Gunn grad Acker honored as Pac-12 Woman of the Year


Gunn grad Rachael Acker was named Pac-12 Conference Woman of the Year, Commissioner Larry Scott announced. Acker, who swam for California the past four years, becomes the Conference's candidate for the NCAA Woman of the Year, presented annually to graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletic excellence, community service and leadership.

(Acker on winning Women's Swimming Scholar-Athlete honors)

Rachael Acker
Acker is an accomplished student-athlete both in the pool and in the classroom along with volunteering in the community. A five-time All-American and Olympic Trials qualifier, Acker earned two medals at the 2013 World University Games held in Kazan, Russia for Team USA.

She captured gold as a member of the 800-meter freestyle relay and a silver as a member of the 400-meter freestyle relay.

Acker won a national championship as the lead off leg of the 800-yard freestyle relay at the 2014 NCAA Championships, also capturing third in the 400-yard freestyle relay that allowed the Golden Bears to take home the team title for the fourth time in program history that year.

She also captured Pac-12 titles as a member of the 400-yard and 800-yard freestyle relays in 2014, also winning a conference title individually in the 200-yard freestyle during the 2013 season. Acker helped the Golden Bears to an NCAA team title in 2014 and Pac-12 team titles in both in 2013 and 2014.

A French major with a 3.96 grade point average, Acker was named the 2016 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's swimming and diving, received the Neufeld Award for having the highest GPA among Cal's graduating student-athletes and was one of five finalists for the University Medal, which is presented annually to the top-graduating senior at Cal.

She was a two-time first-team Pac-12 All-Academic selection, a two-time CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American and a CSCAA Scholar All-American during her time as a Golden Bear.

In addition to her participation as a lab assistant in the Heald Lab within the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, she received the Fulbright Scholarship for biological research and will travel to France to study at the University of Rennes.

Acker has spent countless hours serving as the the co-founder of the Golden Bear sock drive and volunteering at the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen all to benefit the city of Berkeley's homeless community.

Additionally, she was a crisis counselor providing free counseling through text messages to a suicide prevention line and was an undergraduate researcher studying mitosis and biological scaling using two species of frogs.

This article first appeared on


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