At the conclusion of the 2018 FINA World Swimming Championships, FINA announced South African Chad le Clos and Hungarian Katinka Hosszu as its Male and Female Swimmers of the Year. The honor is Le Clos’ 2nd, after winning in 2014, and Hosszu’s 4th, after winning in 2014, 2015, and 2016. That means Hosszu has won the award more than any swimmer since it was first given in 2010 – breaking a tie with Ryan Lochte.
In a year with no Olympic Games or World Aquatic Championships, these awards become significantly more nuanced in their award, depending on lightly-attended Short Course World Championships and World Cup meets, as well as continental and bloc championship meets.
Le Clos’ biggest long course highlights came at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where he swept the butterfly races and added a bronze as part of South Africa’s 400 medley relay. He added an individual gold in the 100 fly as well as silvers in the 50 and 200 fly at the World Short Course Championships. He finished an unusually-low 9th in the World Cup Series, which he’s won 4 times including in 2017, and won 5 events in that series.
Hosszu, meanwhile, powered through a tumultuous year in her personal life that saw her have a very-public split with her husband and coach Shane Tusup and take a big competition break early in the year. While the resumed Hosszu is not quite to the obscene levels of multiple-event meets that we’ve seen from her in the past, she’s still a swimmer who swims, and wins, a lot. She won 1 medal at the 2018 European Championships, in the 200 IM, and 4 more individual golds at the Short Course World Championships, in the 200 fly, 100 IM, 200 IM, and 400 IM.
Dutchman Ferry Weertman and Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha won Open Water Swimmers of the Year. Weertman won a pair of golds, in the 10k and team open water events, at the European Championships; while Cunha took bronze at the 2018 Pan Pac Championships in the 10km race. The award was given on the basis of the pair being the male and female champions, respectively, of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series – a heavily-European-leaning series.
That’s Weertman’s 2nd such award (he last won in 2016) while Cunha has now won 5 times in 9 years where the award has been given.
Other Award Winners:
- Best Male Water Polo Team – Hungary
- Best Female Water polo Team – USA
- Best Male Diver – Cao Yuan, China
- Best Female Diver – Shi Tingmao, China
- Best Female Artistic Swimmer – Yelyzaveta Yakhno, Ukraine (who won 1 gold, 5 silver, and 1 bronze medal at the European Championships; chosen over Russia’s Svetlana Kolesnichenko, who won 4 golds at the European Championships)
- Best Male Artistic Swimmer – Giorgio Minisini, Italy
- Best Male High Diver – Gary Hunt, Great Britain
- Best Female High Diver – Rhiannan Iffland, Australia
- Best Male Masters Athlete – Zhang Jian, China
- Best Female Masters Athlete – Wang Yan, China
- FINA Media Award – AIPS, Young Report Programme