Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) took home top honors Monday night at the seventh annual USA Swimming Foundation Golden Goggle Awards. Lochte and Soni were named Male and Female Athlete of the Year during the star-studded gala held at the Marriott Marquis in New York.
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Tonight’s event, hosted by national TV correspondent and co-host of NBC’s TODAY Natalie Morales, celebrated the accomplishments of the 2010 Pan Pacific Championship Team that competed in Irvine, Calif., this summer. The U.S. Team had a stellar performance at that meet, earning the Championship Team Trophy and taking home a total of 51 medals - 27 gold, 17 silver and seven bronze.
In addition to Athlete of the Year, Lochte also won Male Race of the Year with his dominant performance in the 200m IM at the Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships. The two-time Olympian won a total of six gold medals at the meet, earning titles in the 200m free, 400m and 200m IM, 200m back and as part of the 400m and 800m free relay teams. Lochte broke a total of five championship records and two U.S. Open records at Pan Pacs.
Soni took home a total of three awards tonight, winning the Female Athlete of the Year award, the Female Race of the Year for her 200m breaststroke swim at the Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships, and for Relay Performance of the Year. Soni and teammates Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas), Natalie Couglin (Vallejo, Calif.) and Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) took the relay win for their gold-medal performance in the women’s 4x100m medley relay at Pan Pacific Championships. Soni finished Pan Pacs with three gold medals and won two National titles in 2010.
Kate Ziegler (Great Falls, Va.) claimed the Perseverance Award for her strong performance in 2010. In her first international competition since the 2008 Olympics, Ziegler put together a strong year, winning a gold medal in the 800m free at Pan Pacs and a silver medal in the 1500m free.
Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) collected the Breakout Performer of the Year Award. The 15-year-old was the youngest member of the U.S. Pan Pacific Championship Team and had a strong showing at the 2010 Nationals, with five top-eight performances, including two second-place finishes in the 100m and 200m back. She also won the Kiphuth Award as the highest total point scorer at the meet.
The Coach of the Year award was presented to University of Florida and Gator Swim Club head coach Gregg Troy. Troy was the head coach of the U.S. men’s team at the 2010 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships which took home a total of 21 total medals. Troy serves as coach of Lochte and Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), both nominees who earned individual medals at Pan Pacs.
Among the Olympic legends in attendance tonight were Summer Sanders, John Naber, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Tom Dolan, Craig Beardsley, Brooke Bennett, Jeff Rouse, Chris von Saltza and Rowdy Gaines.
Swimnetwork.com will provide highlights and video on-demand from the 2010 Golden Goggle Awards.
The Golden Goggle Award winners are selected by a nine-person panel in combination with fan voting.