EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) -Indiana University head swimming coach Ray Looze, along with IU postgraduate swimmers Lilly King, Zach Apple and Blake Pieroni were all nominated for the 2019 Golden Goggle Awards on Monday.
The 16th edition of the annual awards show will take place on Sunday, Nov. 24 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. The nation's top swimmers and coaches are nominated in eight categories for the celebration and fundraising gala honoring the sport's top performances of the year.
Looze is nominated for Coach of the Year after helping lead both the men’s and women’s Hoosier squads to Big Ten Championships. IU continued their successes at the 2019 NCAA Championships, where the Indiana men came away with third-place honors while the women’s team finished 10th.
Looze was selected as an assistant coach on Team USA’s staff at the 2019 FINA World Championships, where six current or former Hoosiers swam their way to a combined 13 medals, including Lilly King, who won three gold medals in Gwangju.
King was nominated in three of the eight categories – Female Athlete of the Year, Relay Performance of the Year (Women’s 4x100m medley relay, FINA World Championships) and Female Race of the Year (Women’s 100m breaststroke, FINA World Championships).
The Evansville, Ind. native totaled three gold and one silver medal to become the second-winningest American female at the 2019 FINA World Championships. King defended her 2017 world titles in the 50 and 100m breaststroke in impressive fashion, becoming the only swimmer in the 100m breaststroke to go sub-1:05 and the only swimmer in the 50m breaststroke to touch in under 30 seconds.
Prior to her success in South Korea, King’s 2019 was highlighted by NCAA titles in the 100 and 200y breaststroke, making her the winningest breaststroker in NCAA history with eight career titles.
Apple is nominated twice in the Relay Performance of the Year category, once for the mixed 4x100m freestyle and once for the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the FINA World Championships. Apple won gold in both, setting a world record in the mixed relay and posting the fastest 100 split in the competition in the men’s relay – 46.86.
Pieroni was also nominated as part of the same 4x100m freestyle relay at the FINA World Championships. Apple and Pieroni helped the Americans set a new championship record of 3:09.06 in capturing the gold.
Online fan voting is now open. A percentage of the fan vote will count towards the final ballot. Golden Goggle Award nominations are based on the year’s top accomplishments by U.S. swimmers, focusing primarily on the 2019 FINA World Championships. Proceeds from the Golden Goggle Awards benefit the USA Swimming Foundation, which has the mission to save lives and build champions – in the pool and in life. In addition to its Make a Splash initiative, a national, child-focused water safety campaign that stresses the importance of learning to swim, the USA Swimming Foundation supports the U.S. National Team and its development efforts aim to establish an endowment to strengthen the future of USA Swimming’s programs and services. The Foundation also serves as the home for our National and Olympic Team Alumni reunions and regional events. Full event details, including table and seat purchasing opportunities, can be found at GoldenGoggles.com.
Courtesy: IU Athletics