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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why Wilimovsky Should Win Golden Goggles

Photos courtesy of Giorgio Scala of Deepbluemedia. Article courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

USA Swimming announced the nominees for its Golden Goggles Awards.

The nominees included the long-time heroes of USA Swimming including Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Both men who are nominated for the Golden Goggle Male Race of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year awards.

But the Big Two were also joined by relative open water swimming newcomer Jordan Wilimovsky.

While Phelps won the 2014 Athlete of the Year award, he had Lochte have dominated this award since 2007. The last man other than Phelps or Lochte to win was Brendan Hansen in 2006.

We believe Wilimovsky is the best choice for both the Golden Goggle Male Race of the Year and the Golden Goggle Male Athlete of the Year awards as well as the Breakout Performer of the Year.

Breakout Performer of the Year Nominees
*Katie Meili: Pan American Games and Nationals champion in 100m breaststroke; ranked No. 3 in the world in 2015
*Jordan Wilimovsky: First career U.S. titles (open water 10 km, 1500m freestyle) and World title (open water 10 km) to make first Olympic team
*Kelsi Worrell: NCAA, Pan American Games and Nationals champion in 100 butterfly; ranked No. 3 in the world in 2015

Male Race of the Year Nominees
*Connor Jaeger’s Worlds 1500m freestyle: Silver in an American record time
*Ryan Lochte’s Worlds 200m individual medley: Gold for fourth straight World title
*Michael Phelps’ Nationals 100m butterfly: Fastest time in the world since 2009
*Michael Phelps’ Nationals 200m butterfly: Fastest time in the world since 2009
*Jordan Wilimovsky’s Worlds open water 10 km: Gold by 12.1 seconds

Male Athlete of the Year Nominees
*Ryan Lochte — World champion, 200m individual medley, Three Worlds relay medals
*Michael Phelps — World’s fastest swimmer in 2015 in 100m, 200m butterfly
*Jordan Wilimovsky — World champion, open water 10 km

While Wilimovsky's choice as Breakout Performer of the Year is a relatively easy choice, there are also good, rationale reasons why the fans and judges can select Wilimovsky as the winner of both the Male Race of the Year and the Male Athlete of the Year.

Among the Male Race of the Year nominees, no one dominated a race like Wilimovsky did. And he did so unexpectedly with a huge upside left over. While coaches, athletes, media and the fans all believe Ryan Lochte should be the top 200 individual medley swimmer and Michael Phelps should remain on top of the butterflies, no one but a small few that that Wilimovsky would be the top open water swimmer in the world in 2015. He is good, bordering on great, but still no one but himself, his coach and perhaps a few teammates ever imagined his dominance over a talented and deep field of international veterans at both the 10 km marathon swim at the USA Swimming national championships and at the world championships in Kazan, Russia.

For an athlete's performance to be selected as the Race of the Year selection, the swimmer should be (1) dominant, (2) unexpected, and/or (3) against top competition. Wilimovsky's marathon swim in Kazan was certainly dominant, unexpected and against the top competition.

For an athlete to be selected at the Male Athlete of the Year, the swimmer should be (1) supremely talented, (2) clearly dominant, and (3) consistently great. Wilimovsky meets all those criteria without a doubt.

Online Golden Goggles voting is available here through November 13th. A percentage of the online fan vote will count toward the final balloting. The Golden Goggle Awards are November 22nd in Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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