By USA Swimming | Monday, November 20, 2017
LOS ANGELES – Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida) and Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md./Stanford Swimming), who combined to win 13 medals at the 2017 FINA World Championships, were honored as the Athletes of the Year on Sunday at the 2017 USA Swimming Golden Goggle Awards at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.
This year’s event, emceed by actor, comedian and former swimmer Anders Holm, celebrated the accomplishments of the U.S. team at the 2017 FINA World Championships, which won 41 medals across pool and open water competition last summer in Hungary. The evening benefited the USA Swimming Foundation.
Dressel was the lone athlete to earn a pair of individual Golden Goggle Awards, as he took home Male Athlete of the Year accolades and Male Race of the Year honors for his men’s 100-meter butterfly performance at the FINA World Championships.
In Budapest, Dressel joined Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win seven titles at a single FINA World Championships. He won individual gold in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly to become the first American male since Ryan Lochte in 2011 to claim at least three individual titles at the same world championships. He set American records in the 50m free, 100m free and 50m fly in Budapest. On June 29, Dressel became the first swimmer in history to win three world titles in a single day on with gold in the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly and mixed 4x100m freestyle relay. He also won gold in the 4x100m medley relay, 4x100m freestyle relay and mixed 4x100m medley relay in Budapest.
“It feels really good, especially with the competition,” said Dressel, who was nominated alongside Chase Kalisz in both categories. “I’m just very happy to be up there with [Chase]. To actually win the award, it’s a great honor.”
In his Male Race of the Year performance, Dressel led wire-to-wire to earn gold and become the second-fastest performer of all-time in the men’s 100m butterfly. He touched in a time of 49.86 – just four-hundredths of a second off Phelps’ world record – for the fastest textile time in history.
Ledecky earned Female Athlete of the Years for a record fifth straight year after continuing her unprecedented run of international success in Budapest by winning six medals – five gold – and claiming her third straight world titles in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle. Her 3:58.34 effort in the 400m free was a meet record and ranks as the second-fastest time in history. Ledecky added gold in the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays, as well as a second straight FINA World Championships medal (silver) in the 200m free. She owns a women’s record 14 career gold medals in FINA World Championships action, including 10 individual world titles – more than any other woman.
“It’s a great honor,” Ledecky said. “Team USA had such a tremendous summer and just to be with everyone again was a lot of fun – to recognize all the accomplishments of everyone on the team this summer and really celebrate what the USA Swimming Foundation has been able to do over the last decade.”
Lilly King (Evansville, Ind./Indiana University) earned Female Race of the Year honors for the highly anticipated women’s 100m breaststroke final at the 2017 FINA World Championships. She jumped out to a quick lead off the blocks, led by more than half a second at the turn and held off the rest of the field over the final 50 meters to touch in a world record time of 1:04.13 – more than two-tenths of a second off the 4-year-old world record.
King and teammates Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, N.C./Team Elite/Cal), Kelsi Worrell (Westampton, N.J./Cardinal Aquatics) and Simone Manuel (Sugar Land, Texas/Stanford Swimming) added Relay Performance of the Year honors after winning gold and setting a world record in the women’s 4x100m medley relay at the FINA World Championships.
In her long-course World Championships debut, Breakout Performer of the Year honoree Mallory Comerford (Kalamazoo, Mich./University of Louisville) was a standout for Team USA at the 2017 FINA World Championships with five relay gold medals – 4x100m medley, 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle, mixed 4x100m medley and mixed 4x100m freestyle.
Perseverance Award winner Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill./ Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics) just missed a return trip to the Olympic Games in 2016 with a heartbreaking third-place finish in the event at Olympic Trials. He bounced back in a big way in 2017, winning the U.S. title in the 100m backstroke at the Phillips 66 National Championships to earn a return to the international stage. In Budapest, Grevers – a team co-captain – won four medals.
Coach of the Year honors went to Stanford Swimming’s Greg Meehan. The Team USA women’s head coach for the FINA World Championships, Meehan guided his Stanford swimmers to 14 medals – 12 of them gold – in Budapest. Ledecky and Manuel each won six medals to lead all female competitors at the meet.
Proceeds from the Golden Goggle Awards benefit the USA Swimming Foundation, which has the mission to save lives and build champions – in the pool and in life. In addition to its Make a Splash initiative, a national, child-focused water safety campaign that stresses the importance of learning to swim, the USA Swimming Foundation supports the U.S. National Team and its development efforts aim to establish an endowment to strengthen the future of USA Swimming’s programs and services. The Foundation also serves as the home for our National and Olympic Team Alumni reunions and regional events.
2017 USA Swimming Golden Goggle Award Winners:
- Female Athlete of the Year: Katie Ledecky
- Male Athlete of the Year: Caeleb Dressel
- Female Race of the Year: Lilly King, 100m Breaststroke (2017 FINA World Championships)
- Male Race of the Year: Caeleb Dressel, 100m Butterfly (2017 FINA World Championships)
- Relay Performance of the Year: Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay (2017 FINA World Championships): Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Kelsi Worrell, Simone Manuel
- Breakout Performer of the Year: Mallory Comerford
- Perseverance Award: Matt Grevers
- Coach of the Year: Greg Meehan