To see all of the 2020 award winners, click here.
2020 European Male Swimmer of the Year: Ilya Shymanovich, Belarus
2020 was the year of European men’s breaststrokers. Belarusian star Ilya Shymanovich has been a top-level speedster for years, but never quite had a big enough gold medal or record-setting swim to move past Adam Peaty for European breaststroking dominance.
Until this December, that is. Shymanovich broke through at the Belarusian Championships in the eleventh hour of 2020, breaking Peaty’s short-lived short course world record in the 100 breast. Shymanovich’s 55.34 was the crown jewel he needed to elevate a 2020 resume that was quietly brilliant.
Between November and December of 2020, Shymanovich swam between 55.3 and 55.8 six separate times in the 100 (short course meter) breaststroke. He finished the ISL season as the league’s #2 swimmer in the 100 breast (just .08 behind Peaty’s world record swim) and the #3 swimmer in the 50 breast. But though he didn’t surpass the more flashy Peaty in best times for that season, he did manage to outscore Peaty by a solid 25 points in MVP scoring across the season.
Swimming for league runners-up Energy Standard, Shymanovich finished 12th in the entire league in MVP scoring, and second to Sakci among European men. He winds up #1 in the world for the year 2020 in the short course 100 meter breast, and #2 in the short course 50 meter breast, upping his game late in the year in both events.
In no particular order
- Adam Peaty, Great Britain: Peaty was in line for his fourth time winning this Swammy award until Shymanovich broke his world record in December. Peaty broke the 100 short course meter breaststroke record twice between the ISL semifinals and final. He also finished 14th in ISL scoring despite being confined entirely to breaststroke. He was a three-time skin race winner for the London Roar and set the ISL record in the 100 breast.
- Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy: Paltrinieri didn’t have the benefit of the ISL season to boost his stock, but he did have one of the year’s best swims with a 14:33.10 in the 1500 long course free back in August. Right in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Paltrinieri blasted the only long course European record set in 2020, hitting the second-fastest swim of all-time in the event. Paltrinieri followed that up with a national open water championship.
- Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia: Kolesnikov had a rough start to his ISL season, but got up to speed in a hurry. He wound up setting the world record in the 100 short course meter backstroke at 48.58 while leading off an Energy Standard relay. In a loaded ISL backstroke field, Kolesnikov was king, winning the 100 back and leading off the winning medley relay. He starred throughout 2020, hitting the four fastest swims in history in the 100 short course meter backstroke across November and December of 2020. And he was a force on freestyle relays for Energy Standard throughout the ISL season as well.
- 2013 Swammy – Vladimir Morozov, Russia
- 2014 Swammy – Florent Manaudou, France
- 2015 Swammy – Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy
- 2016 Swammy – Adam Peaty, Great Britain
- 2017 Swammy – Adam Peaty, Great Britain
- 2018 Swammy – Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia
- 2019 Swammy – Adam Peaty, Great Britain
- 2020 Swammy – Ilya Shymanovich, Belarus