Kate Douglass And Jordan Crooks Advance To Finalist Standing For James E. Sullivan Award

Swimmers Kate Douglass and Jordan Crooks have both been named finalists for the 2023 AAU James E. Sullivan Award, an award that is given to the top “amateur” athlete in the United States every year—usually, collegiate athletes or athletes who play sports that peak in an Olympic year. This year marks the 93rd year that the AAU Sullivan award has been presented.

Douglass and Crooks were 2 out of the 24 semi-finalists nominated for this award, and both advanced to finalist standing based on results from the public vote. In total, six semi-finalists were named finalists. The winner of the AAU Sullivan Award will be announced on September 19, 2023, at the New York Athletic Club, which is the birthplace of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union).

Winners of the AAU Sullivan Award are determined by a combination of public votes, votes from national media members, former AAU members, and past winners.

Other finalists for this award include Iowa women’s basketball player Caitlin Clark, LSU baseball player Dylan Crews, Purdue men’s basketball player Zach Edey, and UCLA women’s gymnast Jordan Chiles.

List Of Finalists:

  • Kate Douglass, Swimming—Douglass recently had one of the greatest NCAA Championship performances ever, where she won three individual titles and broke three NCAA records. She also just won six long course World Championship medals, which include an individual world title in the 200 IM and a silver medal in the 200 breast. At the 2022 Short Course World Championships, she won gold in both the 200 IM and 200 breast.
  • Jordan Crooks, Swimming—Crooks is an NCAA champion in the 50 free, as well as an SEC champion in the 50 and 100 free. He swam a best time of 17.93 in the 50 free at SECs, which made him the second swimmer to ever go under 18 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. He also recently set massive personal bests in the 50 and 100 free at the 2023 World Championships, reaching the final in both events. At the 2022 Short Course World Championship, he won gold in the 50 free, which was the Cayman Islands’ first-ever World Championships swimming medal. Crooks has dual citizenship for the Cayman Islands and the United States.
  • Dylan Crews, Baseball—As an outfielder for the LSU baseball team, Crews helped the Tigers to a National Championship in 2023. He is a 2023 First-Team All-American, was named the SEC Player of The Year and SEC Male Athlete of The Year, and was also the winner of the 2023 Golden Spikes Award which is given to the best amateur baseball player in the year. In addition, he was also third in the NCAA for batting average and second in the NCAA for hits during the 2023 season. He was drafted second overall by the Washington Nationals in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft.
  • Caitlin Clark, Basketball—Clark led Iowa to the 2023 National Championship game and posted a 40-point triple-double in both the Elite Eight and Final Four rounds of the NCAA Tournament. In addition, she also broke the NCAA Tournament scoring record by recording 191 total points. For her performances, she swept all five “Player Of The Year” awards in women’s basketball and also won both the 2023 Honda Cup and the 2023 ESPY “Best Female Collegiate Athlete” Award.
  • Jordan Chiles, Gymnastics—Chiles was the 2023 NCAA Champion in both uneven bars and floor exercise and was named the 2023 Women’s Gymnast of the Year by gymnastics news outlet Gymnastics Now. She is also a 2022 World Championships silver medalist in vault and floor exercise, as well as a 2020 Olympic silver medalist.
  • Zach Edey, Basketball—Edey led the NCAA in double-doubles for the 2022-23 season, swept all six major “Player Of The Year” awards in men’s basketball, and was a nominee for the 2023 ESPY “Best Male Collegiate Athlete” Award. He helped Purdue to a 2023 Big Ten Tournament title.

Notable prior winners of the AAU Sullivan Award include Michael Phelps (swimming), Caeleb Dressel (swimming), Peyton Manning (football), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), and Simone Biles (gymnastics). Last year, Carissa Moore became the first surfer to win this award. In total, 13 different swimmers have won this award in the past.

Past AAU Sullivan Award Winners, Swimmers

  • 1944: Ann Curtis
  • 1964: Don Schollander
  • 1968: Debbie Meyer
  • 1970: John Kinsella
  • 1971: Mark Spitz
  • 1975: Tim Shaw
  • 1977: John Naber
  • 1978: Tracy Caulkins
  • 1989: Janet Evans
  • 2003: Michael Phelps
  • 2006: Jessica Long
  • 2012: Missy Franklin
  • 2021: Caeleb Dressel (co-recipient with gymnastics’ Simone Biles)

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6 months ago

FIVE swimmers in the 70s. Golden decade.

Christopher DeBari
6 months ago

That’s great to hear! I like them both but what Kate has accomplished is the best of the best when it comes to NCAA swimming. Top 3 greatest female NCAA swimmer ever.

That said, gymnastics is a brutally demanding sport as well, and Chiles has made her mark. I wont take anything away from the other sports because I respect them, but the swimmers and gymnasts are the most hardcore athletes IMO.

My vote goes to Kate.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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