Saturday, November 21, 2009

Golden Goggles: Should vs. Will

The U.S. National Team has assembled Beverly Hills for the Golden Goggles to recognize the top performances this year. Every year, some awards are given out to the right swimmers, while some are messed up, based on USA Swimming biases. For each award, there is someone who clearly should win, but the eventual winner is not always the same person. Without further ado, here are the categories.

Breakout Performer of the Year:
Kasey Carlson
Tyler Clary
Andrew Gemmell
Eric Shanteau

Should: Clary
Comes from (not really) nowhere to be ranked in the top 5 all-time in 3 events, a silver at the World Champs, and one of the only guys who has ever broken a Phelps record. Duh!

Will: Shanteau
See below.

Perseverance Award:
Fran Crippen
Ariana Kukors
Dana Vollmer
Amanda Weir

Should: Eric Shanteau
Oh come on! He should be nominated for Perseverance, not Breakout! But he won this one last year (because of USA Swimming bias), which I'm sure they not regret! So...

Should: Vollmer
Actually, all of these nominees would be great recipients, all classic cases of perseverance, but Vollmer had the complete bounce-back package, and showed remarkable consistency last year, from Pac-10s to NCAAs to Santa Clara to Nationals to Worlds, never letting up, and the come-back anyone wants to have.

Will: Kukors
She has two thing the others don't: a world title and a world record. People know her name. This one's her's.

Coach of the Year:
Bob Bowman
Sean Hutchison
Eddie Reese
Dave Salo
Gregg Troy

Should: Reese
Was behind the remarkable years of Shanteau, Berens, Walters, and Peirsol, and also got Garrett Weber-Gale and Jackson Wilcox on the team. Wow!

Will: Bowman
He's Phelps' coach. There's the USA Swimming bias kicking in.

Relay Performance of the Year (all from the 2009 World Championships):
Men’s 400 Free Relay (Phelps, Lochte, Grevers, Adrian)
Men’s 800 Free Relay (Phelps, Berens, Walters, Lochte)
Men’s 400 Medley Relay (Peirsol, Shanteau, Phelps, Walters)

Should: 400 Medley
They all were solid swims and showed the complete dominance of the American men, but the medley was all-around the best effort.

Will: 400 Free
They won the re-match with France, but that was mostly because the French flunked.

Female Race of the Year:
Jessica Hardy – 100 Breaststroke (2009 U.S. Open)
Ariana Kukors – 200 Individual Medley (2009 World Championships)
Rebecca Soni – 100 Breaststroke (2009 World Championships)

Should: Kukors 200 IM
Even with her Jaked, if you drop over 2 seconds off a world record and over 4 off your best time. that's a pretty good swim!

Will: Kukors
Even though her semi-final swim was more impressive than her final swim.

Male Race of the Year (all from the 2009 World Championships):
Ryan Lochte – 200 Individual Medley
Aaron Peirsol – 200 Backstroke
Michael Phelps – 100 Butterfly
Michael Phelps – 200 Butterfly

Should: Peirsol 200 Back
1:51? Wasn't his best time 1:54 a month before that? Remember, he never wore anything more than leggings, so you can't give it all to the suit. The awesomest swim this year by a long way. No question.

Will: Phelps 100 Fly
Problem is, everyone's obsessed with Phelps taking down Cavic in the 100 fly. But was anyone actually surprised with the time (49.8)? That's been coming for a long time. Seems like Phelps won a great race with Cavic, but it wasn't nearly as amazing of a swim as Peirsol's. Peirsol's non-attendance (he's at the World Cup in Singapore) may hurt his chances as well.

Female Athlete of the Year:
Ariana Kukors
Rebecca Soni
Dana Vollmer

Should: Soni
All three had great years, but Soni gets the nod I think because of her top times in multiple events. It would be much more clear cut if that 200 had gone a bit better...

Will: Soni
Doubt she loses this one.

Male Athlete of the Year:
Ryan Lochte
Aaron Peirsol
Michael Phelps

Should: Phelps
Six months off, some controversy, and he's still the best swimmer in the world. Any questions?

Will: Phelps
Even though I have heard some whispers that Lochte may get the nod, does anyone actually see Phelps losing this one?


  1. I actually see Phelps losing the Male Athlete of the Year to Lochte. Lochte was chosen as the athlete of the year earlier by USA Swimming annual convention & also by USOC in July as the athlete of the month, ranking him ahead of Phelps & Peirsol. Besides I can't see how Bowman will win the coach of the year, especially with his failure with Katie Hoff. I don't think USA Swimming bias can kick in that way.

  2. Thankfully, the bias did not kick in as much as I thought it might have. I still think Peirsol had a better race than Phelps, and Phelps had a better year than Lochte, but apparently USA Swimming disagrees with me.

    I actually did see Lochte winning coming based on USA Swimming's award given right after worlds (and also Phelps winning race of the year). I thought fan votes might have swung the vote towards Phelps but I guess I was wrong...