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FINA names Katinka Hosszu over Katie Ledecky for Swimmer of the Year

Katinka Hosszu

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 29: Katinka Hosszu of Hungary celebrates after winning the Women’s 400m Individual Medley Fastest Heat during FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup 2014 at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Pool on October 29, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

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FINA announced Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu as its Female Swimmer of the Year, over American Katie Ledecky, who broke world records in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles in 2014.

Swimming’s international governing body named South African Chad le Clos its Male Swimmer of the Year over Japanese Kosuke Hagino, who won a combined 10 individual medals at the Pan Pacific Championships and Asian Games.

FINA began awarding Male and Female Swimmer of the Year awards in 2010. Of the first eight winners, seven were Americans (the outlier Swede Therese Alshammar in 2010). This is the first year neither winner was American.

In 2013, the awards went to Ryan Lochte and Ledecky via 674 voters made up of FINA National Federations, FINA Committees, media, partners and experts in aquatic sports. This year’s press release didn’t say if the winners were chosen any differently.

Hosszu and Le Clos were the top performers this year in FINA’s World Cup series, global meets that the top U.S. swimmers often skip.

Hosszu, the 2013 World champion in the 200m and 400m individual medley, broke five world records in 25-meter pools this year. Ledecky’s world records came in Olympic-size 50-meter pools.

Hosszu also won six medals at the European Championships, including three individual golds. Ledecky won five gold medals, including four individual golds, at the Pan Pacific Championships, which did not include European swimmers.

Le Clos, who memorably beat Michael Phelps in the 2012 Olympic 200m butterfly, won seven medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, including two individual golds. The Commonwealth Games do not include the U.S., China and Japan.

Hagino was the top performer at the Pan Pacific Championships, sweeping the individual medleys, including beating Lochte and Phelps in the 200m IM. Le Clos did not compete at Pan Pacs.

Hagino, 20, was also the best swimmer at the Asian Games, pitting the top swimmers from nations such as China, Japan and South Korea.

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