Swimmer Nicole Stafford wins the Honda Inspiration Award

Nicole Stafford
Nicole Stafford

Senior swimmer NICOLE STAFFORD was named the Honda Inspiration Award winner by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) Inspiration Award committee.

“I am extremely humbled to receive the 2017 Honda Inspiration Award, and I want to thank the CWSA for providing this opportunity,” Stafford said. “I would like to recognize the other two finalists, Jesse and Bailey, who are just as deserving of this award for their amazing achievements attained after incredible hardships. I would also like to thank Stanford for nominating me for this award as well as for the support over my collegiate swimming career. Furthermore, I want to thank my parents, coaches Greg, Tracy and Joey, and my trainer Scott for their continual support and patience, and, most importantly, my teammates for always knowing how to help me even when I didn’t ask and inspiring me to push my limits in the pool.

“Finally, I would like to accept this award on behalf of my club coach and previous Stanford Women’s assistant coach JASON TURCOTTE, who passed away unexpectedly this week. Jason was an essential figure in my life when I first developed my movement disorder before coming to Stanford. I received news about the award while attending his funeral service. I can’t help but think that without his belief in me I would have lacked the confidence to continue my swimming career.”

Stafford suffers from functional movement disorder, which occurs in the water. She developed the inexplicable neurological condition a few months after committing to Stanford on a swimming scholarship. As a result of the disorder, when she finishes a race, she has to be pulled from the water, her body locked in a tangle of paralyzing cramps and seizure-like movements. No one is sure why it’s happening or how to prevent it. The best she can do is manage it.

Stafford’s inspiring story will be highlighted during the live CBS Sports Network telecast of the CWSA Awards program at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 26.

The Honda Inspiration Award is given to a  female student-athlete  who has experienced physical and/or emotional adversity, injury and/or illness, or experienced extraordinary personal sacrifice during her college enrollment and yet returns to athletic success. The CWSA, in its 41st year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.

Read more about Stafford on the Stanford website.

Read more on the web pages of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards.