|Ryan Lochte poses for photos on the red carpet during the 2009 USA Swimming Foundation Golden Goggles Awards on November 22, 2009 at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, California (AFP photo)|
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Ryan Lochte beat out superstar Michael Phelps and veteran Aaron Peirsol for male swimmer of the year Sunday at USA Swimming's Golden Goggles awards.
Rebecca Soni nabbed female swimmer of the year honors, while Phelps, who earned a leading six nominations, was honored for delivering the men's race of the year and for a world championship relay performance.
Lochte ended Phelps' two-year reign as male swimmer of the year, thanks to world record-setting triumphs in the 200m individual medley and 4x200m freestyle relay at the world championships in Rome.
He earned five medals, including four golds in Rome.
"I just want to say thank you to my parents. They've been 100 percent with me my entire swimming career," Lochte said. "Aaron Peirsol and Michael Phelps, you guys have pushed me to limits I didn't even know, and I wouldn't be here without you."
Lochte also shared the relay performance of the year award, for the 4x100m free relay in Rome in which he, Phelps, Matt Grevers and Nathan Adrian defeated Russia as favorites France flopped.
Phelps was honored for his scintillating 100m butterfly triumph in Rome. He smashed the 50-second barrier with a time of 49.82sec and handed Milorad Cavic a bigger defeat than the one the Serbian suffered by a fingertip at the Beijing Olympics.
Soni set a world record and won gold in the 100m breaststroke in Rome.
The award-winners were decided by fans in online voting.