BEVERLY HILLS, California, November 19. THE USA Swimming Foundation honored the best of its best at the third-annual Golden Goggle awards held in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday night. Nearly 100 Olympians attended the awards gala that celebrated USA Swimming's elite from the past year.
Without further ado, here are this year's winners:
Male Athlete of the Year:
Brendan Hansen grabbed the Male Athlete of the Year honor in his second nomination for the award. Hansen set three world records this summer, two of them in the 200-meter breaststroke. He also was a triple gold medalist at Pan Pacs.
Michael Phelps, one nominee, won six medals – five of them gold – and set three world records at Pan Pacs. He also won six national titles. Aaron Peirsol, the other nominee, was a triple gold medalist at Pan Pacs. He also lowered his own world record in the 200-meter back.
Female Athlete of the Year:
Katie Hoff earned her second Female Athlete of the Year award at the Golden Goggle ceremonies. Hoff set the American record in the 200-meter IM at Nationals and won two national titles. She also won five medals – three of them gold – at Pan Pacs.
Other nominees included Natalie Coughlin and Kate Ziegler. Coughlin won six medals – four of them gold – at Pan Pacs, including an individual gold medal in the 100-meter free. Meanwhile, Ziegler finished the season as a double gold medalist in the 800-meter and 1500-meter free at Pan Pacs. She also won the 400-meter free at nationals.
Male Performance of the Year:
Michael Phelps' 200-meter IM swim earned the Male Performance of the Year kudo. That effort broke Phelps' three-year-old world record by one-tenth and won the gold medal at Pan Pacifics.
Three other swims earned a nod in the category. Aaron Peirsol broke his own world record in the 200-meter backstroke, the fourth time in a row that he's lowered the mark in this event. Meanwhile, Phelps clocked his best time in the 200-meter butterfly since setting the world record in 2003 to lower his own mark by 13-hundredths. Additionally, Brendan Hansen lowered his own 15-day-old world record in the 200-meter breaststroke by 24-hundredths, giving him five of the top 10 times in history.
Female Performance of the Year:
Whitney Myers claimed the Female Performance of the Year laurel with her 200-meter IM at Pan Pacs. She was under world-record pace through the 150-meter mark, and missed American record by just six-hundredths.
Amanda Weir and Kate Ziegler were the other two nominees. Weir set the American record and won the 100-meter free at Nationals when she posted the fourth-fastest time in history, while Ziegler was a gold medalist in the 1500-meter free at Pan Pacs. She became just the second woman in history to swim 1500-meter free in under 16 minutes
Relay Performance of the Year:
The 400-meter freestyle relay team of Michael Phelps, Neil Walker, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak that set the world record at Pan Pacifics won the Relay Performance of the Year. Its effort marked the first time the United States has held the world mark in this relay since 1995.
The 800-meter free relay team of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller that set the American record for the third straight year, and the 400-meter free relay contingent of Amanda Weir, Natalie Coughlin, Kara Lynn Joyce and Lacey Nymeyer that shattered the American record by almost six-tenths of a second at Pan Pacifics also picked up nominations.
Coach of the Year:
Bob Bowman overcame a star-studded cast of brilliant coaches for the Coach of the Year accolade. Bowman placed seven Club Wolverine swimmers on the Pan Pacific Championship Team. Club Wolverine also won the team title at Nationals after claiming 23 total medals.
Other coaches up for the award included Eddie Reese, Gregg Troy and Paul Yetter. Reese's swimmers set four individual world records this summer, and he had six Longhorn athletes on the Pan Pac Team, while Troy served as the personal coach of Ryan Lochte, who won three medals at Pan Pacs and finished in the top three in four events at Nationals. Additionally, Paul Yetter is the head coach of North Baltimore. His swimmers won five medals at Nationals, and the NBAC women finished fifth in the women's team scores.
Erik Vendt captured the Perseverance Award. This past year, Vendt returned to swimming in April after taking almost two years off from the sport. He wound up winning the 1500-meter free at Nationals and was the silver medalist at Pan Pacs.
Megan Jendrick and Hayley Peirsol also were nominated for the award. Jendrick won her 10th national title in the 100-meter breaststroke at Nationals, and won the silver medal in the event at Pan Pacs. Meanwhile, Peirsol made the Pan Pacifics Team after winning her first national title in the 800-meter free. She also won silver in 1500-meter free and bronze in 800-meter free at Pan Pacs.
Breakout Performer of the Year:
Cullen Jones claimed the Breakout Performer of the Year honor over Whitney Myers and Chloe Sutton. This past year, Jones won his first national title in 50-meter free. He then became the first male African-American swimmer to break a world record for the U.S. when he swam on the 400 free relay at Pan Pacifics.
Myers earned her nomination by winning gold in the 200-meter IM at Pan Pacs, while Sutton qualified for the Pan Pacs by winning the 10K at Open Water Nationals and taking second in the 5K.