ATLANTA, Georgia, September 27. MICHAEL Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) was named USA Swimming Athlete of the Year and Mutual of Omaha Senior Vice President of Brand Management and Public Relations John Hildenbiddle received the prestigious USA Swimming Award. The USA Swimming Award recognizes exceptional contributions to the sport of swimming.
Phelps' mother, Deborah Phelps was in attendance to accept the award on behalf of her highly-decorated son. She brought U.S. Olympian Mark Gangloff (Akron, Ohio) to the stage to accept the award with her.
Hildenbiddle was introduced by USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus.
"When Mutual of Omaha became a sponsor of USA Swimming, John Hildenbiddle taught us what it was to truly be a partner," said Wielgus. "From their sponsorship of the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool, to the Pan Pacific Championships, to their swimming-themed advertisements in Sports Illustrated, our partnership has truly been beneficial to our sport. Tonight we present this most prestigious award, not to a company, but to a man who had the vision to create a wonderful and beneficial partnership."
Hildenbiddle accepted the award, stating, "That is what sports sponsorship is all about. It's not about giving money or your name to an event. It's about thinking of ideas that move both organizations forward."
U.S. Olympic Open Water athletes were also honored today with Mark Warkentin (Santa Clara, Calif.) and Chloe Sutton (Roseville, Calif.) being named Male and Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year. U.S. Olympic Open Water Head Coach Bill Rose received the Glenn S. Hummer Award, given to the person who has made the greatest contribution to long distance swimming..
Completing the coach category, John Morse was named Developmental Coach of the Year. The award is given to the coach who places the most swimmers on the National Junior Team. Additionally, Bob Bowman, personal coach to Michael Phelps, was recognized earlier this month as American Swimming Coaches Association Coach of the Year.
Erin Popovich, winner of six medals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, was awarded the Trischa L. Zorn Award, given to the swimmer with a disability with the most outstanding performances during the previous year.
The Diversity Inclusion Award, given to the person who has positively heightened the awareness of inclusion efforts resulting in the increase and successful participation of underrepresented groups in the sport. went to Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones (New Brunswick, N.J.). Jones won his gold medal as part of the men's world record-setting 4x100m relay team.
A complete list of the award winners is below.
USA Swimming Award John Hildenbiddle
The USA Swimming Award was established in 1981 to recognize exceptional contributions to the sport of swimming. The award is presented each year to an individual or organization selected for financial, material or service contributions to USA Swimming. The award is a two-thirds life-size bronze sculpture of a swimmer mounted over a wave of marble.
Athlete of the Year Michael Phelps
The Swimmer of the Year Award is presented to the athlete judged by the USA Swimming House of Delegates as the most outstanding swimmer of the previous year.
ConocoPhillips Performance Award Michael Phelps
200 IM, 2008 Olympic Games
This award is presented to an American swimmer who gives the single most outstanding performance during the year. This award is voted on by selected coaches, athlete representatives and members of the swimming media.
Glenn S. Hummer Award Bill Rose
Established in 1978 and named for an Olympian and Coach, the Glen S. Hummer Award is given annually to the person or group making the greatest contribution to Long Distance Swimming.
Female Open Water Chloe Sutton
Swimmer of the Year
Established in 1985, the Open Water Committee Award is presented by the USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Committee to the person or group judged as making a major contribution to open water swimming the previous year.
Male Open Water Mark Warkentin
Swimmer of the Year
Established in 1984, the Open Water Swimmer of the Year Award is presented by the USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Committee to the swimmer judged as the most outstanding open water swimmer of the previous year.
Developmental Coach of the Year Award John Morse
The Developmental Coach of the Year Award is for coaches who develop athletes a step or two away from major national or international success. The winner of the award is the coach who places the most swimmers on the National Junior Team.
Athletes Appreciation Award Mark Henderson
Conceived by the USA Swimming Athletes Committee in 1983, the Athletes Appreciation Award recognizes the individual or organization perceived by the committee to have contributed most significantly to the Athletes Movement.
Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award Jim Reiser
Awarded to an individual or organization for demonstrating outstanding commitment to aquatic safety. Recipient selected by the USA Swimming Safety Education Committee; not necessarily awarded every year.
Disability Swimming Service Award Kiko Van Zandt
The Disabled Swimming Service Award is presented to an individual (swimmer, coach, volunteer) who has made significant contributions to competitive swimming for athletes with a disability. Members of the Disabled Swimming Committee nominate candidates at the mid-year committee meeting. The vote, by all members of the Disabled Swimming Committee, also takes place at the mid-year meeting. This award originated in the year 2000.
Disability Swimmer of the Year Award Erin Popovich
(Trischa L. Zorn Award)
The Trischa L. Zorn Award is presented to the swimmer (or relay team) with a disability with the most outstanding performances during the previous year. Anyone present at the USA Swimming Disability Championships may nominate a swimmer for the award. A screening committee comprised of a few members of the Disabled Swimming Committee selects finalists. The chairperson(s) of the Disabled Swimming Committee prepares a ballot, then all members of the Disabled Swimming Committee vote to determine the winner. The vote is conducted by mail. This award originated in the year 2000.
Diversity Inclusion Award Cullen Jones
Established in 2006, the Diversity Inclusion Award is presented to the person or group who has positively heightened the awareness of inclusion efforts through various modes and media resulting in the increase and successful participation of currently underrepresented groups in the sport.
Kenneth J. Pettigrew Award Bruce Stratton
This award was created to honor Ken Pettigrew, a swimming official who devoted over 30 years to the sport of swimming. Each year the recipient is chosen by the USA Swimming Officials Committee.
ASCA Coach of the Year Award Bob Bowman
(Awarded at the ASCA Convention in Las Vegas)
The ASCA Award is 39 years old. It honors the American Coach who has done the most in the past 12 months to improve American International Swimming Performance. It is annually presented at the ASCA Clinic in early September. Twice in the past 12 years, it has been presented at the USAS convention, due to the timing of the Olympic Games. (1988 and 2000).
Earlier in the day, USA Swimming recognized several members for their years of service.
PRESENTATIONS TO LIFE MEMBERS
The following USA Swimming members were presented with Life Memberships and honored with life membership cards and plaques:
Charlene Cook (San Diego-Imperial Swimming)
Phil Cook (San Diego-Imperial Swimming)
David Cottam (Pacific Swimming)
John A. Harbison (Florida Swimming)
Mark Hesse (Indiana Swimming)
John Hirschmann (Potomac Valley Swimming)
Franchele M. Klaus (Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Klaus)
Vicki R. Marsh (Inland Empire Swimming)
Terri L. Meeks (Minnesota Swimming)
Michael Miao, M.D. (Southern California Swimming)
Michael Seip (Middle Atlantic Swimming)
William J. Vargo (Florida Swimming)
Michael S. Walker (Arizona Swimming)
PRESENTATIONS TO PAST BOARD MEMBERS
USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Board of Directors, express thanks and gratitude to the following past Board Members for their service to the sport and organization:
Eric Nelson 2002-2007 – Central Zone Director
Pete Gannon 2003-2007 – Eastern Zone Director
Duffy Dillon 2003-2007 – Southern Zone Director
Jamie Rauch 2002-2008 – Athletes' Representative
Special thanks to USA Swimming for contributing this report.