The British Columbia Swim Coaches Association and Swim BC held a joint awards banquet on September 21st in Whistler. The two biggest awards for Male and Female Swimmer of the Year went to two Victoria athletes Ryan Coachrane and Hilary Caldwell who both brought home medals from the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.
Cochrane has been a stalwart on the podium at major international competitions for the last five years. In Barcelona he captured the silver in the 1500 freestyle finishing behind Sun Yang who was also the only swimmer to beat Cochrane in his primary event in London. He also took home the bronze in the 800 freestyle and finished fourth in the 400 freestyle.
Caldwell is a relative new comer on the international stage. In 2011 she won a silver in the 200 backstroke at the World University Games and qualified for her first Olympic team last April in the 200 backstroke posting a lifetime best time of 2:09.14. In just over a year’s time Caldwell has been able to shave 2.34 seconds off her best which was good enough to collect a bronze in Barcelona.
Their teammate Eric Hedlin won the Open Water Swimmer of the Year. Hedlin also brought home hardware from Barcelona winning a silver in the men’s 5 km.
All three are coached by Randy Bennett at the Victory Academy of Swimming. Bennett was awarded the National, International and Open Water Coach of the Year.
There were also three new inductees into the BC Swimming Hall of Fame; Brittany Reimer and Stephanie Dixon went in the athletes category and they were joined by Paul Jenkins who was inducted as a builder.
Reimer was the queen of distance swimming in Canada from 2003-2007. Reimer who finished 17th in the 800 freestyle at the 2004 Olympics experienced her greatest success at the World Championships. At 2003 World Championships she finished fourth in the 800 freestyle and sixth in the 1500 freestyle, two years later in Montreal at the 2005 World Championships Reimer won the silver in the 800 and the bronze in the 1500.
The times she posted at the 2005 World Championships; 8:27.59 in the 800 and 16:07.73 in the 1500 are still the Canadian records.
Dixon is one of the greatest Paralympians in Canadian history having collected a total of 19 Paralympic medals. At the 2000 Paralympics she collected five gold and two silver breaking five world records in the process. In 2004 she won one gold, six silver and one bronze and followed that up in 2008 bringing home one gold, two silver and one bronze.
The complete list of awards can be found here