SwimSwam’s Official 2021 Swammy Awards Index

After the difficult year that was 2020, things returned to some form of normalcy in 2021.

We made up for what was lost last year, headlined by the Tokyo Olympic Games, but this year really had a bit of everything. We had the first NCAA Championship meets in two years, various national Olympic Trials, both the SC and LC European Championships, and things wrapped up with the recently-concluded Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

We also were kept entertained in the months between the Olympics and SC Worlds, with Season 3 of the International Swimming League (ISL) featuring the majority of the best professional swimmers in the world racing head-to-head week in and week out.

The year served as a changing of the guard of sorts, with several veteran swimmers, likely anticipating retirement after the 2020 Games, surpassed by the next generation. The one-year Olympic postponement forced the older athletes to grind through one more year of training, while the younger swimmers came in with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Now that 2021 is coming to a close, it’s time for our annual Swammy Awards to be handed out. We’ll keep track of all of our winners below.

See the full 2020 Swammy Awards winners list here.

CATEGORY AWARD WINNER
International Swimmers of the Year Male Swimmer of the Year Caeleb Dressel
Female Swimmer of the Year Emma McKeon
Breakout Female Swimmer of the Year Lydia Jacoby
Breakout Male Swimmer of the Year Bobby Finke
African Male Swimmer of the Year Ahmed Hafnaoui
African Female Swimmer of the Year Tatjana Schoenmaker
Asian Male Swimmer of the Year Wang Shun
Asian Female Swimmer of the Year Siobhan Haughey
Canadian Male Swimmer of the Year Joshua Liendo
Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year Maggie MacNeil
Central America/Caribbean Male Swimmer of the Year Dylan Carter
Central American/Caribbean Female Swimmer of the Year Joanna Evans
European Male Swimmer of the Year Evgeny Rylov
European Female Swimmer of the Year Sarah Sjostrom
Oceanian Male Swimmer of the Year Zac Stubblety-Cook
Oceanian Female Swimmer of the Year Emma McKeon
South American Male Swimmer of the Year Bruno Fratus
South American Female Swimmer of the Year Viviane Jungblut
U.S. Male Swimmer of the Year Caeleb Dressel
U.S. Female Swimmer of the Year Katie Ledecky
World Junior Male Swimmer of the Year Hwang Sunwoo
World Junior Female Swimmer of the Year Lydia Jacoby
Open Water Male Swimmer of the Year Florian Wellbrock
Open Water Female Swimmer of the Year Ana Marcela Cunha
International Coaches of Year Africa Rocco Meiring
Asia Norimasa Hirai
Britain Dave McNulty
Canada Ben Titley
Europe Tom Rushton
Oceania Dean Boxall
US Todd DeSorbo
U.S. Awards NCAA Male Swimmer of the Year Shaine Casas
NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year Maggie MacNeil
NCAA Men’s Coach of the Year Eddie Reese
NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year Todd DeSorbo
High School Team of the Year Bolles School Boys
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 10&Under Delaney O’Toole & Reef McMeeking
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 11-12 Kayla Han & Joey Campagnola
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 13-14 Teagan O’Dell & Thomas Heilman
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 15-16 Claire Curzan & Daniel Diehl
Age Group Swimmers of the Year 17-18 Torri Huske & Baylor Nelson
U.S. Club Coach of the Year Ron Aitken
Other Awards Top 10 Swims of the Year
Viral Video of the Year Dean Boxall
Heart of a Champion Rikako Ikee
National Development Award Italy

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Tony
11 months ago

Caeleb Dressel was 100% certain to be Male Swimmer of the Year.
Emma McKeon was 90% certain to be Female Swimmer of the Year.
As for national/regional: It’s tough to be an American male or female swimmer, or an Aussie female swimmer; there are so many great ones.

Sub13
Reply to  Tony
11 months ago

Who else could female possibly go to? I guess Kaylee got an individual WR compared to Emma’s relay WR, but Emma got 3 more medals including an additional gold. I guess you could also make the case for Titmus just because Ledecky was so dominant before Titmus came along. But they’re really the only 3 it could possibly be, and I can’t see it going to anyone but Emma.

Tony
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Yes, all three are tied with 2 individual golds in Tokyo, but Kaylee’s individual WR is worth the 10% of uncertainty.

Sub13
Reply to  Tony
10 months ago

Emma has a relay world record plus three more medals and an extra gold, plus the second fastest individual swim ever. I can’t see one WR being better than all the extra Emma has.

jamesjabc
11 months ago

Thank God Dressel finally gets to be the main picture on an article. I feel like he hasn’t been the cover photo at all this year.

REL
11 months ago

Would Summer McIntosh qualify to be Age Group Swimmer of the Year 13-14 (including 4th place at the Olympics) and Age Group Swimmer of the Year 15-16 (including SCM World Championship individual silver and relay gold and lots of wins in the ISL)?

Noah
Reply to  REL
11 months ago

Yes, but I think its US swimmers.

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
11 months ago

sun yang will win heart of a champion in 2024 mark my words

Last edited 11 months ago by McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Taa
11 months ago

Heart of a champion Rikako Ikee

Katie
11 months ago

I can’t imagine who could win the male age group 13-14 swimmer of the year. Hmmm. Real head scratcher. Too bad there weren’t any 13-14 male NAGs broken recently!

Last edited 11 months ago by Katie
Taa
Reply to  Katie
11 months ago

I believe that kid is really 19 and was held back a few times in his early school years

Sub13
11 months ago

Ok let’s guess

Male swimmer of the year: Dressel
Female swimmer of the year: McKeon
Breakout male: Hafnauoi
Breakout female: Jacoby (I would go with O’Callaghan but Jacoby will get it because she’s American)
African male: Sates
African female: Schoenmaker
Asian male: Wang Shun
Asian female: Just based on Olympics it should be Yufei but Haughey had a great Olympics plus a dominant year overall with an individual WR so I’m going with her
Canadian male: Liendo (already announced before I made this list)
Canadian female: MacNeil (not even close really, she was the best female Olympian apparently lol)
Central America/Caribbean male: Carter
Central America/Caribbean female: Atkinson
European… Read more »

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Jacoby will get it because she won individual gold not because she’s American.

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

I don’t think you’re automatically the breakout star because you win one individual gold. She didn’t break any records. Mollie had more golds than her, more overall medals than her and broke the WJR. Jacoby also swam slower than Schoenmaker’s heat swim and is pretty lucky she wasn’t able to repeat it.

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Mollie got her golds by swimming prelims and Jacoby’s 100 breast (#7 alltime) was still a comparatively better swim than Mollie’s 200 free WJR (#20 alltime) it’s just that the WJR in 100 breast is quite a bit stronger than in 200 free and used to even be the WR.

Aussie
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

The only reason mollie only swam the heats is because Australia really f***ed up and didn’t race Leah Neale at all until the 4 x 200 final. You can’t take someone to the Olympics and not race them so despite Mollie’s WJR she was left of the team. Who knows if she had of swam then maybe the team would have done better than bronze. I think they will choose Jacoby cause of the gold and story line but the facts are she was bloody lucky Schoenberg and King weren’t at their best.

Njones
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

While Maggie does deserve the 🇨🇦 nod, Masse must get some consideration. She won 5 Ind 🥈🥈🥈🥈🥈 in EVERY Olympic and WC Backstroke race this year. While Penny and Taylor and Maggie have been the superstars of the 🇨🇦 teams in respective years, and deservedly so, Masse has been an absolute rock racing to the podium in every single Championship meet the past 6 years except 2018 SC Worlds where she wasn’t there. One of the greats…!

Sub13
Reply to  Njones
11 months ago

Totally agree. If Maggie had not won Canada’s only Olympic gold then I would be minded to give this to Masse instead. Or if Masse had won either of the back events I would probably have given it to her over Maggie as well.

But great for Canada that they have so many strong female swimmers that it’s hard to choose the best one!

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Junior male surely Popovici or Sun-woo. 47 mid and 1:44s in the big pool in the Olympics trumps Sates’ short course feats. No one else has been both sub-47.6 and sub-1:45 in textile, not Phelps, Agnel or PVDH, until these two did.

Fraser Thorpe

Ohashi won 2 individual golds – she’s being overlooked for Asian female. Haughey is very flashy and had a great isl and sc worlds, but still, 2 x individual golds at the biggest meet of the year is a pretty good argument.

mcintosh vs grimes
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Jacoby gets it cos she won an INDIVIDUAL OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL AGAINST LILLY KING AND SCHOENMAKER

Robbos
Reply to  mcintosh vs grimes
11 months ago

Hard to argue against a gold medal winner from Alaska.

Sub13
Reply to  Robbos
11 months ago

The whole small town Alaska shtick doesn’t mean anything anywhere else. Trying to frame any American as an underdog when they outspend every other country on swimming 1000 to 1 is a bit ridiculous.

Admin
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

USA Swimming spent $40.5 million in 2019. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Swimming Australia 29 million AUS, or about $21 million USD.

While that’s a fairly simplistic look, because there are other parts of “swimming,” I’d need to see a pretty compelling case to support 1000 to 1.

Swimming Australia outspends the US on swimming….per capita ;-).

Troyy
Reply to  Braden Keith
11 months ago

Now tally up the cost of all those college swimming teams.

Sub13
Reply to  Braden Keith
11 months ago

Ok, 1000-1 was hyperbole. But my point that the US spends more money and invests more resources into swimming than any other nation (and it’s not even close) is absolutely correct, and I’m sure you know it is.

The vast majority of money spent on swimming does not come from USA Swimming. How much money are all of the scholarships in the entire NCAA worth? How much money is the combined salary/remuneration/sponsorship of every coach, swimmer and swim related staff member in the USA? How much money is spent on maintenance of equipment and facilities? According to the association of Pool and Spa Professionals (lol that that’s a thing) there are about 309,000 public swimming pools in the USA. Australia… Read more »

Tony
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

The USA also provides massive opportunities for tons of non-Americans to train in the USA. Who else does that? Nobody. Give the USA its due respect.

Sub13
Reply to  Tony
10 months ago

We’re talking about funding for swimming. I’m not sure how what you’re saying is relevant to what I wrote?

And of course no surprises that Braden ignored it lol

Old Bruin
Reply to  Sub13
10 months ago

Wow, this is very interesting. I feel like there is a term paper in here dying to get out. Or at least a longer Swim Swam article! Just needs some references and you’re in business. Braden? You might have a new stringer here.

Big Mac #1
11 months ago

Heilman gets his age group. Maybe Iylla karun or whatever. Kayla han. Huske of curzan. Baylor Nelson.
Male swimmer of the year: Dressel
Female swimmer of the year: mcKeon
Breakout male: sates, Finke or Hafnaoui, dark horses zac s-c, popovici, he’s going sunwoo
Breakout female: Lydia jacoby
African male: le clos but more likely sates or hafnaoui
African female: schoenmaker
Asian male: sun woo, seto, wang shun
Asian female: haughy, possibly yufuei or ohashi
Canadian male: Liendo, hayden
Canadian female: MacNeil, Macintosh
Central America/Caribbean male: Carter
Central America/Caribbean female: Atkinson
European male: milak, kamminga, peaty, rylov, wellbrock,
European female: sjostrom, chikinova
Oceanian male: charmers, zac… Read more »

Noah
Reply to  Big Mac #1
11 months ago

No to a good amount of these..

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Noah
11 months ago

Which ones?

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Big Mac #1
11 months ago

I got liendo right

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Big Mac #1
11 months ago

Idk on coaches of the year except maybe nesty
NCAA Male Swimmer of the Year: hoffer, casas, finke
NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year: MacNeil
NCAA Men’s Coach of the Year: reese, nesty
NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year : desorbo
High School Team of the year: idk, Ann Arbor pioneer?

Rafael
Reply to  Big Mac #1
11 months ago

Is cunha eligible for SA female ?

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Rafael
11 months ago

She is the clear pick if she is but idk

Admin
Reply to  Rafael
11 months ago

For regional awards, we focus on pool swimmers – unless someone did both, then the OW success counts as a bonus for them.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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