Los Angeles: Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky were honoured as USA Swimming’s top male and female athletes of 2017 at the Golden Goggles awards on Monday. Dressel, who joined Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win seven titles at a single World Championships with his stunning campaign in Budapest in July, won the men’s award over double medley world champion Chase Kalisz.
Distance freestyle great Ledecky won the women’s award for the fifth straight year, beating out a field that included women’s 100m freestyle world champion Simone Manuel and breaststroke sensation Lilly King.
Ledecky’s Budapest campaign included gold in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle as well as relay golds in the 4x100m and 4x200m free. She also picked up a silver in the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old — who took her tally of world titles to 14 — accepted her award from Phelps and retired NBA great Kobe Bryant at the at the gala awards ceremony in downtown Los Angeles.
Dressel, 21, emerged from the shadow of his idol, Phelps, in Budapest, where he became the first swimmer to win three world championships gold medals in a single day. His seven golds, which included individual titles in the 50m and 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly along with three relay titles, matched Phelps’s record tally from the 2007 world championships.
He and Kalisz were the only nominees for the male athlete of the year honour.
Kalisz won his first career international golds with world championship victories in the 200m and 400m individual medley. He was the first swimmer since Ryan Lochte in 2011 to capture both at the world championships. Dressel also won for men’s race of the year for his wire-to-wire 100m fly win in Budapest.
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