Tiger Olympic Star Named SEC's Top Athlete

Birmingham, Ala.--Auburn swimmer Kirsty Coventry and Florida swimmer Ryan Lochte have been named the 2004-2005 Roy F. Kramer Female and Male SEC Athletes of the Year by a vote of the league's athletics directors.

Coventry, an NCAA and Olympic champion, has won a variety of awards this year. She was the top scorer at the 2005 NCAA Championships and led her team to three NCAA titles, three SEC titles and one NCAA runnerup finish. She is one of five finalists for the award presented annually to the nation's top collegiate female athlete.

"Ryan and Kirsty are excellent representatives for their universities and this conference," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "They have competed at the highest level and through their hard work, dedication and commitment have shown the true meaning of being a student-athlete.

"The SEC is very proud to honor these two student-athletes for their accomplishments. We congratulate them on their efforts and wish them the best in their future endeavors."

The 2005 Honda Award Winner for Swimming, Coventry finished her collegiate career by capturing three individual titles at the 2005 NCAA Championships. She won the 200 backstroke for the second consecutive season while also winning the 100 and 200 individual medley events. She became the first AU swimmer to be the top individual scorer at the national meet.

Coventry's 200 backstroke and 400 individual medley national titles came in the second-fastest times in NCAA history. She set the school-record in the 200 freestyle and the 200 backstroke at NCAA Championships and was named the College Swimming Coaches Association Swimmer of the Meet.

Kirsty Coventry

Coventry won the SEC Commissioner's Trophy and SEC Swimmer of the Year award as she set conference records in the 200 IM and 200 backstroke.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, she the won gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke, a silver in the 100-meter backstroke and bronze medal in the 200-meter individual medley.

She finished her Auburn career with seven NCAA titles.

Junior Ryan Lochte captured a 2004 Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S.'s 800-meter free relay team that set an American record of 7:07.33. He also won an Olympic silver medal in the 200-meter Individual Medley. His time of 1:58.78 is a University of Florida record time and ranks third fastest all-time in the history of the event.

During the 2004-05 collegiate season, he earned the NCAA Swimmer of the Meet, SEC Swimmer of the Year, the SEC Commissioner's Trophy (awarded to the athlete that earned the most points at the SEC meet), the U.S. Open High Point Award and the Ben Hill Griffin Award (presented annually to the top UF athlete).

In the pool, Lochte eclipsed two American, three U.S. Open, three NCAA, nine SEC and 10 Florida records. He won two individual NCAA crowns (200 IM and 200 backstroke) and was part of the NCAA champion 800 free relay title.

Previous winners of the SEC Athlete of the Year Award include: 2004-Alistair Cragg, Arkansas (cross country/track) and Jeana Rice, Alabama (gymnastics); 2003 - Alistair Cragg, Arkansas (cross country/track) and LaToya Thomas, Mississippi State (basketball); 2002 - Walter Lewis, LSU (track & field) and Andree' Pickens, Alabama (gymnastics); 2001 - Matias Boeker, Georgia (tennis) and Amy Yoder Begley, Arkansas (cross country/track); 2000 - Kip Bouknight , South Carolina (baseball) and Kristy Kowal, Georgia (swimming); 1999 - Tim Couch, Kentucky (football) and Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee (basketball); 1998 - Peyton Manning, Tennessee (football) and Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee (basketball); 1997 - Danny Wuerffel, Florida (football) and Trinity Johnson, South Carolina (softball); 1996 - Danny Wuerffel, Florida (football) and Saudia Roundtree, Georgia (basketball); 1995 - Todd Helton, Tennessee (baseball) and Jenny Hansen, Kentucky (gymnastics); 1994 - Corliss Williamson, Arkansas (basketball) and Nicole Haislett, Florida (swimming); 1993 - Jamal Mashburn, Kentucky (basketball) and Nicole Haislett, Florida (swimming); 1992 - Shaquille O'Neal, LSU (basketball) and Vicki Goetze, Georgia (golf); 1991 - Shaquille O'Neal, LSU (basketball) and Daedra Charles, Tennessee (basketball); 1990 - Alec Kessler, Georgia (basketball) and Dee Foster, Alabama (gymnastics); 1989 - Derrick Thomas, Alabama (football) and Bridgette Gordon, Tennessee (basketball); 1988 - Will Perdue, Vanderbilt (basketball) and Dara Torres, Florida (swimming); 1987 - Cornelius Bennett, Alabama (football) and Lillie Leatherwood-King, Alabama (track and field); 1986 - Bo Jackson, Auburn (football) and Jennifer Gillom, Ole Miss (basketball); 1985 - Will Clark, Mississippi State (baseball) and Penney Hauschild, Alabama (gymnastics); 1984 - Terry Hoage, Georgia (football) and Tracy Caulkins, Florida (swimming); 1983 - Herschel Walker, Georgia (football/track and field); 1982 - Buck Belue, Georgia (football/baseball); 1981 - Rowdy Gaines, Auburn (swimming); 1980 - Kyle Macy, Kentucky (basketball); 1979 - Reggie King, Alabama (basketball); 1978 - Jack Givens, Kentucky (basketball); 1977 - Larry Seivers, Tennessee (football); and 1976 - Harvey Glance, Auburn (track and field).

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