USA Swimming’s annual gala event and awards ceremony took place on Sunday, November 24th at the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, California. At the event, the organization’s major annual awards are given out, as decided by a panel of voters (including consideration for a public vote).
To see all of the nominees, click here.
Breakout Performer of the Year
2013 was Chase’s year – he kicked it off in March with an NCAA title as a freshman in the 400 IM. In the first post-Phelps year, he jumped on the opening the 400 IM and qualified for World Championships. Then Kalisz went on to win the silver in Barcelona this summer, solidifying himself as USA’s next great IM swimmer.
2012 was primed to be a great year for Romano, but unforatuntly as many athletes face, she missed out on an Olympic berth. She returned back in 2013 and has never looked better. After leading Georgia to an NCAA title in March, she qualified for Barcelona on the relay to then thrown down and earn herself the title of “the person you don’t want to face on the end of a relay”. She capped off the comeback summer with gold at World in both the 400 freestyle and medley relays.
Coach of the Year
Bruce Gemmell (NCAP)
Yes, he’s only and Katie Ledecky for a year but she had the best year a distance swimmer has ever had. He gave her invaluable race strategy that propelled her to set two new world records, 800m & 1500m freestyle, plus a new American record, 400m. Ledecky wasn’t his only success, either (his son Andrew Gemmell onto the World Championship team in OW).
Relay Performance of the Year
Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay – Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin, Shannon Vreeland & Megan Romano
When Megan Romano ran down Australia’s team leader Alicia Coutts on the anchor leg of the 400 free relay in Barcelona, it was incredible and amazing. It was the jumping up and down kind of finish that swimming needs more of for us fans. Not to mention, it was a new American Record – the only relay record at the meet.
Female Race of the Year
Who could argue with that? Ledecky won for her performance in the 1500m freestyle at Worlds this past summer in Barcelona. Not only did she set a new world record in this race, she did so by 6 seconds. No brainer.
Male Race of the Year
While his presence may be missing at Golden Goggles due to his injury, his talents are not unnoticed. Lochte won tonight for his dominating win at Worlds in the 200 IM. He was against a dominant and diverse field of swimmer, while criticized for being distracted all season, he remained calm and won by over a second and basically the same time from London.
Female Athlete of the Year
She was a fresh faced rookie at London and returned back in 2013 to win 4 golds and broke two World Records in just four races at the World Championships in Barcelona. Only four women have held an 800 or 1500 free long course World Record in the last 25 years: Janet Evans, Rebecca Adlington, Kate Ziegler, and Ledecky. Ledecky now holds them both; that’s special, as is she.
Male Athlete of the Year
Lochte is the champion of American men’s swimming right now. Even with the reality show, the sponsor commitments, and the partying, Lochte was responsible (in whole or as part of a relay) for three of the United States’ 4 gold medals on the men’s side when he won the 200 IM, the 200 back, and was part of the 800 free relay. Now we wish him the best on a speedy recovery back to the pool!