Freeman Earns Big West's Woman of the Year Recognition, Will Vie for 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year Award

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July 31, 2009

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UCSB swimmer Katy Freeman, an All-American in 2009, has earned Woman of the Year recognition from the Big West Conference and will vie for 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year award that will be presented in the fall.

Freeman finished eighth in the 200 breaststroke at the 2009 NCAA Championships in a time of 2:09.12, breaking both the UCSB and Big West Conference record in the event. The eighth-place finish was good enough to earn her All-American honors. Freeman also competed in the 100 breaststroke at the NCAA meet.

Earlier in July, the Concord, Calif., native competed in three events at the World University Games in Belgrade. Freeman took fifth in the 200 breaststroke, sixth in the 100 breaststroke and she earned a gold medal while swimming the breaststroke leg off the 400-medley relay. In August, she will travel to Seattle to compete in the U.S. Open Championships.

In addition to athletic achievements, Woman of the Year honorees are selected based on academic record, community service, and leadership. Freeman has been a standout in all of those areas as well. In June, she graduated from UCSB with a degree in sociocultural linguistics and a grade point average of 3.67. In the area of community service, Freeman has taken part in training Special Olympians in swimming technique and she has been accepted in the Teach for America program.

"This is a fantastic honor for Katy, the Athletics Department and the university," commented head swimming coach Gregg Wilson. "It is well deserved and it exemplifies the classic scholar-athlete achievement at the highest level. We are all very proud of Katy. She is passionate, focused, and driven and it is really paying off."

The NCAA will select the top 30 - 10 from each of three divisions - from the conference and independent nominees. From the top 30, nine finalists - three from each division - will be chosen. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the national winnter from the pool of nine finalists and announce the recipient during the 2009 Woman of the Year dinner on Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.

Freeman is the second consecutive UCSB athlete to be selected from the Big West Conference. In 2008, track and field star Bethany Nickless was chosen.

Gauchos Give
With the arrival of Mark Massari as Athletics Director in October, UCSB Athletics launched the Gauchos Give community outreach initiative for all 450 athletes and 20 sports. Gaucho athletes give back to their community through free clinics, helping families during the holidays, providing financial and emotional support during tragedies, and touching the lives of youth groups.