by Jerry Clark


Each January, NCMS gives awards for the Outstanding Female and Male Swimmer of the year. This year, these awards were given to Hannah Caldas and Clarke (Mitch) Mitchell.


This program was started in 1999, yet the method of determining the two winners each year is not widely known.  Here’s how it works.


We look at the USMS Top Ten rankings for each gender, all age groups and all events ( click the blue Competition tab, scroll to Top Ten, click Individual, then prowl around to your heart’s content).  If anyone in NCMS achieved a Top Ten ranking in any of the three racing  “seasons” (Short Course Yards, Long Course Meters and Short Course Meters), he/she gets 11 points for being ranked first, 9 points if ranked second, 8 points if ranked third, etc. on down to 1 point if ranked tenth. 


We look at the past year’s SCY rankings, then the LCM rankings, and then at the year before last year for SCM rankings.  The reason we go back a year for SCM rankings is because they aren’t available in January for the just expired year. Using the 2010 awards as an example, we look at the 2010 SCY Top Ten rankings, the 2010 LCM rankings and the 2009 SCM rankings. 


From the very beginning, we decided no one person could be a winner in consecutive years. This keeps people who place high in a lot of events from dominating these awards year after year.


The 2010 Outstanding Female is Hannah Caldas.  In the 2010 SCY season (Jan 1 – May 31), Hannah earned 73 points.  In the LCM season (June 1 – Sept 30), she earned 110 points.  In the 2009 SCM season (Oct 1- Dec 31), earned 57 points.  Her point total was 240.


The 2010 Outstanding Male swimmer is Clarke (Mitch) Mitchell.  In the SCY season, Mitch earned 59 points.  In the LCM season he earned 46 points.  In the 2009 SCM season, he earned 47 points.  His point total was 152. 


Congratulations to Hannah (who now resides in Arizona) and Mitch (who resides in Asheville) for great swimming last year!


 A very significant swim also took place in 2010 when Jon Blank from Raleigh became the first USMS swimmer in Short Course Yards history in the 50-54 age group to go under 1:00.00 in the 100 breaststroke. He achieved that milestone swim May 22nd at the SCY National Championship meet at the Georgia Tech pool in Atlanta. Jon’s time of :59.94 surpassed the 1:00.76 that Gary Patterson achieved in a swim on May 7, 2010. 


Jon, CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU, and we hope some hard training allows you to challenge your own USMS national record this coming short course yards season.