15 favorite swim photos to kick off the new year

The new year is a great time to look back on the past and move forward into the coming 12 months.  We had a ton of fun sitting down with SwimSwam photographer Mike Lewis to select our favorite underwater swimming photos.  Now we’re picking out 15 swim photos to get us psyched up for 2015.  Just like before, we’ve asked Mike to give us bit of the back story on these shots.  Enjoy!

This is one of my favorite images of 2014.  This is Michael Phelps shot from the 10 meter platform at the Santa Clara Swim Center.  (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

This is one of my favorite images of 2014. This is Michael Phelps shot from the 10 meter platform at the Santa Clara Swim Center. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

I like the intensity of Eva Fabian's face as she walked through the safety check at the open water swimming nationals.  Eva is one of the nicest people out there but when it comes time to race she knows how to get in the zone (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

I like the intensity of Eva Fabian’s face as she walked through the safety check at the open water swimming nationals. Eva is one of the nicest people out there but when it comes time to race she knows how to get in the zone (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Despite the severe drought conditions in California the officials at Caustic Lake were able to release enough water to lower reservoir for the race.  This shot was taken the morning of the 10K before anyone had come on the course.  (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Despite the severe drought conditions in California the officials at Lake Castaic were able to release enough water to lower reservoir for the race. This shot was taken the morning of the 10K before anyone had come on the course. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

This image was made during a catalog shoot for FINIS at Queens University in Charlotte.  Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was excellent to work with as we went through several starts to get this shot.  (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

This image was made during a catalog shoot for FINIS at Queens University in Charlotte. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was excellent to work with as we went through several starts to get this shot. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

swim photos

I did a shoot with FINIS at the Orinda Country Club last winter. The day started out a little chilly but once we were ready to get in the water is was a beautiful NorCal day. I thought it’d be a cool shot to get Anthony Ervin off the blocks with the trees and clouds behind him. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

swimming photos

Right before the start of the men’s 100 free Nathan Adrian was looking around wondering where Darian Townsend was. Darian waited behind the timers until the final seconds to try and throw Nathan off his mental game…it didn’t work. Nathan had a good laugh and then went on to post a crushing 41.13 in the 100 free. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

swim photos

This year’s USMS short course championships were a blast. This is a shot of the woman entering the water for the 100 backstroke. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

swimming photos

Alex Kostich doesn’t seem to age in the water. He’s rack an unprecedented number of 10 ten finishes in the Waikiki Roughwater Swim. Here he is at the start of the classic 2.4 mile race in Honolulu (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Swim Photos

Roy Burch spends a lot of time training in the pool at Queens University with the SwimMAC elite squad. He’s also a photographer and has his GoPro with him a lot. He help clue us into this corner of the pool where the light came through the skylight. This shot eventually made its way to the cover of the FINIS 2015 product catalog (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

I made this shot while I was waiting to get in the water with the Victoria Swimming Academy during their training camp in Southern California.  I was watching the swimmers come off the wall during their turns and noticed the way the water drops were catching the light.  I decided to experiment with a very narrow depth of field to capture this shot of Canadian Olympian Hilary Caldwell

I made this shot while I was waiting to get in the water with the Victoria Swimming Academy during their training camp in Southern California. I was watching the swimmers come off the wall during their turns and noticed the way the water drops were catching the light. I decided to experiment with a very narrow depth of field to capture this shot of Canadian Olympian Hilary Caldwell

We made this shot of Michael Andrew at Davidson College for P2Life.  The facility director was great and turned down the lights so I could focus on exposing with my in water flash.  (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

We made this shot of Michael Andrew at Davidson College for P2Life. The facility director was great and turned down the lights so I could focus on exposing with my in water flash. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

swim photo

Hunter Hitchens came into town for a photo shoot in La Jolla.  We made this diving in. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Becca Mann always has a smile to share.  Before the 10K at this year's open water nationals she was relaxed in the 'ready room' (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Becca Mann always has a smile to share. Before the 10K at this year’s open water nationals she was relaxed in the ‘ready room’ (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

swim photos

Swimming is for life. This shot says it all. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Michael Phelps photo

Michael Phelps flanked by his coaches at his 2014 comeback in Mesa, Arizona. (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

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“Caustic Lake?” I’m sure it felt that way for some of the swimmers by the end of the 10K. 😉

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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