Two swimmers have been nominated for Laureus Sport Awards across 8 categories announced today. Both Americans, Katie Ledecky was nominated for Sportswoman of the Year, while Caeleb Dressel has received a nomination for the co-gendered World Breakthrough of the Year.
The nominees for the World Sport Awards are voted upon by the world’s media (including this author), and the awards have been given out every year since 2000.
Ledecky has been nominated for Sportswoman of the Year in each of the last 3 years. In 2017, she won 5 gold and 1 silver medal at the FINA World Aquatics Championship: the year’s major swimming event. The silver in the 200 free was her first-ever loss in a major international meet in her career, which began at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
“I wish to thank the world’s media and Laureus for the honor of this nomination,” Ledecky said. “It was a great privilege for me to compete this year for both Team USA and Stanford University. I have great admiration for the Laureus Foundation and all of its ambassadors for the work they do around the world. I also wish to offer my congratulations and best wishes to all of the nominees, with special congratulations to my fellow Team USA swimmer Caeleb Dressel for his nomination in the Breakthrough of the Year Category.”
She added to those World Championships success in her first season of collegiate swimming, where she set 12 NCAA Records, 9 American Records, 3 individual NCAA titles, and 2 NCAA relay titles. She was named the 2017 Swammy Award winner for NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year and American Female Swimmer of the Year.
Dressel, meanwhile, also had a breakthrough at his first World Championships, where he came away as the undisputed king-of-the-podium after winning 7 gold medals in 8 events (although 2 were in mixed relays). By himself, he would’ve finished 4th on the national medal table, ahead of France and Great Britain. His highlight swim swam a 49.86 in the 100 fly final to become the first swimmer to go sub-50 seconds in a textile suit.
“To achieve what I did in Budapest was an amazing experience and I thank the world’s media for nominating me for a Laureus Award,” Dressel said. “It’s a great honour to think that I am now associated with two giants of swimming – Laureus Academy Member Mark Spitz who changed the whole face of swimming back in 1972 and Laureus Award Winner Michael Phelps who has set the standard for the rest of us swimmers going forward. This is such an exciting moment. Thank you.”
He too had a standout NCAA season, where he broke the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records in the 100-yard fly (43.58) and 100-yard free (40.00). He took home 3 individual Swammy Awards in 2017: NCAA Male, Americn Male, and world Male Swimmer of the Year.
Only 1 swimmer, Missy Franklin in 2014, has ever been named Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year. Usain Bolt took the award after Phelps’ record-setting 8-gold medal haul at the 2008 Olympics. Phelps has been nominated 5 times for Sportsman of the Year, and swimmers a total of 8 times. Ledecky’s 2018 nomination is the 12th for a female swimmer – with just a single win in 2014.
The full nominees list for the 8 primary awards: