Community service

Riley Gaines Named Brad Davis SEC Community Service Leader of the Year

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The awards keep pouring in for the Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaineswho was named the 2021-22 Brad Davis Southeastern Conference Community Service Female Leader of the Year.

Gaines, along with South Carolina track and field athlete David Olds as the male recipient, was chosen by a committee of representatives from SEC university athletics faculties and announced Tuesday by Commissioner Greg Sankey. Both student-athletes will receive a $10,000 graduate scholarship offered by the league.

First introduced by the SEC in 1996, Gaines is the fifth Wildcat and first British swimmer to win the prestigious award, joining Carrie Kuhnell (women’s soccer, 1999), Antoine Huffman (soccer, 2006), Megan Moir (women’s golf , 2013) and Grace Trimble (women’s tennis, 2015).

Gaines has a distinguished track record of community service, having been involved with programs such as God’s Pantry, Special Olympics of Kentucky, Give 10 (REAL Read), Shriner’s Hospital and Amachi while in Lexington. She also participated in the Kentucky United Telethon, which raised more than $3 million for the American Red Cross to help victims of tornadoes.

Earlier this year, she was inducted into the 2022 Frank G. Ham Society of Character which honors student-athletes who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to academic excellence, athletic participation, personal development, preparation for career and role model.

Also outstanding in the class, Gaines — who graduated summa cum laude with a GPA of 3.876 as a health sciences major — earned a spot on the Dean’s List all eight semesters and four times on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. She has landed on the SEC Academic Honor Roll for the past four years and has been selected three times by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America First Team.

The Gallatin, Tenn., native was also named the 2022 SEC Athlete of the Year for Women’s Swimming and Diving, becoming the fourth Wildcat to win the award in program history. It was also the fourth time in the past eight years that a member of the UK women’s team had won it.

His accomplishments in the pool are just as impressive as they are out of the water. A two-time team captain, Gaines became one of the most decorated swimmers in program history. She holds the school record in three individual events and four relays, qualified for the Olympic Trials and helped the UK win its first-ever SEC title in 2021. She has also amassed 12 All-America accolades throughout his four-year career in the Blue and White.

She finished tied for fifth in the 200 freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Championships, scoring the best individual result of her career at national competition while earning honorable mention in the 200 butterfly, 400 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay. She found herself on the All-SEC first team for the second straight season after winning two gold, one silver and two bronze medals in this year’s conference meet. Gaines’ performances in her three individual races at the SEC Championships set new program standards, while her winning time of 1:51.51 in the 200 butterfly was a meet and conference record and propelled her to the 16th fastest swim in United States history. .

On May 5, Gaines and baseball’s Mason Hazlewood were announced as Kentucky’s winners of the Brad Davis Community Service Award, which is given to one female student-athlete and one male student-athlete in each of the 14 league members. All recipients will receive a $5,000 scholarship provided by the SEC.

The SEC Community Service Graduate Scholarship is named for former Associate Commissioner Brad Davis, who succumbed to cancer on March 2, 2006. He had been a staff member of the SEC since 1988, first as as Deputy Commissioner until 1994 when he was promoted to Associate Commissioner.

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