By USA Swimming | Sunday, September 30, 2018
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Record-setting Olympic and world champion Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md./Stanford Swimming) was named USA Swimming Athlete of the Year for fifth time in the last six years Saturday at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention.
Ledecky joins the legendary Michael Phelps as the only five-time winners of the award. She was honored as USA Swimming Athlete of the Year for four straight years from 2013-16 and again in 2018.
Ledecky led the Team USA women at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo with five medals, including repeat gold-medal performances in the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyle events. She added silver in the 4x200m free relay and bronze in the 200m free. Over the last seven summers, Ledecky has competed in 23 individual races at the Olympic Games, FINA World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships. In those 23 races, she has earned 21 gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Earlier in 2018, Ledecky eclipsed her own world record in the 1500m free at the TYR Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis by five seconds with a time of 15:20.48 for her sixth world record in the event and 14th overall. She also 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 500- and 1650-yard free.
Also honored Saturday was Carol Burch, recipient of the USA Swimming Award, which was established in 1981 to recognize exceptional contributions to the sport of swimming. Burch spent 32 years as a dedicated member of the USA Swimming staff from 1982-2014. She was the Member Services Director for many of those years, working diligently with many constituent groups across the organization.
Among additional honors awarded Friday was the Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award presented to Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, N.C./Team Elite/California Aquatics) for her world-record performance of 58.00 in the 100m backstroke at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.
The full list of award winners included:
- Make a Splash Hero Award: Rowdy Gaines
- Safe Sport Impact Award: CeCi Christy
- Open Water Achievement Award: World Junior Open Water Championships Team
- 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: Mary Jo Swalley
- Disabled Swimming Service Award: Linda Conger
- James (Jimi) Raymond Flowers Coach of the Year Award: Andrew Barranco
- Trisha L. Zorn Award (Athlete of the Year): Rebecca Meyers (North Baltimore Aquatic Club)
- Diversity & Inclusion Award: Rob Green (PVS D&I Chair, DC Parks and Recreation)
- Kenneth J. Pettigrew Award: Jay Thomas
- Developmental Coach of the Year Award: John Morse and Doug Wharam (Nashville Aquatic Club)
- Athletes’ Appreciation Award: Ellaine Cox
- Athlete Distinguished Service Award: Van Donkersgoed
- Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award: Kathleen Baker (Team Elite/California Aquatics)
- USA Swimming Athlete of the Year: Katie Ledecky (Stanford Swimming)
- USA Swimming Award: Carol Burch