Michael Phelps has returned to the pool and is working toward goals for next year, an official from his training base said in accepting Phelps’ Male Athlete of the Year award at USA Swimming’s Golden Goggles on Monday night.
Phelps, who was suspended six months by USA Swimming after his Sept. 30 DUI arrest, was not in attendance at the New York event.
Keenan Robinson, director of athlete services at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, accepted on Phelps’ behalf and provided an update on the swimmer.
“Michael is in Baltimore, happily back in the pool, working toward his goals for next year,” Robinson said.
On Oct. 5, it was posted on Phelps’ social media that he was stepping away to get “the help I need.” It was later reported that was referring to a six-week program.
Phelps will not swim at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, next summer.
Phelps came out of 20-month competitive retirement this year and won three gold medals and two silvers at the biggest meet of 2014, the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia in August.
He was the only U.S. men’s swimmer to finish the season with the top time in the world in an Olympic event.
Katie Ledecky won Female Athlete of the Year after breaking world records in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles this year. She also swept the events and won the 200m free at the Pan Pacific Championships.
Ledecky also won the Female Race of the Year award for her 1500m free victory and world record at Pan Pacs.
Ledecky was also part of the Relay of the Year winner, for the 4x200m free relay at Pan Pacs. Ledecky swam anchor, entered the pool with a deficit and powered to a 1.37-second U.S. win.
In accepting the award with the team, Missy Franklin said the man handing the medals to the women at Pan Pacs proposed to Ledecky.
“Very concerned, Katie said, ‘I’m only 17,'” said Franklin, on the relay with Ledecky, Leah Smith and Shannon Vreeland.
Ledecky’s coach, Bruce Gemmell, won Coach of the Year.
Connor Jaeger won Male Race of the Year for his 1500m free victory at Pan Pacs. Jaeger, 23, took his first career gold medal at a major international meet (Olympics, World Championships or Pan Pacs) and the U.S.’ first gold in the event at a major international meet in 30 years.
Maya DiRado earned Breakout Performer of the Year for bagging her first individual medals at a major international meet. The former Stanford swimmer took gold in the 200m individual medley and 400m IM at Pan Pacs.
Open-water swimmers Haley Anderson and Andrew Gemmell won the Perseverance Award. Anderson and Gemmell won the Pan Pacs 10km titles after their events were moved from Australia to Hawaii.
Ryan Lochte and other top U.S. swimmers (but not Ledecky, Franklin or the suspended Phelps) will next compete at the World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar, from Dec. 3-7. The meet is done in a 25m pool rather than the Olympic-size 50m.
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