Phelps wins performance of year at Golden Goggles

November 20th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Phelps wins performance of year at Golden Goggles


Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Michael Phelps' world records in the 200-meter butterfly and 400 freestyle relay earned him two Golden Goggle Awards Sunday night when USA Swimming honored the year's top American performers.
Phelps won male performance of the year for lowering his own 200 fly world mark, first set in 2003, by 13-hundredths of a second at the Pan Pacific Championships in August.
He shared the relay performance of the year award for leading off the victorious 400 free relay at Pan Pacs.
"This wouldn't be possible without everyone stepping up together," Phelps said. "Hopefully what we did this summer will send a message."
Phelps, along with Neil Walker, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak, gave the United States its first world record in the event since 1995.
"This was definitely nerve-wracking," said Jones, a relay newcomer. "The kind words of `You can do it, don't mess it up' definitely helped."
Phelps lost out to Brendan Hansen for male athlete of the year, one of Phelps' leading five nominations. The world's best swimmer competed against himself in the two categories that he won.
Hansen set three world records last summer, two in the 200 breaststroke. He accepted his award from Olympic champion swimmer Mark Spitz and Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis.
"The funniest thing about this award is I had to break three world records to win," Hansen told the crowd at the Beverly Hilton hotel. "That shows the strength of this team. The only way I'm going to get noticed is if I break a world record."
Jones, the first black male swimmer to set a world record for the United States, was chosen as breakout performer of the year. Jones, who swam at North Carolina State, won his first national title in the 50 freestyle in August.
Bob Bowman of Michigan was honored as coach of the year, beating out two-time winner Eddie Reese of Texas. He placed seven Club Wolverine swimmers on the Pan Pacific team, including Phelps, his star pupil.
"The athletes are the most important part of this equation," he said.
Bowman will serve as head coach of the U.S. men's team at next year's world championships in Melbourne, Australia.
Katie Hoff won female athlete of the year for the second consecutive year, beating out Natalie Coughlin and Kate Ziegler. Hoff won five medals, including three gold, at the Pan Pacific meet, and set an American record in the 200 individual medley at U.S. nationals.
Whitney Myers won female performance of the year for her victory in the 200 IM at Pan Pacs, where she missed the American record by six-hundredths of a second.
"Wow!," Myers said. "How can you not swim well when you're surrounded by great athletes like Michael Phelps and Kate Ziegler."
Former Olympian Erik Vendt won the perseverance award. He returned to swimming in April after taking nearly two years off and trains with Phelps in Ann Arbor, Mich. Vendt won the 1,500 free at U.S. Nationals in August and earned a silver medal in the event at Pan Pacs.
"I really missed the competition and cameraderie of the U.S. national team," he said. "I realized my time in the sport wasn't done yet."
The Golden Goggles began in 2004, and winners were decided by Internet voting.

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