USA Swimming Names Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin Athletes of the Year

LOS ANGELES, California, November 21. WORLD Championship gold medalists Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) took home top honors Sunday evening at the eighth annual USA Swimming Foundation Golden Goggle Awards. Lochte and Franklin earned the Male and Female Athlete of the Year and Race of Year awards at the star-studded gala held at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A.

The awards gala, hosted by actor and comedian Kevin Nealon, celebrated the accomplishments of the 2011 FINA World Championship Team that competed in Shanghai, China this July. The U.S. Team turned in the top performance at the meet, earning the Championship Team Trophy and taking home a total of 31 medals (17 gold, five silver and nine bronze).

Franklin took home a total of three awards Sunday, winning the award for Female Athlete of the Year, Female Race of the Year and Relay Performance of the Year as part of the women's 4x100m medley relay team. At World Championships, Franklin earned a total of five medals. Her Race of the Year award came from her gold medal and American record-setting performance in the 200m back in Shanghai. Franklin also earned a World Championship title as part of the 4x200m free relay as well as a bronze medal in the 50m back and a silver in the 4x100m free relay.

Lochte won the Male Athlete of the Year and Male Race of the Year award with his dominant performance at World Championships. The Olympic gold medalist won a total of six medals at the meet, earning titles in the 200m free, 400m and 200m IM, 200m back and as part of the 4x200m free relay. Lochte also earned bronze in the 4x100m free relay. The two-time Olympian's gold medal performance in the 200m back also earned him Male Race of the Year honors as it broke the first long course world record since the ban of polyurethane swim suits at the end of 2009.

The USA Swimming Foundation also presented the Impact Award to Carolyn Dirks Sunday night. The award, last given out in 2008, honors a member of the swimming family that has made a significant contribution to the sport. Over the past 10 years, Carolyn Dirks' impact on USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation has been immeasurable. From her support of National Team coaches to her devotion for the Foundation's mission of "Saving Lives and Building Champions," Dirks has time and time again shown her love for the sport of swimming.

Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.), Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.), Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas) and Franklin took the relay win for their gold-medal performance in the women's 4x100m medley relay at World Championships. The American-record performance was the first medley relay win for the U.S. women at a World Championships since 1998.

Peter Vanderkaay (Rochester, Mich.) claimed the Perseverance Award for his strong performance in 2011. Vanderkaay relocated to Gainesville, Fla., this year and had three top eight performances at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. He also won gold as part of the 4x200m free relay.

Alex Meyer (Ithaca, N.Y.) collected the Breakout Performer of the Year Award. Meyer won the 2011 USA Swimming 10K Open Water National Championship and became the first U.S swimmer to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games with his fourth place finish in the 10K at World Championships.

The Coach of the Year award was presented to University of Florida and Gator Swim Club head coach Gregg Troy. Troy was an assistant coach of the U.S. men's team at the 2011 World Championships. Troy also coached Lochte, Vanderkaay, Elizabeth Beisel, Teresa Crippen and Conor Dwyer to strong performances at World Championships.

Among the Olympic legends in attendance tonight were Amy Van Dyken, Louis Zamperini, Matt Biondi, Debbie Meyer, Dave Whorton, Summer Sanders, Rowdy Gaines, John Naber, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and Rowdy Gaines. will provide highlights and video on-demand from the 2011 Golden Goggle Awards. The Golden Goggle Award winners are selected by a nine-person panel in combination with a fan vote.

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