New Zealand swimming star Lauren Boyle had a magnificent year in the water becoming the first New Zealander in 19 years to make her way onto the medal podium at the long course world championships and she is now the first swimmer in the last seven years to be a finalist for the prestigious Halberg Sportswoman of the Year Award.
The Halberg Awards were first handed out in 1960 and named after Sir Murray Halberg. The awards are given out in a televised event. The awards assists the Halberg Disability Foundation raise money, which supports their services of providing young people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports.
The other three finalists for the award include Valerie Adams, shot put world champion, Lisa Carrington, kayaking world champion and the number four ranked golfer in the world Lydia Ko.
Boyle did not just make her way onto the medal podium once in Barcelona, but she matched the feat of Danyon Loader collecting three medals at one world championship; bronze in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events in Barcelona.
With her times in the 800 (8:18.58) and 1500 freestyle (15:44.71) in Barcelona Boyle set new Oceanian and New Zealand records. She also set a Commonwealth record in the short course 800 freestyle posting an 8:01.22 at the World Cup in Eindhoven as well as an Oceanian and New Zealand record in the 400 freestyle (3:55.16) at the same competition.
Boyle is not the only swimmer in contention for a Halberg Award. Gabrielle Fa’amausili, who won gold in the 50 backstroke at the World Junior Championships, is up for the Emerging Talent Award, while Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher, who are both Para Swimming World Champions, are finalists for the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year honour.
Since it’s creation in 2011 Pascoe has been awarded the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year in both 2011 and 2012.