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Friday, March 11, 2016

Jordan Wilimovsky Up For AAU James E. Sullivan Award

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California

Anne Curtis in 1944.
Don Schollander in 1964.
Debbie Meyer in 1968.
John Kinsella in 1970.
Mark Spitz in 1971.
Tim Shaw in 1975.
John Naber in 1977.
Tracy Caulkins in 1978.
Janet Evans in 1989.
Michael Phelps in 2003.
Jessica Long in 2006.
Missy Franklin in 2012.

Some of the greatest swimmers in history have been awarded the AAU James E. Sullivan Award since its inception in 1930.

The list includes many renowned Olympic gold medalists and world champions.

The first swimmer to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team has his sights set on another esteemed honor this spring. Jordan Wilimovsky of Malibu, California has the opportunity to etch his name among those with the great swimmers of the past including 12 swimmers who have previously won the prestigious AAU James E. Sullivan Award.

Wilimovsky, coached by Dave Kelsheimer at the Santa Monica Swim Club, enjoyed an open water swimming year like no other in American swimming history.

As his nomination for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year states, "Jordan Wilimovsky is as unlikely a world champion as he is a likely one. With a technically and strategically brilliant performance at the FINA World Championships, he won the 10 km marathon swim and become the first male swimmer to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. A man of slender build, he competes against athletes much larger and seemingly stronger than himself. But his quiet resolve, his voracious hunger for hard work, his relentless focus on technique, and his tremendous leg strength have helped him develop into the Olympic pre-race favorite in the 10 km marathon swim. For his outstanding technical skills, for his off-the-charts navigational IQ, and for his gradual improvement to become a world champion and Olympic gold medal favorite, Wilimovsky qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games by winning the 2015 world 10 km marathon swimming title as well as winning the USA Swimming national 10 km title and the 1500m freestyle title in the ool at the Phillips 66 National Championships."

The AAU James E. Sullivan Award is a one-of-a-kind honor for all of our semi-finalists,” said Melissa Willis, AAU Sullivan Award National Chair. “It is remarkably unique in that it allows us the opportunity to recognize the most elite amateur athletes across every sport imaginable.”

The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional athletes across the country.

"We are truly excited about this year's class of semi-finalists for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award," said Dr. Roger Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. "Each one of them embodies everything this award aims to celebrate – athletic achievement, leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship – both on and off the field."

Wilimovsky's fellow semi-finalists for the 86th AAU Sullivan Award include Derrick Henry (Alabama football), Deshaun Watson (Clemson football), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford football), Keenan Reynolds (Navy football), Ben Simmons (LSU basketball), Nirra Fields (UCLA basketball), Kelsey Minato (Army basketball), Breanna Stewart (UCONN basketball), Mikaela Foecke (Nebraska volleyball), Ashleigh Johnson (USA Water Polo), Jordan Burroughs (USA Wrestling), Adeline Gray (USA Wrestling), Jamie Greubel Poser (USA Bobsled), Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas baseball), Brittany Bowe (USA Speed Skating) and Simone Biles (USA Gymnastics).

Voting is open to the public at www.aausullivan.org.

Semi-finalist voting opens today and will close on March 14th. Finalists for the 86th AAU Sullivan Award will be named on March 17th.

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