To see all of the 2020 award winners, click here.
2020 U.S. Coach of the Year, Ray Looze, Indiana University
Editor’s note: this award is specifically given on the credit of accomplishments by athletes in senior, international, professional, and to a lesser extent collegiate, competition. That’s as differentiated from the ‘club coach of the year‘ Swammy, which is more heavily weighted to accomplishments of junior-aged swimmers. As with all of our regional coaching awards, to be eligible, a coach should be based primarily in the US, with accomplishments weighted heavily toward those of their American athletes (though not to the exclusion of US-based foreign athletes).
Ray Looze, head coach at Indiana Swim Club and Indiana University, had to drive as far as an hour to coach his swimmers in an indoor 2-lane pool while Indiana’s facilities were shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. Swimmers from the pro group including Lilly King, Annie Lazor, and Cody Miller made the trip, as documented on Miller’s YouTube channel.
Two of Looze’s swimmers, Lilly King and Mohamed Samy, won Swammy Awards in 2020–U.S. Female Swimmer of the Year and African Male Swimmer of the Year, respectively. Samy set 6 new Egyptian Records in the 2020 ISL season in events ranging from 50 meters to 400 meters.
King notched new American Records in the 50 breaststroke and 100 breaststroke, as well as became the 2nd-fastest American performer all-time in the 200 breaststroke. King’s times in the 50, 100, and 200 breaststroke also make her the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-fastest performer all-time, respectively, in each race. King, alongside Olivia Smoliga, Kelsi Dahlia, and Erika Brown broke the World Record in the 400 medley relay in the ISL Grand Final.
King finished the ISL season ranked 2nd among all swimmers in the MVP standings and left Budapest with $254,000 of prize money. Her consistency throughout the season earned her MVP of Match 1, the 2nd MVP of 8, the 3rd MVP of Match Semifinal #2, and the 2nd MVP again of the Grand Final. Further illustrating her domination of the breaststroke races, King finished the season with a total of 102.5 jackpot points, the 3rd-highest in the league.
Annie Lazor did not win as many races as King, but she did earn the distinction of becoming the first woman in the ISL to beat King in an individual event when she toppled her in the 200 breaststroke in Match 10. Lazor finished 2020 as the 10th-fastest performer all-time in the 100 breast and the 7th-fastest all-time in the 200 breast. At the Des Moines stop of the Pro Swim Series, Lazor posted a 1:06.54 in the 100 LCM breaststroke and a 2:21.67 in the 200 breaststroke to finish the year ranked 4th in the world in the 100 and 1st in the world in the 200. At the same meet, King put up a 1:05.74 in the 100 LCM breaststroke and a 2:22.95 in the 200 LCM breaststroke, finishing 2020 ranked 1st and 3rd in each event, respectively. Miller, meanwhile, finished the year ranked 12th in the 100 LCM breaststroke and 18th in the 200 LCM breaststroke.
Zach Apple did not get to swim in the ISL post-season, though he was one of the best relay swimmers in the league in 2020 and produced the 14th-fastest 100 freestyle split in a relay in history, clocking a 45.15. Apple was the 2nd-fastest 100 freestyle performer in the ISL in the 2020 season behind only Caeleb Dressel with a 45.74 flat-start time from ISL Match #2. Training partner Blake Pieroni finished 2020 ranked 8th in the world in the 100 freestyle. Pieroni and Apple also rank 14th and 15th, respectively, in the 200 freestyle.
In no particular order.
- Jack Bauerle (Athens Bulldog Swim Club): Two of Bauerle’s swimmers lowered records in the ISL Final: Olivia Smoliga obliterated her own American Record in the 100 backstroke with a 55.04, finishing just 0.15 off the World Record, and Nic Fink slipped under the records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke despite a wrist injury. In the season opener, Smoliga lowered the American Record in the 50 backstroke. Before the Final, Melanie Margalis lowered the American Records in the 100 IM and 200 IM. In March at the Pro Swim Series in Des Moines, Margalis became the 4th-fastest American woman in history in the 400 LCM IM. Andrew Wilson finished 2020 ranked 11th in the world in the 100 LCM breaststroke and 15th in the world in the 200 LCM breaststroke.
- Dave Durden (California Aquatics): Durden’s swimmers were among the most successful in the second season of the ISL. Notably, Ryan Murphy broke the American Record in the 50 backstroke, clocking the 2nd-fastest performance all-time. Tom Shields broke his own American Record in the 200 butterfly twice during the ISL season to become the 3rd-fastest performer all-time. Murphy finished the season ranked 4th in the season MVP standings. Andrew Seliskar and Josh Prenot were also vital to the success of the LA Current in season 2 of the ISL, also the home of Shields and Murphy. In the yards pool, Reece Whitley blasted a 1:48.53 in the 200 breaststroke to become the 2nd-fastest performer all-time in November despite not racing for 8 months.
- Mike Bottom (University of Michigan): Siobhan Haughey was a vital part of Energy Standard’s success during ISL season 2. The Michigan post-grad lowered the Asian Record in the 100 and 200 freestyles in the ISL Grand Final. Haughey was so successful in the 100 free that she broke the Asian Record 5 times during the ISL season, clocking a 50.94 as the 400 freestyle relay lead-off, making her the 3rd-fastest performer all-time. Haughey finished the ISL season ranked 7th in the MVP standings. At the 2020 Big Ten Championships, Maggie MacNeil blasted a 49.42 in the 100 fly (though she had been 49.26 in December) and lowered Championship Records in the 50 freestyle (21.30) and 100 freestyle (46.57), and swam the fastest 50 backstroke in history leading off the 200 medley relay (23.05). Michigan sophomore Olivia Carter also broke the Big Ten Conference and Championship Records in the 200 fly to win her first B1G Title. On the men’s side, Tommy Cope also emerged out of this group as a surprise-contributor to the DC Trident of the ISL. He finished tied for 120th in the ISL regular season MVP standings, in similar territory to names like Marcelo Chierighini, Natalie Hinds, Zu Jakabos, and World Champion Boglarka Kapas. Not many would have expected that level of performance out of him going into the season.