There’s More to USA Swimming’s Golden Goggles Gala Than the Awards

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, June 6. THE Golden Goggles event is primarily known for the awards given to the top American swimmers and coaches, but there is much more to the annual event than applauding each year's accomplishments.

The event, set to celebrate its 10th year this November, also raises money for the USA Swimming Foundation. According to the organization, nearly $2 million has been generated from the event, mostly through sales of tables at the event but also through the silent auction. While most of the money goes to fund the flagship program Make a Splash, foundation CEO Debbie Hesse said swimmers and coaches associated with the national team will benefit from the proceeds.

“Last year we spent almost $1 million on our Make a Splash initiative and we also spent ($500,000) supporting the national team by providing support through the Athlete Partnership Agreement and coaches incentive.”

After arriving at the foundation in 2011, Hesse was the driving force behind the silent auction, which she carried over from her work with Special Olympics Indiana. Besides raising money, Hesse said the event is “a fun activity during the event where people are competing against each other to win items.” She said $60,000 was raised through the silent auction in 2012 with the goal of earning more this year.

The foundation is working with sponsors to secure items to present in the Golden Goggles silent auction, but one item Hesse is excited about is an opportunity for up to six swimmers to bid on a weekend at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, working with national team members and getting the chance to stay in the dormitories and dine at the renowned dining hall.

“This is something very few people get to do, unless they make the national team,” Hesse said.

The 10th annual Golden Goggles event will take place November 24 at the JW Marriott at LA Live in Los Angeles. The awards ceremony will feature trophies for winners in eight competitive categories, including Male and Female Athlete of the Year and Breakout Performer of the Year. In 2012, Katie Ledecky (Female Race and Breakout Performer) and Missy Franklin (Relay Performance and Female Athlete) each took home two awards.

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