ZIMBABWE’S swimming icon Kirsty Coventry was on Thursday evening honoured by her former University after being inducted into the Auburn University Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame to confirm her as one of the institution’s greatest ever swimmers.
The seven-time Olympic medallist, who is currently based in the United States, preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will be officially honoured at the official induction ceremony to be held on April 11 2015.
Coventry was one of the three individuals inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame together with legendary coach David Marsh and American Olympian Eric Shanteau.
“At a programme with the swimming history of Auburn, every inductee is an impressive one, but the Auburn Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame Class of 2015 will stand against that history as a list of one of the greatest ever,” swimswam.com, an American swimming publication said yesterday.
“David Marsh, Kirsty Coventry, and Eric Shanteau are the three inductees in the Class of 2015, with Richard Quick, Jimi Flowers, and Ralph Crocker joining them as honorary inductees.
The hall began in 1996 when it welcomed its first inductee: Rowdy Gaines. Since then, it has grown to 33 total members,” it said.
Coventry (31) was part of Auburn University’s swimming team which won consecutive NCAA Championships in 2003 and 2004.
The former Dominican Convent High School student scored more individual points than any other swimmer in the victorious team on both occasions, winning individual NCAA Championships in the 200m Individual Medley (IM), 400m IM and the 200m backstroke (twice).
Coventry’s success with the Auburn Tigers set the platform for her success for Zimbabwe as she went onto to win seven Olympic medals including back-to-back gold medals in the 200m backstroke in 2004 and 2008.
Marsh, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Coventry, is one of Auburn University’s most success coaches, leading the Tigers to an NCAA record 12 national Championships.
In 2003, his Auburn men’s and women’s team, which included Coventry, won both NCAA titles – the first time this had ever happened. He would go on to lead the Tigers to this feat four times in five years, repeating it in 2004, 2006, and 2007.
The other inductee Shanteau won 11 All-American awards while at Auburn and qualified for two Olympic Teams. That includes a gold medal as part of the American 400 medley relay in London in 2012.