Gophers diver Sarah Bacon named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year

Bacon is the winningest woman in Gophers history with four national titles.


Courtesy of USA Diving

Sarah Bacon prepares to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Thursday, June 10th.

Michael Lyne

The Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday morning that Gophers diver Sarah Bacon is the 2021 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.

“I couldn’t be more honored to receive this award,” Bacon said via an email announcement. “There are so many incredible female student-athletes in the Big Ten. It’s just amazing to receive this honor among them. I have to thank my coaches and teammates as well as my family and friends for helping me along the way.”

The four-time NCAA champion earned the award after posting an incredible redshirt season as she received awards on national and local levels.

Bacon was the Honda Sport award winner for swimming and diving, the CSCAA Division 1 Women’s Diver of the Year, the Big Ten Women’s Diver of the Year, the Gophers Big Ten Medal of Honor award winner and the Gophers swimming and diving most valuable player.

Bacon, the winningest woman in Gophers program history, is the only woman with four or more NCAA titles in any sport and the only woman to win three straight titles in the same event in the history of the University of Minnesota.

The Gophers 2021 team captain holds the NCAA Championship one-meter springboard record with a total score of 363.95 points. She also has the Gophers program and Big Ten record in the three-meter springboard at a total of 430.60 points.

“Sarah is so deserving of any and all recognition she gets after the career she has had,” said Gophers women’s swimming and diving head coach Kelly Kremer in the announcement. “She now has such a massive place in our history that we’ll need to build a room specifically for her. I’m really happy for her. She deserved this more than anyone.”

The Indianapolis, Ind. native is the fourth Gophers athlete to secure the award, joining women’s basketball’s Rachel Banham (2016), women’s hockey’s Amanda Kessel (2013), and women’s swimming and diving Gretchen Hegener (1997).

Editor’s note:  A previous version of this story referred to Bacon as an “alum.” Bacon announced Wednesday that she will be staying with the Gophers for a sixth season.