PHOENIX, Arizona, November 29. THE unveiling of the World Swimmers of the Year is just two days away. Today, Swimming World names the 2009 American Swimmers of the Year, as seen in our December issue.
With Ous Mellouli and Cameron van der Burgh sharing the Male African Swimmer of the Year title, this is the first year Swimming World has had a pair of ties as Ariana Kukors and Rebecca Soni share the Female American Swimmer of the Year title. While Soni seemed like a shoo-in for the award, the voting panel could not look past Kukors' amazing 200 IM (2:06.15) at the World Championships this year, leading to some difficult choices for the panelists.
Top Five Female American Swimmers of the Year
t1. ARIANA KUKORS, USA
t1. REBECCA SONI, USA
3. Annamay Pierse, Canada
4. Jessica Hardy, USA
5. Allison Schmitt, USA
In one of the bigger landslide victories in this year's voting, Michael Phelps won his eighth Male American Swimmer of the Year title – easily a record within the award's history. You have to look to the women's side to see anyone who is even close as Janet Evans won the female honor five straight times from 1987-91. Her five-year streak, however, is one of the few records Phelps doesn't own in the sport. Phelps now has a pair of four-year streaks with wins in 2001-04 and 2006-09, but Aaron Peirsol broke up the party with a 2005 triumph.
Top Five Male American Swimmers of the Year
1. MICHAEL PHELPS, USA
2. Cesar Cielo, Brazil
3. Ryan Lochte, USA
4. Aaron Peirsol, USA
t5. Ryan Cochrane, Canada
t5. Eric Shanteau, USA
Announcements So Far:
Nov. 22. Divers of the Year: China's Guo Jingjing, Qin Kai. Story
Nov. 23. Water Polo Players of the Year. U.S. Betsey Armstrong, Serbia's Andrija Prlainovic. Story
Nov. 24. Synchronized Swimmer of the Year: Russia's Natalia Ishchenko. Story
Nov. 25. Open Water Swimmers of the Year. Germany's Thomas Lurz, Great Britain's Keri-Anne Payne. Story
Nov. 26. African Swimmers of the Year. Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry, Tunisia's Ous Mellouli, South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh. Story
Nov. 27. Pacific Rim Swimmers of the Year. Australia's Jessicah Schipper, China's Zhang Lin. Story
Nov. 28. European Swimmers of the Year. Italy's Federica Pellegrini, Germany's Paul Biedermann. Story