American swimmer Katie Ledecky has been named the USA Swimming Swimmers of the Year at Saturday evening’s awards banquet at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention. The award has been voted on by the USA Swimming House of Delegates and given since 1981 – and is different than the equivalent Golden Goggles award. Only one award is given, rather than one to each gender.
For Ledecky, this is a 5th win: she won from 2013-2016, before Caeleb Dressel broke her streak last season. That ties her with Michael Phelps for the most times being named the recipient of this award. No other female swimmer has won the award more than twice, and Ledecky’s win makes 15 female winners in 39 years of the award.
In the 2017-2018 season, Ledecky won 5 medals at USA Swimming’s ‘Operation Gold’ meet – the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. She won gold in the 400, 800, and 1500 meter freesyles, silver in the 800 free relay, and bronze in the 200 free individually. En route to the big championship meets at the end of the summer, she started her pro career with a World Record in the 1500 free at the PSS-Indianapolis meet: the first swim of her professional career. That helped carry her to an overall series win in the Pro Swim Series standings, which included a $10,000 bonus and year-long lease of a BMW.
Collegiately, she won NCAA Championships in the 500 and 1650 yard freestyles and was 2nd in the 400 IM behind teammate Ella Eastin. She set the American Record in the 400 IM at the Pac-12 Championships, and also broke the American Record in the 1650 free mid-season. Her Stanford team won their 2nd-straight NCAA team championship as well.
Other 2018 Winners:
- Make a Splash Hero Award: Rowdy Gaines
- Safe Sport Impact Award: CeCi Christy
- Open Water Achievement Award: World Junior Open Water Championships Team
- Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year Award: Haley Anderson (Trojan Swim Club)
- Fran Crippen Memorial Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year Award: Jordan Wilimovsky (Team Santa Monica)
- Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award: Mary Jo Swalley
- Disabled Swimming Service Award: Linda Conger
- James (Jimi) Raymond Flowers Coach of the Year Award: Andrew Barranco
- Trisha L. Zorn Award (Athlete of the Year): Rebecca Meyers (North Baltimore Aquatic Club)
- Diversity & Inclusion Award: Rob Green (PVS D&I Chair, DC Parks and Recreation)
- Kenneth J. Pettigrew Award: Jay Thomas
- Developmental Coach of the Year Award: John Morse and Doug Wharam (Nashville Aquatic Club)
- Athletes’ Appreciation Award: Elaine Cox
- Athlete Distinguished Service Award: Van Donkersgoed
- Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award: Kathleen Baker (Team Elite/California Aquatics)