PHOENIX, Arizona, September 16. THE United States Aquatic Sports Convention brought the best from the four aquatic sports together to make new rules, set goals for the next year and honor remarkable people in their respective sports. USA Swimming enacted some new rules that forbid personal relationships between swimmers and coaches, and allowed its Safe Sport program to also investigate sexual abuse by a minor athlete against another minor. Also approved by the House of Delegates was a law to raise annual dues by two dollars every year for the next 10 years. By my calculations, that means USA Swimming’s annual fee will be $70 in 2023.
On some brighter news, Katie Ledecky was twice recognized for her great performances this summer with the Performance Award and Athlete of the Year honor. These awards are separate from the Golden Goggles awards, which are voted in large part by the public and handed out at a special ceremony in November.
United States Masters Swimming doesn’t name an athlete of the year, but they do have a coach of the year award, and that went to Whitney Hedegpeth of Longhorn Aquatics. Swimming fans should know that name well. Hedegpeth was a two-time Olympian in 1988 and 1996, winning two silver medals in the backstroke events at the Atlanta Olympics. She’s now in charge of a big team at her alma mater, the University of Texas, a team that includes a few world record holders.
USA Synchro named its athlete of the year, and it’s Olivia Morgan of Stanford University. Morgan, who just completed her athletic eligibility at Stanford, was key in helping the Americans win bronze at the World University Games, which was the only team medal USA Synchro was able to celebrate this year.
Last year at the Japanese Sports Festival, Akihiro Yamaguchi set the world record in the men’s 200 breaststroke with a 2:07.01. No world or national records fell this year, as the meet served to be a chance for some of the country’s stars to get in some racing experience. Aya Terakawa, the bronze medalist in the 100 back at the Olympics and world championships, put up a 59.54 in the 100 back, which is less than a second off her best of the year. Kosuke Kitajima won the 100 breast with a 1:00.51, and it looks like the breaststroke legend will have to contend with only one swim under 1:00 this year, that being done at the world championships. Kosuke Hagino wasn’t on top form this weekend, but after a heavy schedule at the world championships, Hagino looks to be working back into shape for next year’s Pan Pacific championships and the opportunity to make good on the goals he had this year.