As USA Swimming is gearing up for the Golden Goggles Awards, Swimming Australia got a jump start, thanks to time zones, by handing out their hardware earlier in the day in Melbourne.
Australian Alicia Coutts, who won five gold medals at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, won the 2010 Telestra Swimmer of the Year Award. Had there been a Comeback Swimmer of the Year Award, Coutts could have won that as well, as she missed out on the 2009 Australian National Team with an illness.
It’s no coincidence that Coutts’ coach at the Australian Institute of Sport, John Fowlie, won the Telestra Coach of the Year award. Other National Team members under Fowlie’s tutelage include Felicity Galvez and Ashley Delaney.
The 31-year old Geoff Huegill won the two popularity contests of the ceremony, showing how truly remarkable the butterfliers resurgence in the sport has been. After retiring following the 2004 Athens Olympics and falling wildly out of shape, Huegill began his comeback in 2008. That comeback was officially complete this year when he won the 100 fly at the Commonwealth Games and also swam on Australia’s winning 400 medley relay.
This performance won him both the Telstra Swimmers’ Swimmer Award, voted on by his peers, and the Telstra People’s Choice Award, voted on by over 8,000 fans. His 100 fly swim from Delhi, where he swam a 51.69, won him the Speedo Golden Moment award.
Sydney University won the Australian Unity Club of the Year award for the second straight year. This is an award that I would love to see USA-Swimming and the Golden Goggles adapt, as it can reflect success from the age group level all the way to the coach of the elite athletes.
Full List of Awards:
Telstra Swimmer of the Year Award – Alicia Coutts
Telstra People’s Choice Award – Geoff Huegill
Telstra Swimmers’ Swimmer Award – Geoff Huegill
Telstra Multi Class Swimmer of the Year – Peter Leek
Telstra Open Water Swimmer of the Year – Melissa Gorman
Speedo Golden Moment – Geoff Huegill
Telstra Coach of the Year – John Fowlie
Singapore Airlines Short Course Swimmer of the Year – Leisel Jones
Australian Sports Commission Discovery of the Year – Katie Goldman
Swimming Australia Media Award – Gerry Collins, ABC Grandstand
Telstra Multi Class Coach of the Year – Graeme Carroll
Open Water Coach of the Year – Ken Wood
The Age Group Coach of the Year – Michael Palfrey
The Australian Unity Club Leadership Award – Blair Evans
Australian Unity Club of the Year – Sydney University
Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year – Ryan Arblaster and David Gregory