Katie Ledecky wins USA Swimming Athlete of the Year; who are World Swimmers of the Year?
Katie Ledecky swept USA Swimming’s Athlete of the Year and Performance of the Year awards thanks to her record-breaking efforts for the second straight year.
Ledecky, 17 and a high school senior, broke a world record five times over a two-month stretch. She capped her season by winning five gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, in August.
Her final swim of Pan Pacs earned Performance of the Year. Ledecky knocked nearly six seconds off her 1500m free world record, swimming it faster than Ryan Lochte did at the 2004 Olympic Trials.
Ledecky won the same awards last year after winning four gold medals at the 2013 World Championships. She earned the 2013 Performance of the Year Award for breaking the 1500m world record in the 2013 Worlds final.
Ledecky and Missy Franklin were in proximity for last year’s U.S. and global swimming honors, but Ledecky is a no-brainer to take home her second straight World Swimmer of the Year titles from FINA and Swimming World. Franklin might not be her top competition, considering Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu‘s all-around prowess.
The men’s global awards ought to go to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, who would become the first man from his nation to claim such titles. Hagino, 20, won five medals at the Pan Pacific Championships, including sweeping the individual medleys.
On Sunday, Hagino trumped both China’s Sun Yang and South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan in the Asian Games 200m freestyle final. Sun is the reigning Swimming World Male Swimmer of the Year. Lochte won the FINA award last year.