You may have to wait until February 12 to watch the 2017 Grammy Awards, but while you’re waiting to find out which of your favorite music artists will be taking gold this year, you can read up on the 2016 Swammy Awards winners. That’s Swammy, not Grammy. Clever play on words from Swim Swam, the swim aficionado’s go-to site for all things swimming. 2016 was a great year for swimming. We had the summer Olympics in Rio where Michael Phelps gave an allstar exit performance, racking up another six medals to his name (five gold and one silver), and Katie Ledecky burst onto the scene on the Women’s Olympic Swim Team, winning two gold medals in the 800-meter freestyle at Rio.
I could just recite the ten swimmers Swim Swam chose as their winners, but you could just go to their website and view them yourself, so I’ll take inspiration from them instead and list my own personal favorite swimmers of 2016- a few that overlap with this and a few of my own personal favorites that I feel to be worthy of mention. If you’re curious though (and too lazy to follow a link), here is the ranking from Swim Swam:
- Katinka Hossou- 400m Individual Medley- Rio Olympics
- Katie Ledecky- 800m Freestyle- Rio Olympics
- Adam Peaty- 100m Breaststroke- Rio Olympics
- Joseph Schooling- 100m Butterfly- Rio Olympics
- Michael Phelps- 200m Individual Medley- Rio Olympics
- Simone Manuel, Penny Oleksiak- 100m Freestyle- Rio Olympics
- Kyle Chalmers- 100m Freestyle- Rio Olympics
- Ryan Murphy- 4x100m Medley Relay Leadoff- Rio Olympics
- Cate Campbell- 100m Freestyle- Australia Grand Prix
- Caeleb Dressel- 50m Freestyle- NCAA Championships
Okay, so now for my picks. So many records were won and awards obtained at Rio last year that it’s hard to highlight just a few swimmers, but here are a couple standout swimmers that really inspired me:
Michael Phelps is my swimming idol. Anyone who knows me knows that to be true. But how could I not mention his standout performance in the Rio Olympics? Phelps announced his retirement after the 2012 London Summer Olympics, having already earned a record-breaking 22 Olympic medals, but he earned another six in Rio, cementing his spot as the most decorated Olympian of all time. His standout performance was the 200m butterfly, where he reclaimed his title as Olympic gold champion. He ended his legendary career with a gold medal win in the 4×100-meter medley relay.
Not many people had heard of Katie Ledecky before the Rio Olympics, but now she’s a household name. At just 19 years old, she already holds five Olympic gold medals, and broke her own world record in the 800m freestyle final. Ledecky is definitely one to watch out for.
Katie Ledecky may have received the most attention in the Rio Olympics for leading the women’s swim team, but the women’s team had many standout swimmers this year. Abbey Weitzel, also 19 years old, set a new American Record for the fastest time in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Additionally, in the Olympic Trials for the 100m freestyle, Weitzel’s time of 53.28 was the fastest ever recorded in the United States.
I may be partial towards the US Swim Team (you should root for your home country, after all), but I need to mention 19-year-old Kyle Chalmers from Australia. Chalmers was not the expected winner for the 100m freestyle; he took the world by surprise when he beat out teammate Cameron McEvoy and US champion, Nathan Adrian, to take gold for Australia. That’s the great thing about sports- you may think you have the winner picked out, but then the underdog triumphs.
That’s it for now- obviously, there are many other great swimmers who had stellar performances in 2016, but that would just be too many to list! Here’s looking to 2017 for another great year of swimming.