ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Big Ten announced the 2015 Big Ten Women's Swimmer, Diver, Swimming Coach and Diving Coach of the Year awards, as voted on by the conference coaches. Minnesota's Kierra Smith was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, while teammate Yu Zhou was tabbed Big Ten Diver of the Year. Gopher diving coach Wenbo Chen earned Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year, while Minnesota swimming coach Kelly Kremer secured Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year plaudits.
Smith won the national title in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:04.56 at last weekend's NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. She also recorded a seventh-place touch at the national championships in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.02. Smith secured first-team All-Big Ten honors this season with two first-place finishes at the 2015 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.32 and the 200-yard breaststroke with a Big Ten record time of 2:05.69. The honor marks the fourth time a Minnesota student-athlete has earned Swimmer of the Year accolades, and the first since Gretchen Hegener in 1997.
Zhou also earned Big Ten Diver of the Championships honors following the 2015 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. She won the one- and three-meter springboard titles at last month's event, scoring 365.00 and 411.55 points, respectively. Zhou also earned gold medal honors in the three-meter diving event at the NCAA Championships, totaling 410.25 points, while taking third-place on one-meter (338.00) and fifth-place in platform diving (301.70). Minnesota has claimed the Big Ten Diver of the Year award in five of the past six years.
Kremer collects Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year accolades for the fourth consecutive year and fifth time in his tenure with the Gophers. Chen earns Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year honors for the third time with the Gophers, while also winning the award in 2004 as the head diving coach at Purdue. Kremer and Chen guided Minnesota to its fourth consecutive Big Ten Championship and seventh overall, and the Gophers earned a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Championships last weekend.