Sarah Sjöström was an outside tip to win newspaper SvD's Bragdguld prize as a 15 year old when she claimed World Championship gold.
Six years later, and after another two World Championship gold medals she received the award.
For her "explosive power of will, two world records and a historic gold cavalcade", said the prize jury announcement in Stockholm.
Sjöström wrote Swedish swimming history when she won two gold, two silver and a bronze at the World Championships in Russia in August. Moreover, she twice broke the world record in the 100 meters butterfly.
Sjöström received the news outside a hotel in the Israeli city of Netanya, where the European Short Course Championships start on Wednesday. She told news Agency TT, that after several near misses, she dared not believe she would get it this year.
"No, I did not dare. It was hard to surpass what I did in 2009 at age 15 when I won the World Championship gold medal," she said.
"It's a great honour to receive it."
Sjöström is the seventh swimmer to received the prize after Arne Borg (1926), Björn Borg (1938), Jane Cederqvist (1960), Gunnar Larsson (1970), Lars Frölander (2000) and Therese Alshammar (2011).
Sjöstrom broke through at the age of just fourteen when she won the 100m butterfly at the European Championships in Eindhoven. The only major championship title she lacks is an Olympic gold medal.
On Monday she was awarded this year's European Female Swimmer of the Year by the magazine Swimming World Magazine.
Past winners of SvD's Bragdguld have included swimmer skier Anja Pärson, Therese Alshammar, Annika Sörenstam and the 1994 World Cup Swedish football squad.
This year, Sweden's young footballers who won the European under-21 Championship were hotly tipped for the prize, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.