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Best Of USA Swimming Honored At 2021 Golden Goggle Awards

By Todd Kortemeier | Dec. 08, 2021, 12:10 a.m. (ET)

Katie Ledecky, Lydia Jacoby and Bobby Finke pose with their awards after the Golden Goggle Awards on Dec. 7, 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida.

 

After a thrilling and successful Olympic year, the best of U.S. swimming were honored Tuesday night in Miami at USA Swimming’s annual Golden Goggle Awards.

Taking home two honors was 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby, whose gold-medal performance at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 earned her the Breakout Performer award. Jacoby also earned the award for Female Race of the Year for her 100-meter breaststroke swim to gold in Tokyo. The first Olympic swimmer from the state of Alaska gave thanks for some gold-medal inspiration she received that helped her on her journey.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s helped me along the way,” Jacoby said in accepting her award. “I met, particularly, (2012 Olympic gold medalist) Jessica Hardy, who I met back in 2016 I think it was. In April this year was the first time that I really realized that I had a good shot of making the Olympic team. I was in California for a TYR Pro meet and I went to see Jessica and she told me that she thought I could take gold in Tokyo and I was like, pfft, no, that’s crazy. So I’d like to say thank you for having so much trust in me.”

Taking the last and biggest awards of the night were Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky for Male and Female Athlete of the Year. Dressel, already a two-time Olympic gold medalist, broke out in a big way with five gold medals in Tokyo, the fifth swimmer ever to do so. Ledecky added to her already lengthy resume with four more medals, including a third consecutive gold in the 800-meter freestyle. 

Dressel also was honored a second time in winning the award for Relay Performance with Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew and Zach Apple for their win in the men’s 4x100 medley. The team won their gold medal in world record fashion, besting a time set by a U.S. team 12 years prior. Dressel and company won the medal by nearly a second over Great Britain. Dressel’s coach, Gregg Troy, received the Coach of the Year award. 

Like Jacoby, Bobby Finke scored the first Olympic medals of his career in Tokyo and won Male Race of the Year for his win in the 800 free. Finke set an American record in the event despite trailing with 50 meters to go. His thrilling comeback down the stretch secured the win. Finke also added a gold in the 1,500 free.

Annie Lazor also secured her first Olympic medal in Tokyo, a bronze in the 200-meter breaststroke. She did so with a heavy heart, having lost her father David to COVID-19 just a few months prior. Lazor went through a period of grief in which she had no desire to train without her biggest fan. For her determination to make it to the Games, Lazor received the Perseverance Award.

Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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