2018 Golden Goggles: Katie Ledecky, Ryan Murphy Win Athlete of the Year Awards

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

The 2018 Golden Goggles were streamed live from New York City in Times Square. USA Swimming’s best athletes were in attendance to celebrate the successful year of 2018 and get honored for their hard work during the year. Swimming World has been on-site giving updates from the event including event interviews, photographs of athletes, and providing a recap of who wins what award.

Comedian John O’Hurley was the emcee, known for portraying J. Peterman on the TV show Seinfeld.

Ryan Murphy collected two individual Golden Goggle awards, nabbing both the Male Athlete of the Year and Male Race of the Year, while Katie Ledecky collected her sixth straight Female Athlete of the Year award.

Micah Sumrall and Michael Andrew delivered heartfelt speeches after winning the Perseverence Award and Breakout Performer of the Year award respectively.

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 on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. 

Nominees:

  • Michael Andrew
  • Zach Harting
  • Austin Katz
  • Andrew Seliskar

After rewriting the national age group record book in recent years, 19-year-old Michael Andrew had a breakthrough senior-level season in 2018. At the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, Andrew won national titles and posted lifetime-best swims in the 50m freestyle, 50m and 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly to become the first male since 2008 to win at least four titles at Nationals or Olympic Trials. In Tokyo at Pan Pacs, Andrew won gold in the 50m free for his first career individual medal at a major long-course, international meet.

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 2018, with special emphasis on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

Nominees:

  • Ella Eastin
  • Katie McLaughlin
  • Micah Sumrall

2012 Olympian Micah Sumrall bounced back in a big way in 2018 with a gold-medal performance in the 200m breaststroke at the Pan Pacific Championships. After missing the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, she took time away from the sport before resurfacing with Chattahoochee Gold Swim Club earlier this year. Buoyed by the support of the age-group swimmers she coaches, Sumrall won the 200m breast title at Phillips 66 Nationals and took third in the 100m breast in Irvine to qualify for her first international roster since 2015. In Tokyo, she nearly matched her career-best time in the 200m breast en route to gold, her first at a major international competition.

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 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

Nominees:

  • Jack Bauerle
  • Dave Durden
  • David Marsh
  • Teri McKeever
  • Greg Meehan

Stanford women’s head coach Greg Meehan continued to guide his student-athletes to the pinnacle of international and collegiate swimming in 2018. He coached five women onto the Team USA roster for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships – Katie Drabot, Ella Eastin, Brooke Forde, Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel – combining for 11 medals in Tokyo. Ledecky and Manuel also captured a combined five titles at the 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals ranging from the 50m to 800m freestyle. On the collegiate front, the Cardinal clinched its second straight NCAA women’s title in 2018. Six Meehan-coached swimmers qualified for the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team.

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 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

  • Men’s 4x200m Free Relay, 2018 Pan Pacs
  • Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, 2018 Pan Pacs

The United States’ men closed the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in dramatic fashion with gold in the men’s 4x100m medley relay – the final event of the pool competition. The host Japanese held a slight lead over Ryan Murphy, Andrew Wilson and Caeleb Dressel over the first three legs of the relay before Nathan Adrian hit the water for the freestyle anchor. The veteran quickly made up a small deficit and split 47.71 to lift Team USA to gold in 3:30.20 – only five-hundredths ahead of runner-up Japan and just over three-tenths clear of third-place Australia.

Female Race of the Year

This award is given to the female swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year.

  • Katie Ledecky, 1500 Free, 2018 TYR Pro Series Indianapolis
  • Kathleen Baker, 100 Back, 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals
  • Micah Sumrall, 200 Breast, 2018 Pan Pacs
  • Haley Anderson, 10K Open Water, 2018 Pan Pacs

Kathleen Baker brought the crowd to its feet with her first career world record in the 100m backstroke at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine. She charged off the start and was a more than sixth-tenths of a second under world-record pace at the 50-meter mark. Baker held on over the final 50 and touched in 58.00 – a tenth under the previous mark set by Canada’s Kylie Masse at the 2017 FINA World Championships. She won the race by more than seven-tenths of a second and claimed her second straight national title in the 100m back.

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 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

  • Michael Andrew, 50 Free, 2018 Pan Pacs
  • Zane Grothe, 800 Free, 2018 Pan Pacs
  • Ryan Murphy, 100 Back, 2018 Pan Pacs
  • Chase Kalisz, 200 IM, 2018 Pan Pacs

World record-holder Ryan Murphy posted the third-fastest 100m backstroke in history in Tokyo with a time of 51.94 to claim Pan Pacific Championships gold and a meet record. After a quick start, he was more than a second ahead at the turn and never looked back en route to a convincing 0.84-second victory over Japan’s Ryosuke Irie, who touched second. Murphy’s swim was good for 994 FINA points, the top mark of the meet, and clinched the United States’ first Pan Pacs gold in the event since 2010.

Female Athlete of the Year

This award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

  • Haley Anderson
  • Kathleen Baker
  • Katie Ledecky

The incomparable Katie Ledecky again led the Team USA women at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships with five medals, including repeat gold-medal performances in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events. She added silver in the 4x200m free relay and bronze in the 200m free. Earlier in 2018, Ledecky eclipsed her own world record in the 1500m free at the TYR Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis with a time of 15:20.48, won U.S. titles in the 200m, 400m and 800m free at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships and claimed the women’s overall TYR Pro Swim Series title. Prior to joining the professional ranks, Ledecky paced Stanford to a second straight NCAA women’s team title with victories in the 500y and 1650y free.

Male Athlete of the Year

This award is given to the top male swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

  • Chase Kalisz
  • Ryan Murphy
  • Jordan Wilimovsky

Olympic champion Ryan Murphy was a triple gold medalist at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, winning gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke and the 4x100m medley relay. He took the 100m back in 51.94, good for the third-fastest swim of all-time and added gold in the 200m back in a lifetime-best 1:53.57. Murphy set Pan Pacs records in both events and was awarded Male Swimmer of the Championships honors. Earlier in the summer, he swept the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke titles at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

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Author: Andy Ross

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Andy Ross is the new man on board at Swimming World. He is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is a 2017 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he graduated cum laude.

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