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2015 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 given to the 2015 FINA World Championships. 

KATIE MEILI - With a gold-medal finish at the Pan American Games and her first-ever national title, Katie Meili enjoyed a true breakthrough season in 2015. At Pan Ams in Toronto, Meili set a Games record and posted the third-fastest time in the world in 2015 in the 100m breast, touching in 1:05.64 in the prelims. She went on to win gold in the final and added a pair of relay medals at the Games. Meili followed that performance with a victory in the 100m breast at the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships for her first career national championship title. Since graduating from Columbia University in 2013, Meili has steadily improved to emerge as one of Team USA’s top breaststrokers. 

Jordan Wilimovsky -
Jordan Wilimovsky broke out in a big way in 2015 with a victory in the open water 10-kilometer event at the FINA World Championships and U.S. national titles in open water and pool competitions. His first career national title in the 10K at the 2015 Open Water National Championships secured his start in the same event at Worlds. In Kazan, he pulled away late to earn his first world title and becoming the first swimmer clinch a spot on the U.S. roster for the 2016 Olympic Games. Wilimovsky then proved his versatility with a victory in the 1500m free at the Phillips 66 National Championships.  

Kelsi Worrell - It was truly a 2015 to remember for Kelsi Worrell, as she claimed NCAA, Pan American Games and Phillips 66 National Championships titles in the 100 butterfly. Worrell won an NCAA title and set an American record in the 100y fly for the University of Louisville in March, becoming the first woman to break the 50-second mark. Worrell did not disappoint in her international debut at Pan Ams in Toronto, where she set a Games record and notched the third-fastest time in the world in 2015 with a 57.24 effort in the 100m fly prelims. She went on to win gold in the event and added two relay medals. Worrell followed with a victory in the 100m fly at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

 

Perseverance Award
This award is given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, sickness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance(s) in 2015, with special emphasis on the 2015 FINA World Championships.

Kevin Cordes - Kevin Cordes put the disappointment of disqualifications at the 2013 FINA World Championships and 2014 Pan Pacific Championships behind him to deliver a four-medal performance at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan. Individually, Cordes won silver in the 200m breast in 2:08.05 and posted a lifetime best and American record of 28.76 in his 50m breast semifinal before earning bronze in the final. On the final night of competition, Cordes swam on Team USA’s 4x100m medley relay, which earned gold in 3:29.93. He added silver in the 4x100m mixed medley relay. Earlier in 2015, Cordes capped his decorated collegiate career with a win in the 100y breast and a runner-up finish in the 200y breast for the University of Arizona at the NCAA Championships.
 

Connor Jaeger - After narrowly missing the podium with fourth-place finishes in the 400m and 800m free in his first two events at the 2015 FINA World Championships, Connor Jaeger put it all together to make the most of his final race in Kazan – the 1500m free final. With a strong finish, he won the silver medal and broke an 11-year-old American record by more than 4 seconds to touch in 14:41.20. Since placing sixth in the 1500m free at the 2012 Olympic Games, Jaeger has established himself as Team USA’s top men’s distance freestyler and has captured five international medals over the past three summers.

Allison Schmitt - Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt bounced back in a big way in 2015 with a gold-medal performance and a Pan American Games record of 1:56.23 in the 200m free in Toronto. In her first international competition since the 2012 Olympic Games, Schmitt added three relay medals at Pan Ams to wrap up the Games with four total medals, including three gold. At Phillips 66 Nationals, Schmitt claimed the national title in the 200m free and a runner-up finish in the 100m free. Outside the pool, Schmitt opened up this year about her battle with post-Olympic depression with the aim of helping others gain the courage oftentimes needed to seek help.

 

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 2015 FINA World Championships.  

Bob Bowman – Arizona State University/North Baltimore Aquatic Club - Newly named 2016 U.S. Olympic Team men’s head coach Bob Bowman, who recently took over as the head coach at Arizona State University, continued to guide his athletes to national- and international-level success in 2015. Eighteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps posted world’s fastest times in the 100m fly, 200m fly and the 200 IM for 2015 at the 2015 Phillip 66 National Championships, while Allison Schmitt won gold and set a meet record in the 200m free at the Pan American Games before also winning a national title in San Antonio. Chase Kalisz reached the podium under Bowman in the 400m IM at the 2015 World Championships with a bronze-medal finish. 

Bruce Gemmell – Nation’s Capital Swim Club - A Team USA assistant coach at the FINA World Championships, Bruce Gemmell once again guided Katie Ledecky to a remarkable season in 2015. She dominated in Kazan, capturing five gold medals and setting three world records in eight days. In the process, she became the first swimmer to win the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle at the same FINA World Championships. Ledecky eclipsed her own world record in the 800m free and twice clipped her world-best mark in the 1500m free. Gemmell’s son Andrew added to the NCAP medal haul with a silver medal in the 1500m free at the Pan American Games. Gemmell is a two-time Golden Goggle Award winner (2013, 2014).

Dave Kelsheimer – Team Santa Monica - Dave Kelsheimer, CEO and head coach of Team Santa Monica, led USA Swimming National Team member Jordan Wilimovsky to a breakout 2015 season in open water and pool competitions. Under Kelsheimer’s guidance, Wilimovsky won gold and qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in the open water 10-kilometer event at the FINA World Championships and added national titles in the open water 10K and 1500m free in the pool. Kelsheimer was an assistant coach for the U.S. open water swimmers in Kazan. 

David Marsh – SwimMAC Carolina - Recently named the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team women’s head coach, David Marsh led SwimMAC Carolina’s Team Elite to a banner year in 2015. An assistant coach for Team USA at the 2015 FINA World Championships, Marsh guided Ryan Lochte (gold, 200m IM), Cammile Adams (silver, 200m fly) and Micah Lawrence (silver, 200m breast) to individual medals in Kazan, and Lochte paced the U.S. men at Worlds with four total medals. At the Pan American Games, Marsh-coached Katie Meili won gold in the 100m breast and Kate Mills added silver in the 200m fly. He coached 11 athletes to spots on the 2015-16 USA Swimming National Team. 

Catherine Vogt – Trojan Swim Club/USC - Team USA’s open water head coach at the 2015 FINA World Championships, Catherine Vogt led the U.S. squad to its first team open water team title since 1991 in Kazan. Three podium appearances, including gold medals from Haley Anderson and Jordan Wilimovksy and a silver from Alex Meyer, coupled with 11 top-10 finishes throughout the open water competition led to a meet-best 108 points for Team USA. Italy finished second with 99 points. Individually, Vogt coached Anderson to her second straight 5-kilometer world title and a ninth-place finish in the 10K to earn a berth on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. On the collegiate front, Vogt helped lead the USC men and women to top-eight finishes at the NCAA Championships for the fifth consecutive year.

 

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 2015 FINA World Championships.

Mixed 4x100m Free Relay – 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - In the debut of mixed relays at the FINA World Championships, Team USA did not disappoint. The mixed 4x100m freestyle relay lineup of Ryan Lochte (48.79), Nathan Adrian (47.29), Simone Manuel (53.66) and Missy Franklin (53.31) came from behind to claim the gold medal in a world-record time of 3:24.51. The Americans trailed various teams throughout the race, all the way through the final five meters, when an amazing final surge from Franklin clinched the victory in Kazan. Adrian and Manuel pulled the U.S. even with Russia on legs two and three to set up Franklin’s blazing finish.

Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay – 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - The men’s 4x100m medley relay team capped off the 2015 FINA World Championships with a dramatic victory. The team, consisting of Ryan Murphy (53.05), Kevin Cordes (58.88), Tom Shields (50.59) and Nathan Adrian (47.41), completed a come-from-behind victory and clocked in at 3:29.93, just 15-hundredths of a second in front of Australia. The Americans trailed Great Britain and Australia after the breaststroke leg, but a strong butterfly leg by Shields vaulted the team into the lead at the 300-meter mark. From there, Adrian brought it home, holding off Australia’s Cameron McEvoy in the final 10 meters of the race.

Women’s 4x200m Free Relay – 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Katie Ledecky dominated the final leg of the women’s 4x200m free relay, overcoming a 0.34-second deficit, to lead the American team to a 3-second victory at the 2015 FINA World Championships. Missy Franklin (1:55.95), Leah Smith (1:56.86) and Katie McLaughlin (1:56.92) kept the American squad within striking distance despite strong swims from Sweden over the first three legs of the relay. The Swedish lead was quickly nullified on the anchor, as Ledecky made quick work of the final 200 meters with a 1:55.64 split to secure the gold medal for Team USA.

 

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 2015 FINA World Championships.

Haley Anderson – 5K Open Water – 2015 FINA World Championships - Haley Anderson secured her second straight gold medal in the 5-kilometer open water race at the 2015 FINA World Championships. Keeping pace with the pack the entire race, Anderson turned on the jets and surged to the lead in the final meters to edge out her opponents with a time of 58:48.4, just over a second clear of the runner-up. Anderson, who also won the 5K world title in 2013, has reached the podium at four straight major international competitions dating to the 2012 Olympic Games.  

Katie Ledecky – 200m Free – 2015 FINA World Championships - In search of her third gold medal at the 2015 FINA World Championships, Katie Ledecky came through in the clutch with a come-from-behind victory in the women’s 200m free. Ledecky, who was in fourth place at the 100-meter mark, surged her way to second place at the final turn. Over the final 50 meters, she held off a hard-charging Federica Pellegrini of Italy, the world-record holder in the event, to touch in 1:55.16 – just 0.16 seconds ahead of Pellegrini. Her swim scored 944 points on the FINA Points Table.

Katie Ledecky – 800m Free – 2015 FINA World Championships - Katie Ledecky turned in a dominant performance in the women’s 800m free at the 2015 FINA World Championships to earn her fifth and final gold medal in Kazan. The Bethesda, Md., native cruised to a world-record time of 8:07.39, which was 3.61 seconds faster than her previous record of 8:11.00. Ledecky jumped out to a quick lead with an opening 50m spilt of 28.63 and never looked back, swimming ahead of world-record pace the entire race. Ledecky’s final 50 was her fastest of the race (28.41), and she touched 10 seconds clear of the field to become the first swimmer to win the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events at the same FINA World Championships.

Katie Ledecky – 1500m Free – 2015 FINA World Championships
After setting the world record in the 1500m free prelims, Katie Ledecky turned her attention to finals and did not disappoint. Ledecky shattered her own record with a time of 15:25.48 and took home the second of five gold medals of the meet. Much like her dominant performance in the 800m free, Ledecky raced her way to an early lead and continued to separate herself from the pack. By the first turn, Ledecky was already a body length ahead and by 1,000 meters, she was 2.32 seconds under of world record pace. Swimming a nearly even pace throughout the event, Ledecky finished nearly 15 seconds ahead of the field.

 

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 2015 FINA World Championships.

Connor Jaeger – 1500m Free – 2015 FINA World Championships - In his final race at the 2015 FINA World Championships, Connor Jaeger shattered an 11-year old American record and claimed the silver medal in the 1500m free. Spending much of the race in third place, behind Canada’s Ryan Cochrane and Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, Jaeger kicked it in into gear at the 1000-meter mark and propelled himself into second place and within a body length of Paltrinieri, the eventual winner. Jaeger clocked in at 14:41.20, besting the former American record of 14:45.29 set at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games by Larsen Jensen.

Ryan Lochte – 200m IM – 2015 FINA World Championships - Ryan Lochte battled his way to his 16th gold medal on the FINA World Championships stage with an impressive showing in the 200m IM in Kazan. Lochte was nose-to-nose with Brazil’s Thiago Pereira through the 150-meter mark but then turned on the jets over the freestyle leg to earn the victory. Lochte clocked in at 1:55.81 to claim his fourth straight win in the event dating to the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome. He joins Australia’s Grant Hackett as the only two swimmers to win four straight world titles in an event.

Michael Phelps – 100m Fly – 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships - Eighteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps claimed the national title and 2015’s world-best time in the 100m fly on Aug. 8 at the Phillips 66 National Championships. Just ahead of the pack after the first 50 meters, Phelps used a powerful turn and his signature closing speed for a final 50-meter split of 26.35, which was 0.69 faster than anyone else in the field. He earned the victory in 50.45, the seventh-best swim in history and his fastest effort since 2009. 

Michael Phelps – 200m Fly – 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships - Michael Phelps, a 22-time Olympic medalist, took home the national title the 200m fly and posted a 2015 world-best at the Phillips 66 National Championships. Phelps touched in 1:52.94 seconds, good for his best time in the event since 2009 and the seventh-fastest swim of all-time. The Baltimore, Md., native led wire-to-wire and was the only competitor to clock a final 50-meter spilt under 30 seconds, which led to his 1.60-second victory.

Jordan Wilimovsky – 10K Open Water – 2015 FINA World Championships - Jordan Wilimovsky turned in an epic performance at the 2015 FINA World Championships, as he cruised to a 12.1-second victory in the men’s 10-kilometer event and a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. Wilimovsky made a clean break from the pack of at the 3-kilometer mark and powered himself to the touch pad in 1:49:48.2 seconds. With the convincing victory, he became the first American to win the men’s 10K world title since 2005.

 

Female Athlete of the Year
This award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2015 FINA World Championships.

Haley Anderson - It was a memorable 2015 FINA World Championships for Olympic medalist Haley Anderson, who defended her 5-kilometer world title and qualified for a second U.S. Olympic Team over a four-day span in Kazan. She won Team USA’s first gold medal in Kazan with a time of 58:48.4 in the 5K to defend her first career world title from 2013. Anderson followed that performance with a ninth-place finish in the 10K to qualify for Team USA for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Earlier in the year, Anderson won the national title in the 5K and touched second in the 10K at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships. 

Missy Franklin - Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin was one of only three swimmers to win five medals at the 2015 FINA World Championships, as she reached the podium in a pair of individual events and three Team USA relays. On the individual front, Franklin claimed silver in the 200m back in 2:06.34 and bronze in the 200m free in 1:55.49. Alongside her U.S. teammates, she earned gold in the 4x200m free relay and 4x100m mixed free relay and bronze in the 4x100m free relay. Franklin owns 16 career FINA World Championships medals, including a record 11 gold. Earlier in 2015, she closed out her collegiate career with victories at the NCAA Championships in the 200y back, 200y free and 200y IM for the national champion California Golden Bears.

Katie Ledecky - Katie Ledecky continued to stake her place among swimming’s all-time greats in 2015 with five gold medals, four of them in individual events, at the FINA World Championships. With victories in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events, Ledecky became the first swimmer to win gold in all four events at the same FINA World Championships. She opened her meet in Kazan with a meet record in the 400m free (3:59.13) on Aug. 2 and followed with back-to-back world records in the 1500m free on Aug. 3 and 4. After eclipsing her own world mark in the prelims, Ledecky followed with a world-record time of 15:25.48 and a 15-second victory in the 1500m final. Just one night later, she stepped down to the 200m free distance to take gold in 1:55.16, and wrapped up her meet on Aug. 8 with a third world-record swim in Kazan to take gold in the 800m free in 8:07.39, a 10-second victory. Ledecky also anchored the Team USA women to a come-from-behind gold in the 4x200m free relay. She now has nine career World Championships medals – all gold.  

 

Male Athlete of the Year
This award is given to the top male swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2015 FINA World Championships.

Ryan Lochte - Ryan Lochte led the Team USA men with four medals, including three gold, at the 2015 FINA World Championships. Highlighting his performance in Kazan was a victory in the 200m IM, good for his fourth consecutive world title in the event, a feat accomplished just twice in swimming history. He touched in 1:55.81 to take the win. Lochte added gold in the 4x100m mixed free relay and 4x100m medley relay, as well as silver in the 4x200m free relay. He is now second all-time with 27 career FINA World Championships medals, including 18 gold.
 
Michael Phelps - Michael Phelps was dominant at the Phillips 66 National Championships in San Antonio, posting world-best times for 2015 in a trio of events – the 100m fly, 200m fly and 200m IM. Equally as impressive was that each swim also cracked the top-eight performances of all-time. Phelps opened the meet with a victory in the 200m fly in 1:52.94, good for the seventh-fastest performance of all-time and his best time in the event since 2009. He followed with a win in the 100m in 50.45, also the seventh-fastest swim in history and his top effort since 2009. In the 200m IM, Phelps was under world-record pace early in the race and touched in 1:54.75, his quickest swim in the event since the 2012 London Olympic Games and the eighth-fastest performance of all-time.       

Jordan Wilimovsky - In the grueling two-step Olympic qualification process for open water swimmers, Jordan Wilimovsky was unmatched in 2015. With berths in the Rio Olympic Games on the line at the 2015 FINA World Championships, he was the class of the field in the men’s 10-kilometer event, pulling away late to win the world title by 12 seconds and claim a spot on the Team USA roster. Wilimovsky’s victory marked the first world title for an American in the men’s 10K since 2005. He used a similar tactic to win the U.S. national title earlier in the year and claim a spot in the 10K field in Kazan. Wilimovsky then added a victory in the 1500m free at the Phillips 66 National Championships to wrap a remarkable season. 

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