The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

96° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


NCAA Woman of the Year

Former Arizona swimmer Justine Schluntz earned the highest honor a female athlete can capture Sunday night — the NCAA Woman of the Year. Schluntz continued a streak of Wildcat swimmers to win the award, as Whitney Myers won it in 2007 and Lacy Nymeyer did the same in 2009.

Schluntz beat out eight other finalists and reached the pinnacle of success as she was presented with the award at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

Such an achievement is nothing new for Schluntz, who is currently studying as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, England, and also has “”five-time NCAA National Champion”” on her resumé.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat spoke to Schluntz Monday about being named NCAA Woman of the Year, what it says about the Arizona swim and dive program and how her studies in Oxford are going.

Daily Wildcat: What was your initial reaction after winning the award?

Justine Schluntz: I was completely surprised. After spending the weekend with the other finalists you don’t really think that you have a shot after meeting these other incredible women.

Why do you think it was that you ultimately won the award?

I don’t know (laughs). I don’t want to speculate, I guess.

What was the best part of the whole experience and award ceremony?

The best part was meeting the other girls who were up for the award, and we definitely established friendships that will last a long time.

What was the reaction like? A lot of texts and phone calls?

I didn’t get that many texts because people didn’t know that I turned my U.S. phone back on, but I got a lot of messages on Facebook and a lot of emails from England, which was surprising because people over there don’t even know what the NCAA is, but they still understand that it’s a nice thing (laughs).

How was the reaction from your former teammates and coach Frank Busch?

You know I think they’re a little spoiled because we’ve had Whitney (Myers) and Lacy (Nymeyer) and now myself. Everybody’s really happy, obviously. It’s just really cool to have a streak like this going for our swim program.

How much do you attribute an award like this to the University of Arizona as a school and the swim program?

All of it can be attributed to the opportunities that I’ve been given at the University of Arizona. I don’t think there’s any question about that. When you look at the history that the swimming program has had with the award and you see that it’s just got to be the culture of the team that kind of leads people to being in a position where they can win the award, and that comes from what Frank Busch is doing with the program. It says a lot about him.

So you’ve been named a Rhodes Scholar, you’ve won NCAA Woman of the Year, where do you go from here?

I guess I go back to being a regular student and working hard because that’s what got me where I was in the first place, so I don’t want to stop doing that.

How has the Rhodes Scholarship program been going?

It’s good. I’ve actually only been there two weeks, and school only started a week ago, then I left on Friday so I haven’t had to do much school, so it’s been great just hanging around England. It’s been really awesome, and I’ve met a lot of really cool people already, and I think I’m going to be meeting a lot more.

What’s you goal with the Rhodes Scholarship program?

I’m getting my doctorate in engineering science bi-research. It will be at least three years.

What’s your ultimate life goal?

You would expect me to have a great answer for that, and I don’t. I’m just going to take it as it goes, and I don’t want to be so focused on one goal that I could miss an opportunity that shows up because I have tunnel vision, so I’m just going to keep an open mind and see what happens.

More to Discover
Activate Search