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Monday, November 22, 2010
Ryan Lochte, Rebecca Soni honored

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The U.S. swimming community honored its biggest stars and paid tribute to a lost teammate at the annual Golden Goggles on Monday night.

Ryan Lochte and Rebecca Soni won as the sport's top athletes for the second straight year, with Lochte dedicating his award to his friend Fran Crippen, who died during an open-water race last month.

He recalled that when Teresa Crippen decided to swim for Lochte's alma mater at Florida, Fran asked him to take care of her as if she was his younger sister.

"I hope I'm doing a good job," Lochte said.

Teresa Crippen was nominated for breakout performance after winning silver in the 200 butterfly at Pan Pacifics. She and her family attended the event, where a video tribute to Fran was shown. The 26-year-old Crippen, a world championship bronze medalist, died during a World Cup race in the United Arab Emirates.

"We really got to experience just how close the swim community is," Teresa Crippen said before the event. "People showed up at our doorstep who were from all across the country."

Lochte and Soni also won for races of the year. Lochte (200-meter individual medley) and Soni (200 breaststroke) nearly broke the world records set with the now-banned high-tech suits in winning at the Pan Pacific championships in August.

Missy Franklin won the breakout performance award after placing fourth in the 100 backstroke at Pan Pacifics at the age of 15.

Kate Ziegler won the perseverance award. The former world champion struggled in 2008 and '09 but came back to win the 800 freestyle at Pan Pacifics.

Gregg Troy, who works with Lochte, won coach of the year.

The women's 400 medley relay team of Natalie Coughlin, Soni, Dana Vollmer and Jessica Hardy, which won gold at Pac Pacifics, was honored as relay of the year.

For the first time since 2005, Michael Phelps did not win an award. Phelps, who had three nominations, said he just spent a week training by himself on the West Coast.

"I had to clear my mind," he said. "I felt happy and relaxed."