Winner of five gold medals at the 2011 FINA World Championships, two-time Olympian Ryan Lochte was named USA Swimming Athlete of the Year Friday. Lochte, who became the first swimmer to break a world record since the banning of polyurethane suits, was also honored with the ConocoPhillips Performance Award for his record-breaking swim in the 200m IM (1:54.00) at World Championships.
“The fact that Ryan Lochte broke the first swimming world record in 19 months in one of the closest races at World Championships says a lot about Ryan’s competitive spirit and his will to succeed,” said USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch. “He is truly a great competitor and he has become a cornerstone of the U.S. men’s National Team heading into next year’s Olympic Games.”
The family of Fran Crippen, the open water swimmer who died tragically at a race in Dubai last October, was honored with the Athletes’ Appreciation Award. The Athletes’ Appreciation Award recognizes the individual or organization perceived by the committee to have contributed most significantly to the Athletes' Movement.
"While the entire Crippen Family has contributed to the competitive success of USA Swimming, Maddy and Fran were instrumental in increasing National Team Athlete support through the Athlete Partnership Agreement, motivating young swimmers with heart felt clinics and leading the ongoing push for Open Water safety,” said Tyler Storie, chair of the Athletes’ Executive Committee. “Their contributions to the athletes of USA Swimming are invaluable."
Additionally, Crippen’s personal coach, Richard Shoulberg was presented with the 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. Shoulberg will serve as head coach of Team USA at the upcoming Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
In open water swimming, three awards were presented. World Championships gold and bronze medalist Ashley Twichell was named Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year while Alex Meyer, fourth-place finisher in the men’s 10K and the first athlete to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, was named Fran Crippen Memorial Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year. Also, Maddy Crippen was presented with the Glen S. Hummer Award, given to the person making the greatest contribution to open water swimming.
In disability swimming, ESPY Award-winner Mallory Weggemann and National Team member Marcus Titus were co-recipients of the Trischa L. Zorn Award. The award is presented for the outstanding performance of the year by an adapted swimmer.
Three coach awards were also presented tonight. Lochte’s personal coach and 2012 Olympic Men’s Head Coach Gregg Troy was honored for receiving the ASCA Coach of the Year Award earlier this month. The James Raymond “Jimi” Flowers Disability Coach of the Year Award went to Jim Andersen of Black Dog Swimming in Minnesota. Brian Brown of Hydro Swim Team was named Developmental Coach of the Year for placing three swimmers on the Junior National Team.
In the area of Diversity, USA Swimming honored Harris County (Texas) Commissioner El Franco Lee and coach Johnnie Means with the Diversity Inclusion Award. Established in 2006, the award is presented to the person or group who has heightened the awareness of inclusion efforts resulting in the increase and participation of underrepresented groups.
The Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award went to Megan Healey a coach at Crimson Aquatics. The award is presented to the individual who has made a significant contribution to safe swimming. Healy’s resuscitation efforts helped save a swimmer’s life and doctors said that without her immediate response and knowledge of life-saving protocol the swimmer would not be here today. The Disability Committee also recognized USA Swimming staff member Dave Thomas with the Outstanding Service Award and official Bill Rose of Sierra Nevada, received the Ken Pettigrew Award by the USA Swimming Officials’ Committee.
For more about USA Swimming’s annual awards, click here.
A complete list of tonight’s winners is as follows:
Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Ashley Twichell
Fran Crippen Memorial Male Swimmer of the Year: Alex Meyer
Glen S. Hummer Award: Maddy Crippen
Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award: Megan Healey
Trischa L. Zorn Award: Mallory Weggemann and Marcus Titus
James Raymond “Jimi” Flowers Disability Coach of the Year: Jim Andersen
Outstanding Service Award (Disability): Dave Thomas
Diversity Inclusion Award: El Franco Lee and Johnnie Means
Ken Pettigrew Award: Bill Rose
ASCA Coach of the Year (Presented at the ASCA Convention): Gregg Troy
Developmental Coach of the Year: Brian Brown
Athletes’ Appreciation Award: The Crippen Family
ConocoPhillips Performance of the Year Award: Ryan Lochte, 200m IM at World Championships
USA Swimming Athlete of the Year: Ryan Lochte
USA Swimming Award: Richard Shoulberg