2016 Golden Goggle Award Nominees
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 2016 Olympic Games.
Lilly King - As an Indiana University freshman, Lilly King swept the breaststroke events at the 2016 NCAA Championships and carried that momentum through to this summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games. In Omaha, she won the 100m and 200m breaststroke to qualify for her first major international event outside of the 2015 World University Games, where she was a silver medalist. In Rio, King struck gold in the 100m breast in an Olympic record 1:04.93 and added a second gold medal in the 4x100m medley relay. King’s 100m breast gold medal was the first for Team USA since 2000.
Cody Miller - Cody Miller won his first career major individual international medal in Rio when he touched for bronze in the 100m breaststroke in 58.87, good for an American record. He also swam on the gold-medal-winning 4x100m medley relay to earn a pair of medals at his first Olympic Games. At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, Miller was second in the 100m breast to earn a spot on the Olympic roster. Born with a condition called Pectus Excavatum, Miller gets about 12-20 percent less oxygen than most people and inspired many with his success in Rio.
Josh Prenot - Competing at the Olympic Games for the first time, Josh Prenot claimed silver in Rio in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:07.53. He earned his spot on the Olympic roster with a win in the 200m breast at 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, where he set an American record in the event in 2:07.17. Earlier in 2016, Prenot concluded his collegiate career at Cal with an NCAA title in the 400y individual medley and runner-up finishes in the 200y breast and 200y IM.
Leah Smith - In her Olympic Games debut, Leah Smith established herself as a distance freestyler to watch and earned a pair of medals – bronze in the 400m freestyle in 4:01.92 and gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay, while adding a fourth-place finish in the 800m freestyle. At U.S. Olympic Trials, Smith was second in the 400m and 800m free and third in the 200m free. Also in 2016, she won NCAA titles in the 500y freestyle and 1650y freestyle for the University of Virginia.
This award is given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, sickness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance(s) in 2016, with special emphasis on the 2016 Olympic Games.
Kathleen Baker - Having battled Crohn’s disease since she was a middle schooler, Kathleen Baker spoke publicly about her diagnosis for the first time in 2016 and also posted the fastest swims of her life in the 100m backstroke to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team and ultimately reach the Olympic podium. After finishing second in the 100m back at Olympic Trials, the 19-year-old earned silver in the Olympic final in a lifetime best 58.75. She also led off the gold-medal-winning 4x100m medley relay in Rio and earlier in the year took second in the 200y individual medley at the NCAA Championships for Cal.
Anthony Ervin - Sixteen years after winning gold in the 50m free in Sydney and with seven-year hiatus from the sport in between, 35-year-old Anthony Ervin was back on the U.S. Olympic roster for a third time in 2016. He was second in the 50m free at Olympic Trials to become the oldest American male swimmer to qualify for an individual Olympic event since 1904. Once in Rio, Ervin made history again by winning gold in the 50m freestyle in 21.40 by just one-hundredth of a second to become the oldest swimmer to win individual Olympic gold.
David Plummer - After nearly walking away from the sport after just missing the Olympic Team four years ago, 30-year-old Olympic rookie David Plummer had a 2016 to remember. In one of the most competitive events at U.S. Olympic Trials, Plummer placed second in the 100m backstroke in a lifetime best 52.12 to earn that elusive Olympic berth. Once in Rio, the father of two made the most of his opportunity, taking home the bronze medal in the 100m back in 52.40 and adding gold as a part of the 4x100m medley relay. By making the Olympic team, he became the oldest first-time U.S. Olympian in swimming since 1904.
Dana Vollmer - After giving birth to her first child, a son named Arlen, in March 2015, Dana Vollmer was back in the pool competing four months later and she quickly rounded into world-class form. She won the 100m fly at the 2015 AT&T Winter National Championships to prove she was a legitimate threat to become just the second American woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team after giving birth. At Olympic Trials, Vollmer qualified for her third Olympic Team with a runner-up finish in the 100m fly and she went on to win bronze in the event in Rio. She added relay medals in the 4x100m medley relay (gold) and 4x100m freestyle relay (silver).
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 2016 Olympic Games.
Bob Bowman - The 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Men’s Head Coach and the head coach at Arizona State University, Bob Bowman helped guide five swimmers – Conor Dwyer, Chase Kalisz, Michael Phelps, Cierra Runge and Allison Schmitt – to spots on the Team USA roster. Led by six medals from Phelps, this group each earned a medal in Rio, combining for 12 trips to the podium. Dwyer, Kalisz and Phelps were individual medalists at the Games, with Phelps taking gold in the men’s 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley. This was Bowman’s fourth time on an Olympic staff, and his first as head coach.
Dave Durden - Dave Durden, an assistant men’s coach for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team and men’s head coach at Cal, coached five members of the Team USA men’s roster in Rio – Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley, Josh Prenot and Tom Shields. This group combined for nine medals, including four by Adrian and three from Murphy, who also set a world record in the 100m backstroke at the Games. Adrian, Murphy and Prenot were each individual medalists. On the collegiate front, Durden guided the Golden Bears to a runner-up finish at the men’s 2016 NCAA Championships. This was Durden’s first experience on an Olympic coaching staff.
Bruce Gemmell - Bruce Gemmell, an assistant women’s coach at the 2016 Olympic Games, again guided Katie Ledecky to unprecedented accomplishments this year. The Nation’s Capital Swim Club coach earned his first assignment on an Olympic staff. In Rio, Ledecky became one of just four American women across all sports to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games, and joined Debbie Meyer (1968) as the only women to win the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle at the same Games. Ledecky added a pair of relay medals and eclipsed her own world records with swims of 3:56.46 in the 400m free and 8:04.79 in the 800m free in Rio.
Ray Looze - Ray Looze coached three swimmers – all eventual medalists in Rio – to spots on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. Lilly King, Cody Miller and Blake Pieroni combined for five Olympic medals, with King and Miller each earning individual podium appearances in their respective 100m breaststroke events. An assistant women’s coach for Team USA in Rio and the Indiana University head coach, Looze also guided the Hoosiers to top-10 finishes at both the men’s and women’s NCAA Championships in 2016.
David Marsh - David Marsh, women’s head coach for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team, coached six SwimMAC Carolina athletes to berths on the Rio roster – Cammile Adams, Kathleen Baker, Anthony Ervin, Jimmy Feigen, Ryan Lochte and Katie Meili. This group earned eight combined medals, with Baker, Ervin and Meili all earning trips to the Olympic podium in individual events. At age 35, Ervin was the gold medalist in the men’s 50m freestyle. This was Marsh’s fourth time on an Olympic staff, and his first as head coach.
Greg Meehan - Greg Meehan’s swimmers made quite an impact on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team with Maya DiRado, Simone Manuel and Lia Neal combining to earn nine medals in Rio. DiRado and Manuel were breakout stars, winning four medals each at the Games, five of them in individual events. Manuel claimed gold in the 100m freestyle and silver in the 50m free, while DiRado earned gold in the 200m backstroke, silver in the 400m individual medley and bronze in the 200m IM. A women’s assistant coach for Team USA, Meehan also coached the Stanford women to a runner-up finish at the 2016 NCAA Championships.
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 2016 Olympic Games.
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay, 2016 Olympic Games - The U.S. men’s 4x100m freestyle relay line-up of Caeleb Dressel, Michael Phelps, Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian won gold in 3:09.62, 0.61 seconds ahead of runner-up France. Dressel led off with a personal best 100m free time, before Phelps posted the team’s second-fastest split of 47.12 to give Team USA a lead it would not relinquish. Held kept the U.S. in front on the third leg, and Adrian split 46.97 – the fastest in the field – to secure the gold medal.
Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay, 2016 Olympic Games - Katie Ledecky anchored the Team USA women’s 4x200m freestyle relay to gold with a time of 7:43.03, nearly 2 seconds clear of second-place Australia. Allison Schmitt led things off for the Americans, who were nearly even with Australia and Sweden after the first leg. Leah Smith and Maya DiRado kept the U.S. within a second of the Aussies, before Ledecky hit the water for the anchor. She turned what was nearly a one second deficit into a one second lead over the first 150 and continued to pull away for a 1:53.74 split and the team victory.
Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, 2016 Olympic Games - Ryan Murphy jump-started the run toward gold with a world-record backstroke split of 51.85 to lead the United States to the win and an Olympic record of 3:27.95 in the 4x100m medley relay. Up against breaststroke world record-holder Adam Peaty of Great Britain, Cody Miller held his own before Michael Phelps regained the lead for Team USA on the butterfly leg. Nathan Adrian swam the freestyle anchor to close out another victory for the Americans in the final pool event of the 2016 Olympic Games. The U.S. men have never lost this event in Olympic Games competition.
Female Race of the Year
This award is given to the female swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the 2016 Olympic Games.
Maya DiRado, 200m Backstroke, 2016 Olympic Games - After winning medals in the 200m and 400m individual medleys, Maya DiRado capped her 2016 Olympic Games with a come-from-behind victory in the 200m backstroke over heavy favorite Katinka Hosszu of Hungary. DiRado sat second to Hosszu by over a half second with 100 meters to go, but DiRado surged off her third turn to close the gap over the final 50 meters. She lunged to the wall on the finish to touch in a lifetime-best 2:05.99 and clip Hosszu by just six-hundredths of a second for gold.
Lilly King, 100m Breaststroke, 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES -
Olympic rookie and 19-year-old Lilly King delivered in a much-hyped 100m breaststroke final to win Team USA’s first gold medal in the event since 2000. She led wire-to-wire and held off runner-up Yulia Efimova of Russia and bronze medalist Katie Meili over the final 50 meters to finish in 1:04.93, good for an Olympic record.
Katie Ledecky, 800m Freestyle, 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - Katie Ledecky once again dominated the 800m freestyle on the international stage, taking gold in Rio and besting her own world record in 8:04.79. She led wire-to-wire and swam incredibly consistent splits until closing with a 28.99 final 50 meters to touch 11 seconds clear of the field. The win gave Ledecky her fourth gold medal in Rio, matching the most by an American female Olympian, and the first sweep of the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles since Debbie Meyer in 1968.
Simone Manuel, 100m Freestyle, 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - In a history-making performance Simone Manuel won the gold medal in the 100m freestyle in an American and Olympic record 52.70. Manuel trailed Australia’s Cate and Bronte Campbell at the turn and made her move over the final 50. She touched in a tie with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak to top the podium. Manuel’s victory marked the first gold medal for Team USA in the event since 1984, and she became the first female African-American swimmer to win any medal in an individual event.
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 2016 Olympic Games.
Anthony Ervin, 50m Freestyle, 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - Anthony Ervin used a strong start off the blocks and his signature closing speed to win gold in the 50m freestyle in Rio, 16 years after doing the same at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He touched in 21.40 and held off France’s Florent Manaudou by one-hundredth of a second and countryman Nathan Adrian by nine-hundredths of a second down the stretch to become the oldest swimmer – age 35 – to win individual Olympic gold.
Ryan Murphy, 100m Backstroke, 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - Ryan Murphy brought home the first of his three gold medals in Rio with a then-Olympic-record swim of 51.97 in the 100m backstroke to give Team USA its sixth straight Olympic title in the event. He turned fourth at the 50-meter mark, but grabbed the lead off the wall and held on over the final 50 to take gold 0.34 seconds ahead of runner-up Xu Jiayu of China and bronze medalist teammate David Plummer. Murphy later broke the world record in the event with a split of 51.85 leading off the gold-medal-winning men’s 4x100m medley relay.
Michael Phelps, 200m Butterfly, 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - Michael Phelps earned his first individual gold in Rio – and the 20th gold medal of his decorated career – with a victory in the 200m butterfly, reclaiming the top spot in the event for the first time since 2008. After opening up a lead of nearly a half second at the 100-meter mark, Phelps held off a hard-charging Masato Sakai of Japan to win by four-hundredths of a second in 1:53.36 for the tightest 200m fly finish in Olympic history.
Michael Phelps, 200m Individual Medley, 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - Michael Phelps became the first swimmer to win the same event in four consecutive Olympic Games with a convincing victory in the 200m individual medley in Rio. After swimming just off the pace over the first 100 meters, Phelps grabbed a lead he would not relinquish on his breaststroke underwater and pulled away over the freestyle leg to touch in 1:54.66 – nearly 2 seconds clear of the field.
Female Athlete of the Year
This award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Maya DiRado - In what she has dubbed her first and only Olympic appearance, Maya DiRado had a Games to remember with a four-medal performance, capped in her final race in Rio with a come-from-behind win in the 200m backstroke in 2:05.99, just six-hundredths of a second clear of runner-up Katinka Hosszu. DiRado added bronze in the 200m individual medley, silver in the 400m individual medley and gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay. DiRado earned her first Olympic berth with wins in the 200m IM, 400m IM and 200m back at 2016 Olympic Trials.
Katie Ledecky - With four gold medals and a silver medal claimed in Rio, Katie Ledecky once again made history. She became one of just four American women in any sport to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games, and joined Debbie Meyer (1968) as the only women to win the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle at the same Games. Ledecky added gold in the 4x200m free relay and silver in the 4x100m free relay. In addition, she bested her own world records with swims of 3:56.46 in the 400m free and 8:04.79 in the 800m free in Rio. At 2016 Olympic Trials, Ledecky was victorious in the 200m, 400m and 800m free. Over the last five summers, she has swum in 15 individual finals at Olympic Games, World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships and won gold medals in each of those races.
Simone Manuel - With four medals in Rio de Janeiro, Simone Manuel had a performance for the ages, highlighted by a gold medal in the 100m freestyle in an American record 52.70. Manuel’s win marked the first gold medal for Team USA in the event since 1984, and she became the first female African-American swimmer to win a medal in an individual event. Manuel added silver in the 50m freestyle in 24.09 and anchored the 4x100m medley relay to gold and the 4x100m freestyle relay to silver to complete her medal haul.
Male Athlete of the Year
This award is given to the top male swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Nathan Adrian - A three-time Olympian, Nathan Adrian won a career-best four medals at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Individually, he took bronze in the 50m freestyle in 21.49 and bronze in the 100m freestyle in 47.85 and was separated from gold in both events by a combined 0.36 seconds. On the relay front, he anchored Team USA to gold in the 4x100m medley relay and 4x100m freestyle relay. Adrian won the 50m free and 100m free at 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to earn his third trip to the Olympic Games.
Anthony Ervin - Sixteen years after winning his first Olympic gold medal in 2000, 35-year-old Anthony Ervin did it again in Rio, taking the 50m freestyle victory in 21.40 by one-hundredth of a second to become the oldest swimmer to win individual Olympic gold. He added a gold medal as a part of the victorious 4x100m freestyle relay. Ervin was second in the 50m free and fourth in the 100m free at U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for his third Olympic Team. Ervin has now won two Olympic gold medals in the 50m freestyle by a combined .01 (he tied with Gary Hall Jr. in 2000).
Ryan Murphy - A three-time gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games, Ryan Murphy was one of only three American swimmers with multiple individual gold medals in Rio, as he swept the men’s 100m and 200m backstroke titles to give Team USA six straight gold medals in both events. He won the 100m back in a then-Olympic-record 51.97 and took the 200m back victory in 1:53.62. For good measure, Murphy set a world record in the 100m back with a split of 51.85 leading off the gold-medal-winning men’s 4x100m medley relay. He won the 100m back and 200m back titles at 2016 Olympic Trials.
Michael Phelps - The United States’ flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony, Michael Phelps won six medals – five of them gold – at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, boosting his record-setting career totals to 28 medals, including 23 gold, and extending his legacy as the most decorated Olympian of all-time. Individually in Rio, Phelps won a record fourth consecutive Olympic title in the 200m individual medley, reclaimed gold in the 200m butterfly for the first time since 2008 and earned silver in the 100m butterfly. Phelps also helped lead the U.S. to a gold-medal sweep in all three men’s relays – 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley. He won the 100m fly, 200m fly and 200m IM at the 2016 Olympic Trials to become the first U.S. male swimmer to qualify for five Olympic Games.