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Missy Franklin Named USA Swimming Athlete of the Year

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Five-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) was named USA Swimming Athlete of the Year at the 2012 United States Aquatic Sports Convention Saturday. Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky earned the Phillips 66 Performance Award and Michael Phelps was awarded the 2012 Athletes’ Appreciation Award.

Franklin earned four gold medals and one bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. She broke two world records in London, one in the 200m backstroke and the other as part of the women’s 4x100m medley relay.

Franklin, who was unable to accept the award in person, provided an acceptance speech thanking USA Swimming for the prestigious award.

“I couldn't have done any of this without USA Swimming. They have taught me so much and given me the most incredible experiences that have made me who I am as a person and a swimmer,” Franklin said. “I really didn't think my life could get any better. This summer, being part of the Olympic Team, was an unbelievable experience. Our team was so close, we had so much fun, and I love them all. It was an honor for us to be in London representing the USA.”

Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) was awarded the Athletes’ Appreciation Award at the USA Swimming House of Delegates session on Friday. The award recognizes the individual or organization perceived by the committee to have contributed most significantly to the Athletes' Movement.

The Phillips 66 Performance Award was presented to Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.). Ledecky, who attended the Friday night session to accept the award in person, won a gold medal and set the American record at the Olympic Games in the 800m freestyle. The award is given to the top individual swimming performance of the year.

Wells O’Brien took home the 2012 USA Swimming Award. The USA Swimming Award is the highest honor in the sport of swimming, given to the individual or organization with the most outstanding contribution to the sport.

O’Brien has been a member and volunteer in the sport since 1983. He served as the Secretary and General Counsel of USA Swimming for 16 years from 1994 to 2010 amd was an official on the pool deck for over 20 years. O’Brien was the head referee at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in Long Beach, Calif., and also represented the official at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

“Thank you to all the members of USA Swimming,” O’Brien said. “I want to thank the people I’ve worked with over the years and for all the help with the projects I have been a part of. Thank you for this award. It means a lot to me.”

In open water swimming, three awards were presented. Olympic silver medalist Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif.) was named the Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year while 2012 Olympian Alex Meyer (Ithaca, N.Y.) was named the Fran Crippen Memorial Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year. Paul Asmuth and 2012 open water Olympic head coach Tim Murphy was presented with the Glen S. Hummer Award, given to the person making the greatest contribution to open water swimming for the year.

In disability swimming, 2012 Paralympic medalist Jessica Long earned the Trischa L. Zorn Award. The award is presented for the outstanding performance of the year by an adapted swimmer.

A complete list of tonight’s winners is as follows:
Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Haley Anderson
Fran Crippen Memorial Male Swimmer of the Year: Alex Meyer
Glen S. Hummer Award: Paul Asmuth and Tim Murphy
Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award: Starre Haney
Trischa L. Zorn Award: Jessica Long
James Raymond “Jimi” Flowers Disability Coach of the Year: Dave Denniston
Outstanding Service Award (Disability): Marie Wise
Diversity Inclusion Award: Coach Hosea Holder
Ken Pettigrew Award: Suzanne Heath
ASCA Coach of the Year  (Presented at the ASCA Convention): Bob Bowman
Developmental Coach of the Year: Geoff Brown
Athletes’ Appreciation Award: Michael Phelps
Phillips66 Performance of the Year Award: Katie Ledecky, 800m Free - 2012 Olympic Games
USA Swimming Athlete of the Year: Missy Franklin
USA Swimming Award: Wells O’Brien