2013 Swammy Awards: Male Asian Swimmer Of The Year

Our 2013 Swammy Male Asian Swimmer Of The Year had a very eventful 2013 season in and out of the pool. Coming off of an amazing Olympic showing where he won the 400 and 1500 freestyle as well as tying for the silver in the 200 freestyle Sun Yang continued to show his dominance in the distance freestyle events.

At the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Sun won the 400 freestyle (3:41.59), 800 freestyle (7:41.36) and 1500 freestyle (14:41.15), improving on his 2011 world championship result where he won gold in the 800 and 1500 freestyle, but finished second in the 400. With those results Sun collected three gold, more than half of China’s gold medal total of five, which helped them secure the second position in the medal standings behind the Americans.

Yang then went on to win the 200 freestyle at the Chinese National Games in a new Asian and Chinese national record time of 1:44.47, a time that put him second in the world rankings behind world champion Yannick Agnel of France.

The out of the pool drama that followed Sun through the 2013 season began in February when an argument with his coach Zhu Zhigen about both his training and personal life became public. At the time he was fined a month’s training allowance and was temporarily suspended from all commercial activities.

Then in early November he was involved in a minor motor vehicle accident where it was discovered that Sun had been driving without a license. Sun was fined and detained in a correctional facility for 15 days. Additional punishment was handed out by the provincial sporting association in Zhejiang:

  • Sun is banned from attending any domestic or international meets. (No word until when)
  • He must halt any promotion or sponsorship events.
  • His salary has been suspended.
  • Temporarily removed from the national team roster

Sun apologized in the aftermath of both incidents, but if there is one thing that we are sure both sides can agree on is the hope that the success in the pool will continue in 2014 while at the same time the drama outside of it will not.

Honourable Mentions

19 year old Daiya Seto of Japan continued a very impressive rate of improvement during the 2013 season. Seto ended the 2012 season by winning the 400 IM and finishing second in the 200 IM at the World Short Course Championships and followed that up in 2013 by winning the long course 400 IM at the World Championships in Barcelona.

Seto also posted impressive short course times at the World Cup stops in Eindhoven and Berlin. Winning the 400 IM in Eindhoven in a time of 4:00.37 following that up with a victory in the same event in Berlin where he set the World Cup, Asian and Japanese record in the event finishing in a time of 3:58.84.

Kosuke Hagino had a strong 2013 campaign finishing second in the 200 IM and 400 freestyle in Barcelona. He set a new Japanese record in the 400 freestyle with a final time of 3:44.82. He also won the 1500 freestyle, 100 IM and 200 IM at the Tokyo World Cup, recording the world’s number one ranked time of 1:51.50 in the 200 IM.

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No mention of any female swimmers (like Aya Terakawa) Or Akihiro Yamaguchi? Sure, he only broke 1 world record and didn’t win any major meets but that is worth attention at least.

Not that I disagree with the people who have been named.

I’m wonder if there’ll be a time when Joseph Schooling can win this award.

iLikePsych – in response:

1) This is Male Swimmer of the Year. Jeff forgot to specify that in his headline. Female is yet to come.
2) Yamaguchi broke a World Record in 2012. If he broke a World Record in 2013 that we missed, we’d love to report on it. In 2013, however, he was 7th at Worlds in the 200 and didn’t final in the 100.


I see – either I am delusional or the title excluded ‘Male’ earlier. Or maybe I checked the URL, which has no gender distinction in it.
As for Akihiro, I checked and he broke it in September 2012. My memory had him breaking it in early 2013, so from now on I’ll just have to triple check every fact before commenting.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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