The NCAA has announced that two Kenyon alumnae will be honored with separate major awards. Carla Ainsworth ’95 is one of six former college athletes to receive the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in recognition of their collegiate and professional achievements, while Hannah Orbach-Mandel ’19 was selected for the NCAA’s list of Today’s Top 10 Award winners — an award that Ainsworth herself won in 1996.
The Silver Anniversary Award recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. In four years of swimming competition at Kenyon, Ainsworth won 26 NCAA Division III national titles and was the first woman in Division III history to win four consecutive titles in the 200-yard freestyle. She also won four consecutive titles in the 100-yard freestyle. She was a 28-time All-American and the first three-time NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Year. Additionally, Ainsworth set 15 Division III championship records.
In conference competition, she collected 15 championship event titles and twice was named the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Swimmer of the Year. Ainsworth, who double majored in chemistry and history while captaining the swim team, earned four Academic All-America honors, and after graduation received an NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship. She was also winner of the 1994 Honda Sports Award as the Division III Woman Athlete of the Year.
She went on to earn her medical doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis and later completed a master’s degree in public health with a focus on maternal and child health at the University of California, Berkeley.
Ainsworth is a family physician with additional certification in geriatrics, as well as hospice and palliative medicine. A former chief of the department of family medicine at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Ainsworth is a practice medical director for Iora Primary Care, where she focuses on comprehensive primary care for older adults, and a clinical faculty member at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She currently serves on the boards of directors for the Washington Academy of Family Physicians Foundation and the King County Academy of Family Physicians.
Orbach-Mandel is just the third Kenyon student-athlete to earn the Today’s Top 10 Award. A year ago, Julia Wilson ’18 was chosen. Ainsworth, who collected the award when it was known as Today’s Top VIII, was Kenyon’s first honoree.
The 10 winners are selected based on athletic and academic achievement, as well as character, leadership and activities. Orbach-Mandel, who was also one of nine finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year honor, made her presence felt in the pool, the classroom and the community.
As a part of the Ladies swimming program, she earned 25 All-America certificates, won three NCAA relay national championship titles and collected eight NCAC event titles. In four NCAA Championship appearances, she helped lead the Ladies to a trio of runner-up finishes. The Tucson, Arizona, native also broke four College records and a trio of NCAC records during her time in Gambier. She was twice named the team’s recipient of the Shawn M. Kelly Memorial Award, presented to the swimmer who elevated Kenyon swimming to its highest team level.
Outside of athletic competition, Orbach-Mandel was an economics major, graduating with high honors. She served on the Kenyon Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, was a four-time College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American and earned two Google Cloud Academic All-America At-Large honors. Plus, she was selected for an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2019.
Furthermore, Orbach-Mandel volunteered at Wiggin Street Elementary School, found time to serve as a Kenyon Orientation team leader and committed herself to Girls and Women in Sports Day, Walk to End Alzheimer’s and Relay for Life.
Both Ainsworth and Orbach-Mandel will be recognized on Jan. 22 at the 2020 NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California.