USA Swimming’s annual awards program, the Golden Goggles, was held on Monday evening in New York, with Freestyle superstar Katie Ledecky making some more history.
Ledecky won the women’s Athlete of the Year award for the sixth consecutive year, the most wins in a row by any swimmer in the history of the awards program, which began back in 2004. Only Michael Phelps, with seven, has won the award more times.
However, Ledecky wasn’t the big winner on the night. Olympic Backstroke champ Ryan Murphy (pictured) won the men’s Athlete of the Year, the men’s Race of the Year for his Pan-Pacific Championships victory and was a part of the Relay Performance of the Year, the 4×100 m Medley at the Pan-Pacs, along with Andrew Wilson, Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian.
“I came into tonight totally not expecting that,” said Murphy. “One of the things that I feel like I’ve done over the years is right after I’ve had accomplishments, I’ve kind of looked to what’s next, so it is a little bit interesting to come back here and be able to take a deep breath while we’re in super- hard training and look back on the summer. It’s a really good reminder of why we’re training so hard right now and what the benefits can be. It’s really great to come to an event like this and break up the training and see so many great friends.”
There wasn’t a lot of doubt about the women’s Race of the Year; it had to be Kathleen Baker’s world record swim in the 100 m Backstroke (58.00) at the Phillips 66 National Championships.
The Breakout Performer of the Year trophy went to Michael Andrew, the four-event winner at the Phillips 66 Nationals in the men’s 50 m Freestyle, the 50-100 m Breaststrokes and 50 m Butterfly, all in lifetime best times. The Perseverence Award was given to Micah Sumrall, who came back from a year off to win the U.S. title in the women’s 200 m Breaststroke and won the Pan-Pacific title in the same event.
Greg Meehan, the Stanford coach whose women’s team won the NCAA Championship once again and who was the U.S. women’s coach at the Pan-Pacific Championships, was named Coach of the Year for the second straight season.