LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND—The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) yesterday announced that 17-year old American swimmer Carli Cronk has been named the 2022 ICSD Sportswoman of the Year Award. The Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year awards comprise the ICSD’s highest recognition for “exemplary sport achievements” by a deaf female athlete and a deaf male athlete.
The Sportswoman of the Year recognition comes at the heels of Cronk’s record-setting performance at the 24th Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil this past May. Winning gold in each of her 12 events, including 7 individual events and 5 relay events, Carli surpassed Olympic gold medalist Jeffrey Float’s previous record, set during the 1977 Bucharest games and did so with grace, humility, and sportsmanship exemplifying the Deaflympic movement.
Her performance at the 2024 Deaflympics include gold medals in Women’s 200m Individual Medley, 4x100m Freestyle Relay, 1500m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 200m Butterfly, 4x200m Freestyle relay, 400m Individual Medley, 4x100m Medley Relay, 200m Backstroke, 400m Freestyle, 4x100m Freestyle Mixed Relay, and 4x100m Mixed Medley Relay. She set new Deaf World records in the 1500m Freestyle, 200m Butterfly, 400m Individual Medley (pending ICSD review) and set a new Deaf American record in the 4x100m Medley Relay.
In addition to the above, Cronk has also since shattered her own marks in Women’s 1500m Freestyle, Women’s 200M Butterfly, and Women’s 400M Individual Medley. Cronk has also established a new Deaf World Record in Women’s 100M Butterfly. Altogether, Carli has surpassed the previous fastest times swam by a Deaf woman swimmer seven times in 2022 alone. These performances continue to push the bar for future generations Deaf and Hard of Hearing athletes.
Cronk was also awarded the Trischa L. Zorn Award by USA Swimming for a disabled swimmer “with the most outstanding performance during the previous year.” Cronk, a swimmer with the Alamo Area Aquatic Association of San Antonio, Texas, will enter the NCAA Division I ranks next year with the University of Notre Dame.
In putting together a year that is unparalleled in the entire history of deaf sports while modeling the principles of the Deaflympic movement, Cronk has set a high bar for herself and the deaf sports community. USADSF President Jeffrey Mansfield remarked, “USADSF is proud of Carli’s accomplishments, which are a testament to her work ethic, character, and dedication to craft. These qualities make her an fantastic ambassador for the Deaflympic movement as the 2022 ICSD Sportswoman of the Year.”
Japan’s Ryutaro Ibara, a 29-year-old swimmer who won six medals at the 2022 Deaflympics, was recognized as the Sportsman of the Year. Cronk joins U.S. skier Amanda Mooneyham, the 2003 ICSD Sportswoman of the Year recipient, as the second American woman to receive the honor. Fellow American Swimmer Matthew Klotz had previously won the Sportsman of the Year award in 2018.