Awarded to those who best exemplify the ideals of YMCA Competitive Swimming and Diving and demonstrate the characteristics of a true champion.
The Outstanding Participant Award was established in 1971 to be presented annually at the YMCA National Swimming and Diving Championships to a young man and young woman who best exemplify the ideals of YMCA Competitive Swimming and Diving and demonstrates the characteristics of a true champion. The award was not intended to be a high point award, but rather a tribute to two young YMCA athletes who, by virtue of their attitude, team spirit and dedication to their sport, provide encouragement, inspiration and guidance to those whose lives they touch.
Beginning in 2018, the Adolph Kiefer family began providing scholarship funding with the award and it was renamed the Adolph Kiefer YMCA Youth Character Award. It recognizes two YMCA National Championship athletes, who are seniors in high school, for their excellence in academic achievement and commitment to healthy living and social responsibility through YMCA competitive swimming. The selected individuals are granted $2,500 each to be issued directly to the athlete’s institute for higher learning.