The two Olympic champions were named 2018 Athletes of the Year at USA Swimming's gala in New York.

Olympic gold medallists and world-record holders Katie Ledecky and Ryan Murphy were each named Athlete of the Year at the annual USA Swimming Golden Goggle Awards in New York.

They were honoured after standout performances which helped lead the U.S. Team to 45 medals at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo.

Katie Ledecky and Ryan Murphy on the red carpet in New York
Katie Ledecky and Ryan Murphy on the red carpet in New York

Record woman

Even if she wasn't as dominant as in the past, five-time Olympic champion Ledecky had another historic year.

In May she broke her own 1500m freestyle world record in her first race as a professional at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis.

The 21-year-old also won three U.S. titles (200m, 400m, and 800m free) and took five medals (three golds) at the Pan Pacs in August, more than any other swimmer.

Ledecky claimed the Female Athlete of the Year award for a record sixth consecutive year. Only Michael Phelps (seven, but not back-to-back) has more.

Katie Ledecky won three golds at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo
Katie Ledecky won three golds at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo

Three honours for Murphy

Rio 2016 triple gold medallist Ryan Murphy was the big winner of the night in Times Square with three honours (including Male Athlete of the Year and Male Race of the Year).

In 2018 the 23-year-old swept three U.S. backstroke titles and claimed three events (two individuals - 100m and 200m back) at the Pan Pacific Championships, where he was named Most Valuable Player.

"I came into tonight totally not expecting that" - he was quoted as saying by usaswimming.org - "It's a really good reminder of why we're training so hard right now and what the benefits can be".

Ryan Murphy received the MVP award at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo
Ryan Murphy received the MVP award at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo

The other winners

  • Andrew Wilson, Caeleb Dressel, and Nathan Adrian joined Murphy to claim the Relay Performance of the Year for the men's 4x100m medley relay at Pan Pacs, when the USA narrowly beat hosts Japan for gold.
  • Olympic medallist Kathleen Baker was awarded Female Race of the Year honours for her world-record performance in the 100m backstroke at the U.S. nationals.
  • Greg Meehan won his second straight Coach of the Year accolade after guiding five women (Katie Drabot, Ella Eastin, Brooke Forde, Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel) to a combined 11 medals in Tokyo.
  • 2012 Olympian Micah Sumrall took the Perseverance Award. She bounced back from missing the 2016 U.S. Olympic team to claim 200m breakstroke gold in Japan.
  • 19-year-old Michael Andrew was the Breakout Performer of the Year after winning four U.S. senior titles (the first male to do so since 2008) and 50m freestyle gold at Pan Pacs.

The proceeds from the event, hosted by actor John O'Hurley, went to the US Swimming Foundation.

Kathleen Baker celebrates her new world record at the U.S. nationals in July
Kathleen Baker celebrates her new world record at the U.S. nationals in July

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