Maggie Steffens (USA) and Filip Filipovic (Serbia) have received the FINA (International Swimming Federation) awards for the best water polo players of the year.
The best athletes in all aquatic sports by FINA’s choice were honored at the awarding ceremony “World Aquatics Gala”, held in Abu Dhabi this evening.
Filipovic led Serbia as a captain to the 2nd consecutive Olympic title and was voted the MVP of the Olympic tournament. He won the Hungarian Championship and the LEN Euro Cup with Szolnok.
Maggie Steffens, just like Filipovic, led her team to the Olympic title. That was the third Olympic gold in a row for Team USA and herself.
Both Filipovic and Steffens are three-time winners. Filipovic received FINA awards in 2010, 2014, and 2021, while Steffens was the best in 2012, 2014 and 2021.
As usual, the coaches of the best athletes were also awarded. The coaching awards in water polo go to Adam Krikorian (USA) and Dejan Savic (Serbia). Krikorian and Savic were named the best coaches of the year by FINA several times.
This year’s awarding ceremony was held in Abu Dhabi because the capital of the United Arab Emirates is a host of the inaugural Aquatics Festival that brings together four aquatics disciplines. FINA competitions in diving, high diving, and open water swimming run parallel with the World Swimming Championships (25m).
FINA inaugurated its awards in 2010. As for water polo, between 2010 and 2014, FINA elected the best players of the year. From 2015 to 2019, the best teams were awarded. The concept was changed this year, and the best players were chosen again.
Women: 2010: Elizabeth Armstrong (USA),2011: Alexandra Asimaki (Greece), 2012: Maggie Steffens (USA), 2013: Jenifer Pareja (Spain), 2014: Maggie Steffens (USA), 2015 – 2019: USA, 2020:not awarded, 2021: Maggie Steffens (USA)
Men – 2010: Vanja Udovicic (Serbia), 2011: Filip Filipovic (Serbia), 2012: Josip Pavic (Croatia), 2013: Denes Varga (Hungary), 2014: Filip FIlipovic (Serbia), 2015: Serbia, 2016: Serbia, 2017: Croatia, 2018: Hungary, 2019: Italy, 2020: not awarded, 2021: Filip Filipovic (Serbia)
Swimming: Emma Mckeon (Australia)/ Caeleb Dressel (USA), Open water swimming: Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)/Florian Wellbrock (Germany), Artistic swimming: Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina (Russia)/ Aleksandr Maltsev (Russia), Diving: Shi Tingmao (China)/Xie Siyi (China), High diving: Ellie Smart (USA)/Owen Weymouth (Great Britain)