To see all of our 2022 Swammy Awards, click here.
2022 AFRICAN COACH OF THE YEAR: ROCCO MEIRING, SOUTH AFRICA
For the fifth consecutive year, Rocco Meiring earns the Swammy Award for African Coach of the Year, having led his stable of athletes to continued success on the international stage in 2022.
Meiring, the head coach of Tuks Swimming Club at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, led Tatjana Schoenmaker to a gold medal last summer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and this year he helped propel Pieter Coetze, Kaylene Corbett and Erin Gallagher to breakout performances that included winning individual medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Meiring didn’t send his top athletes to the World Championships in Budapest, but one month later at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, the swimmers delivered.
Coetze won a medal in all three men’s backstroke events, including gold in the 100 back, while Schoenmaker claimed gold in the women’s 200 breast and silver in the 100 breast, Corbett took bronze in the women’s 200 breast, and Gallagher set a new South African Record en route to winning silver in the women’s 50 fly.
Coetze, who turned 18 in May, found continued international success at the World Junior Championships one month later, and put his finishing touches on the year at the Short Course World Championships in December.
At World Juniors, Coertze won five medals, highlighted by an individual gold in the 200 back, setting a new Championship Record of 1:56.05. In the 100 back, he set an African Record of 52.95 in the semis before claiming silver in the final (52.99).
He followed that up by setting two more African Records at SC Worlds in Melbourne, first placing fourth in the 100 back (49.60) before taking fifth in the 50 back (22.84), the latter of which broke a super-suited record previously held by Gerhard Zandberg.
- Eugene Da Ponte – Da Ponte led South African Lara van Niekerk to a phenomenal year that included winning two Commonwealth gold medals in the women’s 50 and 100 breaststroke to go along with individual 50 breast medals at LC Worlds (bronze) and SC Worlds (silver). The 19-year-old also broke her African Record in the 50 breast in both LC (29.72) and SC (29.09).
- Wayne Riddin – After returning to Riddin in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa after a brief stint at the University of Georgia, Matt Sates had a very strong year that got better as it went on. Although Sates failed to medal at the World Championships or Commonwealth Games in long course, the 19-year-old bounced back with seven wins on the FINA World Cup circuit and a pair of medals at SC Worlds, highlighted by his victory in the 200 IM where he became the second-fastest performer in history.