Indiana University swimmer Lilly King was named the 2017-18 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year on Thursday, the league office announced. Wrestler Kyle Snyder of Ohio State was named the Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year.
King becomes just the third person – man or woman – to win the award in back-to-back seasons and is also just the third person in league history to earn the honor more than once. Wisconsin’s Suzy Favor was named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year for three-straight seasons from 1988-90, while Snyder also repeated this year.
Last year, the Evansville, Ind. native, became the first woman in Indiana history to be named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year. King joins an elite list of Hoosiers who earned the award – Jim Spivey (1982), Sunder Nix (1984), Steve Alford (1987), Anthony Thompson (1990) and Derek Drouin (2013).
“Lilly has, in just three years, cemented herself as one of the best female athlete in Indiana University history,” Indiana head swimming coach Ray Looze remarked. “It’s hard to believe she has yet another year remaining to achieve even more. We are so fortunate to have her come into our lives. She is a true pleasure to coach every day.”
The Big Ten Conference has recognized a Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year since 1982 and first honored a Female Athlete of the Year in 1983. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.
The six-time NCAA champion successfully defended her titles in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke in 2018, posting the fastest times in history in both events and becoming the first woman in Big Ten history to win three-straight national championships in league history.
King’s six NCAA crowns are the most for any woman in Big Ten history and also matches Rebecca Soni of USC and Kristy Kowal of Georgia’s NCAA record of six total breaststroke titles.
Along with her two championships, King earned four All-America honors, helping the Hoosiers place eighth overall at the NCAA Championships – the third-straight top-10 finish for Indiana.
Along with her NCAA titles, King was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year for the third time and also earned her third-straight First-Team All-Big Ten selection.
At the 2018 Big Ten Championships, King won two individual league titles, sweeping the breaststroke events for the third-straight season, and also helped IU win crowns in the 200 and 400 medley relays. For her career, King is a 12-time Big Ten champion.