USA Swimming hosts 20th Annual Golden Goggle Awards in L.A.: Katie Ledecky, Kate Douglass Tie For Female Swimmer of Year; Ryan Murphy Prevails
Photo Courtesy: John Lohn
19 November 2023, 07:58pm
USA Swimming honored this year’s best at the 20th Annual Golden Goggle Awards on Sunday, Nov. 19, at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. in Los Angeles.
The Golden Goggle Awards nominations are based on the year’s top accomplishments by American swimmers, focusing primarily on the World Aquatics Championships – Fukuoka 2023. The U.S. team finished the pool meet with 38 medals (7g, 20s, 11b) – 13 more than any other competing federation and earning Team of the Meet distinction.
The show was hosted by Summer Sanders and Elizabeth Beisel and began with an introduction of the worlds team.
Male Race of the Year – Bobby Finke
Bobby Finke won the Golden Goggle Award for male race of the year. At worlds, he broke the American record in the 1500 freestyle to earn the silver medal. It is the third straight race of the year honor for Finke.
The other nominees were Ryan Murphy in the 100 backstroke and Jack Alexy in the 100 free.
Female Race of the Year – Katie Grimes
Katie Grimes won the Female Race of the Year award after taking bronze in the 10K open water race to clinch a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The other nominees were Katie Ledecky in the 1500 free and Kate Douglass in the 200 IM.
Breakout Swimmer of the Year – Jack Alexy
Jack Alexy was named Breakout Swimmer of the Year. He won a pair of silver medals in the sprint freestyle events at worlds and was also part of a couple of U.S. relays.
The other nominees were Thomas Heilman, Katie Grimes and Dare Rose.
Relay of the Year – Gretchen Walsh, Lilly King, Kate Douglass and Regan Smith
The Relay of the Year Golden Goggle award went to the women’s 400 medley relay that won the gold medal behind Gretchen Walsh, Lilly King, Kate Douglass and Regan Smith, along with prelim swimmers Abbey Weitzeil and Lydia Jacoby.
The other nominees were the men’s medley relay and the women’s 800.
Foundation Impact Awards – Tim and Jennifer Buckley
Tim and Jennifer Buckley were named as recipients of the Impact Award by the USA Swimming Foundation as mentors.
Coaching Impact Award – Eddie Reese
The coaching impact award went to longtime Texas and Team USA coach Eddie Reese.
“Awards aren’t really my thing – you guys are my thing,” Reese said.
Coach of the Year – Dave Durden
Dave Durden of Cal was named Coach of the Year. He coached six athletes at the World Championships that combined for 20 medals, including relay spots.
The other nominees were Todd DeSorbo, Bob Bowman, Anthony Nesty and Ron Aitken.
Perseverance Award – Lydia Jacoby
The Golden Goggle Award for perseverance went to Lydia Jacoby. After a breakout Olympic year, Jacoby struggled with depression and mental health issues and has fought through to return to the world’s top stage, earning the bronze medal in the 100 breaststroke at worlds.
“This means so much. We all struggle. Missing that team in 2022 felt like the end of the world, but … it was the beginning of a new one, Jacoby said.
New mom Ashley Twichell was the other nominee.
Alumni Award – Lenny Krayzelburg
This inaugural award for alumni who give back to the sport after retirement went to Lenny Krayzelburg.
Fran Crippen Open Water Award – Katie Grimes
The Open Water Swimmer of the Year award that honors the late Fran Crippen was awarded to Katie Grimes, who won the bronze in the 10K to qualify for Paris.
The other nominee was Mariah Denigan.
Male Swimmer of the Year – Ryan Murphy
Ryan Murphy was named Male Swimmer of the Year. He won four medals in Fukuoka, including gold in the 100 backstroke and silver in the 200 backstroke.
The other nominees were Bobby Finke, Jack Alexy and Carson Foster.
Female Swimmer of the Year
The final award of the night was the Female Swimmer of the Year and it was a tie, going to Katie Ledecky and
Ledecky won world titles in the 1500 free and 800 free, the latter for the record sixth time.
Meanwhile, Douglass earned six medals in Fukuoka, tied for the most. She won gold in the 200 IM.
The other nominees were Katie Grimes and Regan Smith.
Photo Courtesy: John Lohn