Check out all of our 2015 Swammy Awards here.
2015 Canadian Male Swimmer Of The Year: Santo Condorelli
Santo Condorelli made 2015 his year, evolving from an above-average swimmer to one of the fastest 100 freestyle swimmers in the world.
He began his climb up the rankings in March at the 2015 NCAA Championships, where he came in ninth in the 100 free, 10th in the 100 fly, and 16th in the 50 free. Condorelli then quickly shifted his focus to long course in order to prepare for the upcoming Canadian World Championship Trials. Less than a month later, he turned in personal bests in the 100 free, 100 fly, and 50 free to win three events.
Condorelli’s 100 win marked the beginning of a series of time drops over the course of the year, cutting a half second off his previous best to go 48.83. Not only was his time fast enough to take the national title, he also became the first Canadian sprinter since Brent Hayden to crack the 49 barrier. He also swept the butterfly sprints in new best times of 23.80 and 52.96.
Despite his success at the Canadian Trials, Condorelli truly started to take flight over the summer. He granted Canada a second place finish in the 100 free and a third place in the 100 fly at the Pan American Games in Toronto. However, the real story from his meet comes from the lead-off leg of the Canadian 4×100 freestyle relay.
Condorelli charged out hard and held his ground on the back half, ripping a 47.98 to hand Canada the lead. At the time, his swim ranked him first in the world, tying with Russian sprint star Vlad Morozov. He also dropped nearly a second and a half off of his best time going into the season, becoming the second fastest Canadian ever in the event.
The success didn’t stop there, either: at the 2015 World Championships, Condorelli churned out five 48 second flat-start swims in the 100, three of which were under 48.30. His second slowest of the bunch came in the semifinals of the individual 100 free where he touched in 48.49 to place ninth. However, a disqualification (Morozov’s, in fact) bumped him into the eighth slot.
After his near finals miss, he swam his fastest time of the meet twice, going 48.19 to register an incredible fourth-place swim in the individual event and again to lead off the Canadian 4×100 freestyle relay in finals. He missed the podium by only .07 seconds, touching immediately behind Argentina’s Federico Grabich.
Condorelli also swam the 50 fly at the World Championships, this time actually qualifying ninth. His time of 23.30 came in a mere hundredth of a second behind Cesar Cielo’s eighth place swim.
Had the year ended right then, Condorelli would already have been a contender for this category, but he decided he wasn’t done for the year and threw down three quick performances at the 2015 AT&T Winter Nationals earlier this month. His first two individual events, though both best times, left him off the podium: he put up a 22.04 in the 50 free and a 52.41 in the 100 fly to finish fourth in both.
His redemption came in the 100 free, his newfound signature event, where he took charge from the beginning and crushed the competition. He narrowly missed his best time of 47.98 but still managed to beat the field by a half second, registering both the fastest front half and back half splits. With a mid-winter 48.05, he tells the world this his success this summer was not a one-off and we’re sure to see him continue to improve on the international scene.
In no particular order.
- Ryan Cochrane
: Cochrane’s success this year should come as no surprise, considering he has been Canada’s distance ace in the hole for years. He snagged two Pan American Games championship titles in the 400 and 1500 freestyles. Shortly after, Cochrane also contributed bronzes in both the 400 and 1500 free to his medal collection at the World Championships.
- Richard Funk: Funk, a former college star at Michigan, won both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events at the Canadian trials, sealing his spot on the Pan American Games and World Championships teams. Funk turned in a silver in the 200 breast and a bronze in the 100 breast at the Pan Ams, followed by a 15th place performance in the 100 breast at the World Champs. He walked away from this summer with new personal bests of 27.65, 1:00.26, and 2:11.51 across the three distances.