By USA Swimming | Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Breakout Performer of the YearThis award is given to the athlete whose performance(s) stand out in relation to other years, with special emphasis on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
After rewriting the national age group record book in recent years, 19-year-old Michael Andrew had a breakthrough senior-level season in 2018. At the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, Andrew won national titles and posted lifetime-best swims in the 50m freestyle, 50m and 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly to become the first male since 2008 to win at least four titles at Nationals or Olympic Trials. In Tokyo at Pan Pacs, Andrew won gold in the 50m free for his first career individual medal at a major long-course, international meet.
Zach Harting continued his rise among Team USA’s top butterfliers in 2018. On his first major international roster, he was the top American and the bronze medalist in the 200m butterfly at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships with a personal-best swim of 1:55.05 in Tokyo. At Phillips 66 Nationals, Harting raced to second in the 200m fly to claim his spot on the Pan Pacs roster. On the collegiate front, Harting was a key contributor for the University of Louisville’s successful program.
A University of Texas standout, Austin Katz made his first major international team this summer and delivered with bronze in the 200m backstroke at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in a lifetime-best 1:56.00. He clinched his spot in Tokyo with a third-place finish in the same event at Phillips 66 Nationals. Earlier in 2018, Katz won the NCAA title in the 200y back and took fourth in the 100y back for the Longhorns as a freshman.
Representing Team USA for the first time at a major international competition, Andrew Seliskar was a double medalist at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, as he took silver in the 200m freestyle and led off the gold-medal-winning 4x200m free relay. At the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, Seliskar won his first career national title in the 200m free in a lifetime best 1:45.70 and tied for third in the 200m individual medley. Earlier in 2018, Seliskar posted three top-five finishes for Cal at the NCAA Championships.
Perseverance AwardThis award is given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, sickness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance(s) in 2018, with special emphasis on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Ella Eastin had a long, winding road to her first major long-course international roster. In 2017, she missed out on a trip to the FINA World Championships in Budapest following a disqualification in the 400m individual medley after an apparent runner-up finish. In 2018, Eastin came down with mononucleosis in the leadup to Phillips 66 Nationals and was forced to miss significant training time. Down to her last race in her hometown of Irvine, Eastin delivered a third-place finish in the 200m IM at Nationals to clinch a spot on the Pan Pacs roster. In Tokyo, she was the top American in the 200m IM, placing fourth. Earlier in 2018, Eastin won three NCAA titles for the national champion Stanford Cardinal.
Following a breakout 2015 season, Katie McLaughlin seemed well positioned to make a run at the 2016 Olympic Team before fracturing two vertebrae in her lower neck in January 2016. She’s been on the comeback trail ever since, and McLaughlin completed her return to major international competition with a runner-up finish in the 100m butterfly at Phillips 66 Nationals in a lifetime-best swim of 57.51. In Tokyo, McLaughlin earned a silver medal as a member of the 4x200m freestyle relay.
2012 Olympian Micah Sumrall bounced back in a big way in 2018 with a gold-medal performance in the 200m breaststroke at the Pan Pacific Championships. After missing the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, she took time away from the sport before resurfacing with Chattahoochee Gold Swim Club earlier this year. Buoyed by the support of the age-group swimmers she coaches, Sumrall won the 200m breast title at Phillips 66 Nationals and took third in the 100m breast in Irvine to qualify for her first international roster since 2015. In Tokyo, she nearly matched her career-best time in the 200m breast en route to gold, her first at a major international competition.
Coach of the YearThis award is given to the coach whose athlete(s) performed at the highest level throughout the year, with special emphasis on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Longtime University of Georgia coach Jack Bauerle led five swimmers to appearances on the U.S. Pan Pacific Championships roster in 2018 – Hali Flickinger, Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland, Melanie Margalis and Olivia Smoliga. In Tokyo, Kalisz swept the men’s individual medley events, Flickinger won the 200m butterfly and Margalis took silver in the 400m IM. In addition, Bauerle-coached swimmers combined for four victories at 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals, and he guided seven athletes to spots on the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team. At the 2018 NCAA Championships, the Georgia men and women both posted top-11 team finishes.
Dave Durden, the men’s head coach at Cal, led the way with six athletes on the U.S. men’s roster for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships – Nathan Adrian, Sean Grieshop, Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley, Josh Prenot and Andrew Seliskar. In Tokyo, Durden’s swimmers combined for six medals, including a triple gold-medal performance from Murphy. He also coached 10 swimmers to spots on the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team and led his athletes to five national titles at 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals. At the 2018 NCAA Championships, Durden paced the Golden Bears to a runner-up finish.
Currently coaching UC San Diego and Team Elite, David Marsh guided Kathleen Baker and Katie Meili to berths on the Pan Pacific Championships roster and placed six swimmers on the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team. Baker won three titles and set the world record in the 100m backstroke at 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals before winning four medals in Tokyo at Pan Pacs, including gold in the 200m backstroke.
An assistant coach on the Team USA staff at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, Teri McKeever placed three of her Cal Golden Bears standouts on the U.S. roster for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships and the 2018-19 National Team – Kathleen Baker, Katie McLaughlin and Abbey Weitzeil. Led by a four-medal performance from Baker, this group combined to win five medals in Tokyo. At the Phillips 66 Nationals, Baker won three titles and set the world record in the 100m back. Earlier in 2018 at the NCAA Championships, the Cal women posted a runner-up finish.
Stanford women’s head coach Greg Meehan continued to guide his student-athletes to the pinnacle of international and collegiate swimming in 2018. He coached five women onto the Team USA roster for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships – Katie Drabot, Ella Eastin, Brooke Forde, Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel – combining for 11 medals in Tokyo. Ledecky and Manuel also captured a combined five titles at the 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals ranging from the 50m to 800m freestyle. On the collegiate front, the Cardinal clinched its second straight NCAA women’s title in 2018. Six Meehan-coached swimmers qualified for the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team.
Relay Performance of the YearThis award is given to the best team relay performance, male or female. The performance considered must be a finals performance, with special emphasis on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
The men’s 4x200m freestyle lineup of Andrew Seliskar, Blake Pieroni, Zach Apple and Townley Haas claimed Team USA’s first relay gold medal of the Pan Pacific Championships in 7:04.36 – just over three-tenths of a second clear of runner-up Australia. The Americans sat in second position throughout most of the first 600 meters of the race before Haas made up more than a second on the anchor to secure the gold medal for the United States.
Men’s 4x100 Medley Relay, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
The United States’ men closed the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in dramatic fashion with gold in the men’s 4x100m medley relay – the final event of the pool competition. The host Japanese held a slight lead over Ryan Murphy, Andrew Wilson and Caeleb Dressel over the first three legs of the relay before Nathan Adrian hit the water for the freestyle anchor. The veteran quickly made up a small deficit and split 47.71 to lift Team USA to gold in 3:30.20 – only five-hundredths ahead of runner-up Japan and just over three-tenths clear of third-place Australia.
Female Race of the YearThis award is given to the female swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Haley Anderson, Open Water 10K, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Haley Anderson capped a strong 2018 season with a second straight Pan Pacific Championships gold medal in the women’s open water 10-kilometer race at Hojo Beach. Anderson swam toward the back of the lead pack for much of the race before making a move toward the front on the third lap. She was third with 2000 meters to go before surging ahead for the victory over the final straightaway. Anderson touched just over a second ahead of runner-up Kareena Lee of Australia, with the entire podium separated by roughly two seconds.
Kathleen Baker, 100m Backstroke, 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships
Kathleen Baker brought the crowd to its feet with her first career world record in the 100m backstroke at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine. She charged off the start and was a more than sixth-tenths of a second under world-record pace at the 50-meter mark. Baker held on over the final 50 and touched in 58.00 – a tenth under the previous mark set by Canada’s Kylie Masse at the 2017 FINA World Championships. She won the race by more than seven-tenths of a second and claimed her second straight national title in the 100m back.
Katie Ledecky, 1500m Freestyle, 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis
In her first race as a professional, Katie Ledecky continued her dominance in the 1500m freestyle with an in-season world record of 15:20.48 – a full five seconds faster than her previous mark set at the 2015 FINA World Championships – at the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis. Ledecky owns the eight fastest times in history in the 1500m free and has held the world record since 2013. She finished 49 seconds ahead of the field in Indianapolis.
Micah Sumrall, 200m Breaststroke, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
On her third Pan Pacific Championships roster, Micah Sumrall won her first career Pan Pacs medal as she raced to gold in the 200m breaststroke in Tokyo. After sitting fourth at the 50-meter mark, Sumrall grabbed the lead on the second 50 and held off the field over the final 100 meters to touch in 2:21.88 – 24-hundredths in front of runner-up Lilly King and just off her lifetime best from 2013.
Male Race of the YearThis award is given to the male swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Michael Andrew, 50m Freestyle, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Nineteen-year-old Michael Andrew won his first career major long-course, international gold medal with a convincing swim in the 50m freestyle in Tokyo. He gained separation from silver medalist Caeleb Dressel at the 25-meter mark and held on down the stretch to touch in a lifetime-best 21.46, just two-hundredths off the meet record. Andrew’s gold was the first by an American in the men’s 50m free at Pan Pacs since 2010.
Zane Grothe, 800m Freestyle, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Zane Grothe capped a memorable 2018 season with a gold medal and a lifetime-best in the 800m freestyle at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo. After sitting second over the first 300 meters of the race, Grothe raced to a lead he would not relinquish at the 350-meter mark. He touched in 7:43.74 – good for a Pan Pacific Championships record and Team USA’s first-ever Pan Pacs gold medal in the event.
Chase Kalisz, 200m Individual Medley, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
World champion Chase Kalisz continued his dominance in the individual medley events in Tokyo with Pan Pacs gold in the 200m IM in a personal best of 1:55.40 – nearly eight-tenths of a second clear of the field. After sitting in seventh place at the 50-meter mark, Kalisz moved up on the backstroke to second with 100 meters to go. He made his signature move on the breaststroke leg to overtake Japan’s Kosuke Hagino and held on down the stretch to touch for Team USA’s first Pan Pacs gold in the event since 2010.
Ryan Murphy, 100m Backstroke, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
World record-holder Ryan Murphy posted the third-fastest 100m backstroke in history in Tokyo with a time of 51.94 to claim Pan Pacific Championships gold and a meet record. After a quick start, he was more than a second ahead at the turn and never looked back en route to a convincing 0.84-second victory over Japan’s Ryosuke Irie, who touched second. Murphy’s swim was good for 994 FINA points, the top mark of the meet, and clinched the United States’ first Pan Pacs gold in the event since 2010.
Female Athlete of the YearThis award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Olympian Haley Anderson had a strong 2018 season, highlighted by a second straight open water 10K gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships and lifetime bests in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle at the 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals, where she placed in the top four in all three events. Anderson also was the 10K runner-up at USA Swimming Open Water Nationals and posted multiple podium finishes – two gold, one silver – at FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series and LEN European Open Water Cup events this summer in Europe.
Olympian Kathleen Baker posted a huge 2018 season thanks to her first career world record, three national titles and four medals at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Baker kicked her summer off with a world record of 58.00 in the 100m backstroke, as well as titles in the 200m back and 200m individual medley, at the 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals. She followed with gold in the 200m back in a championship-record and lifetime-best 2:06.14 at Pan Pacs and added bronze in the 100m back, silver in the 4x100m medley relay and bronze in the 4x100m mixed medley relay in Tokyo. Earlier in 2018, Baker notched three top-three finishes at the 2018 NCAA Championships for Cal.
The incomparable Katie Ledecky again led the Team USA women at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships with five medals, including repeat gold-medal performances in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events. She added silver in the 4x200m free relay and bronze in the 200m free. Earlier in 2018, Ledecky eclipsed her own world record in the 1500m free at the TYR Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis with a time of 15:20.48, won U.S. titles in the 200m, 400m and 800m free at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships and claimed the women’s overall TYR Pro Swim Series title. Prior to joining the professional ranks, Ledecky paced Stanford to a second straight NCAA women’s team title with victories in the 500y and 1650y free.
Male Athlete of the YearThis award is given to the top male swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Olympic medalist Chase Kalisz swept the individual medley titles at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, taking the 200m IM in 1:55.40 and the 400m IM in 4:07.95 over his Japanese rivals, becoming the first American since 2010 to win both events. Kalisz also won both IM races at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships and claimed the overall men’s TYR Pro Swim Series title, displaying his consistency across 2018.
Olympic champion Ryan Murphy was a triple gold medalist at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, winning gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke and the 4x100m medley relay. He took the 100m back in 51.94, good for the third-fastest swim of all-time and added gold in the 200m back in a lifetime-best 1:53.57. Murphy set Pan Pacs records in both events and was awarded Male Swimmer of the Championships honors. Earlier in the summer, he swept the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke titles at the Phillips 66 National Championships.
Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky was Team USA’s most decorated male performer at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in terms of individual medals, as he claimed two gold and one silver. In the pool, Wilimovsky raced to gold in the 1500m freestyle in 14:46.93 and silver in the 800m free in 7:45.19. Just two days later, he came back to win the men’s 10K gold medal at Hojo Beach by 6 seconds in 1:58:50.5. He also added U.S. national titles in the 10K and 1500m free earlier in 2018.