FINA Awards Chad Le Clos and Katinka Hosszu as Best Swimmers of the Year at FINA World Aquatics Gala

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 12: Chad le Clos wins the 200m freestyle finals in Olympic qualifying time during the finals session on day 3 of the SA National Aquatic Championships and Olympic Trials on April 12 , 2016 at the Kings Park Aquatic Center pool in Durban, South Africa. Photo Credit / Anesh Debiky/Swim SA
Photo Courtesy: Anesh Debiky/Swimming South Africa

The world’s best Aquatics athletes of the year were honoured tonight (Sunday December 16) at the fifth edition of the FINA World Aquatics Gala “Soirée des Etoiles”, held in conjunction with the end of the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Hangzhou, China.

Swimming legends Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary received the FINA Best Male/Female Swimmer 2018 award respectively, a first for both athletes, while Hungary and the USA were honoured with the FINA Best Male/Female Water Polo Team 2018 recognition respectively. The U.S. female water polo team has bagged the highest FINA award for the fifth consecutive time, since the inception of the Gala in 2014.

China’s Cao Yuan received the FINA Best Male Diver 2018 title for the first time, while Shi Tingmao (CHN) bagged the female equivalent award for the fourth consecutive year, since 2015.

In artistic swimming, Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Yakhno got the top honour, while the best male competitor was Italy’s Giorgio Minisini.

Ferry Weertman (NED) and Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA) were awarded with the FINA Best Male/Female Open Water Swimmer 2018, the second consecutive time for Cunha but fifth time since the inception of the Gala, and high divers Gary Hunt (GBR) and Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) completed the list of winners tonight in Hangzhou.

Masters athletes winning the awards are Zhang Jian and Wang Yan (CHN).

Xu Jiayu received a special recognition: “the Best Breakthrough Athlete of China”

Finally, the FINA Media Award of 2018 was given to the International Sport Association (AIPS) and their successful Young Report Programme (represented by AIPS President Gianni Merlo and young reporter Jeroen Adriaannse from the Netherlands).

The “Soirée des Etoiles” (the “Evening of the Stars”) was first held in Doha (QAT), before the start of the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). For 2015, it was organized in Budapest (HUN) on January 31, 2016. The 2016 awardees were known in Windsor (CAN) on December 4, 2016, a couple of days before the start of the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), while the 2017 champions were awarded in Sanya (CHN) on December 2, 2017.

2018 Winners:


  • Chad Le Clos, South Africa
  • Katinka Hosszu, Hungary


  • Men’s Team: Hungary
  • Women’s Team: USA


  • Cao Yuan, China
  • Shi Tingmao, China


  • Yelyzaveta Yakhno, Ukraine
  • Giorgio Minisini, Italy


  • Ferry Weertman, Netherlands
  • Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil


  • Gary Hunt, Great Britain
  • Rhianna Iffland, Australia

Coach Awards:


  • Arpad Petrov (coach of Katinka Hosszu, HUN)
  • Andrea di Nino (coach of Chad Le Clos, RSA)


  • Tamas Marcz (coach of Team Hungary, men’s water polo), 
  • Adam Krikorian (coach of Team USA, women’s water polo)


  • Wenjin Zhao (coach of Cao Yuan and Shi Tingmao, CHN)  


  • Rosella Pibiri (coach of Giorgio Minisini, ITA),
  • Svetlana Saidova (coach of Yelyzaveta Yakhno, UKR) 


  • Marcel Wouda (coach of Ferry Weertman, NED), 
  • Fernando Possenti (coach of Ana Marcela Cunha, BRA)


  • Sabine Ravinet (coach of Gary Hunt, GBR),
  • Todor Spasov (Rhiannan Iffland, AUS).    

The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with FINA. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

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Cali Ahmed
4 years ago

Congratulations ??‍♀️??‍♂️??????

Nefi Wole Abu
4 years ago

Congratulations! Way to go Katinka!

Mandy Dean
4 years ago

Awesome well done!!