USA Swimming Foundation Announces Nominees for the 2009 Golden Goggle Awards

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, October 16. THE USA Swimming Foundation today released the nominations for the Golden Goggle Awards, a star-studded awards gala celebrating the accomplishments of top American swimmers in 2009. The event will take place Sunday, November 22 at the Beverly Hilton and will feature the 2009 U.S. World Championships swim team, including Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.), Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.), Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Dara Torres (Parkland, Fla.), Ariana Kukors (Auburn, Wash.) and Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas).

This year's event will be hosted by Emmy-nominated sports broadcaster Dan Hicks and will mix entertainment industry celebrities with the top swimming stars in the United States. Hicks has been the voice of Olympic swimming since 1996 and is also a host of NBC's Emmy award-winning golf coverage. A total of eight Golden Goggle awards will be presented this year, including Male and Female Athlete of the Year.

Fans can vote for the winners online at Online voting begins October 16, and will continue through November 18.

Phelps headlines the ballot with three individual nominations and three relay nominations. He is followed by Lochte with four nominations.

The nominees for 2009 Male Athlete of the Year include Phelps, Lochte, and Aaron Peirsol. Phelps, Lochte and Peirsol combined for 11 gold medals at the 2009 World Championships. In addition to their individual medals, Phelps and Lochte captured gold in both the 400m and 800m free relays, while Phelps and Peirsol each swam legs of the gold-medal 400m medley relay. All three swimmers also broke individual world records this summer.

The 2009 Female Athlete of the Year category features Kukors, Soni and Vollmer. All three of the swimmers won individual medals at the 2009 World Championships. Kukors shattered the world record in the 200m IM not once, but twice on her way to her first World Championship gold medal. Soni won the 100m breaststroke in world-record time, and earned a silver medal in the 50m breast. Vollmer captured a bronze medal in the 200m freestyle, then teamed with Kukors for a silver medal in the 800m free relay.

The Coach of the Year ballot includes Bob Bowman (North Baltimore), Sean Hutchison (King Aquatics/Fullerton), Eddie Reese (Longhorn Aquatics), Dave Salo (Trojan Swim Club), and Gregg Troy (Gator Swim Club). Each of these nominees coached a swimmer to individual World Championship gold in 2009.

In other categories, Kasey Carlson (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.), Andrew Gemmell (Wilmington, Del.), and Eric Shanteau (Lilburn, Ga.) are nominated as Breakout Performers of the Year. The ballot for the Perseverance Award, given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, illness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance at the 2009 World Championships, features Fran Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), Amanda Weir (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Kukors and Vollmer.

The Golden Goggle Awards serve as a fundraiser for the USA Swimming Foundation, which strives to make communities better through the sport of swimming. Among its initiatives is the Make a Splash initiative, a national, child-focused water safety campaign that strives to provide swim lessons for children who otherwise could not afford them.

The complete list of 2009 awards and nominees are as follows:

Breakout Performer of the Year:
Kasey Carlson
Tyler Clary
Andrew Gemmell
Eric Shanteau

Perseverance Award:
Fran Crippen
Ariana Kukors
Dana Vollmer
Amanda Weir

Coach of the Year:
Bob Bowman
Sean Hutchison
Eddie Reese
Dave Salo
Gregg Troy

Relay Performance of the Year (all from the 2009 World Championships):
Men's 400m Free Relay
Men's 800m Free Relay
Men's 400m Medley Relay

Female Race of the Year:
Jessica Hardy – 100m Breaststroke (2009 U.S. Open)
Ariana Kukors – 200m Individual Medley (2009 World Championships)
Rebecca Soni – 100m Breaststroke (2009 World Championships)

Male Race of the Year (all from the 2009 World Championships):
Ryan Lochte – 200m Individual Medley
Aaron Peirsol – 200m Backstroke
Michael Phelps – 100m Butterfly
Michael Phelps – 200m Butterfly

Female Athlete of the Year:
Ariana Kukors
Rebecca Soni
Dana Vollmer

Male Athlete of the Year:
Ryan Lochte
Aaron Peirsol
Michael Phelps

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