2018 Swammy Awards: World Male Swimmer of the Year Kliment Kolesnikov

To see all of our 2018 Swammy Awards presented by TYR, click here. 

2018 World Male Swimmer of the Year: Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia

It was a true firework of a year for Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov, who wraps up Swammy Awards season with not only the World Junior Swimmer of the Year and European Swimmer of the Year awards, but the overall World Male Swimmer of the Year honor as well.

Kolesnikov took full advantage of all the big-meet opportunities he had in the relatively unorthodox middle-of-the-quad year. In August, he carried three golds (two individual), two silver and a bronze medal at the European Championships in long course, setting a world record in the 50 back and a world junior record in the 100 back along the way. Then in October, the 18-year-old crushed the Youth Olympic Games to the tune of 6 golds and a silver (three of the golds individual). Finally, in December, Kolesnikov won two golds and seven total medals at the Short Course World Championships, including a surprise 100 IM win in a new world junior record.

For those keeping track at home, that’s 11 golds, 6 silvers and three bronzes over 2018, all in major international competitions.

Kolesnikov was one of just three men to set a long course world record in 2018, and his 24.00 50 backstroke bettered a super-suited 24.04 world record from the 2009 bodysuit era. He also finishes the year with the world’s top-ranked 50 back and third-ranked 100 back in long course meters. In short course meters, he ranks in the top 6 in both the 50 and 100 backs.

He holds all three world junior records in the long course backstrokes, setting two of the three in 2018. In short course, his versatility shows through even more impressive: Kolesnikov holds world junior records in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyles in addition to the 50, 100 and 200 backstrokes and the 100 IM.


In no particular order

  • Adam Peaty, Great Britain: As we mentioned in our Euro Swimmer of the Year post, Peaty was a strong contender based on his continued historic dominance, but lagged behind Kolesnikov in year-long performance. Peaty was on fire at Euros, breaking his own 100 breast world record and winning the 50 breast by a country mile. However, he lost the 50 breast at Commonwealths and didn’t swim Short Course Worlds, cutting down his opportunities to match Kolesnikov’s full-year resume.
  • Ryan Murphy, USA: Murphy makes a strong case based on a backstroke sweep at the Pan Pacific Championships as well as the world’s top long course 100 back time. Murphy ranks #2 worldwide in all three short course backstrokes as well as the long course 200 back, and third worldwide in the long course 50 back. But Murphy, unlike the other two names on this list, didn’t set a world record (though he was close in the long course 100 back).

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

These days it seems like every other article is praising Kolesnikov or scrutinizing RUSADA. I’m not saying he’s definitely doping, but Swimswam you are definitely asking for susupicion.

2 years ago

Kolesnikov is a perfectly valid choice for this award — except for the fact that he is part of the Russian Federation. With the recently announced FAILURE to turn over evidence to inspectors linked to WADA, the very real danger is the re-imposition of sanctions against RUSADA and the Russian Federation, and that danger is existential, not theoretical.
That puts me at ill ease in naming a Russian athlete.

Reply to  Jared Anderson
2 years ago

As I stated, the problem is NOT an individual swimmer; rather, it is his or her belonging to a notoriously corrupt and vile federation and anti-doping regimen. Sadly, you are comparing apples and oranges when you toss up USA athletes; our country has a very strict regimen – Russia? Ha!!!!

Reply to  Jared Anderson
2 years ago

PS: read SWIMSWAM’S own article on “IOC ATHLETES COMMISSION” which makes my point exactly.

Reply to  Jared Anderson
2 years ago

No, unless the US is found to be conducting state-sponsored doping. Ultimately the RF’s actions taint their athletes, because how do you trust that the ones who test clean are actually clean? Maybe I shouldn’t watch Icarus before awards season 🙂

2 years ago

ummmm…if he is not awarded for 2018, he may not even have a chance in 2019….

just a joke. what is not a joke is he had a stellar year. It is for sure a dark cloud loom over Russian athletes’ head with nationwide doping scandal. I am not a fan of doper, but for now, he has not been tested positive… so let’s enjoy watching him race.

2 years ago

If the kid really is clean he needs to be very outspoken about having Russia’s ADA to come out in the open, his legacy will depend on it

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »