2015 Golden Goggles: Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky Win Top Honors

Brenton Tse Photography
Photo Courtesy: Brenton Tse

Spindrift Beck, the host of the Swimcerely podcast and friend of Swimming World, is in Hollywood tonight to cover the 2015 USA Swimming Golden Goggles for us.

Hit refresh to see the latest coverage from the event, including the always fun red carpet.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

This award is given to the top male swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2015 FINA World Championships.

MICHAEL PHELPS – Michael Phelps was dominant at the Phillips 66 National Championships in San Antonio, posting world-best times for 2015 in a trio of events – the 100m fly, 200m fly and 200m IM. Equally as impressive was that each swim also cracked the top-eight performances of all-time. Phelps opened the meet with a victory in the 200m fly in 1:52.94, good for the seventh-fastest performance of all-time and his best time in the event since 2009. He followed with a win in the 100m in 50.45, also the seventh-fastest swim in history and his top effort since 2009. In the 200m IM, Phelps was under world-record pace early in the race and touched in 1:54.75, his quickest swim in the event since the 2012 London Olympic Games and the eighth-fastest performance of all-time.

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

This award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2015 FINA World Championships.

KATIE LEDECKY – Katie Ledecky continued to stake her place among swimming’s all-time greats in 2015 with five gold medals, four of them in individual events, at the FINA World Championships. With victories in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events, Ledecky became the first swimmer to win gold in all four events at the same FINA World Championships. She opened her meet in Kazan with a meet record in the 400m free (3:59.13) on Aug. 2 and followed with back-to-back world records in the 1500m free on Aug. 3 and 4. After eclipsing her own world mark in the prelims, Ledecky followed with a world-record time of 15:25.48 and a 15-second victory in the 1500m final. Just one night later, she stepped down to the 200m free distance to take gold in 1:55.16, and wrapped up her meet on Aug. 8 with a third world-record swim in Kazan to take gold in the 800m free in 8:07.39, a 10-second victory. Ledecky also anchored the Team USA women to a come-from-behind gold in the 4x200m free relay. She now has nine career World Championships medals – all gold.

RELAY PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

This award is given to the best team relay performance, male or female. The performance considered must be a finals performance, with special emphasis on the 2015 FINA World Championships.

WOMEN’S 4X200M FREE RELAY – 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Katie Ledecky dominated the final leg of the women’s 4x200m free relay, overcoming a 0.34-second deficit, to lead the American team to a 3-second victory at the 2015 FINA World Championships. Missy Franklin (1:55.95), Leah Smith (1:56.86) and Katie McLaughlin (1:56.92) kept the American squad within striking distance despite strong swims from Sweden over the first three legs of the relay. The Swedish lead was quickly nullified on the anchor, as Ledecky made quick work of the final 200 meters with a 1:55.64 split to secure the gold medal for Team USA.

COACH OF THE YEAR

This award is given to the coach whose athlete(s) performed at the highest level throughout the year, with special emphasis on the 2015 FINA World Championships.

BRUCE GEMMELL – NATION’S CAPITAL SWIM CLUB – A Team USA assistant coach at the FINA World Championships, Bruce Gemmell once again guided Katie Ledecky to a remarkable season in 2015. She dominated in Kazan, capturing five gold medals and setting three world records in eight days. In the process, she became the first swimmer to win the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle at the same FINA World Championships. Ledecky eclipsed her own world record in the 800m free and twice clipped her world-best mark in the 1500m free. Gemmell’s son Andrew added to the NCAP medal haul with a silver medal in the 1500m free at the Pan American Games. Gemmell is a two-time Golden Goggle Award winner (2013, 2014).

PERSEVERANCE AWARD

This award is given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, sickness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance(s) in 2015, with special emphasis on the 2015 FINA World Championships.

ALLISON SCHMITT – Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt bounced back in a big way in 2015 with a gold-medal performance and a Pan American Games record of 1:56.23 in the 200m free in Toronto. In her first international competition since the 2012 Olympic Games, Schmitt added three relay medals at Pan Ams to wrap up the Games with four total medals, including three gold. At Phillips 66 Nationals, Schmitt claimed the national title in the 200m free and a runner-up finish in the 100m free. Outside the pool, Schmitt opened up this year about her battle with post-Olympic depression with the aim of helping others gain the courage oftentimes needed to seek help.

BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

This award is given to the athlete whose performance(s) stand out in relation to other years, with special emphasis given to the 2015 FINA World Championships.

JORDAN WILIMOVSKY – Jordan Wilimovsky broke out in a big way in 2015 with a victory in the open water 10-kilometer event at the FINA World Championships and U.S. national titles in open water and pool competitions. His first career national title in the 10K at the 2015 Open Water National Championships secured his start in the same event at Worlds. In Kazan, he pulled away late to earn his first world title and becoming the first swimmer clinch a spot on the U.S. roster for the 2016 Olympic Games. Wilimovsky then proved his versatility with a victory in the 1500m free at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

MALE RACE OF THE YEAR

This award is given to the male swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the 2015 FINA World Championships.

JORDAN WILIMOVSKY – 10K OPEN WATER – 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Jordan Wilimovsky turned in an epic performance at the 2015 FINA World Championships, as he cruised to a 12.1-second victory in the men’s 10-kilometer event and a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. Wilimovsky made a clean break from the pack of at the 3-kilometer mark and powered himself to the touch pad in 1:49:48.2 seconds. With the convincing victory, he became the first American to win the men’s 10K world title since 2005.

FEMALE RACE OF THE YEAR

This award is given to the female swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the 2015 FINA World Championships.

KATIE LEDECKY – 200M FREE – 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – In search of her third gold medal at the 2015 FINA World Championships, Katie Ledecky came through in the clutch with a come-from-behind victory in the women’s 200m free. Ledecky, who was in fourth place at the 100-meter mark, surged her way to second place at the final turn. Over the final 50 meters, she held off a hard-charging Federica Pellegrini of Italy, the world-record holder in the event, to touch in 1:55.16 – just 0.16 seconds ahead of Pellegrini. Her swim scored 944 points on the FINA Points Table.

Special thanks to USA Swimming for contributing to this report.

GOLDEN GOGGLES RED CARPET