Phelps named USA Swimming's athlete of the year

Updated: September 28, 2008, 1:54 AM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Here's a no-brainer: Michael Phelps was named USA Swimming's athlete of the year on Saturday.

Phelps' mother, Debbie, was on hand at the group's convention to accept the award. He won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, breaking Mark Spitz's 36-year-old record.

Phelps' personal coach, Bob Bowman, was already recognized this month as coach of the year by the American Swimming Coaches Association.

Also honored were U.S. Olympians Mark Warkentin and Chloe Sutton, who took part in the debut of open water swimming at the Olympics. Open water head coach Bill Rose received the Glenn S. Hummer Award, given to the person who has made the greatest contribution to long-distance swimming.

Erin Popovich, winner of six medals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, was awarded the Trischa L. Zorn Award for the top performance by a swimmer with a disability.

The Diversity Inclusion Award went to Cullen Jones, who won a relay gold medal in Beijing and has worked to get more African-Americans involved in the sport and improve safety.

Earlier in the day, USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus gave his annual state of the sport speech, reflecting on the success of the American team in Beijing and setting his goals for the next four years.

Among them: expanding membership by at least 20 percent, attracting new corporate and organizational partners, increasing USA Swimming's revenues and net worth, and improving on the number of gold medals at the 2012 London Games.

In addition, USA Swimming president Jim Wood was re-elected to a second term.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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