Grimes, Alexy Highlight USA Swimming’s 2023 Golden Goggle Award Nominees

USA Swimming announced its nominees for the 2023 Golden Goggle Awards on Wednesday, with the annual event set to celebrate the year that was in American swimming on November 19 in Los Angeles.

Katie Grimes and Jack Alexy led the way in terms of nominations, as Grimes was nominated in four different categories, essentially every award she’s eligible for, while Alexy picked up three nominations on the men’s side.

Grimes and Alexy were nominated for Breakout Performer of the Year, and both earned nominations for Female and Male Athlete of the Year and Race of the Year.

Katie LedeckyRyan Murphy and Bobby Finke also earned multiple nominations, with Ledecky and Finke coming in having won Female and Male Athlete of the Year in 2022.

The Golden Goggle Awards primarily focus on performances done at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, where the U.S. earned Team of the Meet honors after winning seven gold and 38 total medals in the pool.

See the full list of nominees below:


This award is given to the athlete whose performance(s) stand out in relation to other years, with special emphasis on the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 


Thomas Heilman broke through by qualifying for the World Championship team at the age of 16 in the men’s 100 and 200 fly, and went on to tie for 4th in the latter event in Fukuoka, finishing less than two-tenths shy of a spot on the podium. He added a gold medal after swimming a prelim leg on the men’s 400 medley relay.

Dare Rose had a significant breakout summer that saw him win the men’s 100 fly at U.S. Nationals, and he followed up by winning bronze at Worlds in a time of 50.46, marking a near-full second drop from his PB entering the season (51.40). He also split 50.13 as the U.S. men won gold in the medley relay.

For Alexy, he racked up five medals in his debut World Championships, earning two individual silvers in the men’s 50 and 100 free while adding a gold on the U.S. men’s 400 medley relay.

Grimes claimed bronze in the women’s 10km to qualify for the Paris Olympics, and added a second consecutive silver in the pool in the women’s 400 IM.


This award is given to the coach whose athlete(s) performed at the highest level throughout the year, with special emphasis on the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 

After a standout year in the NCAA at Arizona State, Bob Bowman was the head coach of the men’s team at the World Championships, while Todd DeSorbo (Kate Douglass), Anthony Nesty (Katie Ledecky) and Dave Durden (Ryan Murphy, Hunter Armstrong) coached swimmers to individual world titles.

Ron Aitken led Katie Grimes to two World Championship medals while also putting Bella Sims and Claire Weinstein on the U.S. team.

Relay Performance of the Year

This award is given to the best team relay performance, male or female. The performance considered must be a finals performance, with special emphasis on the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 

  • 4x100m women’s medley
  • 4x100m men’s medley
  • 4x200m women’s free

Both the U.S. women’s and men’s 400 medley relays won gold at Worlds, while the women’s 800 free relay placed 2nd to the world record-setting Australians.

The men’s medley relay of Murphy, Nic Fink, Rose and Alexy set a new Championship Record of 3:27.20, coming within 42 one-hundredths of the world record while winning gold by 1.80 seconds.

The women’s medley relay saw Regan SmithLilly KingGretchen Walsh and Kate Douglass roll to victory by well over a second in 3:52.08, giving the American women their first relay title of the competition in the last race.

The women’s 800 free relay of Erin Gemmell, Ledecky, Bella Sims and Alex Shackell went under the Championship Record the U.S. set last year to earn silver in 7:41.38, with Ledecky and Sims both producing 1:54 splits.

Female Race of the Year

This award is given to the female swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 

Kate Douglass won the women’s 200 IM in 2:07.17 after moving into #6 all-time with her victory at U.S. Nationals (2:07.09), while Ledecky steamrolled her way to the third-fastest time ever in the 1500 free (15:26.27), winning her fifth title in the event while also tying Michael Phelps with her 15th individual world title.

In the women’s 10km, Grimes edged out a pair of established veterans to win bronze after leading the way for the first four laps of the race.

Male Race of the Year

This award is given to the male swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 

Finke swam the third-fastest time in history (14:31.59) to set a new American Record and earn silver in the 1500 free at Worlds, while Alexy also took 2nd in the 100 free with a new PB of 47.31.

Murphy won the 100 back for the first time at LC Worlds in a time of 52.22, edging out defending champion and world record holder Thomas Ceccon (52.27).

Female Athlete of the Year

This award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 

Ledecky led the way with two individual gold medals in the 800 and 1500 free at Worlds, while Douglass topped the 200 IM (and won medley relay gold), Grimes won her two medals and Regan Smith picked up three silvers in the backstroke events while adding a medley relay gold.

Male Athlete of the Year

This award is given to the top male swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 

Murphy added medley relay gold and a runner-up finish in the 200 back to go along with his 100 back victory, while Finke also won bronze in the 800 free to go along with his 1500 silver.

Alexy won two individual silvers and five total medals, while Carson Foster won silver in the men’s 400 IM and 800 free relay.

Perseverance Award

This award is given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, sickness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance(s) in 2023, with special emphasis on the 2023 World Aquatics Championships. 

After winning Olympic gold in 2021, Lydia Jacoby rebounded from missing the 2022 World Championship team by winning bronze in the women’s 100 breast in Fukuoka, also earning a world title as a prelim member of the women’s medley relay.

At the age of 34, and after giving birth in 2022, Ashley Wall (formerly Ashley Twichell) was named to the U.S. Pan Am Games roster in open water, with the Games scheduled for next month.

Fran Crippen Open Water Swimmer of the Year

This award is given to the athlete who had the most outstanding year as an open water swimmer, with an emphasis on the 2023 World Aquatics Championships.  

In addition to qualifying for Paris and winning bronze at Worlds in the 10km, Grimes also won the U.S. National title in the 5km and 10km events earlier in the year.

Mariah Denigan qualified for Worlds and finished 8th in the 10km and 18th in the 5km in Fukuoka.

Both Grimes and Denigan also contested the open water mixed team relay, where the U.S. placed 9th.


The 2023 Golden Goggle Awards will run on Sunday, November 19 at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. – LIVE in Los Angeles. Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. (PT) and dinner and the show will get underway at 7:00 p.m.

You can buy tickets here.

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2 months ago

Considering the U.S. results from the 2023 World Championships, wouldn’t it be more accurate to rebrand it the Silver Goggles Awards? (Asking for an Aussie friend.)

2 months ago

Some of these choices are interesting.

Hunter Armstrong won individual gold and bronze, yet there are 3 swimmers who didn’t win a gold nominated over him for swimmer of the year. His gold also misses a nomination for Race of the Year below two silver medals.

Grimes is nominated for race of the year for her bronze in OW while USA women won 8 silvers in the pool (including Grimes herself) that aren’t nominated. Obviously it’s not just about the colour of the medal but that seems like an interesting choice.

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Our official votes come out tomorrow, but I had the same observation about Hunter.

The common thread among those two is as they relate to the Olympics. USA Swimming, given their propensity to not take critical internal looks, only has one choice: to say 2023 didn’t really matter and the Olympics do. So…that informs both choices.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Yeah I did assume Armstrong’s exclusion was because his gold was in a non-Olympic event.

Looking at the actual swims I can understand Grimes’s OW being nominated over her 400IM silver or King/Smith’s 50 silvers. I still think maybe Smith’s 100 back could have been given a nod though.

Will be interested to see who wins!

2 months ago

How is Abbey Weitzeil missing from Perseverance Award!?!?!?!?!

2 months ago

Breakout: Heilman. Nobody saw it coming and he’s frickin 16 years old.

Coach – Durden on volume

Female Race – Douglas IM. Not bad for somebody who doesn’t like to swim the event

Male Race – Bobby 1500. I know it usually goes to a gold medalist, but those were ehh and the 1500 was frickin awesome

Relay: men’s MR. More than solid across the board. Didn’t see that all coming together. See male swimmer award below

Female swimmer – ledecky. On longevity and you gotta knock off the king (queen)

Male swimmer – going off the board with Nic Fink / Ryan Murphy combo. Great tandem all year long and both stepped up and leadership throughout… Read more »

2 months ago

Maximus Williamson should be eligible for breakout performer of the year.

2 months ago

My favourites:

Breakout: alexy
Coach: aitken
Female race: douglass/ledecky
Male race: finke
Female athlete: KATE DOUGLASS
Male athlete: finke/Murphy
Perseverancia: twichell
Open wáter: grimes
Relay: 4×100 men

My predictions:

Breakout: alexy
Coach: durden/bowman
Female race: ledecky
Male race: finke
Female athlete: ledecky
Male athlete: Murphy
Perseverancia: twichell
Open wáter: grimes
Relay: 4×100 men

Susanna Gibson
2 months ago

I’m a big Katie Grimes fan!

Did you know that she is the YOUNGEST person to make HER SECOND US Olympic team (by virtue of her July 2023 Worlds third place finish in Open Water).

At 17, she was a few months younger than Donna DeVerona who made her second Olympic team in 1964. Go Katie!

Reply to  Susanna Gibson
2 months ago

Being able to qualify one year before the Olympics does help. Example. Amanda Beard. Made 1996 at age 14 and 2000 at age 18. Has trials been one year prior as well and she qualified then, she’d have been 17 as well. Grimes’ accomplishment is great of course, but she has the rarity of qualifying almost a year before anyone else is eligible (at least in pool swimming).

Reply to  LBSWIM
2 months ago

*Had trials (not has trials)

Reply to  LBSWIM
2 months ago

If you’re going from the age when she qualified, then technically she gets a 2 year advantage. There were only 2 years between her first Olympics and when she qualified for the next one.

2 months ago

Breakout: Alexy (HM Heilman)
Coach: Bowman (HM Aitken)
Relay: Mens 400 MR
Female Race: Ledecky (HM Douglass)
Male Race: Finke
Female Athlete: Ledecky (HM Douglass)
Male Athlete: Finke (HM Murphy)
Perseverance: Twichell
Open Water: Grimes

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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