Dressel & Ledecky Among 2021 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year Nominees

The nominee list for the 2021 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year has been finalized just ahead of USA Swimming’s Annual Business Meeting. That meeting will be hosted in Colorado Springs, CO from September 23-25. Among the items on the meeting agenda will be the presentation of this prestigious award.

The nominees are, as they usually are, the swimmers who won individual Olympic gold medals in Tokyo.

Unlike the more retail Golden Goggles version of the Athlete of the Year award, which goes out to one male and one female athlete, this award recognizes one outstanding American performer for the 2021 calendar year.

Among the nominees include Katie Ledecky, who has won this award five times, and Caeleb Dressel, who has also won this award twice before. In 2016, Ledecky won her fourth-straight recognition before Dressel’s lights-out 7-for-7 Worlds gold pick-up that earned him the 2017 award. Ledecky was then re-honored for the 2018 edition.

Caeleb Dressel also earned the award in 2019.

2021 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year Nominees (Alphabetically)

CAELEB DRESSEL

At the Tokyo Olympics, Dressel picked up 5-for-5 gold medals in the 50/100 free, 100 fly, and 4×100 free and medley relays. His individual efforts also secured a new 100 fly World record and contributed to the fastest-ever men’s medley relay. With his five gold medals alone, Dressel became the winningest athlete across all sports at this year’s Olympics.

BOBBY FINKE

Finke broke a 37-year Olympic gold medal drought in the men’s distance events utilizing a stellar closing speed for Team USA with his 800/1500 free titles at the Tokyo Olympics. Finke was also the first-ever men’s 800 free Olympic champion with its recent addition to the Olympic program, breaking the event American record as well.

LYDIA JACOBY

Jacoby made all sorts of history with her 2021 Olympic debut in Tokyo. Not only was Jacoby the first Alaskan native to make an U.S. Olympic swimming team, she became the first Alaskan native to medal at the Olympic Games. At 17 years old, Jacoby won the 100 breast title, de-throning 2016 Olympic champion Lilly King in the process. Jacoby also contributed to two relays, picking up a silver medal in the 4×100 medley relay.

CHASE KALISZ

Kalisz kicked off the Olympic Games for Team USA by collecting the country’s first gold medal across all sports in Tokyo. After finishing second in 2016, Kalisz upgraded to Olympic gold in the men’s 400 IM. Collegiate training-mate Jay Litherland picked up Olympic silver for the first US 1-2 finish in the event since 2004.

KATIE LEDECKY

Freestyle great Ledecky made even more history in her third Olympic Games. She kicked off her time in Tokyo with double silvers in the 400 free and 4×200 free relay. Ledecky also became the first women’s 1500 free Olympic champion in its program debut. Then, Ledecky three-peated her 800 free Olympic title, giving her six career individual Olympic golds. Ledecky now has 10 Olympic medals to her name, becoming one of seven female Olympic swimmers to reach 10 medals.

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Virtus
1 month ago

anything other than dressel would be confusing

Thomas
Reply to  Virtus
1 month ago

True but a nomination is an accomplishment in its own

Mr Piano
Reply to  Virtus
1 month ago

And the award goes to… Michael Andrew!

Thomas
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

If you told me that after trials & before the Olympics, then I would believe you

Tony
Reply to  Virtus
1 month ago

Indeed. If you win the most gold medals (5) at an Olympic Games and are in whole and/or in part responsible for setting the most WRs (2) and ORs (4) at an Olympic Games, you *must* receive this award.

N80m80
1 month ago

Honestly I would really love to see Finke get the nod but Dressel deserves it

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  N80m80
1 month ago

Dressel will be walking to the stage to accept the award, and Finke will run him down like a banshee to snatch it at the last minute.

Thomas
Reply to  N80m80
1 month ago

I’m sure the Golden Goggles will recognize him in some fashion – I forget which awards they give out.

Admin
Reply to  Thomas
1 month ago

Breakout Swimmer of the Year, probably?

Mel
1 month ago

Win a gold medal. Get a nomination.

Dressel1234
Reply to  Mel
1 month ago

**individual

Gem
Reply to  Dressel1234
1 month ago

Don’t be dismissive or flip. It is hard as hell to win just one individual gold medal in just one Olympics.A phenomenal accomplishment. A lot of great swimmers–including some all-time Olympic greats–never got there. Or got just one.

Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Jacoby should win some special goggles award at the Golden Goggles.

MickeyMouse
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

ice cold

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

she should win breakout of the year, and her trophy have no goggles on it. just an empty ring

Last edited 1 month ago by McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell

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Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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