Few fans who closely follow swimming should have been surprised on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, when Amy Van Dyken announced the winner of the Golden Goggle Award for Male Race of the Year.
Especially since the winner, Ryan Lochte, was nominated in two races. Lochte won the award for his performance in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2011 FINA World Championship meet in Shanghai in July.
Lochte also was nominated for his performance in the 200-meter freestyle, and Michael Phelps was nominated for his performance in the 200-meter butterfly. Both of those races also came at the 2011 World Championships.
Lochte defeated Phelps, who took the silver medal, in both the 200-meter individual medley and the 200-meter freestyle at the 2011 World Championship meet, demanding that the world take notice of him and his accomplishments.
It was for his performance in the 200-meter individual medley, though, that Lochte won the trophy, and it was certainly the race most deserving of the Male Race of the Year award.
During that swim, Lochte not only had to defeat Phelps, the defending Olympic champion, but he also broke the first long-course world record since the banning of high-tech swim suits in 2009. Lochte was the first swimmer to break a long-course world record in more than 19 months.
During his acceptance speech, Lochte thanked his sponsors, family and fans. He also thanked Phelps.
"I wouldn't have gotten this (award) if it weren't for Michael," Lochte said during the Golden Goggle Awards show. "…He pushes me everyday and I push him. We have a great sportsmanship and rivalry."
It's the second time that Lochte has won the Male Race of the Year award in as many years. In 2010, Lochte was given the award for his performance in the 200-meter individual medley during the Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championship meet.
The Golden Goggle Awards ceremony is hosted by the USA Swimming Foundation and recognizes the achievements of American swimmers during the previous year. The awards show was webcast live on the USA Swimming website.
In addition to earning Male Race of the Year Awards, Lochte also has been named Male Swimmer of the Year on two occasions, in 2009 and 2010.
Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a long-time Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement.