Updated: Feb 5
It's the end of the year which means it's time to celebrate the achievements of the best British and the best International swimmers in the world of swimming.
In this week's blog post from Propulsion Swimming, we will be announcing our picks for the first-ever Propulsion Swimming Awards. In what has been a tumultuous year in the world of sport we thought we'd celebrate and shine a light on some of our personal favourite swimming performances over the year 2020!!
All awards have been subjectively chosen by Dan and Scott and focus mainly on elite British Swimming. Should this first year of awards be received well we will look to expand into the grassroots of swimming and other disciplines!!
We have 8 awards to celebrate both British and International talent in swimming. They go as follows: Best British Newcomer, Best International Newcomer, Most Improved Brit, British Race of the Year, International Race of the Year, Best British Female, Best British Male, and Best International Swimmer.
Best British Newcomer of the Year
To be nominated for the award of Best British Newcomer, we've decided that swimmers have to be aged 21 or under.
Hector Pardoe - 19-year-old Hector finished 10th in the 10k FINA Marathon Swim World Series event in Doha, racing against the top open water swimmers in the world. Hector also turned in an impressive result at the French Open Water Championships in September, finishing second in the 25km race to Gregorio Paltrinieri, breaking a 15-year-old British Record in the process! He will be looking to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the open water trials which are scheduled for the end of May.
Jacob Whittle -16-year-old Jacob has very recently entered senior level swimming, debuting in season 2 of the ISL for the NY Breakers. He didn't take part in match 1, but once he was given the chance to showcase his talent, he ended up being the lead-off swimmer for NY Breakers relays hitting consistent 100m Free times around 47/48 seconds. Let me remind you, he's only 16 years of age - he has the potential to be a sprinting superstar!
Abbie Wood - 21-year-old Abbie had an incredible breakthrough meet in this years ISL, representing NY Breakers. She was up against the very best competition in the 200m and 400m IM, racing the likes of Melanie Margalis and Yui Ohashi, and yet still managed to get her first ISL victory in Match Round 4 and set a new British Record while winning the 200m IM in Match Round 6. With Tokyo 2020 less than a year away, we'll be keeping a very close eye on her career as it progresses.
Winner: Hector Pardoe
Best International Newcomer of the Year
Season 2 of the ISL gave great exposure to young and upcoming international swimmers who look to be the real deal. Again swimmers have to be aged 21 or under to be nominated. The nominees we've selected for this category are:
Anastasia Gorbenko - 17-year-old Anastasia is a fantastic young and upcoming swimmer making the top swimmers look very closely over their shoulders. She had a great season at the ISL for LA Current swimming the IM events and having a deep run in the breaststroke skins in Match 5. When Katinka Hosszu retires, will the passing of the IM torch be passed to Anastasia?
Benedetta Pilato - At just 15-year-old Benedetta Pilato is a future superstar in the sport. At the ISL final, she put up a time of 28.81 in the 50m Breaststroke to tie Ruta Meilutyte‘s European Record and breaking her own Italian and World Junior records! She is able to compete and contest against the two best breaststrokers in the world, in Lily King and Alia Atkinson. At such a young age, is she destined to be an Olympic Champion and the next breaststroke queen of the future?
Eddie Wang - 18-year-old Eddie is a butterfly sensation! Competing against the very best butterfly swimmers in the world such as Chad Le Clos and Tom Shields, and very much holding his own, he will gain a huge amount of experience and confidence when challenging for future World and Olympic titles. Could we be looking at the next dominant butterfly swimmer?
Winner: Benedetta Pilato
Most Improved Brit of the Year
This was probably one of the hardest categories, with numerous British swimmers improving so much at the moment. We felt the need to give a special mention to the following swimmers:
Jay Lelliott for his lifetime bests in the 200m Backstroke and 200m Butterfly.
Joe Litchfield for his lifetime bests in numerous events including 200m IM and 100m Butterfly.
Molly Renshaw for her lifetime best and British record in the 100m Breaststroke.
Freya Anderson for her lifetime best and British record in the 200m Freestyle.
We've narrowed it down to 3 swimmers:
Tom Dean - Tom's favourite event is the 200m freestyle, but it's his 400m freestyle that stood out at this years ISL. Swimming against the big favourite, Danas Rapsys, ended up being the best thing for Tom. By beating Rapsys, he is showing that he is improving all the time with each swim he does. Based on those swims, he's a definite pick for Team GB in the relays, but can he go to the Tokyo Olympics for an individual too, and could he upset the odds yet again?!
Duncan Scott - If there was no Adam Peaty, we are sure Duncan would be the face of British swimming. He is an exceptionally versatile swimmer and has become a real force to reckon with in the 200m Freestyle. The drops in his times this year show that he still has plenty left in the tank, a great thing with next year's Olympics on the horizon!
Abbie Wood - Abbie's improvement this year has been there for all to see. Going into this year's ISL, Abbie was still a relatively unknown name in world swimming. But after several 2nd place finishes to Melanie Margalis, Abbie announced herself to the world by winning the 400IM in ISL Match 4. But she wasn't finished there, in Match 6 she carried her impressive form on to break a 5-year-old 200m IM British Record! She has set amazing new lifetime bests, broken British records, and raced against the best swimmers in the world. If that doesn't prepare her for next year's Olympics trials, we don't know what will.
Winner: Abbie Wood
British Race of the Year
There were some amazing swims from British swimmers at this years ISL and these are our choices for the British Race of the Year:
Tom Dean (400m Freestyle, ISL Semi-Final) - With all eyes on Danas Rapsys after his great swims in the earlier rounds of the ISL, Tom was a big underdog going into the 400m freestyle in the first semi-final. However, with a perfectly paced swim, Tom stayed on the hip of Rapsys for the first 300m and made his move on the final 100m to take the victory. He secured a lifetime best and 9 points for London Roar.
Adam Peaty (100m Breaststroke, ISL Semi-Final) - Adam is unbeatable when it comes to racing long course but when it comes to short course, he loses his invincibility due to the extra turns. His biggest rival throughout the ISL, Ilya Shamanovich, had gained confidence in beating Adam prior to the semi-finals. But being the fierce competitor that Adam is, he not only won the race, but broke the world record too.
Duncan Scott (200m Freestyle, ISL Final) - Duncan had no previous 200m Freestyle wins in the 2nd season of the ISL going into the final, although he was getting quicker and quicker as the competition went on. When it came to the final, he swam 2 seconds quicker than his earlier matches, won the race, broke the British record and placed himself 4th fastest on the all-time 200m Freestyle short course list.
Abbie Wood (200m IM, ISL Match 6) - In her debut year of the ISL, Abbie was very much an unknown swimmer and no one quite knew how quick she was. After earning 2nd place behind Melanie Margalis in matches 1 and 4, Abbie was being recognised as a strong force and was determined to get her first ISL victory in Match 6. She took it out from the front, got the victory and broke a 5-year old British record.
Winner: Duncan Scott
International Race of the Year
As well as some amazing British performances, there were also incredible swims from other international swimmers too. Our special mentions for this category are:
Caeleb Dressel (50m Free, ISL Final) for breaking the world record.
Lily King (50m Breaststroke, ISL Final) for getting her stroke count perfect and out touching her opponents to the wall.
Our nominees for International Race of the Year are:
Caeleb Dressel (100m Butterfly, ISL Final) - In his first race of the ISL 2020 final, Caeleb smashed the world record to be the first man ever to go under 48 seconds for 100m butterfly. The race was close over the first 50m but he took off in the second 50m.
Caeleb Dressel (100m IM, ISL Final) - The first man ever to go under 50 seconds for 100m IM. Everyone thought his semi-final swim of 49.88 was amazing. However, in the final, he went faster! 49.28 for 4 lengths of the pool which includes a breaststroke length, is crazy fast.
Cali Condors (Women's Medley Relay, ISL Final) - What a relay team and performance this was: Olivia Smoliga, Lily King, Kelsi Dahlia and Erika Brown. All four women represent USA which means that the World Record they set is official. That is going to be a hard record to break in the future.
Beryl Gasteldello (100m Freestyle, ISL Final) - A race that 4 swimmers had a shout of winning and all four of them finishing within 0.06, it couldn't be much closer. Gasteldello was behind going into the last 5 metres of the race only to come out on top. One of the closest blanket finishes you are ever going to see in world swimming!
Kira Toussaint (50m backstroke, ISL Semi Final) - Kira led from the beginning with a fantastic start and underwater phase. She continued the extremely fast pace throughout to finish the race in a time of 25.60; a huge world record swim that absolutely blitzed the rest of the field.
Winner: Beryl Gasteldello
Best British Female of the Year
British swimming is in a very good place with some female swimmers having a fantastic year. The 4 nominees we've selected are:
Freya Anderson - Freya is a swimmer with a very bright future ahead of her and she's improving with every race she does. At this years ISL she gave Sarah Sjostrom and Beryl Gasteldelo a run for their money as she recorded numerous times of around the 51 second mark in the 100m Freestyle both individually and on relays. On top of that, she also recorded a new British record in the 200m Freestyle.
Alice Dearing - Alice finished 10th in the 10k FINA Marathon Swim World Series event in Doha. On top of her results in the water, she is the Co-Founder of the Black Swimming Association that highlights swimming as a lifesaving skill, with an emphasis on water safety and drowning prevention. Her main target now will be to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 as the first black woman to compete for GB in swimming.
Molly Renshaw - Molly has certainly benefited from this years ISL and hit some new lifetime bests along the way. In the first semi final, the NY Breakers swimmer finished in 5th place in the 100m Breaststroke and in doing so became the fastest British woman ever in the event. She beat the previous British record by 0.06 seconds and becomes only the second British swimmer to ever go under 1.05.
Abbie Wood - What a year Abbie has had. She's certainly announced herself on the world stage by competing in her first ISL against the very best IM swimmers in the world. Not only did she compete against the best in the world, she pushed them all the way and will be a great threat to them in future international competitions. At only 21 years old, she will be one British swimmer everyone should keep their eye on.
Winner: Freya Anderson
Best British Male of the Year
As well as the British women having amazing swims, the British men are also in a very good place with some exceptional times hit. The 4 nominees we've selected are:
Tom Dean - Tom was a great help in earning points for London Roar. His most noticeable swims were in the freestyle events where he beat Danas Rapsys twice even though going in as the underdog. He also showed his versatility by swimming in the 400 IM alongside teammate Duncan Scott which got London much-needed points in the final. His future is looking good in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.
Luke Greenbank - Luke had a great ISL. It was made even better in the semi-final when he lowered his lifetime best and British record time in the 200m backstroke to 1.49.31. Backstroke will be a very important stroke when it comes to the British trials to see who will earn their place on the men's 4x100m medley relay team. Will Luke make it onto that team?
Adam Peaty - The face of British swimming continues to swim times that no other human on the planet has done before. Every time he enters the water you expect him to hit a British record or a world record and the majority of the time, he does just that! The question now is 'How fast can he go?' His 'Project 56' target has already been achieved so can he get anywhere close to the 55-second mark for 100m Breaststroke.
Duncan Scott - Duncan has got to be one of the most versatile swimmers in the world. Not many swimmers can swim a world-class 100m and 200m Freestyle along with a world-class 200m and 400m IM. How many events will he look to swim at the Tokyo Olympics? However many he does, when he is up for a race with his hugely competitive nature, he will give any swimmer in the world a run for their money.
Winner: Adam Peaty
Best International of the Year
For our final award, there were so many swimmers that could have been up for the win. Our special mentions include: Chad Le Clos, Siobhan Haughey, Yui Ohasi, Ilya Shamanovich, Emre Sacki, and Tom Shields.
Caeleb Dressel - When it comes to the face of swimming, Caeleb is the person that comes to mind and that won't be changing anytime soon. He is the swimmer that has replaced Michael Phelps as the one that the younger generations can look up to. He is setting new world records that no one in the world looks close to beating. He appears to be in a league of his own. How much faster can the superstar go?
Lily King - If you're looking for someone to watch perform breaststroke to the highest quality, then look no further than the queen of breaststroke herself. She was utterly unbeatable at this years ISL winning well over 30 races in all the Breaststroke events. It doesn't matter whether it's 50m, 100m or 200m Breaststroke, Lily is one the to beat.
Ryan Murphy - Ryan had an amazing ISL and was known as the skins champion on Backstroke after stealing so many jackpot points. Backstroke was a heavily contested stroke at the ISL with all of the top swimmers racing there. Ryan was on top for the majority of the time and is still the man to beat when it comes round to the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Winner: Caeleb Dressel
Check out the video below!!