history in volleyball, among other sports.

Swimmers have gone on to win the Collegiate Sports Woman of the Year 9 times, which is second only to basketball (15 times).

Year Winner
2020-21 Sarah Bacon, University of Minnesota
2019-20 Abbey Weitzeil, University of California
2018-19 Lilly King, Indiana University
2017-18 Simone Manuel, Stanford University
2016-17 Katie Ledecky, Stanford University
2015-16 Kelsi Worrell, University of Louisville
2014-15 Missy Franklin, University of California
2013-14 Felicia Lee, Stanford University
2012-13 Allison Schmitt, University of Georgia
2011-12 Caitlin Leverenz, University of California
2010-11 Katinka Hosszu, University of Southern California
2009-10 Julia Smit, Stanford University
2008-09 Dana Vollmer, University of California
2007-08 Caroline Burckle, University of Florida
2006-07 Kara Lynn Joyce, University of Georgia
2005-06 Mary DeScenza, University of Georgia
2004-05 Kirsty Coventry, Auburn University
2003-04 Tara Kirk, Stanford University
2002-03 Natalie Coughlin, University of California
2001-02 Natalie Coughlin, University of California
2000-01 Misty Hyman, Stanford University
1999-00 Cristina Teuscher, Columbia University
1998-99 Martina Moravcova, Southern Methodist University
1997-98 Misty Hyman, Stanford University
1996-97 Kristine Quance, University of Southern California
1995-96 Kristine Quance, University of Southern California
1994-95 Jenny Thompson, Stanford University
1993-94 Nicole Haislett, University of Florida
1992-93 Janel Jorgensen, Stanford University
1991-92 Summer Sanders, Stanford University
1990-91 Leigh Ann Fetter, University of Texas
1989-90 Janet Evans, Stanford University
1988-89 Jenna Johnson, Stanford University
1987-88 Betsy Mitchell, University of Texas
1986-87 Mary T. Meagher, University of California
1985-86 Jenna Johnson, Stanford University
1984-85 Mary T. Meagher, University of California
1983-84 Tracy Caulkins, University of Florida
1982-83 Tracy Caulkins, University of Florida
1981-82 Tracy Caulkins, University of Florida
1980-81 Jill Sterkel, University of Texas
1979-80 Jill Sterkel, University of Texas
1978-79 Joan Pennington, University of Texas
1977-78 Renee Laravie, University of Florida
1976-77 Melissa Belote, Arizona State University