Several Honored at USAAS Awards Ceremony

by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Several notable individuals received awards at the USA Artistic Swimming Awards Ceremony this past weekend. The event was hosted at the conclusion of the annual convention in Reno, Nevada and many of the honorees were in attendance. Individuals are initially identified through an open nomination process by anyone within our community. The USA Artistic Swimming awards committee, chaired by Krista Karwosky, then votes on and selects the final recipients. 

Dr. Mary Jo Ruggieri was named the 2021 USA Artistic Swimming Hall of Fame Contributor posthumously. Foundation president and former student of Ruggieri's accepted the award on her behalf and spoke fondly of the impact the late coach and contributor had on many within the community. 

An iconic athlete was added to the USA Artistic Swimming Athlete Hall of Fame. Mary Killman, 2012 Olympian, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

Soda Aquatic Center was the recipient of the 2021 USA Artistic Swimming Community Service Award. This facility has been the home base for national team training in northern California and USAAS is thankful for the staff at the facility that have graciously hosted and accommodated our training program over the years. 

The 2021 Developmental Coach of the Year Award was awarded to Cheryl Cook of the Austin Angelfish. Cook has coached with passion and love and helped her athletes grow, even helping Elisa Brunel earn her place on the USA junior and senior national teams. 

The 2021 Athletes of the Year come from our Tokyo Olympic duet. Anita Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder represented our organization with class at the Olympic Games this summer and showed grit and tenacity throughout their training with the national team program during multiple postponements. Their dedication to their team and each other was evident in two strong performances in Japan. Alvarez was in attendance and thanked the community for rallying behind the athletes in times of adversity and spoke fondly of the second Olympic experience. 

Finally, the highest honor in artistic swimming was awarded to Irene Hawes for years of dedication to growing our sport domestically and internationally. As the 2021 Lillian MacKellar Distinguished Service recipient, Hawes has been identified as an impactful individual continuing MacKellar's legacy through her activism within our sport. 

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