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.
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:
BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
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.
COACH OF THE YEAR
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.
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 Smith, Lilly King, Gretchen 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.
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.
WHERE & WHEN
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.