Golden Goggles at a Glance: Perseverance Award
Each Wednesday until the 2013 Golden Goggle Awards in Los Angeles, USA Swimming will take a closer look at one of the eight awards that will be presented Sunday, Nov. 24. Online fan voting is open through Nov. 15, so be sure to cast your vote.
Today we look at the nominees for the Perseverance Award, an honor given to the athlete who came back from adversity, retirement, sickness, injury, etc., to have an outstanding performance(s) in 2013, with special emphasis on the 2013 FINA World Championships. The nominees are:
On the heels of a disappointing 2012, Eugene Godsoe had a breakthrough 2013 season, qualifying for his first major international roster and winning his first World Championships medal. The 25-year-old moved back to train at his alma mater, Stanford, and the result was wins in the 50m and 100m butterfly at the 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships with lifetime bests in both events. At the 2013 FINA World Championships, Godsoe qualified eighth for the final of the 50m fly and made the most of his opportunity to win silver in 23.05 – just 0.04 seconds away from gold. He also finished 11th in the 100m fly.
A fixture on U.S. international teams since 2009, Elizabeth Pelton seemed well-positioned to make her first Olympic roster in 2012. However, at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha, Pelton just missed punching a ticket to London by placing third in a pair of events. This year, Pelton rebounded to finish second in the 100m and 200m backstroke events at the 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis and earn her spot on the 2013 FINA World Championships roster. At this year’s World Championships, the 19-year-old Pelton won a pair of gold medals in relay events, while finishing fourth in the 100m back and fifth in the 200m back, respectively.
Despite swimming a lifetime best, David Plummer fell just 0.12 seconds shy of making the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team in the 100m back. The two men who finished one-two at the 2012 Olympic Trials went on to win gold and silver, respectively, at the London Games. Rather than dwell on his disappointment, Plummer used his near miss as motivation for a remarkable 2013. He secured a spot on the U.S. roster for the 2013 FINA World Championships by winning national titles in the 100m back and 50m back at Phillips 66 Nationals. Once in Barcelona, Plummer qualified for the final as the second seed. In the final, he came through in the clutch to earn the silver medal (53.12), helping the U.S. to its only 1-2 finish in Barcelona. It was Plummer’s first career individual medal at a World Championships.
Megan Romano fell just short of making the team in the 200m free, finishing seventh. After leading the University of Georgia women to the NCAA team title in March 2013, Romano again just missed making an international team individually with a fourth-place finish in the 100m free at 2013 Phillips 66 Nationals. Romano more than made the most of her international competitions this summer. She collected a team-high six medals at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia, and followed with a pair of relay gold medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. Her 52.60 anchor leg in the 4x100m free relay was one of the lasting memories of the World Championships. Romano began her leg over seven-tenths of a second behind Australia, but caught anchor Alicia Coutts in the first 50 meters. The two-then swam stroke for stroke over the final length before Romano eked out a narrow victory, 3:32.31 to 3:32.43.