By USA Swimming | Monday, September 16, 2019
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Olympic and world champion Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida) was named USA Swimming Athlete of the Year for the second time in the last three years Saturday at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention.
Established in 1981, this award is voted on by the USA Swimming House of Delegates and given to an individual with the most outstanding year of swimming performances.
At the 2019 FINA World Championships in South Korea, Dressel became the first swimmer in history to earn eight medals at a single world championships competition. His phenomenal performance included repeating gold-medal performances in the 50-, 100-meter freestyle and 100m butterfly events. He also added gold in the 50m butterfly, the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay and silver in the 4x100m medley relay and 4x100m mixed medley relay. He also broke several records, including Michael Phelps’ world record in the 100m butterfly, the meet record in the 50m freestyle, while also setting American records in the 50-, 100m freestyle, and 50m butterfly.
Also honored Saturday evening was Michael Phelps, recipient of the USA Swimming Award, which was established to recognize exceptional contributions to the sport of swimming. For the last two decades, Phelps transformed the sport of swimming. During his career, he won a record-setting 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold, including eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. At five World Championships, from 2001-2011, he won 33 medals, 26 of them gold.
Phelps is only the second athlete to ever receive this honor, joining Mary T. Meagher who won this award in 1981.
Among additional honors awarded Friday was the Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award presented to Regan Smith (Lakeville, Minn./Riptide Swim Team) for her world record-setting swim in the 100m back at the 2019 FINA World Championships.
The full list of award winners included:
Safe Sport Impact Award: John Ingram
Open Water Achievement Award: Ron Aitken, Sandpipers of Nevada
Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year Award: Haley Anderson
Fran Crippen Memorial Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year Award: Jordan Wilimovsky
Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award: Dr. Danny Mistry
Disability Committee Service Award: Robin Heller, Head Coach of SeaStars
James (Jimi) Raymond Flowers Coach of the Year Award: will be announced at a later date
Trisha L. Zorn Award (Athlete of the Year): will be announced at a later date
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award: Chicago Park District
Kenneth J. Pettigrew Award: Melissa Hellervik-Bing
Developmental Coach of the Year Award: Ron Aitken, Sandpipers of Nevada
Athletes’ Appreciation Award: Travis Tygart
Athlete Distinguished Service Award: Claire Letendre
Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award: Regan Smith (Lakeville, Minn./Riptide Swim Team)
USA Swimming Athlete of the Year: Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida)
USA Swimming Award: Michael Phelps