BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Florida swimmer Caeleb Dressel and South Carolina basketball athlete A'ja Wilson have been named the 2017-2018 Roy F. Kramer SEC Male and Female Athletes of the Year by a vote of the league's athletics directors, Commissioner Greg Sankey announced today.
"It takes a high level of discipline in life and a strong commitment to your sport to consistently perform at A'ja's level on the court and achieve at Caeleb's level in the pool," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "We are proud to honor these student-athletes who not only excelled in the SEC, but were also recognized as the best in their sport across the country. They are great examples of what it means to be a student-athlete in the Southeastern Conference."
Dressel, the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Swimmer of the Year, had one of the most accomplished NCAA Championships in history, earning four titles in four days (50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 200 FR). Those titles brought his career total to 10 NCAA titles, passing Ryan Lochte (7) for the most National Championships all-time for the Florida men. .
Dressel's time of 17.63 in the 50 free at NCAAs is an American, NCAA, US Open, UF and pool record and he is the first human to have ever broke 18 seconds in the event - he did so twice on the same day at the NCAA Championships. He became the first man in history to sweep the 50 free and the 14th man to sweep any event during their four-year college career.
He also became the first human to break 40 seconds in the 100 free, posting a time of 39.90 to earn his third NCAA title in the event. Dressel also won his second national title in the 100 fly, breaking the American, NCAA, US Open, UF and pool records with his mark of 42.80.
In all, he earned seven All-America honors (50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 200 FR, 400 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR), bringing the total to 28 over his four years as a Gator, the most that can be earned by any swimmer over the course of a career.
The Green Cove Springs, Fla. native earned his third-straight SEC Male Swimmer of the Year and Male Swimmer of the Meet award for his performance at the SEC Championships this season. He took home six SEC titles (100 free, 100 breast, 200 IM, 400 FR, 200 MR, 400 MR) and the Commissioner's Trophy after being the highest scoring man at the meet.
Dressel finished his career with 10 individual SEC titles, the most in UF program history on the men's side, helping the Gators to their sixth-straight SEC Championship.
Leading the Gamecocks to the NCAA Elite Eight for the third time in her four seasons, Wilson closed her college career as the most decorated women's basketball player in South Carolina history and etched her name in the SEC history books as well. The Gamecocks' first four-time All-American, including three seasons as a first-team selection, and four-time First-Team All-SEC choice, she is also the first three-time SEC Player of the Year in conference history.
The Hopkins, S.C., native is the Gamecocks' all-time leading scorer (2,389) and just the second player in program history to finish with at least 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. In addition to leading the Gamecocks to the 2017 NCAA Championship, Wilson was undefeated in her four SEC Tournaments as South Carolina became the first program to win four consecutive titles at the event. She holds 86 South Carolina records, including career points and blocked shots (363) and ranks in the program's top five a total of 166 times.
The unanimous National Player of the Year was the first overall pick in 2018 WNBA Draft, becoming the Gamecocks' first WNBA top pick and just the third Gamecock of any sport to be the first pick in his/her sport's professional draft, joining Jadeveon Clowney (2014) and George Rogers (1981), who were No. 1 picks in the NFL Draft.
The other male nominees were: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (football); Kenzo Cotton, Arkansas (track & field); Casey Mize, Auburn (baseball); Roquan Smith, Georgia (football); Tim Duckworth, Kentucky (track & field); Devin White, LSU (football); Robert Domanic, Ole Miss (track & field); Nuno Borges, Mississippi State (tennis); Drew Lock, Missouri (football); Akram Mahmoud, South Carolina (swimming); Zhipeng (Colin) Zeng, Tennessee (diving); Tyler Davis, Texas A&M (basketball); Theo Humphrey, Vanderbilt (golf).
The other female nominees were: Lauren Stephenson, Alabama (golf); Maria Fassi, Arkansas (golf); Taylor St. Jacques, Auburn (equestrian); Rhamat Alhassan, Florida (volleyball); Keturah Orji, Georgia (track & field); Olivia Gruver, Kentucky (track & field); Aleia Hobbs, LSU (track & field); Arianne Hartono, Ole Miss (tennis); Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State (basketball); Karissa Schweizer, Missouri (track & field); Erika Brown, Tennessee (swimming); Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M (swimming); Astra Sharma, Vanderbilt (tennis).
The SEC Athletes of the Year Awards were first presented in 1976 for men and 1984 for women. The award was renamed the Roy F. Kramer Athletes of the Year in 2004 to honor the former Commissioner who served the conference from 1990-2002.
Past recipients of the SEC Athlete of the Year Award include: 2017 - Brent Rooker, Mississippi State (baseball) and Kendell Williams, Georgia (track & field); 2016 - Jarrion Lawson, Arkansas (track & field) and Bridget Sloan, Florida (gymnastics); 2015 - Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas (baseball) and Lauren Haeger, Florida (softball); 2014 - AJ Reed, Kentucky (baseball) and Hannah Rogers, Florida (softball); 2013 - Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (football) and Allison Schmitt, Georgia (swimming); 2012 - Anthony Davis, Kentucky (basketball) and Brooke Pancake, Alabama (golf); 2011 - John-Patrick Smith, Tennessee (tennis) and Kayla Hoffman, Alabama (gymnastics); 2010 - Mark Ingram, Alabama (football) and Susan Jackson, LSU (gymnastics); 2009 - Tim Tebow, Florida (football) and Courtney Kupets, Georgia (gymnastics); 2008 - Tim Tebow, Florida (football) and Candace Parker, Tennessee (basketball); 2007 - David Price, Vanderbilt (baseball) and Monica Abbott, Tennessee (softball); 2006 - Xavier Carter, LSU (track & field) and Seimone Augustus, LSU (basketball); 2005 - Ryan Lochte, Florida (swimming) and Kirsty Coventry, Auburn (swimming); 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 Davis, 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).