Each year Swimming World Magazine selects the top male and female swimmers from the following regions: Africa, the Pacific Rim, Europe, the Americas, and World.
Starting today, Swimming World will begin announcing the top athletes in each region leading up to the announcement of the Male and Female World Swimmer of the Year on December 1st. The final announcement will coincide with the official release of the December Swimming World Magazine. To download and read previous “Swimmers of the Year”, visit the Swimming World Vault and download past December issues.
Male African Swimmer of the Year: Chad le Clos
Sponsored by TritonWear
Chad le Clos has been an Olympic gold medalist, one of the superstars of the sport. The latest in a long line of talented swimmers to come out of South Africa, he was first named African Male Swimmer of the Year in 2012, and he has won the award every year since!
But after 2016, he was anything but satisfied. He had expected to repeat as Olympic champion in the 200 meter fly, and he failed to do so. In a much-publicized rivalry with American Michael Phelps, le Clos could not keep pace in the final—despite peeking one lane over to check on Phelps at least twice during the race—and he ended up falling out of the medals entirely.
One year later, he reclaimed his world title from 2013 by taking down Hungarian hometown favorite, defending champion and his good friend, Laszlo Cseh, to win the race in 1:53.33. And that night, on the medal podium, he teared up.
Le Clos thought then of his parents, both of whom have battled cancer. He admitted that 2016, despite two Olympic silver medals in Rio (200 free and 100 fly) was the “lowest moment of my career.”
He called his world title in the 200 fly the biggest win of his career outside of his Olympic gold medal from 2012—“maybe even bigger than London,” he said.
Le Clos would end up leaving Budapest with a bitter taste in his mouth after he was surprisingly eliminated in the 100 fly semifinals, but he rebounded to pound out victories on the World Cup circuit on his way to a first-place finish in the series for the men.
But years from now, as le Clos looks back on 2017, it’s that emotional victory in the 200 fly in Budapest that he will never forget. And it’s that victory that secured him a sixth straight honor as the Male African Swimmer of the Year.
Female African Swimmer of the Year: Farida Osman
Sponsored by TritonWear
Egypt’s swimming phenom, Farida Osman, almost became a synchronized swimmer. But at age 11, she chose the confines of lane lines. Osman found immediate success when she decided on racing through the pool instead of dancing through it. She represented Egypt in the 2007 Pan Arab Games when she was just 12. She won the 50 meter fly, becoming the youngest Egyptian and Arab woman ever to win the event and break the Arab record.
Ten years later at the 2017 World Championships, Osman made history yet again in the 50 fly, winning Egypt’s first World Championship medal of any color. Osman took the bronze in Budapest and set a new African record in the process. Her record, 25.39, is faster than the American record in the event—a rare feat.
Osman has held the African record in the event since 2013, breaking her own mark many times over. The 22-year-old also set an African record in her 50 meter free (24.62) in Budapest, but she missed the final by 3-hundredths of a second. In addition to her performances in the 50 free and 50 fly, she rounded out 2017 with the top times in Africa in the 100 free and 100 fly (55.38, 58.67) as well. At just 22, Osman is undoubtedly the fastest female swimmer in Africa.
The University of California-Berkeley graduate showed early signs of having a wildly successful 2017 at the Division I NCAA Championships in March. To conclude her final season as a Cal Bear, Osman won her first individual title in the 100 yard butterfly (50.05) and served as anchor in three of Cal’s relays (two of which won NCAA titles). Egypt’s Madame Butterfly has emerged.