This year's event will be hosted by NBC sportscaster Bob Costas and will mix entertainment industry celebrities with the swimming stars of the 2008 Olympic Games. A total of 10 Golden Goggle awards will be presented this year, including Male and Female Athlete of the Year.
Fans can vote for the winners online at GoldenGoggles.com. Online voting begins October 8 and will continue through November 7.
Phelps headlines the ballot with three individual nominations and three relay nominations following his historic eight-gold medal performance at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Phelps broke four individual world records and was part of three relay world records on his way to winning the most gold medals ever in a single Olympiad. He is followed by Jason Lezak with four nominations. Rebecca Soni leads the women's field with three nominations and Natalie Coughlin, Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.), and Dara Torres all earned two nominations.
The nominees for 2008 Male Athlete of the Year include Phelps, Lezak, Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Aaron Peirsol (Irvine, Calif.). Phelps, Lochte and Peirsol all set individual world records and won Olympic gold in Beijing. Lezak took home his first individual medal in the men's 100m free, and swam the comeback anchor leg on the men's 400m free relay. That relay team is also nominated in the Relay Performance of the Year category.
The 2008 Female Athlete of the Year category features Coughlin, Soni, Margaret Hoelzer (Huntsville, Ala.) and Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.). All four of the swimmers set world records in 2008 and earned individual medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, combining for a total of 15 Olympic medals among them. Hoff has won the Female Athlete of the Year award the last three years, while Coughlin won the award in 2004.
The Coach of the Year ballot includes Bob Bowman (Club Wolverine), Gregg Troy (Univ. of Florida), Teri McKeever (Cal Aquatics), Eddie Reese (Longhorn Aquatics), and Dave Salo (Trojan Swim Club). Each of these nominees coached a swimmer to individual Olympic gold in 2008.
In other categories, Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.), Magnuson, and Soni are nominated as Breakout Performers of the Year. The ballot for the Perseverance Award, given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, illness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance at the 2008 Olympic Games, features Lezak, Torres, Eric Shanteau (Lilburn, Ga.), and Emily Silver (Bainbridge Island, Wash.)
The Golden Goggle Awards serve as a fundraiser for the USA Swimming Foundation, which strives to make communities better through the sport of swimming. Among its initiatives is the Make a Splash campaign, a national, child-focused water safety campaign that strives to provide swim lessons for children who otherwise could not afford them.
The complete list of 2008 awards and nominees:
- Breakout Performer of the Year:
- Matt Grevers
- Christine Magnuson
- Rebecca Soni
- Perseverance Award:
- Jason Lezak
- Eric Shanteau
- Emily Silver
- Dara Torres
- Coach of the Year:
- Bob Bowman
- Teri McKeever
- Dave Salo
- Gregg Troy
- Eddie Reese
- Relay Performance of the Year (all from the 2008 Olympic Games):
- Men's 400m Free Relay
- Men's 800m Free Relay
- Men's 400m Medley Relay
- Female Performance of the Year (all from the 2008 Olympic Games):
- Natalie Coughlin - 100m Backstroke
- Christine Magnuson - 100m Butterfly
- Rebecca Soni - 200m Breaststroke
- Dara Torres - 50m Freestyle
- Male Performance of the Year (all from the 2008 Olympic Games):
- Ryan Lochte - 200m Backstroke
- Aaron Peirsol - 100m Backstroke
- Michael Phelps - 100m Butterfly
- Michael Phelps - 400m Individual Medley
- Female Athlete of the Year:
- Natalie Coughlin
- Margaret Hoelzer
- Katie Hoff
- Rebecca Soni
- Male Athlete of the Year:
- Jason Lezak
- Ryan Lochte
- Aaron Peirsol
- Michael Phelps
- The Impact Award and The Humanitarian Award, given only in Olympic years, will also be presented.