Anthony Ervin and the U.S. World Championship Swim Team lit up Los Angeles at the 10th annual Golden Goggles awards ceremony Sunday night at the downtown L.A. Marriott.
The SCV superhero seized nine medals during the 2013 FINA World Championship Tour, which began this summer in Barcelona. A second leg followed in Dubai and Doha, and it wrapped up in Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing on Nov. 14.
Team USA collectively secured 31 medals: 14 gold, eight silver, and nine bronze.
Ervin contributed to the haul with the following:
• Nov. 14, 2013 – Beijing, American Record in the Mixed 200 Freestyle Relay
• Nov. 14, 2013 – Beijing: Silver, Men’s 50m Freestyle
* Nov. 10, 2013 – Tokyo: Silver, Men’s 50m Freestyle;
* Nov. 8, 2013 – Tokyo: Bronze, Men’s 100m Freestyle;
* Nov. 5, 2013 – Singapore: Silver, Men’s 100m Freestyle;
* Nov. 5, 2013 – Singapore: Bronze, Men’s 50m Freestyle;
* Oct. 2013 – Dubai/Doha: Silver in the Men’s 100m Freestyle;
* Summer 2013 – Barcelona: Silver, Men’s 50m Freestyle;
* Summer 2013 – Barcelona: Bronze, Men’s 100m Freestyle;
* Summer 2013 – Barcelona: Silver, Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay.
Ervin also achieved a lifetime best time on Nov. 5 in the Silver 100m freestyle and claimed the fastest American time in the past decade.
“My favorite part of the tour is seeing my friends around the world, hands down,” said Ervin. “When I first went to the Olympics 13 years ago, I didn’t even have a passport.”
Feet back on dry ground in L.A., Ervin looked dapper as he hit the red carpet where he was joined by other world-class champions including Rowdy Gaines, Cullen Jones, Missy Franklin, Nathan Adrian, and the rest of the 2013 FINA World Championship team (except for Ryan Lochte, who was under doctor’s orders to avoid air travel).
Kevin Nealon, best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and Showtime’s “Weeds,” emceed the event, while Cirque Du Soleil provided colorful feats of strength and artistry before the awards were presented. Actress Charlene Tilton from the series “Dallas” also lavished the team with praise.
“I am in awe of these Olympians,” she said. “Entertainment takes discipline in other ways. but these Olympians – I’m in awe. They are incredible.”
The event was designed in part to bring awareness and to the drowning epidemic among children through the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative. The silent auction included an electric guitar, autographed by each member of the Rolling Stones, a boxing glove autographed by Muhammad Ali, a football autographed by NFL great Tom Brady, autographed shoes by Ryan Lochte, priceless memorabilia from the Olympic games, and private meal with Olympic medalists, plus a Marriott stay anywhere in the world. Proceeds from the silent auction set a foundation record netting $66,000.
“Not only are we here to celebrate champions, but to save lives,” said Rowdy Gaines, a three-time Olympic medalist and USA Swimming Foundation ambassador.
Ervin was the oldest athlete to make the 2013 roster with teammates ranging in age from 15 to 32. He continues to raise the banner for USA Swimming’s mantra, “Saving Lives. Building Champions.”
“I support anybody and everybody learning to swim,” he said. “Historically, as far back as Benjamin Franklin, the man who decorates our $100 bill, how important is that guy in the eyes of many? After his initial successes as a journalist, starting working for a newspaper – in his initial retirement what did he do? He opened a swim school. He felt swimming was so valuable as a skill and as a personal passion. He wanted to bring this to other people. I would like to continue that.”
Ervin is inspiring Santa Clarita and people around the world through his swimming successes.
Find out more at USA Swimming.org and watch SCV-Arts & Entertainment, airing on SCVTV, for highlights featuring Ervin and the Golden Goggles awards.