It’s time to begin our 2013 Swammy Awards, where we honor the best, brightest, and most noteworthy achievements in our sport over the last calendar year.
To see last year’s winners, click here.
We begin with our SwimSwam “Buzz” award. This is an award that’s very near-and-dear to our hearts here at SwimSwam, because its one that honors a swim that fits directly into our goal of not just a generic ‘growing the sport,’ but specifically ‘growing the audience of the sport.’ Specifically, this award goes to the most talked about swim of the year; the one that had the most people gasping, gabbing, and gossiping; the most people commenting; the most people dropping their jaws; the most retweets; and simply put: the biggest buzz. This is the swim that, in our opinion, will draw the most people into the sport of competitive swimming as fans.
We use a combination of the amount of traffic a certain swim got, the amount of comments the story got, and the number of times we were approached on deck to talk about the swim.
This year, the winner was a bigger runaway than we expected going into it: Caeleb Dressel’s record-breaking 18.96 at the Winter Junior National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina was the buzziest swim of the year, and for that he receives the SwimSwam Buzz Award.
When reviewing our yearly traffic to try to come up with a ‘short list,’ I was stunned at the traffic gap between Dressel’s 18.96 200 free relay lead-off from the first boys’ final of the meet and every other race-themed post. In fact, it received roughly 50% more views than Vlad Morozov’s sub-18 second relay split, which is one of the honorable mentions for this award, and more than twice as much as Kevin Cordes’ 1:48 in the 200 breaststroke from NCAA’s. And Dressel’s swim was only a few days ago, whereas most of the swims on our list came much earlier in the year and have been racking up months of traffic.
At only 17 years old, he became the first junior to ever crack 19 seconds in the 50 yard free. He broke his own National Age Group Record once again, and even more impressively bettered the 19.06 that Russian Vlad Morozov had done as a freshman at USC when he was 18.
That 19 second barrier, though, is a really magical one. Being able to put an 18 in front of his time is what made this swim such a big deal. He’s only the 19th guy at any age to go under 19 seconds in the 50 yard freestyle. The names on the list of those who have done it are huge: Adrian, Morozov, Grevers, Feigen, Wildman-Tobriner. The list of guys who have come close and just missed makes it equally impressive; guys like Ervin, Dunford, Duje Dragna, and Cullen Jones.
And now, Dressel, in his freshman year at Florida next year, will enter the season as the favorite for the NCAA title in the 50 free. That doesn’t happen often in men’s swimming, and certainly not in men’s freestyle sprinting.
Watch the race video below, and after that see an interview that Garrett McCaffrey did with Dressel after his award-winning swim.
- Vlad Morozov, 17.86 freestyle relay split. This one made it on the SportsCenter top 10, though the video quality wasn’t great, and the anchors weren’t quite sure of what was going on.
- Kevin Cordes, splitting sub-50 in the 100 breaststroke; and 1:48.68 in the 200 breaststroke.
- Katie Ledecky’s absurd World Record duet in the 800 and 1500 freestyles.
- Caeleb Dressel swims 19.0 in practice. Believe the watch or not, it was fun to talk about.
- Diana Nyad’s 110-mile Cuba-to-Florida swim. Believe the story or not, it was fun to talk about.