Voting for USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards has been open for just over a week now, and the front-runners are starting to become clear. One race that isn’t so clear, though, is Male Race of the Year, where surprise leader Connor Jaeger sits above Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Jordan Wilimovsky.
We put together our official SwimSwam ballot shortly after the nominees were announced last week, and at the same time tracked the early vote leaders.
(Bonus fun: Mitch and Loretta over at The Main Set, SwimSwam’s official podcast, break down our official ballot picks and make their own selections – you can listen to that, plus an interview with Breakout Performer of the Year nominee Kelsi Worrell, here.)
The number of votes cast has about doubled since then, from 1500 to 3000, and there have been some major shakeups in the standings.
Here’s a quick look at the horse race as it currently stands, with last week’s numbers in parentheses. Current leaders are in bold:
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE ONLINE VOTING?
- USA Swimming Foundation Website – 46% (41%)
- USA Swimming Website – 5% (7%)
- Twitter- 6% (10%)
- Facebook – 32% (30%)
- Instagram – 2% (3%)
- Other 9% (11%)
There’s no option for SwimSwam.com. That was a major nomination snub.
BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
- Katie Meili – 24% (24%)
- Jordan Wilimovsky – 30% (29%)
- Kelsi Worrell – 47% (47%)
Not much change here. Wilimovsky suffers from open water swimming’s relatively low profile compared to pool swimming, but Worrell had an amazing breakout year all-around and owns nearly half the votes so far.
Jaeger is making a bit of a run in this category, coinciding with his big run on the Male Race of the Year award. Schmitt still holds a big lead, but there’s plenty of time left for things to change.
COACH OF THE YEAR
- Bob Bowman – 22% (26%)
- Bruce Gemmell – 36% (28%)
- Dave Kelsheimer – 14% (12%)
- David Marsh – 17% (23%)
- Cathering Vogt – 11% (11%)
Maybe the toughest category to call. It looked like a three-way battle between Bowman, Marsh and Gemmell, but Marsh has dropped some while Gemmell has risen.
RELAY PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
- Women’s 4×200 free relay – World Championships – 59% (51%)
- Men’s 4×100 medley relay – World Championships – 20% (22%)
- Mixed 4×100 free relay – World Championships – 21% (28%)
There’s still a long ways to go, but this one looks pretty clear-cut already. Call it the Ledecky Effect – any nominee with any connection to Ledecky is winning by a landslide: Gemmell, this relay and Ledecky herself.
FEMALE RACE OF THE YEAR
- Haley Anderson – 5K Open Water, World Championships – 12% (11%)
- Katie Ledecky – 200 free, World Championships – 20% (18%)
- Katie Ledecky – 800 free, World Championships – 28% (29%)
- Katie Ledecky – 1500 free, World Championships – 40% (42%)
Ledecky’s double-world-record 1500 free continues to outpace her 800 free, which is woefully outgunned considering she only broke one lousy world record during it.
MALE RACE OF THE YEAR
- Connor Jaeger – 1500 free, World Championships – 29% (12%)
- Ryan Lochte – 200 IM, World Championships – 13% (20%)
- Michael Phelps – 100 fly, National Championships – 11% (20%)
- Michael Phelps, 200 fly, National Championships – 28% (27%)
- Jordan Wilimovsky – 10K Open Water, World Championships – 18% (21%)
This is the surprise so far. Phelps has the obvious name recognition, and got plenty of publicity for his cross-the-world rivalry with Chad le Clos. But its World Champs silver medalist Connor Jaeger who leads the way here, albeit by only about 50 votes over Phelps’ 200 fly.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Ledecky has dropped a whole 2% in this category over the week. Will she get run down for the title??? (Spoiler alert: She won’t.)
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
This one has stayed pretty steady since voting opened. The surprise at this point is Wilimovsky passing up Lochte by over 100 votes, but Phelps still has nearly double the votes of anyone else in the race.