BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - University of California San Diego senior Michael Cohn is the recipient of the 2017 Elite 90 award for NCAA Division II men's swimming and diving, as announced on Tuesday night during the NCAA National Championships Festival Opening Ceremonies at the Alabama Theatre.
The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 90 championships.
Cohn, a local product out of Solana Beach, is in the Honors in Music program for piano performance at Muir College and carries a grade-point average of 3.971. He won four more titles, three individual and one relay, at last month’s Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC) Championships in leading third-ranked UC San Diego to a ninth straight crown as a team.
"I couldn't be happier for Michael," said UCSD head coach Daniel Perdew. "This award is representative both of how he strives for excellence in all his endeavors, and really of what our team is about."
Cohn becomes the first UCSD student-athlete ever to be a two-time Elite 90 winner. His GPA was 3.972 when he earned the distinction in Indianapolis, Ind., last March. The four Tritons who previously claimed the award since its inception for 2009-10 were baseball pitcher Elias Tuma in 2010 (3.938, cognitive science), water polo standout Brian Donohoe in 2011 (3.952, history), track and field pole vaulter Clint Rosser in 2013 (3.97, environmental engineering), and diver Luke Calkins in 2014 (3.947, mechanical engineering).
At three of the last four NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships, the male honoree has thus been a Triton.
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
Cohn is competing at his third NCAA Championships this week in his third and final season as a Triton out of Grossmont College. A three-time All-American over his first two trips, he will vie for a national title in his specialty, the 200-yard backstroke, on Saturday night. He placed fourth in that event in 2015, and was the runner-up a year ago. The school record-holder in the 200 back, Cohn is the No. 3 seed (1:45.08) this year. All sessions can be watched live online, free of charge, at NCAA.com/live.