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Lochte, Franklin win Golden Goggle awards

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After knocking the award off the  podium and grabbing it before it hit the floor, Ryan Lochte holds the award for best male race of the year at the USA Swimming Foundation's Golden Goggle awards in Los Angeles Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011.

After knocking the award off the podium and grabbing it before it hit the floor, Ryan Lochte holds the award for best male race of the year at the USA Swimming Foundation’s Golden Goggle awards in Los Angeles Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011.

Reed Saxon, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Two-time Olympian Ryan Lochte and teenager Missy Franklin won male and female athlete of the year at the Golden Goggles as USA Swimming honored its top performers.

Lochte beat out Michael Phelps for male athlete Sunday night at the eighth annual awards hosted by comedian Kevin Nealon. Lochte also earned the honor in 2009. Phelps, who didn't attend, was shut out in four nominations.

Lochte also won the men's race of the year award for his performance in the 200-meter backstroke in the world championships in Shanghai, where he set the first world record since high-tech suits were banned. Lochte won six medals at worlds.

He nearly dropped the first trophy he received.

"I got it, don't worry," he assured the crowd at the JW Marriott at LA Live. "I wouldn't get this if it wasn't for Michael. He's pushed me to so many limits. We have a great sportsmanship and a great rivalry."

Franklin, a 16-year-old from Colorado, capped a breakout season by winning female athlete honors, presented by Janet Evans, who is making a comeback at age 40.

"I have no idea why I'm standing up here right now," Franklin said. "I definitely don't feel like I deserve this."

She also won female race of the year for her gold-medal showing in the 200 backstroke at worlds and relay performance as part of the winning women's 400 medley relay.

Franklin won five medals at worlds.

Franklin shared the relay award with teammates Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni and Dana Vollmer, who won the medley relay at worlds for the first time since 1998.

Florida's Gregg Troy won coach of the year. He was an assistant on the men's team in Shanghai and coaches Lochte among other athletes.

Peter Vanderkaay received the perseverance award. The former Michigan swimmer relocated to Gainesville, Fla., and had three top-eight finishes at worlds while winning a gold as part of the men's 800 freestyle relay.

Open water swimmer Alex Meyer was chosen breakout performer. He won the national 10k open water title and became the first U.S. swimmer to qualify for the London Olympics.

The winners were selected by a nine-member panel in combination with online fan voting.