BERLIN, Germany, December 30. THERE was no surprise when it was announced tonight that Thomas Rupprath was named Germany's male Swimmer of the Year in a poll conducted by the German Swimming Federation (DSV). But there was a great deal of surprise when it was learned that Antje Buschschulte had beaten out Deutschland's Darling, Franziska van Almsick, for female Swimmer of the Year honors.
Just last week, van Almsick was named Germany's Athlete of the Year by that country's sportswriters. In 2002, she won five gold medals at the European Championships, set a world record in the 200m freestyle (1:56.64) and anchored Germany's world record-setting 4x100m freestyle relay team (3:36.00).
The 26-year-old Rupprath, who has been on the world record trail this year – he holds the 50 and 100 meter backstroke and the 100m butterfly short course global marks – easily won the award for the fourth time with 718 points ahead Stev Theloke (374) and Jens Kruppa (337).
The 24-year-old backstroker Buschshulte, who won a gold as a member of the women's 4x100m medley relay team that set a European record of 4:01.54 in Berlin last August, won two dorsal short course European titles in the 50 and 100 meters two weeks ago in Riesa, while van Almsick passed on the meet.
Buschschulte amassed 383 points to beat Franzi (325) and Petra Dallmann (243).