SwimSwam’s Official 2020 Swammy Awards Index

2020 was a year unlike any other in the lifetimes of most reading this. It was a ‘precipice year,’ where a number of generational-type issues came to a point simultaneously.

What was supposed to be a year where the world’s greatest athletes would assemble in Tokyo for the world’s largest gathering at the 2020 Olympic Games instead became a year where athletes were struggling to find places to train, and where all of us were more isolated than ever.

The end of the year provided a light, though, in the form of the International Swimming League season, where many of the world’s top swimmers were able to travel to Budapest and live in their ‘bubble’ free from many of the stresses over when and where to find pool time to train and race that existed to the outside world.

So how do we approach this year’s awards, where most of the world was without competition for at least 4 months, where much of the world was without training for at least as long, where there was some semblance of a “world’s-best” event, but with enough names absent (some by their choice, some by the choice of others) to not make it definitive?

Our approach this year was to try and view the season holistically. ISL wins mattered, but because of the nature of that event, we tried not to let them diminish the accomplishments done at other meets. We also made sure to look back to before quarantines, when coronavirus was still just another doomsday headline in a world where the ‘big one’ seems forever just around the corner. It seems like forever ago, but there were some big swims done in the early part of this year, when athletes still thought they were building to a mid-summer Olympics.

There is always some disagreement about these awards – their subjective nature invites that difference of opinion. We found that this year, some awards became more clear-cut because of the disruptions, while others became almost-impossible to decipher. In a year where the world was ready to declare “only long course matters in an Olympic season,” suddenly short course was grabbing most of the headlines.

But on another level, it was a fun challenge. In a year where it’s easy to throw up our hands and say “what a lost year it was,” quite a lot happened. World Records were set in at least 10 events, European Records were set in 8 events, Asian Records were set in 11 events, and American Records were set in at least 23 events. An Olympics delayed turned into an opportunity for swimmers like Claire Curzan and Torri Huske, who now appear on the verge of making their Olympic debuts 3 seasons earlier than anticipated.

One thing is for sure: 2020 isn’t a year that will soon be forgotten.

Read on to see who made the best of a really hard year.

See the 2019 Swammy Awards winners full list here.

CATEGORY AWARD WINNER
International Swimmers of the Year Male Swimmer of the Year Caeleb Dressel
Female Swimmer of the Year Kaylee McKeown
Breakout Female Swimmer of the Year Kasia Wasick
Breakout Male Swimmer of the Year Emre Sakci
African Male Swimmer of the Year Mohamed Samy
African Female Swimmer of the Year Tatjana Schoenmaker
Asian Male Swimmer of the Year Kosuke Hagino
Asian Female Swimmer of the Year Siobhan Haughey
Canadian Male Swimmer of the Year Finlay Knox
Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year Sydney Pickrem
Central America/Caribbean Male Swimmer of the Year Dylan Carter
Central American/Caribbean Female Swimmer of the Year Alia Atkinson
European Male Swimmer of the Year Ilya Shymanovich
European Female Swimmer of the Year Beryl Gastaldello
Oceanian Male Swimmer of the Year Matt Wilson
Oceanian Female Swimmer of the Year Kaylee McKeown
South American Male Swimmer of the Year Nicholas Santos
South American Female Swimmer of the Year Julia Sebastian
U.S. Male Swimmer of the Year Caeleb Dressel
U.S. Female Swimmer of the Year Lilly King
World Junior Male Swimmer of the Year Andrei Minakov
World Junior Female Swimmer of the Year Benedetta Pilato
Open Water Male Swimmer of the Year Marc-Antoine Olivier
Open Water Female Swimmer of the Year Anastasia Kirpichnikova
International Coaches of Year Africa
Asia Norimasa Hirai
Britain Dave McNulty
Canada Tom Johnson
Europe
Oceania Chris Mooney
US Ray Looze
U.S. Awards NCAA Male Swimmer of the Year Shaine Casas, Texas A&M University
NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year Erika Brown, University of Tennessee
NCAA Men’s Coach of the Year Anthony Nesty, University of Florida
NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year Todd DeSorbo, University of Virginia
High School Team of the Year Carmel High School boys
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 10&Under Lexi Sereno and Spencer Bilbot
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 11-12 Kayla Han and Sam Marsteiner
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 13-14 Erika Pelaez and Thomas Heilman
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 15-16 Claire Curzan and Liam Custer
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 17-18 Regan Smith and Josh Matheny
U.S. Club Coach of the Year Bruce Marchionda, TAC Titans
Other Awards Top 10 Swims of the Year
Viral Video of the Year Silvia Solymosyova
Heart of a Champion Rikako Ikee
National Development Award Turkey

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Daniel Jablonski
4 months ago

male swimmer of the year: obviously, our lord and savior dean farris
with runner up going to dressel, can’t forget

Last edited 4 months ago by Daniel Jablonski
Jigglypuff
Reply to  Daniel Jablonski
4 months ago

why do they even call it male swimmer of the year? It should just be the Dean Farris award

iLikePsych
4 months ago

Since I’ll be wondering everyday: who is the main swimmer in the image for this article? I keep thinking Pebley but he wasn’t on the Condors

KimJongSpoon
Reply to  iLikePsych
4 months ago

It’s Coleman Stewart

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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