2015 Swammy Awards: Age Group Swimmer of the Year – 17-18

Check out all of our 2015 Swammy Awards here.



2015 Honorees: Katie Ledecky and Andrew Seliskar

17-18 Girls

Katie Ledecky – Nation’s Capital Swim Club, Bethesda, Maryland

Yes, it’s the same Ledecky. Female Swimmer of the Year. Person of the Year. Race of the Year. All these accolades, and yet she’s still officially an age-grouper. To whom else can this award go? Seven #1 times and 13 top-tens out of a total of 28 events. World records. American records. And here’s the best part: in 2015 she would have been #31 in the boys’ 17-18 500y free, #4 in the 1000y free, #27 in the 200m free, #10 in the 400m free, #2 in the 800m free (we’ll give that one a pass, since it’s not an Olympic event), and #3 in the 1500m free. Are you listening? #3 in the Boys’ 17-18 1500m free. It’s simply too stunning for words.

But Ledecky trains in other strokes as well. In addition to ending 2015 at the top of the girls 17-18 200/500/1000y free and 200/400/800/1500m free, she was #2 in the 400y IM, #3 in the 100y free and 100m free, #4 in the 400m IM, #5 in the 200y IM, and #7 in the 50m free.

Short Course NAGs:
500y free – 4:26.58+ – 2/6/15
1000y free – 8:59.65+ – 12/13/15

Long Course NAGs:
800m free – 8:07.39*+ – 8/8/15
1500m free – 15:25.48*+ – 8/4/15

*World Record
+American Record

Honorable Mention

In alphabetical order:

  • Katie Drabot – Ozaukee Aquatics (WI): Like Ledecky, Drabot also ended the year with 13 top-ten times. She was #2 in the 200y IM; #4 in the 100y free and 200m free; #5 in the 400y IM; #6 in the 200y free, 400m free, and 100y fly; #7 in the 500y free and 400m IM; #8 in the 100m free and 200m IM; #9 in the 100m fly; and #10 in the 50m free. Drabot was Swimmer of the Meet at Winter Juniors West with 137 points; she won the first five individual events and was runner-up in the sixth, finishing the meet with nine gold medals, a silver, and a bronze.
  • Becca Mann – North Baltimore Aquatic Club (MD): Mann, best known for her open water prowess, showed how versatile she was with her nine top-ten finishes in 2015. Mann led the nation in 400m IM and was second in 1650y, 800m and 1500m frees. She was third in 400y IM, 500y free and 400y free, fourth in 200m fly, and tenth in 200m free.
  • Katie McLaughlin – Mission Viejo Nadadores (CA): McLaughlin set a pair of national age group records in the 100m and 200m butterflies in 2015. She set the 100 mark of 57.87 at MVN’s Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions and the 200 at FINA World Championships in Kazan, where she finished sixth with 2:06.95. McLaughlin ended the year with the #2 time in the 200m free, #3 in the 100y fly, #4 in the 200y free, and #6 in the 100m free.

17-18 Boys

Andrew Seliskar, Nation’s Capital Swim Club, Bethesda, Maryland

Here’s something that you don’t see every day: 18 top-ten mentions out of a possible 28 events in the 17-18 age category. In the normal way of things, swimmers compete in everything at age 12; they start to narrow their focus by 14, and by the time they are 16 they have 3 or 4 Really Good Events.

Then along comes Andrew Seliskar, who finished 2015 at the top of the rankings in nine events: 100/200y breast, 200y fly, 100/200m fly, 200/400y IM, and 200/400m IM. He was also second in the 100/200m breast, fourth in the 100y free and 100y fly, fifth in the 500y free, sixth in the 200y free, seventh in the 50y free, eighth in the 100m back, and tenth in the 200m free. In the process, Seliskar took down a pair of national age group records:

Short Course NAGs
200y breast – 1:51.57 – 3/7/15
400y IM – 3:37.52 – 3/6/15

Seliskar finished his age group career in September, 2015, having achieved 12 of 14 all-time top-100 lists in short course yards, and 9 of 14 in long course meters.

Runner Up

Caeleb Dressel – Bolles School Sharks/University of Florida (FL)

The fastest 18-and-under sprinter in history, Dressel continued to tear up the national age group record book this year. In addition to the 50y free mark he took down while winning NCAAs as a freshman, Dressel lowered the national records in the 50 and 100m freestyles with his gold-medal swims at U.S. Summer Nationals in San Antonio.

Short Course NAGs
50y free – 18.67 – 3/26/15

Long Course NAGs
50m free – 21.53 – 8/8/15
100m free – 48.78 – 8/9/15

Dressel also came away with the #1 time in the 100y fly, #2 in the 100y free and 200y IM, #3 in the 200y free, #4 in the 200m free and 100m fly, and #6 in the 100m breast. Dressel leaves the 18-and-under age group with 6 all-time top 100 swim in short course yards and 6 in long course meters.

Honorable Mention

In alphabetical order:

  • Ryan Hoffer – Scottsdale Aquatic Club (AZ): At just 17 years of age, Hoffer obliterated Dressel’s national age group record in the 100y free at Winter Juniors West, winning the event by more than two body lengths. It was a spectacular swim, and put Hoffer and number 8 on the all-time list behind only Vladimir Morozov, Cesar Cielo, and Nathan Adrian. That’s quite a feat for a high school junior. Hoffer finished the year with top-ten swims in the 50/100y free, 50/100m free, 100y back, 100y fly, and 100m fly.
  • PJ Ransford – Club Wolverine/University of Michigan (MI): Ransford set two NAG records in the 1000y free (8:46.40) and 1650y free (14:34.36) at 2015 NCAA Championshps. His other top-ten swims in 2015 included the 500y free (9), 400m free (8), 800m free (2), 1500m free (3), and 400m IM (8).
  • Maxime Rooney – Pleasanton Seahawks (CA): Rooney proved he was capable of doing battle with the Big Boys when he won the 200m free (by 1/100) at 2015 Summer Nationals in San Antonio. Rooney was 17 during all of 2015, which means he has another year in which to go after age group records: he is currently #2 in both the 100m free and 200m free in the 17-18s. Rooney finished the year as the #1 200m freestyler. He was also #2 in the 100m free and 200y free; #3 in the 100y free; #5 in the 400m free, 100m fly, and 200y fly; #6 in the 100y fly; #7 in the 200y back; and #9 in the 50m free.


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bobo gigi
8 years ago

Samuel, among the names mentioned above, on paper I see Becca Mann (800 free) and Katie McLaughlin (200 fly) as best bets for an olympic qualification in individual events.
Sorry, I forgot Miss Ledecky (200 free, 400 free, 800 free, 4X200 free relay, 4X100 free relay?). 🙂
I see Caeleb Dressel and Maxime Rooney qualifying at least in the US freestyle relays. But both also have serious chances in individual too. Dressel had had his big swim in the 50 free last summer. We are all waiting now for his big swim in the 100 free. I think it will happen at trials. He already has a 47 in him. Maxime Rooney has a good chance to be… Read more »

8 years ago

Among all the World Championship races, McLaughlin’s swim at the 800 Free Relay deserves more praise. She was trailing at her 150m turn but come back strong I the last 50m to almost touch first and give KL a much closer start where KL quickly extended the lead and won gold for US. And this relay was 3 events after McLaughlin’s 200m Fly final swim.

samuel huntington
8 years ago

serious talent here – now can these young men and women step up and make the Olympic squad?? (besides KL of course) Best bet is Mann and Dressel

Reply to  samuel huntington
8 years ago

McLaughlin may have an equal chance of qualifying to Mann..similar amount of 100/200 fly contenders as there are for distance free contenders

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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