Each Wednesday until the 2013 Golden Goggle Awards in Los Angeles, USA Swimming will take a closer look at one of the eight awards that will be presented Sunday, Nov. 24. Online fan voting is open through Nov. 15, so be sure to cast your vote.
Today we look at the nominees for Female Athlete of the Year, an award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2013 FINA World Championships. The nominees are:
A silver medalist in the open water 10K at the 2012 Olympic Games, Haley Anderson returned to the international podium this summer in Barcelona by capturing the gold medal in the open water 5K at the 2013 FINA World Championships. In the Barcelona Harbor, Anderson established herself among the leaders from the 5K start and held a slim lead over a tightly congested pack at the 2.5K mark. After slipping to second early on lap two, Anderson quickly recovered and it was apparent the race would come down to Anderson and Brazil’s Poliana Okimoto, which it did. The two swimmers entered the finish chute together, and Anderson out-touched Okimoto two two-tenths of a second to win Team USA’s first medal of the 2013 FINA World Championships in 56:34.2. Earlier in the summer, Anderson was victorious in the 5K at the 2013 USA Swimming Open Water National Championships to earn her spot on the Barcelona roster. She also won the 500y and 1650y freestyle events at the 2013 NCAA Championships swimming for USC.
At age 18, Missy Franklin has already established the gold standard for women’s swimmers at the FINA World Championships. One year after making a splash at the London Olympic Games, Franklin became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single FINA World Championships by topping the podium in the 100m back, 200m back, 200m free and all three women’s relays this summer in Barcelona. Franklin has already amassed a women’s record nine career gold medals in FINA World Championships action. She led throughout the women’s 100m back to take gold in 58.42, and followed with gold in the 200m free in 1:54.81 to improve on her fourth-place finish in the event at the 2012 Olympic Games. Already the world-record holder in the 200m back, Franklin added the championship record to her resume with a time of 2:04.76 to take gold by nearly two seconds. In relay action, Franklin led off 4x100m free relay en route to gold and an American record, anchored the 4x200m free relay to gold and swam backstroke on the world champion 4x100m medley relay. Earlier in the season, Franklin claimed the overall women’s title for the 2012-13 Arena Grand Prix Series and won national titles in the 100m and 200m free and 100m and 200m back at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis. She also won Colorado state high school championships in the 500y free and 200y IM and led Regis Jesuit to the team title.
After bursting on the international scene a year ago in London, 16-year-old Katie Ledecky took her performances to another level this summer in Barcelona with four gold medals and world-record swims in the 800m free and 1500m free. In the process, she became the first American woman to win the 400m free, 800m free and 1500m free at a single FINA World Championships. Ledecky claimed her first world championships medal on the opening night of pool competition by taking the 400m free in an American record of 3:59.82, more than two seconds in front of her closest competitor. Two nights later, she smashed a six-year-old world record in the 1500m free and edged Lotte Friis of Denmark to win her second gold medal in 15:36.53. In the 800m free, Ledecky pulled away from Friis at the 650m mark and never looked back en route to a second world record and a time of 8:13.86. She also led off the gold-medal winning 4x200m free relay with the team’s second-fastest split in her first international relay. For her efforts, Ledecky won the FINA Trophy as the highest scoring female swimmer at the 2013 FINA World Championships. Earlier in the summer, Ledecky won the 400m free, 800m free and 1500m free; and was second in the 200m free at the 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis. With those performances, she became the first U.S. woman to qualify for the World Championships in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles.