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2021 Golden Goggle Awards Predictions: Who will win?

The 18th annual Golden Goggle Awards, presented by USA Swimming, will take place on Tuesday, December 7 at the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Who will win? Digital Journal has the scoop.

Caeleb Dressel at ISL Season 3 Match 2 event in Naples, Italy
Caeleb Dressel at ISL Season 3 Match 2 event in Naples, Italy. Photo Credit: Mine Kasapoglu, ISL
Caeleb Dressel at ISL Season 3 Match 2 event in Naples, Italy. Photo Credit: Mine Kasapoglu, ISL

The 18th annual Golden Goggle Awards, presented by USA Swimming, will take place on Tuesday, December 7 at the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Who will win? Digital Journal has the scoop.

‘Breakout Performer of the Year’

For “Breakout Performer of the Year,” the nominees are Bobby Finke, Katie Grimes, Lydia Jacoby, and Emma Weyant. This award is given to the athlete whose performance(s) stand out in relation to other years, with special emphasis on the Olympic Games.

Analysis: With two gold medals at the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, this award should go to Bobby Finke. He had an incredible summer in Tokyo and proved to be the underdog and dark horse.

Who Will Win/Who Should Win: Bobby Finke

Spoiler: Lydia Jacoby

Bobby Finke
Bobby Finke. Photo Credit: Mike Lewis, USA Swimming

‘Perseverance Award’

For the “Perseverance Award,” the nominees are Annie Lazor, Erica Sullivan, and Tom Shields. This award is given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, sickness, or injury, to have an outstanding performance(s) in 2021, with special emphasis on the Olympic Games.

Analysis: Annie Lazor truly epitomized the spirit of “perseverance” during the Olympic Trials, where she won first place, and she even won a bronze medal in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke race in Tokyo. Her father had passed away several months prior to the Olympic Trials, and her training partner (and fellow Olympian) Lilly King was there for her every step of the way, and that was impeccable.

Tom Shields’ story about attempting suicide a few years ago, and redeeming himself from a mental health standpoint, and earning a second Olympic gold medal in the medley relay was also inspiring.

Who Will Win/Who Should Win: Annie Lazor

Spoiler: Tom Shields

‘Coach of the Year’ 

For “Coach of the Year,” the nominees are Ron Aitken, Jack Bauerle, Todd DeSorbo, Greg Meehan, Anthony Nesty, and Gregg Troy.

This award is given to the coach whose athlete(s) performed at the highest level throughout the year, with special emphasis on the Olympic Games.

Analysis: Being Caeleb Dressel’s coach, Gregg Troy deserves to win the “Coach of the Year” award this year. He was snubbed in this category back in 2019, and it is only right that they rectify that now. Troy is a living legend in the swimming coaching world. Dave Durden should have been nominated for being the Men’s Team Head Coach for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Who Will Win/Who Should Win: Gregg Troy

Should have Been Nominated: Dave Durden

‘Relay Performance of the Year’ 

In the “Relay Performance of the Year” category, the nominated relays are the women’s 4×200 meter freestyle relay race, the men’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay race, as well as the men’s 4×100 meter medley relay race. This award is given to the best team relay performance, male or female. The performance considered must be a finals performance, with special emphasis on the 2020 Olympic Games.

Analysis: The men’s 4×100 meter medley relay race (comprised of Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew, Caeleb Dressel, and Zach Apple) was a gold medal win for Team USA, and they were able to shatter the previous 12-year-old world record from 2009. They are unstoppable for the Golden Goggle win in this category.

Who Will Win/Who Should Win: Men’s 4×100 meter medley relay race

‘Female Race of the Year’ 

For “Female Race of the Year,” the nominated races are Lydia Jacoby’s 100 meter breaststroke race, Katie Ledeck’s 800 meter freestyle race, and Katie Ledecky’s 1,500 meter freestyle racy. This award is given to the female swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the Olympic Games.

Analysis: This is the best category to reward Lydia Jacoby for her great summer in Tokyo. She was the underdog and was able to best breaststroke queen Lilly King for the win in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke race. Most likely, Katie Ledecky will split the vote and cancel herself out for both of her races, and neither of Ledecky’s races were national records or world records.

Should Win/ Will Win: Lydia Jacoby for her 100 meter breaststroke race

Lydia Jacoby
Lydia Jacoby. Photo Credit: Mike Lewis, USA Swimming

‘Male Race of the Year’  

Four male races are up for “Male Race of the Year.” These include Caeleb Dressel’s 100 meter freestyle final, and Dressel’s 100 meter butterfly final. Bobby Finke is nominated for his 800 meter freestyle race, and Chase Kalisz scored a nod for his 400 meter individual medley (IM).

This award is given to the male swimmer with the greatest single individual race of the year, with special emphasis on the Olympic Games.

Analysis: This category will be among the two Caeleb Dressel races: his 100 meter freestyle final and his 100 meter butterfly final; however, his world record in the 100 meter butterfly race (49.45 seconds) gives him the edge for the win, though it was neat to watch his fierce competition with Kyle Chalmers in the100 meter free final in Tokyo.

Who Will Win/Who Should Win: Caeleb Dressel’s 100 meter butterfly final race

Spoiler: Caeleb Dressel’s 100 meter freestyle final race

‘Female Athlete of the Year’  

For “Female Athlete of the Year,” the nominees are Lydia Jacoby, Katie Ledecky, Lilly King, and Regan Smith.

This award is given to the top female swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the Olympic Games.

Analysis: Katie Ledecky won a total of four Olympic medals (two gold and two silver) in Tokyo, which makes her the favorite for the win. Ledecky proves once again that she is the GOAT (greatest of all time).

Who Should Win/Will Win: Katie Ledecky

Spoiler: Lydia Jacoby

‘Male Athlete of the Year’ 

In the coveted “Male Athlete of the Year” category, the nominees are Bobby Finke, Caeleb Dressel, Chase Kalisz, and Ryan Murphy.

This award is given to the top male swimmer of the year with special emphasis on achievements at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Analysis: No surprises whatsoever in this category. With five Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, which included two world records and two Olympic records, Caeleb Dressel wins hands down! Congratulations.

Who Should Win/Will Win: Caeleb Dressel

Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 16,000 original articles over the past 15 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a five-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past two years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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