2015 Male Swimmer of the Year: Adam Peaty, Great Britain
Adam Peaty broke a major swimming barrier this year in April at the British Championships in London, where he shattered the 100m breaststroke world record by over half a second, becoming the first man ever under 58 seconds in 57.92.
This wasn’t Peaty’s first world record, as he broke the 50 breaststroke world record last year at the European Championships, but this swim sent shockwaves through the swimming world. He had yet to truly prove himself against the worlds very best, and he did just that this summer at the World Championships. Peaty triumphed in what became a marquee duel between him and defending 100m Olympic champion and former world record holder Cameron van der Burgh. Peaty scored wins in the 50 (26.51) and 100 (58.52), just ahead of van der Burgh in both. He also lowered his own world record in the 50m in the semi-finals (26.42), after van der Burgh had tied Peaty’s mark of 26.62 from last year in the heats. Peaty earned a third gold medal in the mixed medley relay.
Peaty recently competed at the Short Course European Championships in Netanya, Israel, earning two silver medals in his two signature events.
Peaty’s mark of 57.92 has raised the bar for breaststrokers significantly, giving everyone a new mark to shoot for heading into the Olympic year.
After going through all that he did in late 2014/early 2015, it is safe to say the most decorated Olympian in history exceeded everyones expectations this summer at the U.S. National Championships. Phelps made it clear that he was back and better than ever (at least since 2008), posting three world-leading times in the 100/200 fly and 200 IM. Phelps also took home the same three U.S. Winter National titles earlier in December. With a budding rivarly with 2012 200 fly Olympic champ Chad Le Clos, it is safe to say the best is yet to come from the new and improved Michael Phelps.
Sun Yang, China
Mitch Larkin, Australia
After breaking out in 2014 with three individual medals at the Commonwealth Games, Australian backstroker Mitch Larkin firmly asserted himself as the best backstroker in the world
In 2015, claiming World Championship titles in the 100 and 200 backstroke. Larkin also won a silver medal on the Australian medley relay, and just missed another with a 4th place finish in the 50 back. His success didn’t stop there, as he dominated the World Cup meets he attended, including throwing down world-leading times at the Dubai stop in the 100 (52.11) and 200 (1:53.17). It is safe to say Aaron Peirsol‘s world records of 51.94 and 1:51.92 should be on high alert heading into 2016. Larkin put the cherry on top of his year with a sweep of the backstroke events at the Aussie short course nationals, including a new world record in the 200 (1:45.63).