It’s been just about a month now since voting opened on USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards, and its time for another update on the voting totals.
We last did an update about 3 weeks ago. The number of votes cast has almost tripled since then, from 3000 to almost 9000, but the same nominees continue to lead each category.
The race of the ballot right now is men’s race of the year, in which Connor Jaeger still narrowly leads Michael Phelps in voting by a single percentage point. The interesting question there is whether Phelps is cannibalizing his own votes, as he has two separate races nominated. We’ll discuss that and more in some quick voting recaps below.
A few links of note before we begin:
- When the voting first opened, we put together our own ballot with explanations of why we chose the way we did, written by yours truly.
- A week later, the hosts of the Official SwimSwam Podcast – Mitch Bowmile and Loretta Race – weighed in on their own picks and how they differed from the original SwimSwam ballot. You can listen to that right at the beginning of the podcast – and stay tuned through the end for an interview with Breakout Performer of the Year nominee Kelsi Worrell.
- And finally, we updated the voting results about a week into the campaign, and you can find that story here.
Here’s a quick look at the horse race as it currently stands, with the change in percentage points since our last update in parentheses. Current leaders are in bold:
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE ONLINE VOTING?
- USA Swimming Foundation Website – 46% (-)
- USA Swimming Website – 8% (+3)
- Twitter- 7% (+1)
- Facebook – 28% (-4)
- Instagram – 2% (-)
- Other 8% (-1)
Facebook is down a whole 4%. I think this whole Facebook fad is really starting to pass, guys.
BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
- Katie Meili – 22% (-2)
- Jordan Wilimovsky – 34% (+4)
- Kelsi Worrell – 45% (-2)
Wilimovsky is making up some ground on Worrell here, but it’ll take a lot more to pass her for the award. Two factors work against Wilimovsky: open water’s profile is significantly lower than pool swimming, and some fans may be voting for Wilimovsky in a different category instead, while this is Worrell’s only nomination. Really, all three are pretty worth candidates for this award.
Schmitt continues to dominate this award with over half of the votes cast. Maybe if Jaeger can “persevere” in his tight Race of the Year battle with the greatest swimmer of all-time, he’ll also earn some more votes here.
COACH OF THE YEAR
- Bob Bowman – 22% (-)
- Bruce Gemmell – 34% (-2)
- Dave Kelsheimer – 19% (+5)
- David Marsh – 15% (-2)
- Catherine Vogt – 10% (-1)
This one really feels like a toss-up between a lot of qualified coaches, but Gemmell continues to hold a comfortable lead. We mentioned it last time, but the point still stands: any nominee associated with Katie Ledecky is doing great at this point. She’s like King Midas: anything she touches turns to gold – Golden Goggles gold.
RELAY PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
- Women’s 4×200 free relay – World Championships – 60% (+1)
- Men’s 4×100 medley relay – World Championships – 18% (-2)
- Mixed 4×100 free relay – World Championships – 22% (+1)
If the Midas Theory holds up, Ledecky’s role on the 4×200 free relay will power that team to victory. They still lead by a wide margin. It probably helps that mixed relays are still not quite into swimming’s mainstream enough to gain significant votes.
FEMALE RACE OF THE YEAR
- Haley Anderson – 5K Open Water, World Championships – 12% (-)
- Katie Ledecky – 200 free, World Championships – 17% (-3)
- Katie Ledecky – 800 free, World Championships – 27% (-1)
- Katie Ledecky – 1500 free, World Championships – 44% (+4)
This could have been one of those cases where Ledecky’s three nominated races split votes and ultimately made her win more iffy, but there’s really no Ralph Nader scenario big enough to deny Ledecky this year. Her 1500 is starting to pull away from the field, which is something Ledecky has plenty of experience doing.
MALE RACE OF THE YEAR
- Connor Jaeger – 1500 free, World Championships – 31% (+2)
- Ryan Lochte – 200 IM, World Championships – 10% (-3)
- Michael Phelps – 100 fly, National Championships – 9% (-2)
- Michael Phelps, 200 fly, National Championships – 30% (+2)
- Jordan Wilimovsky – 10K Open Water, World Championships – 20% (+2)
This is the race that might be coming down to a Phelps-Cavic photo finish. Jaeger’s 1500 free still leads Phelps’ 200 fly by a single percentage point, or about 48 votes (at the time of this story). It’s worth noting that Phelps 100 fly has siphoned off 9% of the votes – it’s hard to speculate on how many of those votes would have rolled over into Phelps’ 200 fly had the 100 not been nominated, but it’s safe to say Phelps is being hurt a bit by having the votes of his fans split between two nominees.
Jaeger, of course, excels in endurance through long races, but Phelps is also known as a great closer. Time will tell which one gets the touch in a race of votes rather than seconds.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
If there’s one “lock” on this ballot, this is it. Haley Anderson is gaining some steam, and probably deserves second here based on her World Champs gold compared to Franklin’s individual silver and bronze medals. Franklin also has three relay medals (two of them gold) though, which boosts her status some.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Almost no change in this category since the votes opened. Voters are still rewarding Phelps for his world-leading efforts over Lochte’s and Wilimovsky’s gold medals at the World Championships.