USC's Hosszu Wins Honda Sports Award
Katinka Hosszu, a junior at the University of Southern California, has won the 2011 Honda Sports Award in swimming & diving, designating her as the nation's top collegiate female athlete in that sport. The honor was based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 35th year. Her win marks the third time a University of Southern California athlete has won the Honda Sports Award for swimming & diving. Kristine Quance won twice ('96, '97).
Hosszu is the latest in a long line of successful Trojan swimmers, and she recognizes the importance of such a lineage.
"It's really awesome. I always get inspired by [former Trojan and Olympic gold medalist] Rebecca Soni and [former Trojan and Olympic gold medalist] Ous Mellouli. It's awesome to walk that path," Hosszu said. "In the Trojan Swim Club, there are many, many Olympians and world record holders and awesome swimmers. Everyday I can get inspired by different people."
The Honda Sports Award is given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic eligibility to become a "Top Three" finalist for Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Hosszu was voted over three other nominees for the 2011 award: Allison Schmitt, a junior from the University of Georgia, Jillian Tyler, a senior from the University of Minnesota and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, a senior from Auburn University. All four nominees were selected by the NCAA College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association.
"I am very honored to win the Honda Sports Award," Hosszu said. "I had never won an NCAA championship before and this year I won three times, but not without help. I can attribute my performances this year to my coaches and my teammates for helping me get better every day. I am very proud to be a part of this team. Everyone worked extremely hard this year to achieve our team goal of a top 5 finish."
A native of Hungary, Hosszu was the only swimmer to win three titles at this year's NCAA Championships, including the 200-yard IM, 400-yard IM and 200-yard fly. She set an NCAA meet record in the 400-yard IM and led the Trojans to a third-place finish at the meet. She was named Swimmer of the Meet at the NCAA as well as at the Pac-10 Championships, where she won the same three titles (200 IM, 400 IM, 200 fly). She is a five-time 2011 All-American, adding the 400-yard free and 800-yard medley relays at the NCAAs, giving her 13 career All-American honors. Hosszu twice competed for her native country in the Olympics (2004, '08) and won a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships (400-meter IM). She holds four individual school records, as well as three relay records, and was a five-time champion at the 2010 U.S. Short Course Nationals. Hosszu is majoring in psychology .
"I was really happy, and I think the team was really happy as well that someone on our team got it," Hosszu said. "So, I'm very honored."