USA Swimming Golden Goggles Awards 2023

USA Swimming

USA Swimming Celebrates 2023 Success with Golden Goggles Awards in Los Angeles

USA Swimming celebrated the achievements of its national team at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka with the annual Golden Goggles awards in Los Angeles. Kate Douglass and Katie Ledecky made history by sharing the Female Athlete of the Year award, marking the first co-winners in the event’s history. Ryan Murphy secured his second Male Athlete of the Year award.

In its 20th edition, the Golden Goggles awards show serves as a major fundraiser for the USA Swimming Foundation. The highlight of the evening was the three-way tie for the Athlete of the Year title between Ledecky, who earned her ninth award, and Douglass, who claimed her first.

Ledecky’s exceptional performance in Fukuoka included winning her sixth World title in the 800m freestyle, making her the first person in history to achieve this feat. She also secured her fifth World title in the 1500m freestyle and added silver medals in the 400m and 4x200m freestyle relay.

In her acceptance speech, Ledecky reflected on her journey in the sport and expressed gratitude for the mission of the USA Swimming Foundation, which aims to inspire swimmers to learn how to swim.

Douglass, at 22, won her first individual World title by taking gold in the 200m IM. She also earned an individual silver in the 200m breaststroke, finished fourth in the 100m freestyle, and contributed to relay successes, including anchoring the 4x100m medley relay team to gold.

Ryan Murphy, a stalwart in backstroke, clinched his second Male Athlete of the Year award. His victory in the 100m backstroke at the Worlds, where he triumphed over defending champion Thomas Ceccon, marked a significant achievement. Murphy, at 28, continues to be a leader for the U.S. men’s team.

Jack Alexy, a swimmer from Cal Berkeley, was recognized as the Breakout Performer of the Year for his outstanding performance, including two individual silvers in the 50m and 100m freestyle in Fukuoka.

Coach of the Year was awarded to Dave Durden, the head coach of Cal Berkeley, for the second time. Durden, coaching both the men’s and women’s teams, played a pivotal role in guiding athletes to success at the Worlds.

Lydia Jacoby received the Perseverance Award after winning bronze in the 100m breaststroke. Despite being an underdog, Jacoby secured her first Worlds medal.

The relay performance of the year was won by the women’s 4x100m medley relay team, comprising Regan Smith, Lilly King, Gretchen Walsh, and Kate Douglass. They secured their fourth straight World title by beating the Australian team.

Katie Grimes was recognized for the Race of the Year, earning bronze in the 10K at Worlds and solidifying automatic qualification for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Bobby Finke won the Race of the Year for his thrilling silver in the 1500m freestyle at the Worlds. Finke’s race against Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui is considered one of the best in World Championships history.

Eddie Reese, the legendary coach of the University of Texas, received the Impact Award. At 82, Reese is set to conclude his illustrious coaching career after the 2024 Olympics.

The Alumni Award, presented to a standout National Team alum who continues to give back to the sport following retirement, was introduced. The inaugural award was given to 2000 Olympic champion Lenny Krayzelburg.

The Golden Goggles awards night showcased the remarkable achievements and contributions of athletes, coaches, and alumni in the world of swimming.

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By- Sahiba Suri

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